There’s Not Just One Type of Crypto-Mining — What Kind Does Your Data Center Need?
by Josh Anderson
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC — Blockchain data centers are pushing the envelope, and that means that they’re setting new standards. At CAPRE’s Southeast Data Center Spring 2018 Update, we invited Allan Williamson, Principal of At Home Crypto LLC to offer his insight into the different kinds of crypto-currency mining for blockchain data center development.
“When we talk about cryptocurrency and blockchains, there are four ways of crypto-currency mining,” he stated. “Each one has its own limitation and its own environment that you’d think of for your data centers, when you’re speaking to your clients or your investors about which coins you want to buy.”
First up, he provided a quick lowdown on the mining behind the most common crypto-currency, which is ASIC. This acronym stands for Application-Specific Integrated Circuit. In other words, servers dedicated solely to crypto-currency, which allows for advanced, efficient and high-power mining. “When we talk about ASIC, that’s bitcoin mining or bitcoin cash mining only. Some other coins like that would be LiteCoin, which is only on ASIC,” he offered.
Next, Williamson spoke of GPU mining. “You may have heard of this one. It has an AMD card, which are basically video cards, and you mine from those because the VDR-RAM that’s on them can hold the files needed for the blockchain to mine there. And that’s called GPU mining, it’s more of an open-air frame.”
These are unique, Williamson explained, because a lot of people just have them on open air racks. “They’re not inside of a system,” he continued. “A gentleman today showed me a photograph of one that he has, and they’ve got all of the GPUs that can be seen directly. If someone slipped, they could even touch the fans on the GPU, so there’s nothing blocking those.”
That remark then led to Williamson offering a prediction about data centers.
“That’s something that you’re going to see – more security,” he said. “Because in open air, you have security problems and you have some static electricity problems. I’ve seen some motherboards just pop because of that static electricity in the air in these environments. Then they’re out a good $8000. The GPU cards, the efficient ones, you can get them from Nvidia or AMD. You can find them for about $6000 but you’re getting too inefficient in my opinion. That would be [used for currencies like] Etherium or Z-Cash.”
The next type of mining we should know about it is CPU mining. According to Williamson, this type is unique because you can mine on a basic computer at home on your laptop. “These are very minimal coins, very new,” he explained. “You need to do your own research on these. One of the coins you can do with a simple computer or laptop, without spending a ton of money on it, would be SiaCoin. Or, D-Cred is one that has a lot of investment going into it.”
Finally, the last form of mining is called Proof of Stake. “You’ll see Etherium turn into this,” he predicted. “You’re rewarded not for mining it, you’re actually rewarded for holding onto it. Because holding onto it keeps the entire block stable.”
Check out a previous CapRE Insider Report featuring input from Williamson on this panel: At Home Crypto’s Allan Williamson Talks the Future of Blockchain Data Centers