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What are FPGA miners for cryptocurrency mining? Comparison of FPGA, ASIC and GPU

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A FPGA (user-programmable gate array) is a cryptocurrency mining equipment that is very similar to an ASIC except for one key feature.

  • ASIC is a chip that is hard-coded to perform one type of computation (for example, for Equihash mining).
  • An FPGA is a chip that can optionally be reprogrammed to perform any operations .

In the field of mining, you can reconfigure FPGA from Cryptonight mining to Lyra2z mining in seconds. With processors and video cards, this can also be done, but for certain reasons, FPGA runs much faster.

It is known that certain FPGA boards work 100 times better than graphics processors with the same power consumption. Depending on the algorithm, the FPGA may lag a little or not fall behind the ASICs altogether.

The principle of operation of FPGA chips

For mining on the FPGA, the bitstream is written – the chip's firmware, which indicates how the FPGA should solve the problem necessary for the mining of a particular coin. Programmed bitstream in Verilog or VHDL.

An FPGA chip is a semiconductor. Used in cases where the device is designed to perform logical operations, such as and, or, nand and others.

That is, it is a microcircuit with duplicate logical blocks connected in a circuit. They can be configured at their own discretion according to the tasks.

Equipment based on FPGA was originally designed for air cooling. With it, the working temperature of the chip reaches 100 degrees. When operating chips in such conditions, one of the leading manufacturers – the company Xilinx – gives a three-month warranty. But with immersion cooling, the chip temperature does not exceed 80 degrees.

Due to this, the entire board and all the chips that are on it work in ideal conditions for them. This significantly increases the lifetime of the chips and automatically increases the hashing rate.

Pros FPGA:

  • one FPGA card is equal in performance to 20-40 video cards, when consumed, as in 1-2 video cards;
  • FPGA flexibly moves from one algorithm to another, so no software forks can stop the work of a mining farm ;
  • It requires several times lower infrastructure costs (electrical, cooling, etc.)

Cons FPGA:

  • FPGAs are not available for mass mining, as there are fewer cards produced than the number of people willing to buy them;
  • Card programming is a time-consuming process of creating a bitstream from scratch in non-popular Verilog or VHDL languages, which has led to high development costs;
  • FPGA is much more expensive than GPU and ASIC, therefore it is suitable for large mining players rather than home farmers.

Evolution of mining equipment – from CPU, GPU, FPGA, ASIC

The history of bitcoin mining began with the use of CPU (processors) in 2009. In the summer of 2010, the rate of the first cryptocurrency rose to $ 0.08, then the mining began to generate revenue, which provoked increased competition among miners.

This led to the transition of mining to industrial rails – the use of GPU (video cards) . Video cards had a ten times faster hashing rate at a lower cost. The clear advantage of mining coins both on the CPU and on the GPU was the ability to switch from one to another, depending on the market situation.

In 2011, some enthusiasts began searching for less energy-intensive mining devices, and found FPGAs. Farms with FPGA cards were many times more productive and energy efficient, but expensive and difficult to program. In 2013, the first ASIC appeared – sharpened for the extraction of one coin, powerful and easy to use.

The mining economy has changed. The main factors of change include bear market cryptocurrency and the ever-increasing complexity of mining. Therefore, the hashing power and ease of use of the appeared ASIC determined their popularity.

The increase in the number of ASIC led to another problem – the centralization or the so-called risk of “attack 51%” of many large coins, which forces developers to change the hashing algorithms.

The big disadvantage of ASIC for miners is that in case of a change in the hashing algorithm, mining on them will be impossible, since the computational algorithm is sewn into the “stone” and cannot be changed. It remains only to buy ASIC and hope that the investment will pay off before the mining algorithm of the coin changes or the complexity of mining this coin does not rise to the skies.

GPU mining is still a working option, but the high power consumption of video cards makes mining a pointless exercise in many regions where the cost of 1 kW / h of electricity is above 7-12 cents in the current market situation. Of course, mining equipment manufacturers are thinking about whether there is an alternative to ASIC and GPU? Solution found – back to the FPGA-chips.

Comparison of FPGA miners with ASIC and GPU

FPGA (English Field Programmable Gate Array) or user-programmable gate array is one of the varieties of FPGAs (programmable logic integrated systems) – an integrated circuit that can be reconfigured for any complex computational problems.

The first FPGAs for commercial use were developed in 1985, they were used in scientific calculations, military electronics, telecommunications, video stream processing, medicine, industry, etc. In these areas, FPGAs are still used today. In the field of mining cryptocurrency FPGA can be configured to mine different coins within a second.

Unlike CPU and GPU, FPGA-card can be reprogrammed for the task solved on it. One of the most important features of FPGA for mining is reduced power consumption per unit of computing power.

