My colleague Stephen Perrenod has just released the fourth edition of the CryptoSuper 500, the semi-annual list of the large scale computational facilities that are devoted to cryptocurrency mining, along the lines of TOP500, Green500, Graph500, and IO500. Like some of these other lists, perhaps some day it will reach 500 or more players, but for now we focus on the top 50. See the slides and the paper below.
This is the first list after the Bitcoin “halving” that took place this past May. Please see my article in EnterpriseAI for a quick description of Bitcoin in general, the periodic halving that is programmed into it, and what that means for the industry. Because it reduces block rewards, we expected it would make Bitcoin mining more challenging and put upward pressure on transaction fees.
This edition of CryptoSuper 500 shows that Bitcoin halving has impacted the aggregate annual economic value of crypto production as we had expected. That metric now stands at about $5 billion, down by about a third. If Bitcoin prices move higher as the long term trend has demonstrated so far, it is reasonable to expect a recovery. The cost of electricity and transaction costs will also play critical roles in such a recovery.
The report also shows that there are now over 5,500 cryptocurrencies out there. Many of them do not use Proof-of-Work to achieve consensus, the computationally intensive approach that we favor and which qualifies it for inclusion in this study. Bitcoin continues to be the leader among all cryptocurencies. There are over a million mining rigs around the world just for Bitcoin, adding up to a total of some 100 Exahashes per second of power.
China has most of the top 50 cryptocurrency supercomputer-class mining pools. In many ways, CryptoSuper 500 and similar lists are a barometer of important national capabilities. As we look more deeply at the impact of technology on policy decisions at the national and global levels, we will incorporate the lessons from all such capability lists.
And the slides
Top 50 Cryptocurrency Supercomputers, June 2020
And links to the press release:
* Note: This effort is an analysis of the technologies and trends surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrencies. It is not, and must not be considered as, financial, investment, or legal advice.
Shahin is a technology analyst and an active CxO, board member, and advisor. He serves on the board of directors of Wizmo (SaaS) and Massively Parallel Technologies (code modernization) and is an advisor to CollabWorks (future of work). He is co-host of the popular RadioFreeHPC (“Car Talk” of supercomputing), OrionX Download, and Afero IoT podcasts.