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Deducting electricity on US taxes
I started a small farm this year (bad timing I know) and am filing my taxes as a sole proprietorship. One of my largest expenses, obviously, was electricity. I'm curious how you guys have been deducting electricity expenses and what evidence you've recorded for justification. Some of the articles I've read suggest that you need a separate meter to deduct electricity. The only evidence I' gathered this year was power meter readings from each of my rigs. I then have a spreadsheet that calculates the portion of my electricity bill based on the total KWh for all of my rigs and supporting equipment. I also have comparisons to my prior year electricity bills for each month based on KWh consumed, which lines up cleanly with the amount of electricity I'm allocating towards my mining expenses. My first question is, is this going to sufficient in the case I'm audited? I have thousands of dollars of electricity expenses and definitely want to deduct them. My second question is where exactly to deduct the expense. TurboTax Home & Business (Desktop) provides the following guidance for the Utilities category under business expenses section:
Utilities These expenses apply only to utilities used at your business office(s) or properties, not in your home office. If you had a home office, do not enter these here: - Gas - Electric - Water - Trash collection - Monthly pest control service - Security alarm monitoring service - Sewer and septic service We will enter those expenses when we cover your home office deductions.
So TurboTax makes it sound like I can't deduct electricity as an expense since I operate out of my home residence. If I ignore this and put it in this section anyways, the value lands in Schedule C 1040, Part 2 Expenses, 25 Utilities. Is this correct? I suppose I could put it under Part V Other Expenses, but I spent more than $3,500, which I think disqualifies me from putting it there. *EDIT* One other option would be to treat it as an indirect expense and list it as a part of a home office deduction as detailed here: https://digitalcurrencyaccounting.com/2017/11/22/how-to-deduct-bitcoin-mining-costs/ The problem here is that my mining rigs constitute a very small percentage of my living space. If I multiply my total electricity bill for the year by the percentage of my "home office space" based on mining rig footprint, the amount I could deduct is less than $100.
So I finally gave Honeyminer a try. (my personal semi-review)
This review was last updated 11-30-18 When I first was interested in trying this program I couldn't find anything about it. it seems a lot of people were too scared to try it since their is like no information about it other then from the web page itself. to be honest I was a bit scared to try it. I've tried many other software of this kind, on a "test" machine I'm not afraid to lose on a secondary network and router... incase its a scam or gonna give me a virus and I suggest anyone installing mining software do the same as a rule of thumb. please keep in mind the software is still relatively new and they are working to improve it still. They seem to be hiring as well if your interested in helping them grow by working for them look near the bottom for their contact e-mail. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ This review is for the windows version of Honyminer Because its still relatively new I knew could go one of two ways "sacm software" like most every mobile mining app or even quite a few desktop ones - Or legit. I'm glad to say after using it for a month it seems legit. I was able to withdraw from it no problem. If your system is really crappy It might not work that well on your computer or mining rig. There are no ads and the program doesn't seem to disrupt any day to day activity at least not on my main system, however you can of course expect increased heat production of your system as with any mining software, adequate cooling is important in mining. Anyways Honyminer is as close to an easy one click mining software as I have come. they seem to be making a "pro" version too for more hardcore miners. They do take a fee which is to be expected *look near the bottom for fee information\* but that fee goes down significantly if you have multiple GPU's mining.. The good thing about it for me was it let me kind of set my rig to "autopilot" so to speak. If you wish to see the H/s numbers in real time, go to you settings and view the "expert logs" which will also tell what coin is being mined at the time ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Pros
Withdrawals (I know I shouldn't have to say this but some mining software is a scam and wont withdrawal anything. This was tested with coinbase only so far and it went through with no issue.
(new) If you go to your dashboard > Activity on their site you can see a list of all GPUs/CPUS and computers that are minding with information about their temperature, the coin they are currently mining, number of cores, and the potential 24 hour revenue for each. This is just like the "see full activity" feature in the software itself but you can check it from anywhere
(new) You can set the app to only mine via GPU or CPU if you so choose in settings.
(new) a miner console has been added which should make some of the more experienced miners a little happier.
when you click "see full history" it takes you to their webpage where you can see all the transactions (where your Satoshis came from) and are labeled according to how they were acquired (Mining Credit, Mining Bonus, Referral Mining Credit, Referral Mining Credit Tier 2, and Bonus (meaning other kinds of bonuses like from leveling up) They are all time stamped and have an ID number
Easy to use/easy to instal I literally had no trouble setting it up or installing it. it was quick and easy
GPU and CPU mining
Mines many different types of cryptocurrencies depending on what's more profitable at the time (autopilot)
withdrawal as BTC or (it says in the withdrawl section "coming soon ETH, LTC, " but I dont think its a priority yet and Im not sure if they scrapped the idea of USD withdrawals all together or not but I don't see it there)
Idling option: for example soon as you use your mouse or type it will stop mining.
appears in the "task manager" which Is another one I should not have to say but you'd be surprised how many fake mining software will not show up there or will be listed with a inconspicuous logo or disguised as a system process.
Works in system tray if you'd like to multitask and your system is up for it.
can be set to mine soon as you boot-up
Frequent mining "bonuses" you will probably see a lot of them on your transaction history.
A "level-up" system which I've not seen before that pays you extra Satoshis for reaching the next "level" think like exp on video games, you get rewarded for leveling up and the higher your level the higher the bonus generally. the "next bonus" will update the closer you get to leveling up.
You can use multiple computers/rigs on the same account and see them all from any system with the appinstalled.
2 factor authentication which IMO is a must for anything like this, set that up on their webpage asap.
earnings log which you can acass from the website manually or clicking "see full history" on the app
can see your earnings as USD or as BTC.
shows you a quick earning comparison between today, and the previous two days. (if you don't see it update the software)
"pro" version currently in the works which I look forward to trying.
1st and 2nt tier referral rewards.
referral profits DON'T come out of the person you referred profits they come out of Stax Digital's profits so there is no guilt for referring people to this product. I've seen or heard of referral programs that actually punish the referred folks by taking a commission of what the person would have made in addition to taking their normal fee... in this case it comes out of the fee that Honyminer already takes from all users and not anything extra as far as I know.
referee's also get rewarded like if you were to sign up from my links you would get 1000 free Satoshis just for installing the app. (if you prefer to sign up directly that's fine too but there is no signing bonus if you go that route (unless you use someone else's referral link) as far as I'm aware. Whatever works for you really.
team is open to suggestions/feedback, friendly, and respectful.
code is audited (at least at least that's what they say)
you can add multiple wallets on their webpage. and delete them at will.. another one I should not have to say but still even today some places will not give you that basic functionality.
able to see what type of coin each CUP/GPU is mining at the time. (check out the options and "see full activity"
Proandor con (depending on how you look at it)
uninstalling gets rid of most of the components that enable it to be used, but seems to save some of the logs and some other files (but I was able are to search for and remove em in file explorer. many programs of any kind do that always so it's not that big of a con to me but I can see how it may bother some.
you are not asked to create a password, they create one for you but you can change it once you have logged in if you wish from their website. This can be looked at as a good thing to some or a bad thing to others for various reasons. If this is no longer the case please let me know.
when clicking on the app to see your full history of transactions it will take you to their webpage and make you log in again sometimes. this is a good or bad things depending on how you look at it I suppose. I personally prefer having to log in again.
no graphs, +/- earnings overtime comparisons. but it does have some logs to see what your mining in the expert logs section but not as much information as I would like. (miners console was added that also has more detailed info) but im hopeful for the future. Every mining software that was any good started somewhere.
