When extracting gold you can you can use a pickaxel, since gold is a very profitable business many people and companies are interested in gold extraction so big companies started implementing high-tech equipment. While an amateur gold miner would find and earn half a gram of gold, a full equipped gold mining company would extract a lot more. Similar situation happens in cryptocurrency mining.
When Bitcoin first started it could be mined with a traditional laptop or PC. This is called CPU Mining (central processing unit). CPU is the part of the computer that performs the will of the software loaded.
Lately someone discovered that he could use the power of his graphic card to mine Bitcoin. GPU Mining started. The graphics processing unit is a part of the video rendering system of the computer, this has the function of assisting with the rendering of 3D graphics and visual effects so the CPU doesn’t have to. This made CPU Mining economically unwise since the hashrate of the network augmented so much that the cost of the Bitcoins produced by CPU mining became lower than the cost of power it used. The user who discovered this is Artforz, a regular on #bitcoin-dev. A very interesting individual in Bitcoin history, someone who appeared out of nowhere but who understood a lot about Bitcoin and how to tweak mining hardware performance.
On December 2009 Satoshi Nakamoto warned about GPU Mining:
“We should have a gentleman’s agreement to postpone the GPU arms race as long as we can for the good of the network. It’s much easier to get new users up to speed if they don’t have to worry about GPU drivers and compatibility. It’s nice how anyone with just a CPU can compete fairly equally right now.”in
Next step was FPGA, a user-programmable gate array which consumed less power. With FPGA Bitcoin went from hobby to industry. The FPGA is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing.
Then BitSynCom LLC manufactured the first specialized chip for bitcoin mining, called Avalon ASIC – Application-Specific Integrated Circuit, game changer. ASIC chip performs strictly limited functions, , as it improves performance and energy efficiency of mining. The largest miners have their own warehouses filled with ASICs, or combine their computing powers with other miners into mining pools.
New versions of ASIC appear constantly. One of the latest is Antminer S9 manufactured by Bitmain. It uses 0.1 Joules per Gigahash, making it really efficient. The total power consumption of the device works out to around 1350 watts with a variance of 7%