What is Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)?
ASIC refers to an integrated circuit that is designed for specific uses instead of a general-purpose. In the cryptocurrency industry, miners use ASICs as specialized hardware that is modified to carry out specific activities. On the other hand, most computer hardware in the office or at home can conduct a variety of tasks. For instance, a person may have multiple software on their laptop, such as text editors, office, or web browsers, the computer would be running several tasks, and it requires hardware that can manage all these tasks. In this case, the central processing unit (CPU) manages all the applications. However, the main problem with using such hardware is that it is not specialized to perform single tasks effectively. On the contrary, ASICs specialize in a single task. Most of the computational work required to sustain blockchain’s account security, connections, and network transactions are limited to a few power-intensive activities.
Mining cryptocurrencies is necessary to sustain blockchain networks that function using Proof of Work schemes. Mining is not a sophisticated process because it involves simple processes that use one software application but a lot of time, electric power, and racks of hardware. Due to the specialized nature of the process, ASICs are important for blockchain. When Bitcoin was unveiled in 2009, traders could mine using normal CPUs (Christine, 2018). It simply involved ensuring the value of bitcoins mined exceeds the value of electricity bills and the CPU. However, mining using normal CPUs became unprofitable and costly. Some ASICs were developed to address these concerns. Mining is not a sophisticated process because it involves simple processes that use one software application but a lot of time, electric power, and racks of hardware. Due to the increased complexity of the process, there was a need to validate and secure transactions through specialized hardware. All in all, ASICs have assisted in making the mining process more efficient, accurate, and reliable.