installer was still packed with the first version when I downloaded it onto another setup so yea you need to update it right off the bat. It doesn't take very long, but I like it when software packs installers with the latest version (I don't know if this has changed but if you downloaded it and its already the latest version let me know)
may have trouble initiate some GPU's although I cant possibly test for every kind I have put the ones that didn't work for me below and will update it also if anyone else tells me it doesn't work with a certain setup.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________ COMPATIBILITY: (sorry it keeps adding asterisks to the card model for no reason) WORKED ON: every nvidia card tested so far with card models dating back from 20014 to now.. Worked on some surprising low end and or old CPU and GPUs. like the AMD Radeon R9 380 card in addition to a AMD Athlon II X3 450 Processor and it mines just fine.. of course that processor doesn't make much on its own lol.. but thats an extra 2 or 3 cents per day by itself. I've also tested it with an i3,i2Most AMD cards worked but I ran into issues with a few so maybe it's easier for me to just tell you what did not work. DID NOT WORK ON: --- any of the AMD ATI Radeon HD 4250's tested so far (2) that particular card It didn't work at all for mining like never enabled the gpu but the cpu on that machine did work however it would generate an "error" on start up but otherwise did not disrupt the mining on that system except if I turned on idle earning mode, I would get a bunch of errors as it was trying to access the GPU. we need the functionality to enable or disable hardware individually I think. (errors or no errors it just seems like a good thing to have.) OR a system that had both a AMD Radeon R7 Graphics and a AMD A8-7650K Radeon R7, (4C+6G) which surprised me considering some of the things that did work lol... but I think it might just might be that one system, but either way can't vouch that it will work. That system was pre-built and wont allow the parts to be changed or easily removed to be worth the effort since I have to use it for other things so unfortunately I can't test these on another mainboard at least not with wasting some time, money and patients that Id rather dedicate elsewhere for now. I had some issues using one RX Vega 56 card but i think it's was just that card because another one did work just fine.________________________________________________________________________ FEESW/comparison to nicehash I'm not sure if this post will be helpful to anyone looking into this software or anyone whos looking to try a different mining software but if it dose great. -- nicehash charges the following fees as far as "selling/mining" or withdrawing. Payouts for balances less than 0.1 to external wallet 5% Payouts for balances greater than or equal to 0.1 BTC to external wallet 3% Payouts for balances greater than or equal to 0.001 BTC to NiceHash wallet 2% Withdrawal fees from NiceHash wallet Withdrawals from NiceHash wallet are subjected to the withdrawal fee, which depends on the withdrawn amount and withdrawal option. WITHDRAWAL OPTION AMOUNT TO WITHDRAW FEE Any BTC wallet From 0.002 (min) to 0.05 BTC 0.0001 BTC Any BTC wallet More than 0.05 BTC 0.2% of withdrawn amount Coinbase More than 0.001 BTC FREE - No fee. but they also say Minimum Coinbase withdrawal limit is adjusted dynamically according to the API overload._____________________________________________________________________________ honyminer fees are based on number of GPU's working. 8% for 1 GPU or for 2 GPUs or more the fee is 2.5%. The only withdrawal fee is the standard BTC transaction fee that bitcoin charges and it doesn't go to honyminer. When they add the other withdrawal functions that fee cam be avoided I suppose. _________________________ Earnings: in comparison to nicehash Update: sometimes software / test networks will give a view that can be off + or - a few percent compared to actual. A lot of different things can affect your earnings including where you are located in the world, I'm not sure how many of you uses more than one mining software day to day , ISP issues, crypto price fluctuation, updates to fee's, and inaccuracies in test software/networks can affect results. but I go back and forth between different ones from time to time and I think that's good practice to keep options open. I notice that honey miner seems to do better for me at night-time and early morning/afternoon is when it has the most trouble raking in the crypto's That said I've been trying to test to see how this compares to nice hash earnings, with two of my buddies. So this is an average between the 3 of our profits vs loss compared to nice hash, I'm using a two 10 GPU/ 3 cpu setups, while one of my buddies is using two 1 gpu, 2 cpu setups and the other is using two 30 gpu mini farm's. We each have 2 networks each located relatively close by *less than .5 mile the furthest one* one with honyminer running and the other with nice hash and we are looking over 24 hour periods When all three of us have the results for one day, we average our results together. In all we will be looking over a 14 day period. UPDATE: the results below were done well long before the latest update to the software so I do not know if they have changed, Id have to do another round or perhaps some from the community could give me their results and save me a bit of work. I'm not sure when Id have the time to dig into it again. Sorry that it took me so long before I could get on here to post the results of the last few days of the tests.
Day one: -5%
Day Two: +10
Day Three: +1%
Day Four: -6%
Day Five: -2%
Day Six: +11%
Day seven: +2%
Day eight: +1%
Day Nine: -5%
Day Ten: -11%
Day eleven: +8%
Day Twelve: +1%
Day Thirteen: +1%
Day Fourteen: -1%
Seem to be a bit smaller then nicehash at times and higher at other times. it seems to for me at least payquicker and it gets deposited in my nicehash account sooner than I expected. hopefully when they let up pick which coin to mine on our own it may help somewhat, and any of you who want to move smaller volume will probably benefit when they add the functionality to withdraw other coin/usd. anyways when their autopilot system works it works great but when it doesn't it's just "okay" for lack of a better word... _____________________________________________________ Contact: they have a contact us part on their webpage and they also have a reddit page which I was made aware of from contacting them https://www.reddit.com/HoneyMine Careers: If anyone is interested in working for them the job listings at the time of this typing were for Senior Java Developer(s) and Customer Service Representative(s) the email listed is [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). id suggest you check their site for the requirements I just added this part to the review as a courtesy if anyone's interested its not meant to be a focus of it. But I know we have some really talented people on reddit who care about the crypto world passionately so id rather give honyminer a chance to have some of those sort on their team since it might help improve the software faster for the end users.. if that makes sense. _________________________________________________________ UPDATE: If a question reminds me I left out something I think should have mentioned Ill try to add it here so ppl don't have to scroll all over the place.. I don't write many reviews (for anything) so I don't know if this one was any good or not but I hope it was okay.. and I'm still a new reddit user relatively. I just wanted to make this review mainly because there is next to no information on honyminer when I looked for it and maybe it can help anyone whos interested in it. browolf2asked Is it basically like nicehash then? : A: In a way, its like nice hash that its cloud based, but you get paid not just when your pool completes an order. there are no "buyers" only "sellers" if you look at it that way...I hope I'm wording this the right way.. It's just straight up mining and they take their fee but compared to nicehash the fees for "mining" are different karl0525asked: do you know if we can contact the honeyminer dev team and see if they will communicate here on Reddit. Might give them some good ideas what us miners are looking for? Worth a try maybe? Thanks: A: I submitted a question to their "contact us" part of their webpage and I got a reply from them, this is the message I received below: Thank you for writing in and for your interest in Honeyminer. We always welcome feedback and suggestions from our users. We are currently planning on expanding our online and social media presence. Please check our our Reddit page: https://www.reddit.com/HoneyMine
Console gaming is hardly different from PC gaming, and much of what people say about PC gaming to put it above console gaming is often wrong.
I’m not sure about you, but for the past few years, I’ve been hearing people go on and on about PCs "superiority" to the console market. People cite various reasons why they believe gaming on a PC is “objectively” better than console gaming, often for reasons related to power, costs, ease-of-use, and freedom. …Only problem: much of what they say is wrong. There are many misconceptions being thrown about PC gaming vs Console gaming, that I believe need to be addressed. This isn’t about “PC gamers being wrong,” or “consoles being the best,” absolutely not. I just want to cut through some of the stuff people use to put down console gaming, and show that console gaming is incredibly similar to PC gaming. I mean, yes, this is someone who mainly games on console, but I also am getting a new PC that I will game on as well, not to mention the 30 PC games I already own and play. I’m not particularly partial to one over the other. Now I will mainly be focusing on the PlayStation side of the consoles, because I know it best, but much of what I say will apply to Xbox as well. Just because I don’t point out many specific Xbox examples, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there.
“PCs can use TVs and monitors.”
This one isn’t so much of a misconception as it is the implication of one, and overall just… confusing. This is in some articles and the pcmasterrace “why choose a PC” section, where they’re practically implying that consoles can’t do this. I mean, yes, as long as the ports of your PC match up with your screen(s) inputs, you could plug a PC into either… but you could do the same with a console, again, as long as the ports match up. I’m guessing the idea here is that gaming monitors often use Displayport, as do most dedicated GPUs, and consoles are generally restricted to HDMI… But even so, monitors often have HDMI ports. In fact, PC Magazine has just released their list of the best gaming monitors of 2017, and every single one of them has an HDMI port. A PS4 can be plugged into these just as easily as a GTX 1080. I mean, even if the monitoTV doesn’t have HDMI or AV to connect with your console, just use an adaptor. If you have a PC with ports that doesn’t match your monitoTV… use an adapter. I don’t know what the point of this argument is, but it’s made a worrying amount of times.
