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What Is an ASIC Miner

Last Updated on February 26, 2024

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Quick Answer:

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can be acquired through buying or mining. Mining involves validating transactions, completing blocks on the blockchain, and earning rewards without direct payment. To mine, you need specialized hardware such as ASIC miners, which are programmed to mine specific cryptocurrencies efficiently.

ASIC miners offer several advantages including ease of setup, high potential financial gains, high efficiency, and low power usage. However, they also come with drawbacks like contributing to mining centralization, high upfront costs, difficulty in purchasing due to high demand, potential for market monopoly, and the risk of becoming obsolete.

Bitcoin mining with an ASIC miner involves calculating profitability, selecting the right hardware, mining software, and a mining pool, and setting up a Bitcoin wallet for rewards. ASIC miners are preferred for their power and efficiency over PCs or laptops, although they do require a significant investment in both the hardware and electricity costs.

Some of the best ASIC miners include the WhatsMiner M30S++, Ebang EBIT E11++, and AvalonMiner 1166 Pro. Each has unique features regarding power usage, hash rate, and cost, catering to different mining needs and budgets.

There are two ways to get cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), or Litecoin (LTC) – you can either buy them or mine them

By using the mining process to get crypto, you’re getting them without paying for them. The crypto mining process is done by miners who, in order to get crypto as a reward, have to complete blocks of confirmed transactions that are added to the blockchain. This reward is called a block reward.

Simply put, if the cryptocurrency miners want to earn Bitcoin or other altcoins, they have to solve a complex mathematical puzzle, and as a reward, they get a small cut of the newly mined Bitcoin. The catch is that in order to become a miner and successfully mine crypto, you need good mining hardware, such as a CPU (Central Processing Unit), GPU (Graphic Processing Unit), or ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits).

But for now, we’ll focus on ASICs. What is an ASIC miner? ASICs are specialized mining hardware programmed to mine a specific crypto. It’s programmed to do only one thing, which is mining.

In this article, we’ll explain in-depth what’s ASIC mining and its advantages and disadvantages. In a few steps, we’ll tell you how to mine BTC using an ASIC miner and why an ASIC miner is better than other general-purpose hardware. Finally, we’ll present you with the best ASIC miners that you can buy.

asic miner equipment

ASIC Computer

ASIC miners use ASICs, which is an abbreviation of Application-Specific Integrated Circuits. This is specially designed hardware mining equipment for performing only one particular operation, unlike most of your computer hardware, like the circuitry in your PC or smartphone, which is used to perform numerous different operations

For example, when you open multiple applications on your laptop, like a text editor or web browser, your laptop has to run multiple tasks, and in order to do this, it needs hardware that will be able to manage all these tasks simultaneously, such as a CPU. An ASIC, on the other hand, won’t be able to do this.

The problem here is that the hardware that is built to run multiple operations at the same time won’t be the best choice if you want to run only one operation extremely well. And this is where ASICs come in, which, by definition and name, are built to run only one particular type of operation. Much of the computing power which is needed to manage the blockchain network’s transactions account security, and links are often limited to a smaller number of power-intensive operations.

The mining of digital currencies supports the blockchain network which works by using a Proof-of-Work (PoW) scheme. If you think that the mining process is very complex, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Crypto mining is quite a simple process that usually utilizes a power supply, one software program, mining hardware, and, of course, a little bit of your time. And this is precisely why ASIC mining hardware becomes very useful for mining cryptocurrencies developed using blockchain technology.

You need to stay mindful of one thing, however – every ASIC miner is designed for mining a specific cryptocurrency, or rather, a specific algorithm, meaning a BTC ASIC miner can only be used for Bitcoin mining, while LTC ASIC miner mines only Litecoin. Due to the fact that every cryptocurrency is developed using a specific cryptographic hash algorithm, each ASIC miner is designed to match that algorithm; for example, BTC uses SHA-256, LTC uses Scrypt, and ETH uses Ethash.

Advantages and Disadvantages of ASIC Mining

Advantages of ASIC Mining

ASIC mining might cost you more than all of the other types of mining when it comes to hardware equipment, but it has its own advantages, such as:

  • Easy to set up. Due to the fact that ASIC miners are specialized only for mining a particular coin, you only have to plug them in, set the mining options, and start mining.
  • Very high financial gains. With an ASIC miner, you can be pretty sure that you’ll earn your rewards quicker than by using another type of mining hardware.
  • High effectiveness. In comparison to other mining hardware, such as GPU, CPU, and FPGA, ASIC miners have higher efficiency and computing power.
  • Low power usage. Thanks to the mining hardware evolution in the past few years, nowadays, ASIC miners are designed to use less energy consumption relative to their computation power, in comparison to other types of mining hardware. 

