There is a scarcity of graphics cards presently, that is impacting everyone starting from gamers, and DIY creators, to even individuals who are looking to discover the origins of the universe. As it seems, the processing power of a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is ideal for crypto mining. But there is a big crypto mining impact on astronomers which we will discuss in this article.
So is crypto mining bad for the environment? Let us find the answer to this question in this article.
What Is Crypto Mining?
Before we get into the crypto mining impact on astronomers, it is important for us to know what exactly crypto mining is and how it works. Mining is the process that BTC and several other digital currencies use to develop new coins and authenticate new transactions. It includes broad, decentralized networks of computers across the globe that secure and verifies blockchains which are the digital ledgers that document crypto transactions. In return for making contributions to their processing power, computers on the network are awarded with new coins. It is a virtuous circle: the miners secure and maintain the blockchain, the blockchain awards the crypto, the coins offer an incentive for the miners to maintain the blockchain. There are many environmental enthusiasts who talk about the impact of cryptocurrency on society and the environment, but to keep the system, mining is also important. The space is trying to bring in environmental mining procedures that will cause less harm to the environment and also create less crypto mining impact on astronomers and gamers.
Crypto Mining Impact On Astronomers
Miners are seizing graphics cards to formulate multi GPU setups. The miners require the multiple GPUs to shorten the ever rising amount of data required to secure and locate the currency. These multi GPU models are creating shortages in graphic cards in online and stores. This shortage in graphic cards is causing some real increase in prices.
Along with miners, there are other types of consumers like the scientists searching for extraterrestrial forms of life! While it may look quite trivial to believe that GPUs that are utilized for mining and gaming are used for looking for aliens, but it is actually true! Researchers at SETI, (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) are looking forward to broadening their functions at two of their centers, but are falling short of Graphics Processors. So there is a huge crypto mining impact on astronomers. According to the chief scientist at the Berkeley Seti Research Center, Dan Werthimer,
“We’d like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]… and we can’t get ’em. That’s limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to answer the question, ‘Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?’ This is a new problem, it’s only happened on orders we’ve been trying to make in the last couple of months.”
The SETI research center has some telescopes which have more than 100 GPUs operating simultaneously to crunch data. GPUs are employed by radio-astronomers due to their processing power. However, the latest rise in the demand for GPUs has caused this expansion function to be hindered. Dr. Wertheimer continues to illustrate the requirement of GPUs in the hunt for alien life and also the big crypto mining impact on astronomers. He says,
“At SETI we want to look at as many frequency channels as we possibly can because we don’t know what frequency ET will be broadcasting on and we want to look for lots of different signal types – is it AM or FM, what communication are they using? That takes a lot of computing power.”
As per Dr. Wertheimer, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence has the money and they have sent out buy orders as well. However, the vendors keep reducing these orders mentioning that they do not have enough GPUs for them. Graphics Processing Unit manufacturers too are turning strict on these sales now. A couple of weeks ago, Nvidia had published a notice to some retailers in Europe that they should try selling GPUs to gamers rather than to miners. Nvidia’s CEO in recent times told investors that the company was “working really hard” to “catch up with supply” and receive GPUs to the markets.
Even though there is a huge crypto mining impact on astronomers and others who require GPUs, it is also important for the survival of crypto space. There are various Bitcoin environmental impact debunked, but for that, we cannot ignore the future. Beyond launching new coins into circulation, mining is central to BTC’s and also much other digital currency’s security. It authenticates and secures the blockchain, which enables digital currencies to operate as a peer-to-peer decentralized network without the requirement for oversight from any third party. And it formulates the incentive for miners to make contributions in their computing power to the network.