“On PC, you have a wide range of controller options, but on console you’re stuck with the standard controller."
Are you on PlayStation and wish you could use a specific type of controller that suits your favorite kind of gameplay? Despite what some may believe, you have just as many options as PC. Want to play fighting games with a classic arcade-style board, featuring the buttons and joystick? Here you go! Want to get serious about racing and get something more accurate and immersive than a controller? Got you covered. Absolutely crazy about flying games and, like the racers, want something better than a controller? Enjoy! Want Wii-style motion controls? Been around since the PS3. If you prefer the form factor of the Xbox One controller but you own a PS4, Hori’s got you covered. And of course, if keyboard and mouse it what keeps you on PC, there’s a PlayStation compatible solution for that. Want to use the keyboard and mouse that you already own? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Of course, these aren’t isolated examples, there are plenty of options for each of these kind of controllers. You don’t have to be on PC to enjoy alternate controllers.
“On PC you could use Steam Link to play anywhere in your house and share games with others.”
PS4 Remote play app on PC/Mac, PSTV, and PS Vita. PS Family Sharing. Using the same PSN account on multiple PS4s/Xbox Ones and PS3s/360s, or using multiple accounts on the same console. In fact, if multiple users are on the same PS4, only one has to buy the game for both users to play it on that one PS4. On top of that, only one of them has to have PS Plus for both to play online (if the one with PS Plus registers the PS4 as their main system). PS4 Share Play; if two people on separate PS4s want to play a game together that only one of them owns, they can join a Party and the owner of the game can have their friend play with them in the game. Need I say more?
“Gaming is more expensive on console.”
Part one, the Software This is one that I find… genuinely surprising. There’s been a few times I’ve mentioned that part of the reason I chose a PS4 is for budget gaming, only to told that “games are cheaper on Steam.” To be fair, there are a few games on PSN/XBL that are more expensive than they are on Steam, so I can see how someone could believe this… but apparently they forgot about disks. Dirt Rally, a hardcore racing sim game that’s… still $60 on all 3 platforms digitally… even though its successor is out.
See my point? Often times the game is cheaper on console because of the disk alternative that’s available for practically every console-available game. Even when the game is brand new. Dirt 4 - Remember that Dirt Rally successor I mentioned?
Yes, you could either buy this relatively new game digitally for $60, or just pick up the disk for a discounted price. And again, this is for a game that came out 2 months ago, and even it’s predecessor’s digital cost is locked at $60. Of course, I’m not going to ignore the fact that Dirt 4 is currently (as of writing this) discounted on Steam, but on PSN it also happens to be discounted for about the same amount. Part 2: the Subscription Now… let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: PS Plus and Xbox Gold. Now these would be ignorable, if they weren’t required for online play (on the PlayStation side, it’s only required for PS4, but still). So yes, it’s still something that will be included in the cost of your PS4 or Xbox One/360, assuming you play online. Bummer, right? Here’s the thing, although that’s the case, although you have to factor in this $60 cost with your console, you can make it balance out, at worst, and make it work out for you as a budget gamer, at best. As nice as it would be to not have to deal with the price if you don’t want to, it’s not like it’s a problem if you use it correctly. Imagine going to a new restaurant. This restaurant has some meals that you can’t get anywhere else, and fair prices compared to competitors. Only problem: you have to pay a membership fee to have the sides. Now you can have the main course, sit down and enjoy your steak or pasta, but if you want to have a side to have a full meal, you have to pay an annual fee. Sounds shitty, right? But here’s the thing: not only does this membership allow you to have sides with your meal, but it also allows you to eat two meals for free every month, and also gives you exclusive discounts for other meals, drinks, and desserts. Let’s look at PS Plus for a minute: for $60 per year, you get:
2 free PS4 games, every month
2 free PS3 games, every month
1 PS4/PS3 and Vita compatible game, and 1 Vita-only game, every month
Exclusive/Extended discounts, especially during the weekly/seasonal sales (though you don’t need PS Plus to get sales, PS Plus members get to enjoy the best sales)
access to online multiplayer
So yes, you’re paying extra because of that membership, but what you get with that deal pays for it and then some. In fact, let’s ignore the discounts for a minute: you get 24 free PS4 games, 24 free PS3 games, and 12 Vita only + 12 Vita compatible games, up to 72freegames every year. Even if you only one of these consoles, that’s still 24 free games a year. Sure, maybe you get games for the month that you don’t like, then just wait until next month. In fact, let’s look at Just Cause 3 again. It was free for PS Plus members in August, which is a pretty big deal. Why is this significant? Because it’s, again, a $60 digital game. That means with this one download, you’ve balanced out your $60 annual fee. Meaning? Every free game after that is money saved, every discount after that is money saved. And this is a trend: every year, PS Plus will release a game that balances out the entire service cost, then another 23 more that will only add icing to that budget cake. Though, you could just count games as paying off PS Plus until you hit $60 in savings, but still. All in all, PS Plus, and Xbox Gold which offers similar options, saves you money. On top of that, again, you don't need to have these to get discounts, but with these memberships, you get more discounts. Now, I’ve seen a few Steam games go up for free for a week, but what about being free for an entire month? Not to mention that; even if you want to talk about Steam Summer Sales, what about the PSN summer sale, or again, disc sale discounts? Now a lot of research and math would be needed to see if every console gamer would save money compared to every Steam gamer for the same games, but at the very least? The costs will balance out, at worst. Part 3, the Systems
Xbox and PS2: $299
Xbox 360 and PS3: $299 and $499, respectively
Xbox One and PS4: $499 and $399, respectively.
Rounded up a few dollars, that’s $1,000 - $1,300 in day-one consoles, just to keep up with the games! Crazy right? So called budget systems, such a rip-off. Well, keep in mind that the generations here aren’t short. The 6th generation, from the launch of the PS2 to the launch of the next generation consoles, lasted 5 years, 6 years based on the launch of the PS3 (though you could say it was 9 or 14, since the Xbox wasn’t discontinued until 2009, and the PS2 was supported all the way to 2014, a year after the PS4 was released). The 7th gen lasted 7 - 8 years, again depending on whether you count the launch of the Xbox 360 to PS3. The 8th gen so far has lasted 4 years. That’s 17 years that the console money is spread over. If you had a Netflix subscription for it’s original $8 monthly plan for that amount of time, that would be over $1,600 total. And let’s be fair here, just like you could upgrade your PC hardware whenever you wanted, you didn’t have to get a console from launch. Let’s look at PlayStation again for example: In 2002, only two years after its release, the PS2 retail price was cut from $300 to $200. The PS3 Slim, released 3 years after the original, was $300, $100-$200 lower than the retail cost. The PS4? You could’ve either gotten the Uncharted bundle for $350, or one of the PS4 Slim bundles for $250. This all brings it down to $750 - $850, which again, is spread over a decade and a half. This isn’t even counting used consoles, sales, or the further price cuts that I didn’t mention. Even if that still sounds like a lot of money to you, even if you’re laughing at the thought of buying new systems every several years, because your PC “is never obsolete,” tell me: how many parts have you changed out in your PC over the years? How many GPUs have you been through? CPUs? Motherboards? RAM sticks, monitors, keyboards, mice, CPU coolers, hard drives— that adds up. You don’t need to replace your entire system to spend a lot of money on hardware. Even if you weren’t upgrading for the sake of upgrading, I’d be amazed if the hardware you’ve been pushing by gaming would last for about 1/3 of that 17 year period. Computer parts aren’t designed to last forever, and really won’t when you’re pushing them with intensive gaming for hours upon hours. Generally speaking, your components might last you 6-8 years, if you’ve got the high-end stuff. But let’s assume you bought a system 17 years ago that was a beast for it’s time, something so powerful, that even if it’s parts have degraded over time, it’s still going strong. Problem is: you will have to upgrade something eventually. Even if you’ve managed to get this far into the gaming realm with the same 17 year old hardware, I’m betting you didn’t do it with a 17 year Operating System. How much did Windows 7 cost you? Or 8.1? Or 10? Oh, and don’t think you can skirt the cost by getting a pre-built system, the cost of Windows is embedded into the cost of the machine (why else would Microsoft allow their OS to go on so many machines). Sure, Windows 10 was a free upgrade for a year, but that’s only half of it’s lifetime— You can’t get it for free now, and not for the past year. On top of that, the free period was an upgrade; you had to pay for 7 or 8 first anyway. Point is, as much as one would like to say that they didn’t need to buy a new system every so often for the sake of gaming, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been paying for hardware, and even if they’ve only been PC gaming recently, you’ll be spending money on hardware soon enough.