Disadvantages of ASIC Mining

  • Centralization of mining. When several companies have almost all of the control over the distribution rights to the hash power for a digital currency using the provision of incomparable ASIC technology, the mining process becomes centralized.
  • Startup costs a lot. Due to the fact that ASIC miners are hardware equipment specialized only for cryptocurrency mining, they can be rather expensive devices.
  • Difficulty of buying. They’re sold out too quickly, so it’s very hard to buy a new one or a second-hand one.
  • Monopoly. Nowadays, Bitmain has control over 90% of the ASIC market, which allows them to put out new ASIC hardware when they want and to put the price tag they want too. That means that if Bitmain is mining with superior ASIC hardware not available to the rest of the world, no one will know.
  • Temporality. Due to the fast evolution of mining hardware, ASIC might become outdated in the near future. That’s why they are not only considered an expensive option but a temporary one too.
ASIC mining rig

How to Mine Bitcoin With an ASIC Miner?

Due to the fact that Bitcoin mining is a business and you certainly want to turn a profit, it’s better to use a Bitcoin mining profitability calculator before you start shopping for an ASIC miner in order to estimate the return of investment ranges. 

This calculator takes into consideration the crucial metrics you need, such as the hash rate of your mining rig, the current price of Bitcoin, the power usage of your mining rig, electricity costs, and the mining pool fee.

When you run the calculator, it will show you the daily, monthly, and yearly profits based on these parameters.

CryptoCompare is the most reliable calculator that you can use.

After you’re through with the steps we described above, you are ready for ASIC miner shopping. Try to find an ASIC miner with a high hashing power, one that’s energy-efficient, and, of course, one that is affordable (or within your budget).

We’ll get into the ASIC miners we recommend, but let’s first quickly go over  how to mine with an ASIC miner:

  • First, pick an ASIC mining rig and Bitcoin mining hardware;
  • Then decide on the mining software you’ll use;
  • The next thing you have to do is join in a good mining pool;
  • Now it’s time to run a calculator to see if your current setup is going to be profitable;
  • And last, create a BTC wallet (or use your existing one if you have one) for collecting your block rewards. The wallet you’ll use can be a hardware or software wallet; it’s up to you which one you pick.

There are three things that you have to take into consideration before you start with ASIC mining:

  • selecting the right ASIC mining rig,
  • selecting the best mining pool, and
  • selecting the suitable mining software.

What Makes an ASIC Miner Better

The main thing that is really important when it comes to digital currency mining is that the crypto asset that you intend to mine is more worthy than the hardware you have to buy and the power that you have to spend. 

However, you have to keep in mind that the mining process will cost you a lot of money because you’ll have to buy the computing power you’ll use upfront and, at the same time, you’ll have to spend thousands of dollars on electricity in just one year.

Therefore, it’s very important to choose hardware equipment that has a cost-effective system, and this is where ASIC miners come in.

Due to the dedication to only one task, ASIC miners are:

  • highly powerful, which means they offer very good hash rate,
  • energy efficient – ASIC uses much less energy than CPU or graphics cards, and
  • incredibly effective.

The low use of electricity and their high performance are what make ASIC miners more low-cost to use than your commercial laptop or PC.

crypto miners

The Best Cryptocurrency ASIC Miners

WhatsMiner M30S++

WhatsMiner M30S++ is an ASIC miner produced by Chinese MicroBT, and known as a BTC mining machine beast due to the very high hash rate power of 112 TH/s – the best hash rate on the market. The high hash rate might lead you to think that it isn’t energy-efficient, but you’re wrong, its power usage is only 3.472 kW, which is quite low. 

Moreover, its efficiency is 31 J/TH which makes it one of the most efficient BTC ASIC miners. 

But, like everything else, this ASIC miner has a downside too. MicroBT also manufactures the following ASIC miners: WhatsMiner M31S, WhatsMiner M32 66T, etc.

miner of bitcoin cryptocurrency

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s inside an ASIC miner?

An ASIC miner contains a chip designed specifically for mining Bitcoin. The first generation of ASIC miners were released in 2013, and they were able to mine at a rate of about 1 TH/s. However, today’s ASIC miners are capable of mining at rates of up to 10 TH/s. This means that one single ASIC miner can generate $10,000 per month.

What are ASIC chips?

An ASIC chip is used for mining Bitcoin. The first generation of ASICs were made from FPGAs, which could be reprogrammed easily. However, these devices were expensive and had limited functionality. As a result, they were quickly replaced by custom ASICs. These devices are much less flexible, but cheaper. They also consume far less power.

What is Bitmain Antminer?

Bitmain AntMiner is a new generation of high performance mining hardware designed for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company was founded in Beijing, China, in 2013 and has been growing rapidly since then.

A Few Words Before You Go…

Hopefully, you now have an idea about what the mining process using ASIC miners entails. You’ve learned what an ASIC miner is and its advantages and disadvantages.

So, if you choose to try your hand at mining cryptocurrencies by using an ASIC miner, you’ll be able to choose the right ASIC hardware.

About The Author

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Written by


Tanmay Patange, an expert in emerging tech with a focus on blockchain, AI, and machine learning, brings a wealth of knowledge to his articles.

His transition from television journalism to crypto reporting and his work with Blockbold underscore his deep commitment to advancing mainstream understanding and adoption of Web3 technologies.

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