Bitcoin Miners Celebrate 10 Years Since First ASIC
The Bitcoin mining industry has reached a significant milestone today as it celebrates ten years since the release of the first application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). This specialized BTC mining hardware forever changed the way this blockchain and its actors interacted and gave birth to a new industry.
According to Bitcoin miner veteran and educator “TheCoinDad”, Jeff Garzik, an early adopter and developer of the BTC core, was among the first owners of ASIC miners. This new hardware was released by Canaan, a “world’s leading provider of supercomputing solutions”.
It’s the 10 year anniversary of Bitcoin ASIC Miners. Jan/Feb 2013 was when @VitalikButerin with @BitcoinMagazine interviewee @jgarzik with the first ASIC Miner launched on the market by @canaanio the Avalon1, and was earning 12 Bitcoins a DAY! 😱💪🔥https://t.co/mkKoPR6Hng pic.twitter.com/80JbBQBf3F
— TheCoinDad (@TheCoinDad) February 22, 2023
The Bitcoin Mining Industry Over a Decade
As TheCoinDad noted, Vitalik Buterin, inventor of Ethereum, was one of the first to cover the launch of BTC ASIC miners. In February 2013, Buterin interviewed Garzik for Bitcoin Magazine, a publication he co-founded.
Until the release of this specialized equipment, BTC miners were profitable using less powerful computers. ASIC has changed and has continued to impact this dynamic, forcing miners to become increasingly efficient at solving mathematical puzzles to validate blocks and earn BTC rewards, backed by the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism.
In 201, when Buterin was writing his article about the new hardware, there was skepticism in the Bitcoin community. However, Canaan delivered the first generation of Avalon ASIC models, capable of producing an average of 68,000 Mega hash/second (MH/s) when the total network hashrate was 22,000 GH/s.
Buterin wrote: “the long-awaited ASICs are really real”. As seen in the image below, the first ASICs were similar to desktop computers and, as Garzik revealed, were made in China and could generate $240 worth of BTC daily, about 1 BTC in 2013 or $23,700 today.
According to Buterin, Garzik made the following additional observations about the functionality of ASICs:
(…) when mining started, it was very noisy. Fans on full blast when initially turned on. The fans slow down and the noise decreases.
Avalon models are in their 13th iteration and can generate over 130 Tera Hash/s with an energy efficiency of 25 Joule per TH. Since the launch of these machines, the BTC mining industry has expanded into new geographies and markets.
There are now publicly traded Bitcoin mining companies on the US stock exchange, with most operations using thousands of ASICs to scale and remain profitable. The proliferation of these specialized machines has coincided with the expansion of Bitcoin as a global asset, and the crypto industry has a speculator-dominated sector to attract some of the most important companies in the world.
It could be argued that attention to BTC would have been slower without ASICs. This hardware drew attention and increased incentives for people to protect the Bitcoin blockchain, triggering a “Gold Rush” 2.0, but on the blockchain.
At press time, BTC is trading at $23,700, down 3% over the past 24 hours.