“PC is leading the VR—“
Let me stop you right there. If you add together the total number of Oculus Rifts and HTC Vives sold to this day, and threw in another 100,000 just for the sake of it, that number would still be under the number of PSVR headsets sold. Why could this possibly be? Well, for a simple reason: affordability. The systems needed to run the PC headsets costs $800+, and the headsets are $500 - $600, when discounted. PSVR on the other hand costs $450 for the full bundle (headset, camera, and move controllers, with a demo disc thrown in), and can be played on either a $250 - $300 console, or a $400 console, the latter recommended. Even if you want to say that the Vive and Rift are more refined, a full PSVR set, system and all, could cost just over $100 more than a Vive headset alone. If anything, PC isn’t leading the VR gaming market, the PS4 is. It’s the system bringing VR to the most consumers, showing them what the future of gaming could look like. Not to mention that as the PlayStation line grows more powerful (4.2 TFLOP PS4 Pro, 10 TFLOP “PS5…”), it won’t be long until the PlayStation line can use the same VR games as PC. Either way, this shows that there is a console equivalent to the PC VR options. Sure, there are some games you'd only be able to play on PC, but there are also some games you'd only be able to play on PSVR. …Though to be fair, if we’re talking about VR in general, these headsets don’t even hold a candle to, surprisingly, Gear VR.
“If it wasn’t for consoles holding devs back, then they would be able to make higher quality games.”
This one is based on the idea that because of how “low spec” consoles are, that when a developer has to take them in mind, then they can’t design the game to be nearly as good as it would be otherwise. I mean, have you ever seen the minimum specs for games on Steam? GTA V
Actually, bump up all the memory requirements to 8 GBs, and those are some decent specs, relatively speaking. And keep in mind these are the minimum specs to even open the games. It’s almost as if the devs didn’t worry about console specs when making a PC version of the game, because this version of the game isn’t on console. Or maybe even that the consoles aren’t holding the games back that much because they’re not that weak. Just a hypothesis. But I mean, the devs are still ooobviously having to take weak consoles into mind right? They could make their games sooo much more powerful if they were PC only, right? Right? No. Not even close. iRacing
CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7 or better or AMD Bulldozer or better
Memory: 8 GB RAM
GPU: NVidia GeForce 2xx series or better, 1GB+ dedicated video memory / AMD 5xxx series or better, 1GB+ dedicated video memory
These are PC only games. That’s right, no consoles to hold them back, they don’t have to worry about whether an Xbox One could handle it. Yet, they don’t require anything more than the Multiplatform games. Subnautica
So what’s the deal? Theoretically, if developers don’t have to worry about console specs, then why aren’t they going all-out and making games that no console could even dream of supporting? Low-end PCs. What, did you think people only game on Steam if they spent at least $500 on gaming hardware? Not all PC gamers have gaming-PC specs, and if devs close their games out to players who don’t have the strongest of PCs, then they’d be losing out on a pretty sizable chunk of their potential buyers. Saying “devs having to deal with consoles is holding gaming back” is like saying “racing teams having to deal with Ford is holding GT racing back.” A: racing teams don’t have to deal with Ford if they don’t want to, which is probably why many of them don’t, and B: even though Ford doesn’t make the fastest cars overall, they still manage to make cars that are awesome on their own, they don’t even need to be compared to anything else to know that they make good cars. I want to go back to that previous point though, developers having to deal with low-end PCs, because it’s integral to the next point:
“PCs are more powerful, gaming on PC provides a better experience.”
This one isn’t so much of a misconception as it is… misleading. Did you know that according to the Steam Hardware & Software Survey (July 2017) , the percentage of Steam gamers who use a GPU that's less powerful than that of a PS4Slim’s GPU is well over 50%? Things get dismal when compared to the PS4 Pro (Or Xbox One X). On top of that, the percentage of PC gamers who own a Nvidia 10 series card is about 20% (about 15% for the 1060, 1080 and 1070 owners). Now to be fair, the large majority of gamers have CPUs with considerably high clock speeds, which is the main factor in CPU gaming performance. But, the number of Steam gamers with as much RAM or more than a PS4 or Xbox One is less than 50%, which can really bottleneck what those CPUs can handle. These numbers are hardly better than they were in 2013, all things considered. Sure, a PS3/360 weeps in the face of even a $400 PC, but in this day in age, consoles have definitely caught up. Sure, we could mention the fact that even 1% of Steam accounts represents over 1 million accounts, but that doesn’t really matter compared to the 10s of millions of 8th gen consoles sold; looking at it that way, sure the number of Nvidia 10 series owners is over 20 million, but that ignores the fact that there are over 5 times more 8th gen consoles sold than that. Basically, even though PCs run on a spectrum, saying they're more powerful “on average” is actually wrong. Sure, they have the potential for being more powerful, but most of the time, people aren’t willing to pay the premium to reach those extra bits of performance. Now why is this important? What matters are the people who spent the premium cost for premium parts, right? Because of the previous point: PCs don’t have some ubiquitous quality over the consoles, developers will always have to keep low-end PCs in mind, because not even half of all PC players can afford the good stuff, and you have to look at the top quarter of Steam players before you get to PS4-Pro-level specs. If every Steam player were to get a PS4 Pro, it would be an upgrade for over 60% of them, and 70% of them would be getting an upgrade with the Xbox One X. Sure, you could still make the argument that when you pay more for PC parts, you get a better experience than you could with a console. We can argue all day about budget PCs, but a console can’t match up to a $1,000 PC build. It’s the same as paying more for car parts, in the end you get a better car. However, there is a certain problem with that…
“You pay a little more for a PC, you get much more quality.”
The idea here is that the more you pay for PC parts, the performance increases at a faster rate than the price does. Problem: that’s not how technology works. Paying twice as much doesn’t get you twice the quality the majority of the time. For example, let’s look at graphics cards, specifically the GeForce 10 series cards, starting with the GTX 1050.
1.35 GHz base clock
2 GB VRAM
This is our reference, our basis of comparison. Any percentages will be based on the 1050’s specs. Now let’s look at the GTX 1050 Ti, the 1050’s older brother.
1.29 GHz base clock
4 GB VRAM
This is pretty good. You only increase the price by about 27%, and you get an 11% increase in floating point speed and a 100% increase (double) in VRAM. Sure you get a slightly lower base clock, but the rest definitely makes up for it. In fact, according to GPU boss, the Ti managed 66 fps, or a 22% increase in frame rate for Battlefield 4, and a 54% increase in mHash/second in bitcoin mining. The cost increase is worth it, for the most part. But let’s get to the real meat of it; what happens when we double our budget? Surely we should see a massive increase performance, I bet some of you are willing to bet that twice the cost means more than twice the performance. The closest price comparison for double the cost is the GTX 1060 (3 GB), so let’s get a look at that.
1.5 GHz base clock
3 GB VRAM
Well… not substantial, I’d say. About a 50% increase in floating point speed, an 11% increase in base clock speed, and a 1GB decrease in VRAM. For [almost] doubling the price, you don’t get much. Well surely raw specs don’t tell the full story, right? Well, let’s look at some real wold comparisons. Once again, according to GPU Boss, there’s a 138% increase in hashes/second for bitcoin mining, and at 99 fps, an 83% frame rate increase in Battlefield 4. Well, then, raw specs does not tell the whole story! Here’s another one, the 1060’s big brother… or, well, slightly-more-developed twin.
