Still, there are a couple of caveats to the record:. One, as The Genesis Block points out, bitcoin mining relies on integer calculations rather than flops. Two, the estimates used to convert hashes to flops resulting in about 12, flops per hash date to , before ASIC devices became the norm for bitcoin mining. Even adding in the remaining most powerful supercomputers achieves just a fraction of what the bitcoin network can do.
Bitcoin network out-muscles top supercomputers. Maybe, although the designation comes marked with a few asterisks. Still, there are a couple of caveats to the record: One, as The Genesis Block points out, bitcoin mining relies on integer calculations rather than flops. Read more about Related story: Strategist predicts end of Bitcoin. In the early days, a standard PC could successfully "mine" for coins and occasionally snag a handful. Today, mining is dominated by pros running custom-built computers with stunning amounts of power.
It's essentially an arms race, and the weapons have escalated fast. So have the stakes they're playing for. This is a rush. Keeping up with the rush will be the big challenge this year. Bitcoin's growth is stress-testing the system in unprecedented ways. A key concern? The volume of bitcoin transactions -- currently hovering around 60, per day -- is doubling roughly every four months. If it doubles a few more times, the system will run up against a built-in technical limit that requires significant changes to overcome.
Related story: Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox lands in feds' crosshairs. Gavin Andersen, the Bitcoin system's lead developer, estimates that point is only a year or so away. He's also confident that the Bitcoin ecosystem is resilient enough to handle it. The Bitcoin project has been full of "chaos and drama" ever since he's been involved, but it hasn't yet derailed the experiment, Andersen said in a "state of the union" talk at the Bitcoin conference.
He said he's excited to see what Bitcoin will become with the fresh infusion of entrepreneurs and developers that the currency's rising visibility has drawn into the community. How I make money mining bitcoins. CNNMoney Sponsors.
Bitcoin's price moves attract the most interest, but the system's infrastructure is its most fascinating aspect. The crypto currency dreamed up in by a still-anonymous hacker is now one of the world's most expansive large-scale computing pioneers. At any given moment, Bitcoin's peer-to-peer network contains thousands of computers linked together to generate more than 1, petaflops of raw computing power.
To put that in perspective, the world's fastest supercomputer, Titan, runs at less than 18 petaflops. That's stunning for an "economy" that sprang into being just four years ago, when an inventor using the pseudonym "Satoshi Nakamoto" released the system's source code on a cryptography mailing list.
Related story: You can spend bitcoins at your local mall. Nakamoto built in an ingenious lure to draw in computing power. Bitcoins are "created" in batches every 10 minutes by an algorithm designed to eventually release a finite total of 21 million bitcoins. So far, 11 million have been released. The final coin won't be minted until Computers compete to get hold of those new bitcoins by solving mathematical problems of increasing complexity.
Whoever does it first gets the coins. Those same computers maintain Bitcoin's "blockchain, " the public ledger that stores and verifies all of Bitcoin's transaction records. As the network grows more powerful, so do the safeguards that prevent Bitcoin's economy from being manipulated -- or erased.
Related story: Strategist predicts end of Bitcoin. In the early days, a standard PC could successfully "mine" for coins and occasionally snag a handful. Today, mining is dominated by pros running custom-built computers with stunning amounts of power. It's essentially an arms race, and the weapons have escalated fast. So have the stakes they're playing for. ASICs are built from scratch to calculate hash functions only.
It is like comparing a human body, that can be trained to demolish a wall using karate, with a wrecking ball. No, there is a difficulty argument built into the Bitcoin protocol itself, so the NSA would not be able to mine "all" the Bitcoins. The bitcoin network hashrate estimate on bitcoinwatch. Bitcoin network does this by using ASICs. Therefore a supercomputer cannot mine al the bitcoins in matter of hours.
Even if they could have, they have much better work to do The Bitcoin network self-adjusts for the amount of hashpower available in total. This ensures that it will always take, on average, 10 minutes to mine a single block, regardless of the amount of hashpower on the network.
Basically as the total hashpower on the network goes up, a parameter called bits in the block headers goes down. This means that the amount of effort that miners have to expend to mine a block increases. If the hashpower of the network were to increase by a factor of 10, then the bits value would adjust such that the network would require 10 times more hashpower to mine each block as before. This has already happened many times over the lifespan of Bitcoin - modern ASICs are millions of times more powerful than the CPUs that were originally used to mine Bitcoin blocks.
Yet the time to generate a block remains at 10 minutes on average. So to answer your question, there will never be a computer fast enough to mine all blocks in just a few hours - not even in theory. All Bitcoins will be mined by approximately the year but not before. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Why can't they use super computers to mine all the bitcoins? Ask Question. Asked 6 years, 7 months ago. Active 3 years, 3 months ago. Viewed 28k times.
I have very limited knowledge of bitcoin, but, I hope you don't mind my asking this question: As I understand it, "mining bitcoin" requires "significant" computational prowess. Improve this question. You might be interested to know that, while the techniques used to measure this are less-than-accurate, the Bitcoin network has been estimated to be about 6 to 7 times more powerful than the entire combined power of the top supercomputers in the world. Add a comment. Active Oldest Votes.
Improve this answer. Dennis Kriechel Dennis Kriechel 1, 4 4 gold badges 14 14 silver badges 33 33 bronze badges. Maybe stupid question: why are we even building supercomputers if ASICs are better? My logic was working this time. That's actually a really important part of the argument: ASICs are only made to do one thing, so it's not even a fair comparison. A specialized tool will usually win out over a general-purpose one for the one task it's designed to complete.
We're comparing a rocket car to a Honda Civic here - the rocket car is obviously going to be faster, but you sure wouldn't want to drive it to work They cant have enough power by supercomputers because they would need 16k times more power than the currently fastes supercomputer Even with enough power they cant do it because of the difficulty factor see post. I guess its impossible, at least currently, for them to have 16k Supercomputers which are as powerful as the currently top one.
Show 2 more comments. Davide C Davide C 1 1 silver badge 4 4 bronze badges. Jacob Krall Jacob Krall 4 4 bronze badges. Recall: We can't know that for sure, as the NSA does not publish information about how much compute power it has available. Show 1 more comments.
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