If FPGAs are so versatile, why have they not yet forced ASIC out of the market? This equipment is not widely used for several reasons.

Reason one: FPGA is not easy to configure due to the flexibility and architecture of the card. They can be programmed for anything, but this requires the knowledge of unpopular low-level languages – Verilog or VHDL. And if the video card can be configured using the BIOS and miner, then the FPGA card must be programmed from scratch, and this takes time.

From this reason comes the second – the appearance of Asiki on the market. ASIC does not need to be configured, it is easy to use, and this is what most miners need. For prototyping, ASICs use FPGAs, but programming them is the task of the manufacturer, not the miner.

However, with the growing number of ASICs in large mining pools, the so-called “attack 51%” threat appeared for various coins. Then the creators of these coins began to change the algorithms in the struggle for the decentralization of the blockchain, as mentioned above.

Now FPGAs are becoming more interesting for the average miner, due to the risks associated with using ASIC. Because ASIC Antminer S9 , which at the peak of popularity cost $ 5,000 on the secondary market, can now be purchased for $ 200 with a power supply.

FPGA vs ASIC

The first thing to note is that developing FPGA is much easier. Unlike FPGAs, the ASIC design begins with a completely empty table. It does not mean that everyone will adjust the chip for mining at home. But with a base and reading the experience of others (see below), the task is theoretically feasible.

On the FPGA, you start with a large array of logic blocks, PLL, embedded RAM, I / O buffers, (de) serializers, power distribution networks, and so on. The development of the ASIC itself starts from a lower level. This means that components must be purchased or manufactured as part of a library, or individually designed for ASIC.

The next big difference is the development cycle. Simple FPGAs can be built during the day or a couple of weeks for a moderately complex project. This is exactly the cycle: development -> release -> test -> fix -> development …

A single ASIC production cycle can take several weeks (months), after which you need to integrate and test it. After tests, bugs do not fix, it is too expensive.

ASIC technology provides higher speed and lower power consumption compared to FPGA. Differences in speed between the two methods easily reach 10 times or more.

  • FPGA pluses: you can play yourself, suitable for a hobby, cheaper for one unit of goods
  • Advantages of ASIK: faster, lower consumption, many offers on the market, working out of the box.

FPGA vs video cards (GPU)

GPUs are much more powerful than CPU's in both power and hashing / watt, but due to the inherent FGPA parallelism can be about 15 times more efficient.

In general, the FPDA output is such that they consume less electricity, can be reconfigured and designed independently if you understand microelectronics. But they have:

  • high heat emission
  • devices are not suitable for novice,
  • to customize your own hands, you really need to look for materials.

Despite the higher price, ASIK will be more profitable. But for resistant to such development of coins, you can try the FPGA-miner.

Where can I buy FPGA in 2019?

The main FPGA manufacturers – Xilinx and Altera (Intel) – are located in the USA, making it harder to buy a card. Since the producers of these cards are units, it is impossible to directly purchase them to a retail buyer.

Major miners in Europe and Asia can also order cards through the American company SQRL or Cyprus COMINO, but this also presents a number of difficulties, for example, customs clearance.

Another solution – CrystalCore based on FPGA Xilinx UltraScale Plus – is offered by engineers of the Belarusian company AETTECH. The equipment is a cell with an immersion liquid, which contains from three to nine FPGA chips and other electronic components that serve the operation of these chips.

The average cost of FPGA chips varies from $ 3000-6000. The price of CrystalCore solution starts at $ 19,200, including all components.

Conclusion

FPGAs are able to provide flexibility and bring mining back to ordinary people like you and me. FPGA chips will allow you to mining almost any algorithm at any time.

Unlike ASICs, which require you to invest several thousand dollars in mining using a single algorithm, FPGAs can be a universal, comprehensive mining solution (like the GPU in the past).

Always conduct your own research and invest only at your own risk. We have made every effort to tell everything that we know about this topic. We may have simplified some aspects too much, but we hope that this article was a good presentation of mining with the help of FPGA.

I would like to know your thoughts, which you can share in the comments block below.

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Binance Exchange added the ability to purchase cryptocurrency from Mastercard

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This Friday Binance Exchange announced the addition of the possibility of buying cryptocurrencies using bank cards in the Mastercard system.

The service covers 19 countries, including Russia and Ukraine. There are no other CIS countries on the list yet.

To use the option, you must log in to your personal account at https://www.binance.com/ , go to the “Buy Cryptocurrencies” tab and select payment using a bank card. Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Binance Coin, USDT and some other assets are available for direct purchases from Mastercard cards.

Previously, users already had the opportunity to buy cryptocurrency on Binance using Russian Visa cards.