1.5 GHz base clock
6 GB VRAM
Seems reasonable, another $50 for a decent jump in power and double the memory! But, as we’ve learned, we shouldn’t look at the specs for the full story. I did do a GPU Boss comparison, but for the BF4 frame rate, I had to look at Tom’s Hardware (sorry miners, GPU boss didn’t cover the mHash/sec spec either). What’s the verdict? Well, pretty good, I’d say. With 97 FPS, a 79% increase over the 1050— wait. 97? That seems too low… I mean, the 3GB version got 99. Well, let’s see what Tech Power Up has to say... 94.3 fps. 74% increase. Huh. Alright alright, maybe that was just a dud. We can gloss over that I guess. Ok, one more, but let’s go for the big fish: the GTX 1080.
1.6 GHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
That jump in floating point speed definitely has to be something, and 4 times the VRAM? Sure it’s 5 times the price, but as we saw, raw power doesn’t always tell the full story. GPU Boss returns to give us the run down, how do these cards compare in the real world? Well… a 222% (over three-fold) increase in mHash speed, and a 218% increase in FPS for Battlefield 4. That’s right, for 5 times the cost, you get 3 times the performance. Truly, the raw specs don’t tell the full story. You increase the cost by 27%, you increase frame rate in our example game by 22%. You increase the cost by 83%, you increase the frame rate by 83%. Sounds good, but if you increase the cost by 129%, and you get a 79% (-50% cost/power increase) increase in frame rate. You increase it by 358%, and you increase the frame rate by 218% (-140% cost/power increase). That’s not paying “more for much more power,” that’s a steep drop-off after the third cheapest option. In fact, did you know that you have to get to the 1060 (6GB) before you could compare the GTX line to a PS4 Pro? Not to mention that at $250, the price of a 1060 (6GB) you could get an entire PS4 Slim bundle, or that you have to get to the 1070 before you beat the Xbox One X. On another note, let’s look at a PS4 Slim…
800 MHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
…Versus a PS4 Pro.
911 MHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
128% increase in floating point speed, 13% increase in clock speed, for a 25% difference in cost. Unfortunately there is no Battlefield 4 comparison to make, but in BF1, the frame rate is doubled (30 fps to 60) and the textures are taken to 11. For what that looks like, I’ll leave it up to this bloke. Not to even mention that you can even get the texture buffs in 4K. Just like how you get a decent increase in performance based on price for the lower-cost GPUs, the same applies here. It’s even worse when you look at the CPU for a gaming PC. The more money you spend, again, the less of a benefit you get per dollar. Hardware Unboxed covers this in a video comparing different levels of Intel CPUs. One thing to note is that the highest i7 option (6700K) in this video was almost always within 10 FPS (though for a few games, 15 FPS) of a certain CPU in that list for just about all of the games. …That CPU was the lowest i3 (6100) option. The lowest i3 was $117 and the highest i7 was $339, a 189% price difference for what was, on average, a 30% or less difference in frame rate. Even the lowest Pentium option (G4400, $63) was often able to keep up with the i7. The CPU and GPU are usually the most expensive and power-consuming parts of a build, which is why I focused on them (other than the fact that they’re the two most important parts of a gaming PC, outside of RAM). With both, this “pay more to get much more performance” idea is pretty much the inverse of the truth.
“The console giants are bad for game developers, Steam doesn't treat developers as bad as Microsoft or especially Sony.”
Now one thing you might’ve heard is that the PS3 was incredibly difficult for developers to make games for, which for some, fueled the idea that console hardware is difficult too develop on compared to PC… but this ignores a very basic idea that we’ve already touched on: if the devs don’t want to make the game compatible with a system, they don’t have to. In fact, this is why Left 4 Dead and other Valve games aren’t on PS3, because they didn’t want to work with it’s hardware, calling it “too complex.” This didn’t stop the game from selling well over 10 million units worldwide. If anything, this was a problem for the PS3, not the dev team. This also ignores that games like LittleBigPlanet, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Metal Gear Solid 4 all came out in the same year as Left 4 Dead (2008) on PS3. Apparently, plenty of other dev teams didn’t have much of a problem with the PS3’s hardware, or at the very least, they got used to it soon enough. On top of that, when developing the 8th gen consoles, both Sony and Microsoft sought to use CPUs that were easier for developers, which included making decisions that considered apps for the consoles’ usage for more than gaming. On top of that, using their single-chip proprietary CPUs is cheaper and more energy efficient than buying pre-made CPUs and boards, which is far better of a reason for using them than some conspiracy about Sony and MS trying to make devs' lives harder. Now, console exclusives are apparently a point of contention: it’s often said that exclusive can cause developers to go bankrupt. However, exclusivity doesn’t have to be a bad thing for the developer. For example, when Media Molecule had to pitch their game to a publisher (Sony, coincidentally), they didn’t end up being tied into something detrimental to them. Their initial funding lasted for 6 months. From then, Sony offered additional funding, in exchange for Console Exclusivity. This may sound concerning to some, but the game ended up going on to sell almost 6 million units worldwide and launched Media Molecule into the gaming limelight. Sony later bought the development studio, but 1: this was in 2010, two years after LittleBigPlanet’s release, and 2: Media Molecule seem pretty happy about it to this day. If anything, signing up with Sony was one of the best things they could’ve done, in their opinion. Does this sound like a company that has it out for developers? There are plenty of examples that people will use to put Valve in a good light, but even Sony is comparatively good to developers.
“There are more PC gamers.”
The total number of active PC gamers on Steam has surpassed 120 million, which is impressive, especially considering that this number is double that of 2013’s figure (65 million). But the number of monthly active users on Xbox Live and PSN? About 120 million (1, 2) total. EDIT: You could argue that this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, sure, so if you want to, say, compare the monthly number of Steam users to console? Steam has about half of what consoles do, at 67 million. Now, back to the 65 million total user figure for Steam, the best I could find for reference for PlayStation's number was an article giving the number of registered PSN accounts in 2013, 150 million. In a similar 4-year period (2009 - 2013), the number of registered PSN accounts didn’t double, it sextupled, or increased by 6 fold. Considering how the PS4 is already at 2/3 of the number of sales the PS3 had, even though it’s currently 3 years younger than its predecessor, I’m sure this trend is at least generally consistent. For example, let’s look at DOOM 2016, an awesome faced-paced shooting title with graphics galore… Of course, on a single platform, it sold best on PC/Steam. 2.36 million Steam sales, 2.05 million PS4 sales, 1.01 million Xbox One sales. But keep in mind… when you add the consoles sales together, you get over 3 million sales on the 8th gen systems. Meaning: this game was best sold on console. In fact, the Steam sales have only recently surpassed the PS4 sales. By the way VG charts only shows sales for physical copies of the games, so the number of PS4 and Xbox sales, when digital sales are included, are even higher than 3 million. This isn’t uncommon, by the way. Even with the games were the PC sales are higher than either of the consoles, there generally are more console sales total. But, to be fair, this isn’t anything new. The number of PC gamers hasn’t dominated the market, the percentages have always been about this much. PC can end up being the largest single platform for games, but consoles usually sell more copies total. EDIT: There were other examples but... Reddit has a 40,000-character limit.
This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with PC gaming, and this isn’t to exalt consoles. I’m not here to be the hipster defending the little guy, nor to be the one to try to put down someone/thing out of spite. This is about showing that PCs and consoles are overall pretty similar because there isn’t much dividing them, and that there isn’t anything wrong with being a console gamer. There isn’t some chasm separating consoles and PCs, at the end of the day they’re both computers that are (generally) designed for gaming. This about unity as gamers, to try to show that there shouldn’t be a massive divide just because of the computer system you game on. I want gamers to be in an environment where specs don't separate us; whether you got a $250 PS4 Slim or just built a $2,500 gaming PC, we’re here to game and should be able to have healthy interactions regardless of your platform. I’m well aware that this isn’t going to fix… much, but this needs to be said: there isn’t a huge divide between the PC and consoles, they’re far more similar than people think. There are upsides and downsides that one has that the other doesn’t on both sides. There’s so much more I could touch on, like how you could use SSDs or 3.5 inch hard drives with both, or that even though PC part prices go down over time, so do consoles, but I just wanted to touch on the main points people try to use to needlessly separate the two kinds of systems (looking at you PCMR) and correct them, to get the point across. I thank anyone who takes the time to read all of this, and especially anyone who doesn’t take what I say out of context. I also want to note that, again, thisisn’t “anti-PC gamer.” If it were up to me, everyone would be a hybrid gamer. Cheers.
