What is an ASIC?
ASIC is the acronym of “application-specific integrated circuit”. Basically, this means computer chips or processors that can be programmed for a single purpose and, accordingly, produced solely for the purpose of fulfilling that one specific purpose.
Theoretically, ASIC can be produced with different performances and speed – for example, for mining cryptocurrencies.
ASIC and the mining of cryptocurrencies
Many cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin) rely on users to read the algorithms' tasks by injecting the computing power of their home computers. This creates new blocks of blockchain, thereby generating new units of currency. This is called mining.
At first, this was easily possible with the home computer, since the complexity of the tasks wasn't as high and they could be easily calculated by standard processors.
However, resourceful users of cryptocurrencies have always tried to mine faster and more efficiently. They needed network computers capable of performing more tasks and receiving a higher yield of newly mined units.
This was first achieved by upgrading graphics cards. It turned out that certain calculations could be performed particularly well by graphics processors. However, this method soon became unprofitable and had to evolve again. As a matter off act id does need a lot of energy.
The next level was to design specifically mine-programmed ASICs. Computer chips, whose sole purpose was to release the information required by the blockchain tasks. Today, there are hundreds of different cryptocurrencies. Some algorithms are specially programmed that they cannot be mined by ASICs so as to give equal opportunities to all users.