05.03.2024

Cryptocurrency Lover Launches World’s Weakest Bitcoin Miner

A user under the pseudonym Stacksmashing posted a video on YouTube showing an unusual use of the Nintendo Game Boy handheld game console , released back in 1989.

A cryptocurrency lover has turned a gaming platform into a Bitcoin mining device. To do this, he had to use the Raspberry Pi microcontroller board as an intermediary, because the set-top box does not provide an Internet connection. However, the experiment was successful – here are its details.

To begin with, let’s explain that today you can only mine Bitcoin on the so-called ASIC miners, which are designed exclusively for BTC. Video cards or processors – as it was in the early years of the existence of the first cryptocurrency – can no longer cope with its production.

The reason for the situation is simple: Bitcoin mining is very popular and many people are involved in it. As a result, the share of computing power of weak devices in the total stream is so tiny that there is simply no point in wasting time.

For clarity, we present a graph of the hashrate of the Bitcoin network in recent years. As you can see, the indicator has grown from 25 exahashes per second to the current 173 EH / s.

bitcoin hashrate network

Bitcoin network hashrate in three years

Today’s story is just about mining on a device, which, even in theory, cannot claim to find a block of the first cryptocurrency. However, the owner decided to test the device and got a positive result.

How to mine bitcoins on a console

As Stacksmashing himself said, his goal was exactly the original Game Boy without any modifications inside the device. Here is a quote from a craftsman in which he spoke about the experience. The quote is from Cointelegraph.

My goal was to use the original unmodified Game Boy. I want to connect a cartridge and start mining.

Here is the original video, which shows everything that happens. We recommend that you watch it, even if you cannot understand English by ear.

In general, the user wrote his own code for mining on the permanent memory of the Game Boy and launched the BTC node on his computer. As a result, nonce numbers began to be displayed on the green screen of the console, that is, an impromptu «farm» began to count hashes to search for blocks in the Bitcoin network.

The hash rate is pretty impressive at about 0.8 hash per second. If we compare this with a modern ASIC miner, whose performance is about 100 terahashes per second, the «efficiency» of the console is about 125 trillion times less. That is, with a Game Boy, it takes a couple of quadrillion years to mine a block at the current network difficulty.

The complexity of the network determines the average amount of time it takes for miners to find a block. Since the block times should be approximately the same, the cryptocurrency network automatically adjusts the difficulty. The more miners there are in the network, the higher the difficulty. In this way, the blockchain ensures that the blocks are not found too quickly.

Nintendo Game Boy console

Nintendo game boy

And here is the process of mining cryptocurrency on video. The mining went really well.

Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts have tried for some time to use gaming consoles as a way to mine BTC or other coins, however, in general, their systems are not designed for mining digital assets and are very inefficient. However, the adaptation of different devices shows engineering «ingenuity» and a lot of interesting things about mining itself.

Recall that at the beginning of last year, another crypto enthusiast under the nickname bcoin managed to turn the Tesla electric car into a full-fledged Bitcoin node. Naturally, this was done to demonstrate the possibilities, and not directly work in the cryptocurrency network.

Stacksmashing’s attempts to use an 8-bit game console to mine cryptocurrency were just part of an interesting experiment. At the same time, as the author of the video stated on his Twitter, he has not yet finished with the experiments. He also used Nintendo’s Super Game Boy adapter released in 1994 for mining, which allows him to play the original Game Boy games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Obviously mining Bitcoins on the Game Boy isn’t profitable at all, but I learned a lot and definitely had a lot of fun.

As we already noted, there was not much profitability point in launching mining on the Game Boy, but it turned out to be funny anyway. In fact, the author connected the most relevant direction in finance with a device that was created twenty years before the launch of Bitcoin. And he did it.

So on the whole, the experiment can be considered successful. Most likely, it will draw attention to the industry of those people who have not yet had time to contact it, and will interest them.

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