[Discussion] My own personal guide to used hardware alternatives.
Hi there. My name is Jeff. I've been building systems for the better part of 15 years and try my best to contribute here actively. After being involved in this little community for a few years now, I'm noticing a serious lack of discussion about buying used components, and I feel like it's time to shed a little light on the subject for those looking to build on a (seriously) tight budget. As Linus said in his scrapyard wars video, buying new on $300 isn't practical, and if you posed the challenge to him on a random day, buying used is almost certainly the path he'd choose. As someone who's been "scrapyarding" as a hobby for the better part of 10 years, I figured I'd take some time to share some of what I've learned for the modern audience. Let's begin with a simple rundown of modern "budget" choices, and I'll tell you what I'd do instead. CPU The G3258 and Athlon 860k are the sub-$100 CPUs of choice, and both work just fine. I have built with both in the past, and each carries their own set of advantages. Used Alternatives: You can go in a couple of directions here; if you happen to have an LGA 1366 motherboard lying around, you can get an i7 920 or better for under $50, and they still hold up reasonably well. Being that LGA 1366 boards are not typically cheap when purchased used, my favourite option is the Phenom II x4 Black Edition series, each of which compare favourably to modern budget options, and will even overclock on some incredibly dated, dirt cheap AM2+ boards. In my experience, eBay prices on these get a little too high for my taste, but I've been able to nab several on Kijiji locally in Toronto for under $50 as well. GPU The R7 260x and GTX 750 ti are often cited as budget options for most builders, with the latter serving a very specific role in systems where power draw might be a concern. While there exists no option that can complete with the low consumption of the 750 ti (or even the single 6-pin connector goodness of the 260x), its performance can easily be matched (and exceeded) for less money. Used Alternatives: The bitcoin mining craze from a few years back led to the Radeon 7950 and 7970 being blacklisted on the used market, and I think the fears about burned-out cards are a little overblown. Here in Toronto, you can easily grab a 7950 for the price of a 260x, but I don't pay anywhere near that for my builds. At most, a Windforce will cost me $125, as where I recently picked up some non-boost edition PowerColor versions for a mere $83 each (bought 3 for $250). EDIT: Forgot to mention something important - avoid the reference 7950 and 7970. They were employed to a far greater degree in mining rigs because of their rear-only exhaust, and if you see a bunch of them from the same seller listed at once, they're likely old mining cards. Only pick them up if they're incredibly cheap. Want to go even cheaper? The Radeon 6950 (with the shader unlock, preferably) or even the 6970 will rival the performance of the 260x, and shouldn't cost Canadians more than $50-$60. I personally have 2 in my possession right now, and have gone through at least a dozen in the last 6 months. In general, one should always avoid Nvidia when buying used, because they are far too popular and overvalued for their performance as they age. I still see GTX 660s selling for $150, which is absolutely absurd. Motherboards Motherboards on the used market are weird, and this can largely be attributed to the fact that they're hard to transport and don't handle well over time. As such, people don't really sell boards on their own that often, and you'll likely have more luck finding a combo of some kind (or even a ready-to-go tin-can with no graphics card) for less per part than you will finding a given board on its own. Used Alternatives: The boards I'd recommend depend entirely on the CPU you've chosen. Being that I'm a fan of the Phenom II x4 series, AM2+ boards are going to be dirt cheap, but DDR2 RAM is actually fucking expensive, so you'd likely be better off going with AM3. I've even seen some used AM3+ boards (The 970 ASRock Extreme3, in particular) for as low as $40, so it wouldn't hurt to look. On the Intel side, you're actually at a significant disadvantage. Much like Nvidia cards, Intel boards (and CPUs) actually retain their value and don't often come cheap. For me, LGA 1156 is the price/performance sweet spot, granted I can find an i7 8XX to go with it. Even still, they're going to run you a fair bit more than an AMD board, and likely aren't worth it by comparison. RAM Ram is ram. DDR2 is pricy as fuck due to an obvious market shortage of the stuff, so the AM2+ board option might not be best by comparison. DDR3 ram, however, is ubiquitous, and I always die a little inside when people building on a "budget" choose to buy new at all. If I'm being honest, I can get DDR3 ram from e-waste recycling companies for as low as $10 per 4GB stick, at 1333MHz, and not once have I ever had a bad stick of the stuff. Even for people going the route of the G3258 (which only supports 1333MHz), this is the clear winner. Is value RAM ugly as sin? Sure it is. It is just as good as that fancy Ripjaws shit you've got in your current build? You betcha. Storage Hard Drives are actually a tricky game, as they are the single most volatile component in any budget build, easily succumbing to wear and tear from age and daily use. As such (and some might find this hard to believe) I actively avoid HDDs when building value systems for people and opt for cheap SSDs instead. As always, check the date on a drive if you're really insistent on buying one, and considering how cheap a WD blue is new, don't pull the trigger on one unless it's for less than $30/TB. SSDs are obviously (akin to RAM) highly resilient and are nearly guaranteed to work when purchased used. The average SSD pulled from an old laptop or an office off-lease desktop, will have no more than 100GB of writes on it, which leaves 99% of its life for you to exploit. While there exists no specific recommendation for which brand to buy, just be sure you're getting a relatively good drive with SATA III capability. 120/128GB variants of these sorts should cost you no more than $50 in my native Canada, and I've even gotten lucky on some larger sizes too. Recently I picked up 4 256GB Samsung 840 Pros for $75 each (I came), just days after I bought a Crucial MX100 of the same size for $85. Monitors Monitors are fun to buy, because the recent shifts in display technology have rendered a lot of recent-but-obsolete models nearly valueless. For example, remember when 16:10 was a thing? I actually still like 1680x1050 monitors, but the rest of the world seems to disagree, so I've been able to pick up 23" variants for as little as $40. Being that the slightly lower resolution actually eases the strain on your VRAM a bit, it's a nice fit for a lot of budget cards that might not have a full 2GB available, like some variants of the 6950. 1600x900 monitors are often just as cheap and come with the same inherent benefit of being obsolete despite being almost as good as its bigger 1080p cousin. Keyboards and Mice If you're on a budget, we can't even have this discussion. As much as I like mechanical keyboards and high-precision gaming mice, people building used $300 systems aren't going to allot any of their budget buying them. That said, wired USB keyboards and mice are virtually free (search your local goodwill or value village for some), and if you have to pay money, buy a wireless combo for $20 new from some little shit store in a suburb somewhere. Cases Cases on their own sell for about half of their original retail price, give or take based on the condition. I normally just get them as a part of a tin-can bundle and make use of them if they aren't too dirty, but when building for someone else, I'd often just prefer to buy a new budget case in the $40 range. PSUs I saved this topic for last, because it's by far the most difficult category to master. First off, you really need to do your research and understand how PSUs work before delving into these guys, as the cost associated is almost entirely dependent on how resilient the underlying platform has been proven to be. Generally speaking, reading reviews on JonnyGuru and HardOCP is a great start, but none of them account for units that are several years old. As a general rule of thumb, I use the EVGA 500W W1 as a reference point, and build my value tree around that. In other words, if a new EVGA 500W (a passable, proven budget unit) is cheaper than a used 500W variant of a better brand, why would I bother buying used? Sure, that 520W Seasonic S12II puts the EVGA to shame in terms of voltage regulation and ripple suppression, but can I really make the same claims of a unit that's 5 years into its life? Wouldn't I just be safer buying new? These are all factors you have to consider. For me, the threshold lies around 50% in terms of cost savings vs. risk. In other words, if you can find a used quality unit for less than half the price of the cheapest quality unit available at a given time, buy it. Anyhow I think that covers everything. And as a closing note, remember to be safe. Meet potential sellers (and buyers) in public, well-lit places, and try your best to avoid entering someone's home without some protections in place. Also, the more info you get about the person (address, phone number, etc) the less likely it is that a person will be trying to scam you. People who purposely conceal their identity do so for a reason. Also, feel free to ask me anything about my own experiences buying and selling used. I've been doing it as a hobby for a long, long time and have sold many value builds to people who can't otherwise afford PCs. I'm happy to impart any wisdom I might've gained over the years. Edit: CPU Coolers! Forgot those. Air coolers are a safe bet. They're slabs of copper and aluminum with fans strapped to them. Buy with confidence, and seek one out for $10-$15 if you plan to overclock. AIO water cooling is not so safe. Those things are typically only good for 2-3 years, and you have no idea how much longer a pump has before it gives. Budget builders likely aren't water-cooling anyhow, right? Edit 2: Just to be clear, when I said I'd been doing this for a long time, I should clarify that a) I once owned a game store and sold systems out of there and b) I currently resell systems out of my house to raise money for charity builds. I really don't want people to get the impression I'm trying to sell anything.
