Cryptocurrency mining hardware has transformed over the years. Mining was something that started as a hobby for some, as an additional source of income for some others. It was being done on one’s computer CPU without the need for any huge upfront investment in hardware infrastructure. The mining difficulty was low and people could easily make profits. It created a stir and attracted several people to join in the crypto mining activities. This was in the starting days of bitcoin mining in 2009.
Things changed soon after. With new cryptocurrencies emerging, the trend of CPU mining took a backseat. New mining specific hardware in the form of GPUs was initiated. They were more energy-efficient and faster. It also did not require many technical skills to mine on a single GPU. Since the competition was low, people were still able to generate good profits.
Within a short span, things again changed. The mining difficulty increased and necessitated hardware that could curb the rising electricity consumption. New Field Programmable Gate Arrays(FPGAs) were built. The FPGAs required lower power and worked efficiently for mining. It requires the miners to configure and tweak The FPGA needs to be configured and tweaking after procurement to make it fit for mining.
This made the hardware vendors build hardware that only works for mining. The ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) cannot be used for any other purpose. Cryptocurrency mining became an industry by itself and a full-time source of earning for many. Investing in the more sophisticated and energy-efficient ASICs enabled people to mine right away. Though a little high in price, ASICs are much faster than all other types of hardware that was in use. CPU/GPU mining has almost got obsolete and is no longer viable except in mining those cryptocurrencies for which no ASIC equipment is available.