Also this morning, Binance CEO Changpen Zhao hosted another live broadcast at Periscope. Zhao’s speech mainly covered the latest achievements of the exchange, including the launch of the Binance Card , mining pool , Binance KR, OTC portal, as well as cooperation with Brave and the acquisition of CoinMarketCap . In addition, Zhao recalled the need to maintain social distance.

“We have completed the initial development of platforms, and now I think it is important for us to support mining , since bitcoin mining is now centralized. We want more players to take part in it, as well as support existing players, ” he said.

In addition, on his Twitter, Zhao shared a screenshot testifying to the preparation of the exchange for the launch of option trading.

He left no comments on this subject. In the main Twitter account of Binance, a list of tasks for testers that was “publicly available” was posted. Among other things, it includes the item “test option trading”.

Publication date 04/04/2020
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TRON (TRX) cryptocurrency review – forecasts and prospects, current rate

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Cryptocurrency TRON (TRX) is a decentralized protocol based on blockchain technology designed to create a global entertainment network with free content.

In simple terms, TRON is a service similar to all well-known social networks and platforms where users have the opportunity to publish, view and use any available content for entertainment, for example, online games.

The TRON project is currently developing the idea of joint consumption, which is that on a single global platform, users will be able to share entertainment content.

Official TRON cryptocurrency website: https://tron.network

Analysts call this platform the broadcast of the modern entertainment industry. In general, the functioning of this system is as follows:

  1. The author or copyright holder publishes the result of his intellectual work on the official website. You can download anything from literary novels to an author’s song or art on a specific topic. Next, the participant uploads information about how his creation can be used (as an accompaniment to another work or as an independent product). Nearby, he indicates the price of his work.
  2. Another user who is interested in this work acquires it for the local currency Tron (TRX). However, users should remember that it is impossible to purchase this or that product on this resource using fiat money (dollar, euro, rubles, etc.). The system has its own cryptocurrency , which must be purchased at exchangers or exchanges in order to complete a transaction.
  3. As soon as the interested user has acquired the result of intellectual work, the amount indicated by him is transferred to the author’s account. The author can use the tokens at his discretion – purchase a work from another author, simply save money in his account, or exchange it for another cryptocurrency or fiat funds.

About what TRX is, initially interested in all users who are just starting their activities on the site. This resource uses several types of tokens for different purposes:

  • Tron (TRX) . This is the main currency of the system. For this currency you can buy or sell the results of your intellectual work. If necessary, the owner of a certain amount in this currency can exchange it for fiat money or other cryptocurrency.
  • Tron Power It is impossible to purchase or exchange other money for a given currency. The only way to get them is to secure the TRX currency on the site platform. In this case, they are converted to TR. The presence of such tokens gives advantages to their owner. For example, the holder of a TR has the right to vote for one or another change in the system, or to oppose them.
  • TRON 20 . Coins owned by developers. With the help of them, they create new full-fledged blockchains with new tokens.

The TRON cryptocurrency issue is limited, 100 billion coins have been issued at present. However, it is worth considering another point – starting in 2018, tokens begin to be burned (they are meant to be forwarded to an address known only to developers). The last major burn was in June last year, but how often such procedures will be carried out is currently unknown.

project team

The team of this project has on its side professionals working in various fields. The founder of the platform and the creator of TRX Coin is Justin Sun , who also created a social network with an audience of 10 million people. In 2017, Forbes magazine included Justin on his list as one of the most successful entrepreneurs, who was not yet 30 years old.

The technical director of the project is Lucien Chen , who has extensive experience in working for large Internet companies. He is perfectly versed in blockchains and the principles of functioning of cryptocurrencies.

Deus Yu , responsible for quality control, has been working in the computer games industry for a long time. According to Justin Sun, the experience of Deus will come in handy a little later, when the platform gains even greater popularity.

Charles Zhang , an adviser who is well versed in a business not related to cryptocurrencies and blockchains. He has repeatedly lectured on the basics of entrepreneurship, with which he was invited to many universities. Charles made a huge contribution to the promotion of the platform at the initial stage.

Blockchain Browser

Block Explorer is a search tool that allows you to view the addresses of wallets involved in the system, blocks, as well as data of transactions completed or committed. It can be compared with standard browsers, with the help of which an ordinary user searches for the information he needs on the Internet.

For each cryptocurrency, a personal Block Explorer is created that shows the network status for a given period of time. For the Tron cryptocurrency, such a Block Explorer is called TRONSCAN , where users can get all the information they need ( https://tronscan.org ).

How to mine Tron?