A close look at the Blockchain space reveals a series of blockchain projects that operate largely in distinct silos. The reality is that blockchain technology is yet to realise widespread real-world adoption, however as we accelerate towards maturity a key infrastructure level requirement will be the ability for information to be transmitted in real time from blockchain to blockchain and even off-blockchain to old world systems. Anecdotally we need to look only as far as the internet to conceive the value that interconnectivity can generate. “Bridging chains with a multichain is like building roads between buildings. Hypothetically, one could build a building that has everything, but in practice some buildings are built to work in, some are built to live in — as long as citizens want to be in multiple buildings at different points in time, roads are valuable. The crypto community as it exists demonstrates a wide variety of features across blockchains — some chains have quick block times, some chains have expressive smart contracts, some are purely deflationary and an excellent store of value. As long as users need features from more than one blockchain, bridging those chains with a multichain is needed.” – Block Collider Whitepaper (Source) There are some well known projects that are trying to tackle interconnectivity between disparate chains. Of those known projects, only a few are focused on Interoperability as their core focus – some examples are Polkadot, Cosmos and Ark. A new project which as yet has remained under the radar (by design) has come out with a radically different solution to the issue of interconnectivity between chains: Block Collider. “A mineable multi-chain protocol for stable coins, decentralized exchanges, and meta contracts.” – Block Collider Let’s take a quick look at a few of the key interoperability projects within the space: Comparison Table For more detailed Table of comparison click here The Multi-Chain: The Advent of Multi-chain Distributed Applications and Meta Contracts Block Collider is the first true “multi-chain”, which at genesis will connect 6 chains – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Neo, Waves, Lisk and another chain that is yet to be named. Block Collider’s core ledger is the aggregate of all blocks on all member chains, giving rise to the term “multi-chain”. Block Collider’s blockchain is built by “weaving” together disparate chains using PoD* (Proof of Distance – a modified version of Nakamoto consensus), consuming blocks from each chain into a Block Collider block, recording in effect the state of each member chain. The multi-chain not only facilitates value transfer between chains but more importantly allows these previously “siloed” projects to know the “state” of each other’s chains. Why is knowing the state of other chains so important? True interoperability is much more than just value transfer, it is the ability for different blockchains to work in parallel. This innovation opens the gates to something truly remarkable – multi-chain distributed applications and meta contracts (multi-chain smart contracts). Example Diagram The above diagram illustrates a simple example of a distributed multi-chain DAPP handling trust funds. This kind of application only scratches the surface of the true potential Block Collider brings to the blockchain ecosystem. The multi-chain functionality is not merely transferring data but proving data relative to another chain. “…distributed application developers can modularly combine exotic features from blockchains across the ecosystem …. distributed application developers can build in the capability to load-balance work between chains” – Block Collider Whitepaper (Source) As an aside there is an additional security benefit that results from Block Collider being a multi-chain, an aggregate of member chains. A miner attempting to use bad blocks would not only have to reverse the entire chain on Block Collider but also break the hash power of difficulty of the member chain. *PoD – Proof Of Distance consensus mechanism is beyond the scope of this article. Please refer to Block Collider Whitepaper – Section 3.2 The Edit Distance Computational Challenge (pp 13) or Building a Blockchain Singularity with Proof of Distance by Patrick McConlogue (Co-founder of Block Collider). True Decentralisation “The Block Collider multichain is collaboratively created exclusively by decentralized peer-to-peer miners — with no centralized points of failure, oracles, or validators.” – Block Collider Whitepaper (Source) One of the core tenets of Block Collider is to provide a platform that is very much in line with Blockchain’s vision of true decentralisation. Block Collider prides itself on the absence of validators in its consensus mechanism and its resistance to centralising elements. Validators vs no validators What is a validator? A validator in a blockchain is a “human element” or third party to whom the network cedes some degree of trust. A validator is incentivised by a network to confirm that an event/transaction has occurred on the network. This approach has been/will be adopted by many chains including interoperability chains like Cosmos, Polkadot and Ark who utilise Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) or similar consensus models, where there are a set number of validators. Block Collider does not require validators, it builds it’s blockchain with a mining algorithm (PoD), requiring proof of work to validate events on the blockchain. It in effect removes the requirement to place trust in a fallible party. Centralisation of Power A concern in any decentralised network is that power may accrue to a few. We see some commentators point to this occurrence in the Bitcoin network, where there is a centralisation of power around a few mining pools. Power in this context is the governance of the chain and the rewards for block validation. In this situation existing economic power is entrenched and can conceivably lead to the ongoing centralisation of consensus, governance and wealth. However, it is also worth noting one of the advantages that the Bitcoin platform has in comparison to its counterparts who have pursued PoS or DPoS is that it does not require the network to cede any additional trust to validators. PoS or DPoS and their varying iterations aim to solve for some of the bottlenecks in current blockchain technology, however, these consensus mechanisms still contain elements that can give rise to centralisation. PoS requires that a node stake a sufficiently high bond in order to achieve the status of “validator” and thus PoS is still heavily weighted to those with economic power. DPoS has the added functionality of “democracy” by allowing delegates to vote for a trusted “validator”. Ideally the scenario is one of a democratic approach, however such a system may still lend itself towards centralisation as voting is typically weighted by share of network. Without going into an exhaustive discussion about various consensus methodologies, their strengths and shortcomings, we can nevertheless see that the use of validators presents some departure from trustless consensus without necessarily resolving the centralising effects of economic power. Block Collider is a mineable chain like bitcoin and faces the same issue of centralisation of power from mining pools but has implemented certain conditions to alleviate the pressure towards centralisation. These include: 1) Splitting the mining of blocks and transactions (Refer Whitepaper Section 3 – Mining on the collider for technical details) “… by allowing for competition in two spaces, there is reduced risk of centralization, since an actor would have to win the centralization game at both levels.” – Block Collider Whitepaper – Section 3.4 Transaction mining is open to anyone and does not require ASIC hardware to mine. This allows anyone on the network to have an economic incentive to participate in the network whilst achieving greater throughput and greater load distribution, reducing the strain on the network. 2) Emblems – Block Size Bonus (Refer Whitepaper Section 3 – Mining on the collider for technical details) BC has a unique proposition to implement dynamic block sizes through the use of Emblems. In effect miners can “stake” Emblems which will allow them to expand the size of the block, thereby fitting more transactions into a single block for greater rewards. How does this alleviate pressure towards centralisation? We look to the Co-Founder Patrick McConlogue for answers: “Block Collider implements game theory to the benefits of mining incentives beyond block/fee rewards. The Emblem bonuses for mining is sublinear (that is, there are diminishing returns for emblem ownership) which balances the economic incentive against centralisation (as the marginal utility of Emblems will be highest for those with fewer emblems).” – Patrick McConlogue As an example, noting that all metrics are hypothetical, Sue has 10 Emblems and Mike has 100 Emblems. If the optimal number of Emblems required to achieve a desired block size was around 20 Emblems, staking beyond the 20 emblems does not significantly increase the block size. In effect, any additionally staked emblems has a diminishing value in comparison to the optimally staked 20 Emblems. So, in this example Sue’s block size could be “Standard block size + 5” and the optimal block size is “Standard block size + 7”. As staking has a diminishing bonus, Mike staking 100 Emblems would result in “Standard block size + 8”. This is to say those without large economic power can still compete on a near equal footing. In this way Block Collider aims to mitigate the pull of economic power towards centralisation. What if Mike splits his 100 Emblems to utilise the optimal number of emblems to stake, to run multiple mining rigs concurrently? In this case 20 Emblems to 5 mining operations. “A miner could absolutely split the Emblem rewards among mining rigs but in order to maximize the rewards from this he/she would have to be connected to the least number of identical peers that the original rig is connected