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It does beg the question, what hardware would has the best cost/benefit ratio right now? Are low end GPUs best to mine with, or are racks of cheap power efficient CPU motherboards the flavour right now.

Where does mining stand right now WRT hardware, and given Monero's ASIC resistant hashing algorithm, where is it headed? Also as a bonus, how many pools are in operation, and is there a danger of centralisation like with Bitcoin?

  • You ask good questions, but they might be better divided up into several. – Donald Jul 23 '16 at 16:09
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    I guess the question can be more summed up as, how healthy is the mining ecosystem? I wanted to avoid clogging things up with too many similar questions. – ferretinjapan Jul 23 '16 at 16:16
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Right now Wolf's OpenCL XMR Miner for AMD GPUs (open source) and Claymore CryptoNote GPU Miner (proprietary) are probably the most efficient.

It is believed that Monero is still quite far away from ASIC mining largely because of the memory requirement and that CryptoNight takes advantage of the AES-NI instruction set on modern PCs. The relative advantage for ASICs would be lower for CryptoNight than other algorithms and the cost would be higher.

There are about 20 pools currently with crypto-pool.fr, minergate and unknown collectively occupying a large percentage of the hash rate.

Smart mining should help decentralize mining further upon release as it will use resources of many computers, whenever they are available.

9

Currently network hashrates are near historically high levels. How much further hash rate moves up in the future depends heavily on mining profitability based on current XMR prices and coinbase reward.

Similarly the following factors will have a large impact on the attractiveness of future FPGA and ASIC development for Monero.

  1. Monero prices
  2. The emission curve
  3. Relative efficiency compared to CPU/GPU
  4. Cost to develop FPGAs and ASICs

In 8 years (after launch) the tail emission will only support a very high hash rate (and the cost of FPGAs or ASICs) if Monero prices are much higher than they are today. We can use historical Bitcoin price and network hash rates as a pattern for comparison purposes, but Monero will follow its own path.

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