The developers of the platform did not provide for mining the Tron cryptocurrency , since they had already created all the necessary coins. In addition, the creators talked about the scheme according to which their cryptocurrency will work:

  1. 40% of the total number of coins will go on sale to enable the project to develop further.
  2. 15% of the remaining amount is allocated for acquisition by investors. Investors are players who, after the main sale of coins, will be ready to purchase tokens further.
  3. The remaining funds are “frozen” and remain in the accounts of the company owners.

Justin Sun explained that perhaps mining will be provided in the future when the company gains the necessary popularity.

TRX Token Wallets

The user can choose one of two options for storing Tron coins (TRX):

  • Storage of tokens on the exchange;
  • Creating your own crypto wallet.

With proper use, wallets provide a higher level of security. All types of wallets for Tron (TRX) are described in detail in this review .

Buying and selling TRX coins

You can buy a Tron on popular crypto exchanges , we recommend that you use the first 15 exchanges, and do not forget to install additional account protection. On the selected exchange, you must go through the registration procedure, after which you will be given a personal wallet, as well as its address.

The most popular and safe exchangers where you can buy and sell Tron:

The exchange rate of the Tron cryptocurrency against the ruble as of October 28, 2019 is 1.29 rubles per 1 coin. For a detailed analysis of the course and chart of coins, we recommend that you look at the Coinmarketcap website.

Development Perspectives and Company Roadmap

A distinctive feature of the project is its roadmap, which is scheduled until 2027. It is divided into several stages:

  1. Exodus It lasts from 2017 to 2018 and is considered officially completed. During this period, information about the project was actively disseminated, as well as developers were engaged in improving tools for using the site.
  2. Odyssey . Accounted for 2019-2020. During this time, developers will pay special attention to the economic development of the platform.
  3. Great Voyage . Captures July 2020 and ends in July 2021. Implementation of a personal ICO system, and third-party developers will have the opportunity to launch their own ICOs.
  4. Apollo It lasts from March 2021 to March 2023. Creating a decentralized exchange platform.
  5. Star Trek . It begins in April 2023 and ends in September 2025. Creation of a decentralized platform for the development of any computer games.
  6. Eternity . It starts in September 2025 and ends in September 2027. Platform users will have the opportunity to create their own playgrounds.

The developers mentioned that if these plans are implemented, a new roadmap will be created in the future, which will begin in 2028.

When analyzing the active nodes of the Tron cryptocurrency, you can notice the scale of the development of the project, where the majority of servers are located in the USA, China and Germany.

The forecast for Tron cryptocurrency from leading analysts suggests that, taking into account the current features of the crypto asset, in the future the project can absorb the entertainment market. And this means that in 2020 the value of one coin is able to stand on one level with the dollar.

Main competitors Tron

The project has two main competitors – Qtum and Ethereum . Each competing company has its own advantages, for example, the first has a more advanced platform in terms of technology, and the second wins due to smart contracts and fame.

Analysts are confident that the Tron platform will still have to fight for its users, since the developers are aimed at a specific audience. However, the Throne does not have special advantages that would distinguish the project from its competitors, which could become a serious problem in the future.

Conclusion

Tronix cryptocurrency has good prospects for further development, since the project itself is one of the most ambitious among others. However, at present it is not in demand. Investing in such a project will bring quite large risks, however, long-term investments can bring the investor good profit.

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The largest exchange Binance has the opportunity to deposit / withdraw deposits in rubles

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The Binance cryptocurrency exchange this Wednesday activated the possibility of making deposits in Russian rubles.

According to the instructions provided on the website, deposit / withdrawal of funds is carried out through the AdvCash payment system , including using bank cards. The commission for the deposit in this case is 3%, for the withdrawal – 2.5% plus 50 rubles.

To deposit / withdraw assets in rubles, you need to go to the “Buy cryptocurrencies” tab in the upper control panel or select the “RUB” currency in the user's wallet, then indicate the desired direction of payment and other necessary data.

Trading pairs for exchanging the ruble for cryptocurrencies on the Binance platform have not yet been presented.

Earlier today, CoinDesk published excerpts from a conversation with Binance CEO Changpen Zhao during his visit to Moscow last week.

“We are always looking for partners in any community, especially in Russia. Russia is a key market for us, it is one of the most active markets in the global blockchain space, ” he said then.

Zhao also confirmed that Russia is included in the Venus project, in which Binance intends to launch several regional stablecoins.

“We are working with potential issuers of stablecoin tied to fiat currency. We do this in all jurisdictions, in Russia in particular, we are looking for partners, ” he added.

Last week, Binance listed its first cryptocurrency pairs on its main platform, starting with Nigerian naira. The exchange also supports fiat trading at selected sites in Uganda, Singapore, the United States and Jersey.

Publication date 10/30/2019
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