to. In this way they must expand to other regions. This leads to less centralization regionally and increases the overall efficiency + speed of the network.” – Patrick McConlogue In addition, Mike replicating 4 more instances of the original mining operation would require significant resources. Interoperability Technology Member Chain Conditions One of the greatest breakthroughs that Block Collider has achieved is that it has a very low threshold to incorporate foreign blockchains into its multi-chain. In laymans terms there is no need for modification of member chains to participate in the network. This is a significant development in the blockchain ecosystem as current and planned future interoperability solutions require some form of compatibility or change to the participating chains. To achieve compatibility Cosmos and Polkadot primarily require chains to be built on top of their infrastructure. Ark on the other hand requires direct changes to existing chains in the form of embedded code. However, it should be noted though that Cosmos Polkadot, and Ark have alternate solutions to compatibility for existing chains who choose not to be modified. This can be achieved through intermediate zones, peg-zones, bridgechains, smart bridges and encoded listeners. If we are to borrow from the Polkadot whitepaper certain chains (Ethereum) are clearly easier to adapt into intermediate zones but others not so much (Bitcoin): 1) Ethereum – “Due to Ethereum’s Turing completeness, we expect there is ample opportunity for Polkadot and Ethereum to be interoperable with each other, at least within some easily deducible security bounds.” – (Polkadot Whitepaper – Source) 2) Bitcoin –* “…. As such we believe it not unrealistic to place a reasonably secure Bitcoin interoperability “virtual parachain” between the two networks, though nonetheless a substantial effort with an uncertain timeline and quite possibly requiring the cooperation of the stakeholders within that network.”* – (Polkadot Whitepaper – Source) The breakthrough by Block Collider should not be understated, the multi-chain by providing a low threshold for member chains to interoperate without the need for validators provides crucial infrastructure for a trustless internet of blockchains. Scalability and Shared Security for Member Chains Through comparison of Cosmos and Polkadot, the question may arise does Block Collider provide scalability and shared security for member chains? The simple answer is no. Block Collider does not provide scalability and shared security primarily because of its conditionless participation for member chains. Block Collider follows the philosophy of Doug McIlroy, the inventor of Unix pipes, “Write programs that do one thing and do it well. Write programs to work together.” In this sense scaling solutions are the responsibility of protocol level chains, interoperability is the responsibility of Block Collider. Cosmos and Polkadot provide these solutions for member chains that “join” their networks and is a unique and commendable value proposition provided by their platforms. Although it should be noted that for existing chains, using the intermediate zones referenced earlier, does not provide the same scalability and shared security benefits as those built natively on the platforms. This is because the existing chain does not function atop the platform, rather they are bridged to the platform with links (bridgechains or pegzones) built by Polkadot or Cosmos. Scalability – Size and Transaction Speed Block Collider as a multi-chain is the aggregate of blocks from its member chains. What does this mean for scalability in terms of size & transaction speed? Size of the Chain A valid concern would be that Block Collider which is an aggregate of all blocks on all member chains can be quite space consuming. To combat this Block Collider’s PoD consensus mechanism primarily uses header states and Merkle proofs of other chains to store the chain on the Block Collider network. The headers are less than 1% of the size of the original chains’ block. So, one could imagine without any modifications, Block Collider could merge 100 chains and still only be the size of one Ethereum sized chain. As Block Collider evolves, we can envision a day when 1000 plus chains are interoperable with Block Collider. So, what then? Block Collider is designed to tackle this growth in two ways, compression as far as possible and then through reverse chain pruning. “To handle the first part [compression], we start with header states. After which we switch to a signature only model like that proposed in Mimblewimble (once the Block Collider hash rate is strong enough). Finally the pruning which will be the process of creating a second blockchain which mines backwards. In the second blockchain, “the work” is transactions that should be trimmed from the block. In this way it works like defragmenting your hard drive.”* – Patrick McConlogue *Mimblewimble – an experimental blockchain network Transaction Speed Block Collider as the aggregate of blocks from member chains will always be slightly faster than the fastest member chain. This is due to Block Collider having a high block issuance rate that is based on blocks issued on member chains. Image Example of Block Issuance In the above example from the whitepaper we see that Bitcoin issues 2 blocks in a set time frame “x”, Ethereum issues 6 blocks and Waves issues 3 Blocks. The first Block Collider block is formed when the 3 chains issue their first block. It should be noted that block times vary across chains and as such member chains will issue blocks at different intervals. At each issuance from a member chain Block Collider will issue its own block containing the new set of blocks from the member chains. In this example 9 Block Collider blocks are issued in the time frame “x”. So the block issuance rate (block velocity) will always be higher than the fastest member chain. Higher block velocity of course brings up the issue of throughput – the number of transactions per second. Mining has been designed with throughput being the primary mandate. The satisfaction of this mandate was one of the primary motivations for Block Collider splitting block mining and transaction mining into separate processes. “Unlike other cryptocurrencies, the transactions and the blocks of the Collider blockchain can be mined separately. Transactions being pre-mined makes it easier for a miner to add a transaction to a block it has discovered, which balances the power that miners have in current systems.” – Block Collider TECH COMPARISON // Multi-chain Protocols (The Internet of Blockchains) LINK Conclusion Block Collider has come to the space with a radical solution to the “Internet of Blockchains”, connecting disparate chains whilst maintaining blockchain technology’s vision of being truly decentralised. The mainnet launch will include interoperability between 6 chains, BTC, ETH, NEO, Waves, Lisk and a yet to be named chain.
I know this used to be an option a long time ago (a year or more?) but BTC clearly hasn't and isn't going away and it should actually be even more appealing as a merchant because there is zero risk of chargebacks and lower fees than any other service. Plus if Massdrop isn't interested in the risk of holding bitcoin it can always be traded for USD immediately upon receiving it. Imagine if you had been holding some ~300 purchases worth of BTC when it rapidly went from $600 to 2000 (currently at $4545). Granted it could have happened in reverse and obviously that kind of risk is much different for a business than an individual (hence my suggestions to simply instantly convert it out upon receiving). Anyway, I get that this doesn't appeal to everyone, but it's not like there are monthly fees and charges for accepting bitcoin, you simply accept it. If you want to make it even easier you use something like BitPay which allows unlimited transactions and charges a 1% fee. For comparison, PayPal is 2.9% +$0.30 (even more expensive for international customers, 4.4% plus a fee based on the currency received and what it costs to convert it). In short, I can't see a situation where it's bad for Massdrop to accept BTC, and even if it's a very niche payment method, why the hell not accept it for those that would like to use it? As someone that mines on a few gaming rigs, I'm way more likely to buy stuff when I can just buy it directly with my BTC since it's just so damn convenient.
If you are interested in Bitcoin mining, check out our post on the Best Bitcoin Mining Hardware for 2019. Ethereum Mining ASIC Miners. 1.) Innosilicon A10 ETHMaster ASIC Miner. The A10 ETHMaster, produced by Innosilicon, is an Ethash algorithm ASIC miner. It consumes 850W and has a maximum hashrate of 485Mh/s for Ethereum mining. 3. Notable Mining Hardware Companies Bitmain Technologies. The most well-known mining hardware manufacturer around, Bitmain was founded in 2013 in China and today has offices in several countries around the world. The company developed the Antminer, a series of ASIC miners dedicated to mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dash.. Bitmain is also in charge of two of the largest ... Bitcoin mining is done by specialized computers. The role of miners is to secure the network and to process every Bitcoin transaction. Miners achieve this by solving a computational problem which allows them to chain together blocks of transactions (hence Bitcoin’s famous “blockchain”).. For this service, miners are rewarded with newly-created Bitcoins and transaction fees. There’s less benefit for a six-GPU mining rig being overclocked than a single GPU in a gaming PC. Bitcoin miners are much more concerned with efficiency than screaming polygon-pushing power, so the idea of them running a card until it melts really doesn’t hold up. Plus, GPUs are engineered to run hot. Cryptocurrency mining has in many respects become an industrialized business. But despite the concentration of hashing power, the increasing difficulty and diminishing returns, in some cases it ...
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