What Does Miner Mean?
Miner is an English word that originates from the German word, “Schürfer”, meaning “‘prospector”. Just as gold prospectors mined the earth in the past, nowadays it is possible to “dig” for treasures digitally with computers.
This is made possible by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Cryptocurrencies exist thanks to the contributions of many participants collaborating via a network, confirming and verifying each other.
This means that no single participant can harm the integrity of the underlying system. This system is called the blockchain. As the name implies, this is a chain of data blocks.
The blockchain is based on a hashing algorithm, which sends increasingly complex computational tasks to participants. By helping computers in the network solve these tasks, participants help to add new blocks to the blockchain.
To ensure that participants use the computing power of their own devices, cryptocurrency developers offer small profits. These profits are usually gifted in the form of units of currency handled by the blockchain.
This process is called “mining” or “prospecting”. A miner is, therefore, someone who receives shares in a cryptocurrency by providing the computing power of their own device.
How to Mine Cryptocurrencies
In the early days, mining was easily handled with the use of home computers. This is occasionally still the case with young cryptocurrencies. The processors of graphics cards can be used to mine particularly efficiently.
However, since the calculation tasks of the blockchain are becoming increasingly difficult, the storage capacity of such cards is rarely sufficient. Here, special computer chips, called application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), can help.
These chips can be programmed specifically for the purpose of mining.