How the Cryptocurrency Craze is Hurting PC Gamers WorldwideApr 8, 2018 | 1 Votes by jose 10 rate Cryptocurrency is fast growing in popularity as it becomes a potential alternative to our current monetary system. However, Cryptocurrency is harming the PC games industry. Let's take a look how it's doing it.
As things stand today, the Personal Computer has become a market driven retail product the way Television was in the years after it's introduction to the world. Before the PC came into the scenes for a whole lot of applications, computers (the mainframes and the minis) where used to do huge amounts of number crunching and repetitive data processing task. Today, the computer world faces another challenge with a new application that is creating a new market scenario which unfortunately is detrimental to the current computer gaming industry. That application is called Crptocurrency or rather the mining of it.
In order to understand Crypto mining we first have to know what Cryptocurrency is. Crypto is an abbreviation for Cryptographic, meaning encoded by way of algorithm and keys. Cryptocurrency is electronic money that uses algorithms and keys.
Cryptocurrency is a decentralized form of monetary system where goods and services can be traded directly between seller and buyer by means of this electronic form of cash. It's not paper like today's fiat currency and thus not subject to the central banking laws and regulations that govern our regular everyday monetary system. These crypto-cash, however, can be exchanged for paper money at a given equivalent value depending on it's kind and thus can be bought and sold as well. Think of it as a new internet dependent monetary system a lot of people are pushing for to replace the current paper, coin and credit card system we have today.
As Cryptocurrency is electronic, computer, network, and internet dependent, there has to be a secure way of handling and doing transactions with it. The funny thing is that as part of the cryptocurrency craze, we have around 1000+ different cryptocurrencies today and a lot of them are volatile (their equivalent regular money value goes up and down like the stock market). Each kind of crypto has its own way of coding itself as the encryption used for BitCoin would be different for that used for LiteCoin or Ethereum and so on and so forth.
Now, when two people who have the same kind of crypto cash accounts and/or want to transact in the same kind of crypto, one person will transfer said amount of crypto units from his crypto wallet to the other person's wallet as payment for so and so. This electronic transaction is called a block and is encrypted with keys. This transaction block becomes a record and should be placed on a universal record list (ledger) for that kind of crypto. This list is called a Block Chain.
A Block Chain does not reside on a single centralized server. The blocks can be anywhere on the internet and they have to be tagged or verified and listed on the crypto's particular blockchain. Again, the blockchain for Zcoin is different for Feathercoin so as there are over a thousand different cryptos you can imagine the sheer number of block chains around. Also, some cryptos maintain a blockchain per account so that adds to the overall blockchain count.
Crypto mining is the process of locating these transaction blocks wherever they are on the net, tagging them and placing them into the proper blockchain. A blockchain can have several copies of it all over the world (they are all in sync and have the same listings) so anytime a transaction takes place, a person's crypto wallet or account has access to it.
When a crypto miner using specific algorithms (run by his computer) locates a block, tags it and lists it on the blockchain, he earns a piece of a coin or crypto unit. Again, it depends on the kind of crypto but through this process, a crypto unit is created. Cryptos have only a limited number and cannot just be created (like the US Treasury that keeps on printing dollars and to hell with the national debt :). Mining is one way of doing it.
Believe it or not, Cryptocurrency mining has become an industry. Miners use PC's (of course) to locate, tag and earn from the blocks but they do this with a twist. Searching for a block on the net is like trying to find a nail in a haystack. This is done by running mining applications that run certain algorithms repetitiously until a block is located and verified. This mining apps, however, do not use the PC's CPU to do the job. Instead, it throws the job of block locating to (surprise!) the graphics card.
Yes, the graphics GPU card. The one that displays your wonderful games in 3D and presents you with the most amazing animation and eye candy that keeps you riveted to the front of your PC for hours end. The graphics card (especially the high-end ones) has a way lot more core processors than your CPU will ever have. The CPU controls the PC functions and can change what it is doing at any time quickly depending on the program it is running. It has really powerful but only a handful of ALU processors. The GPU has a lot of ALU's that do the same instructions over and over like in calculating numbers of pixels, frame rate data etc.
Mining algorithms are repetitive instructions that have to be performed in order to locate certain markers on a block wherever it is on the net. The GPU with its whole bunch of processors (can go up to hundreds of them) is the best hardware part to do the job. Logically, the more graphics cards you have attached to your motherboard, the more processors you have running mining algorithms and the more the chance you will find that nail in the haystack.
The miner goes to the PC shop a few minutes before the gamer does. The gamer is excited to assemble his top of the line gaming rig. VR, here I come! The miner buys up the last 5 remaining high-end GPU cards which happen to be recommended for VR use as it has the processing power required. As he leaves, the gamer enters and starts to shop for the parts. He locates them all except the GPU card.
With both gamers and miners competing for the GPU cards, the unscrupulous shop owners jack up the prices. A $350 card is now being sold at $700 upwards due to supply and demand. Also, miners buy the GPU's in bulk so they tend to consume the supply of cards leaving gamers without the option of obtaining the video cards they need.
The situation has become a worldwide problem as crypto miners are located all over the world. There are some countries who have banned the use of cryptos altogether but the craze is far and wide and with the current rush towards gold and silver as the Fiat monetary system continues to weaken, the Cryptocurrency system as an alternative continues to grow.
Crypto-mining software is specific applications and there are Application Specific Chips (ASIC) that have been and are being developed to address this particular need. A good way to solve the problem would be to mass manufacture these ASIC chipset cards so that Crypto Miners will not have to compete with the gamers for the parts they need. If however, the current GPU card manufacturers would deem it more feasible to stick with the GPU cards, then they have to increase their production to meet the demand from both sides.
Either way, the PC gaming industry does not have to suffer from the influx of demand from crypto mining. A solution must be implemented at the quickest possible time as this would hurt the PC market as well. Gamers will instead turn to consoles, laptops and mobile devices for their gaming needs and miners unlike gamers really do not need top of the line PC motherboards to do their thing.
Both of them have their own specific markets and when gamers play games, crypto miners play Idle Miner Tycoon in real life.