AsicBoost is a relatively new technology that optimizes Bitcoin mining, increasing profitability by up to 20%, which can be the difference between an unprofitable mining operation and a profitable one. According to the AsicBoost block explorer, blocks mined with it began to sporadically appear in March 2018 but now consistently account for 4-6% of all Bitcoin blocks that are mined, and this percentage is steadily growing long term.
According to the AsicBoost block explorer, several major Bitcoin mining pools including F2Pool, SlushPool, and now AntPool is using the tech. This revelation why AsicBoost is back in the news, as it is the first time AntPool has implemented it. AntPool accounts for more than 10% of Bitcoin’s mining hash rate and is operated by Bitmain, the biggest Bitcoin mining rig manufacturer.
AsicBoost has actually been around since 2016, when its white paper was first published by Dr Timo Hanke. The math and science behind it is quite complex. To make a long story short, via AsicBoost, miners don’t have to calculate every single hashing possibility to find a Bitcoin block. The SHA-256 Proof-of-Work algorithm has a structure which can be exploited to reduce the number of hashing possibilities that need to be calculated to find a block, by up to 25%.
Some people are calling AsicBoost a hack, but it is merely a clever analysis of Bitcoin’s algorithm which found that miners were doing more calculations than they had to. Essentially, it eliminated some redundancy in Bitcoin mining.
Apparently, Bitmain had been scaling AsicBoost to the hardware level in 2017, and Segregated Witness’ implementation ended up making these new chips obsolete. Some people speculate that this is why Bitmain was so adamant about supporting Bitcoin Cash since with that, these chips still work. Regardless, the tech can be implemented in software and works with standard Bitcoin mining chips.
Miners should probably consider joining a pool that has implemented AsicBoost, because it potentially makes mining more profitable. It appears the tech is on track to proliferate across the Bitcoin mining network, which would put pools and miners who don’t use it at a disadvantage.
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