When you think about mining crypto, you usually envision a room filled with graphic processing units (or GPUs for short). Perhaps you might also picture a room full of ASIC miners like the Bitmain Antminers.
This is usually what you picture because, the days of being able to mine Bitcoin with a CPU are long gone. However there are some new and exciting crypto projects that are specifically designed to be mined with a CPU.
What is cpu mining?
Before we get into that, what exactly is CPU mining? The act of using a central processing unit in order to solve computational problems and in return receive rewards in the form of digital currency, commonly know as crypto currency.
This type of mining is very popular because just about everyone has access to some sort of CPU. Now a days there are desktops and even laptops with decent, powerful, central processing units.
It no surprise that some people decide to leverage their powerful hardware and decide to look for a quick way to earn some extra money with equipment they already have.
CPUs are also not nearly as expensive as GPUs. This makes it very easy for individuals to get many of them in order to mine more crypto and earn more rewards.
There are a few things to consider before you start mining crypto with your CPU. Its very important to analyze the profitability and the competition for what ever crypto currency you are looking to mine.
As they say, if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense. Another thing to consider is if your CPU has appropriate cooling. More often that not while mining your CPU usage will be 100%, unless you limit the threads your mining software spawns. This will create a lot of heat. Its good to monitor the temperature levels of your CPU when you start out mining.
Lastly its good to point out a few important things to look for in a CPU. The more cores and threads a CPU has the better more earnings it will yield. Also important is the clock speed or a CPU. The higher, the better. Making sure your CPU has a relatively modern instruction set such as AVX2 or AVX512 is helpful.
With all that being said, this all sounds great right? I bet you already have in mind a computer you want to use and you can just taste all this new crypto money you will be generating. New source of income, here we come, right?
However more often than not, this ends up being a very short lived source of income for CPU miners. The problem with CPU mining usually lies within the algorithm used by these CPU friendly blockchains.
The Problem with CPU mining
Whenever there is a monetary incentive involved, people will inevitably look for a way to earn more and in a faster way. This usually leads to experienced developers modifying the existing mining code and or writing new code in order to accomplish accomplish running the “CPU friendly” algorithm on GPUs instead.
With enough people doing this, the earnings and profitability of CPU miners goes way down to the point where it makes no sense to continue mining with a CPU. So these miners either move over to GPUs or they abandon that project all together and look for a new cpu friendly blockchain and algorithm.
We have seen this happen many times now. Back in the early days (in or around 2010) of Bitcoin, it was possible to mine Bitcoin with just a CPU. At the time or writing this article, you won’t even come close to breaking even on the power you are using to mine with a CPU.
The root of the problem lies in the design of a crypto’s algorithm. If the creator of the algorithm isn’t carefully considering the cryptographic routines that are a part of the algorithm, you may end up with a algorithm that does nothing to discourage GPU miners.
PKT and the PacketCrypt algorithm is a great example of a algorithm that was specifically designed to function on CPUs and make it very difficult, if not impossible to run it on GPUs or ASICs.
PKT Announcement Mining
PKT and the PacketCrypt algorithm can be mined in 2 stages. One of those stages is the “announcement mining” stage. The cryptographic routine used to generate these “announcement” packets is purposely designed to “maximally frustrate” GPUs and ASICs as stated with in the original PacketCrypt white paper written by its creators.
The way this is accomplished is by incorporating into the mining algorithm a component that is difficult to run efficiently on a GPU. One good example of this is to build a custom virtual machine that has its own unique machine code. This the exact method that was used by the creator of the PacketCrypt algorithm. As seen in the diagram below, you will notice the “Randhash” component.
Random programs are generated with a code function, then they are executed on the custom virtual machine code and the output of that gets shipped off to run the rest of the crypto cycle.
This is a very unique design for an algorithm that has never been attempted before. Once a full batch of announcement is generated, it gets sent off to one of the many PKT pools you might be mining into.
Whenever a pool finds a block using these announcements, you will receive a reward based on the amount of announcements you generated and sent. These announcements are also serving a different purpose. They are proof that you have the bandwidth you say so have.
This proof of bandwidth mechanism will become much more important as the network is fully built and the concept of “Cloud ISPs” becomes a reality. PKT is way more than “just another” crypto currency you can mine. There is an entire roadmap that is currently under active development by community members and companies.
The ultimate goal of the PKT project is to lay the ground work and infrastructure to make the internet fully decentralized and prevent censorship of any kind.