What are ASIC Miners?

ASICs or “Application Specific Integrated Circuits” are specialized hardware designed to do a single activity.

ASICs have become popular because they can mine certain Proof of Work cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin very profitably.  Some companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in ASICs.

This has made Bitcoin and other coins with ASIC support unprofitable to mine on traditional hardware like your computer.

This creates a barrier to entry which has led to centralization concerns, meaning a few organizations control a large share of the hashrate, or output power in a network.

Since Proof of Work is only secure when a majority of the miners are honest, many altcoins have emerged that adopt alternate mining algorithms to deter ASICs.

Some are considering proposals such as periodically changing mining algorithms or adopting Proof of Stake to render ASICs useless.

ASICs are a reality that crypto users need to contend with as they have a great deal of influence on the cryptocurrency ecosystem today, and possibly in the future.