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Cryptocurrency mining is the process of verifying digital transactions using computer hardware -- in this alleged case, the Nintendo Switch itself. Miners can get paid for their processing power in a cryptocurrency. If the claims were true, that would mean that a third party was getting paid for using players' consoles as hardware to authenticate payments. According to IGN, there were also claims circulating that the game can only be played online in order to allow for cryptomining, but those appear to have been refuted by users playing the game while in airplane mode. Allegations associating the game with cryptocurrency mining have previously surfaced, including in this tweet from March 6. They appear to trace back to a press release that was dated in Feb. 2019 by blockchain gaming company Planet Digital Partners AKA Planet Entertainment that claimed "Cooking Mama: Cookstar" would be "the first game to integrate blockchain technology on major consoles." The release was aggregated elsewhere, including NintendoLife, which linked to the now-broken Planet Entertainment url ending with"video-game-publisher-planet-digital-partners-putting-cooking-mama-on-the-blockchain." The game's developer, 1st Playable addressed the release on Twitter, highlighting the date it was released and saying that blockchain had never been brought up to developers. The accusations quickly took off on Twitter, with many heralding it as another absurd news item in an exhausting and continuously escalating news cycle. Later on Sunday, Planet Entertainment denied the cryptocurrency mining claims via the game's official account, tweeting, "Cooking Mama: Cookstar, nor any of our other titles in the past or near future will utilize crypto technology." The game's developer, 1st Playable, also refuted the claims in response to a direct inquiry on Twitter, stating, "As the developers we can say with certainty there is no cryptocurrency or data collection or blockchain or anything else shady in the code. The Nintendo Switch is a very safe platform, with none of the data and privacy issues associated with some mobile and PC games." There's been support for the developer and publisher's claims after one Twitter user did "some reverse engineering work," and said that there was "no cryptominer/blockchain stuff anywhere within Cooking Mama: Cookstar's code." "Cooking Mama: Cookstar" has also been having distribution issues in the United States and Europe. Rumors about the "Cooking Mama: Cookstar's" hypothetical secondary purpose spread wildly on Twitter on Sunday, helped along by the game's mysterious distribution circumstances which have left it unable to purchase for many online. IGN reported on Friday that the game was available on the Nintendo eShop for a few hours the week previous, but had been fully scrubbed from the digital storefront. At time of publishing, an IGN search for the game in the eShop in both the United States and Europe returned no results; a search by Insider Monday also returned no results. There appear to be elusive physical copies of the game, with several Redditors having been able to purchase it and Amazon listing a third party seller to purchase the game. One third party seller, which IGN reported to have been seemingly set up only to sell "Cooking Mama: Cookstar," no longer has any products in its storefront. The game is currently listed as being out of stock at Walmart and its listing appears to have been deleted from Target's website, but the page still appears in a Google search for the terms "Cooking Mama: Cookstar Target." Screenrant reported that, per an anonymous source who was a member of the game's development team, that the distribution issues were caused by a dispute between the publisher, Planet Entertainment, and the Cooking Mama intellectual property holder, Office Create. Insider has reached out to both Planet Entertainment and 1st Playable for comment regarding the cryptocurrency mining allegations and distribution issues. Cryptocurrency mining claims were just absurd enough to spread across Twitter, inciting jokes and memes. Actual controversy aside, the rumors sparked a series of bewildered tweets and memes. In the midst of an already exhausting news cycle, something as absurd as "Cooking Mama is using your Switch to mine cryptocurrency" almost feels refreshing. --Mr. Feel, Haha Chainsaw Go Brrrr (@mrfeelswildride) April 5, 2020. Others spoofed Cooking Mama herself, depicting the character alongside the Bitcoin symbol and with coins tumbling from her pockets. Others highlighted the cryptocurrency controversy vis-à-vis other pieces with a similar tone, drawing a comparison back to the late 2010s "Yoshi committed tax fraud" meme. Overall, the Cooking Mama controversy is yet another absurd news item in an already breakneck news cycle, even with both the developer and publisher having swiftly shut down allegations of cryptocurrency mining.
Unlike precious metals like gold and silver, Bitcoin mining is not done with picks and shovels. Bitcoin is extracted from the protocol when blocks of bitcoin transactions are validated by miners using specialised mining hardware, hence lending the term mining . Mining is also the process of adding of these new transaction blocks to the blockchain. And just as important, Bitcoin mining is how newly minted bitcoin is released into circulation . The Bitcoin software was programmed in such a way that: A certain pre-set number of bitcoin is released into the system with every block of transactions once almost every 10 minutes, to be mined by miners. The pre-set number of bitcoin is halved every 4 years, leading to a fixed total of 21 million bitcoin to be completely mined by the year 2140. Miners use mining equipment in the form of purpose-built hardware running special software to solve complex mathematical problems, and are rewarded with the pre-set number of bitcoin with every successful block solved. Each successful block of transactions is then added to the blockchain. Here is a quick 2-minute video to explain what Bitcoin mining is: Basically, that is a summary of what is entailed in Bitcoin mining. To elaborate on this further: Number of Bitcoin Released into the System. When Bitcoin first started in 2009, it was programmed in a way such that 50 new bitcoin would be released into the system with every block. This takes place about once every 10 minutes. Bitcoin did not have any value back then, and was transacted amongst a few people involved in its development, as a way to see it functioning in the real world. Halving and 21 Million Bitcoin by the Year 2140. The Bitcoin protocol was coded in such a way that the number of bitcoin released into the system to be mined shall be halved every 4 years (i.e. after 210,000 blocks). Starting with 50 bitcoin per block in 2009, the rate of supply halved to 25 BTC per block on 28 November 2012, and halved once more to 12.5 BTC per block since 9th July 2016. The subsequent halving to 6.25 BTC per block took place on 11th May 2020. 210,000 blocks x 10 minutes = 2,100,000 minutes = 35,000 hours = 1,458.33 days = 3.99 years. Hence, it takes about 4 years , give or take, to reach 210,000 blocks of transactions, before the next halving occurs . The Bitcoin protocol was also coded such that only a maximum 21 million bitcoin will ever be produced, and with the halving taking place every 4 years, the last bitcoin (or final part of it) shall be mined by the year 2140. Unlike paper money which can be printed by central banks through expansionary monetary policies which lead to inflation and drop in value of fiat currencies, the Bitcoin protocol creates a finite supply and capped limit of 21 million bitcoin, making bitcoin deflationary by design. Parallels can be drawn between bitcoin and gold, a commodity which is limited in its supply. If it is known that a particular gold mine will produce the last ever ounce of gold available in this world, what would happen to the price of gold? Unfortunately (or fortunately), no one knows for sure, but unlike gold, the last quantity of bitcoin available for mining is known. This ensures its increasing value based on its diminishing supply rate and increasing demand. His friends know [gbg] as an aficionado of just about anything with a 6502 processor in it. He's also interested in bitcoins. A while back, a friend asked if it would be possible to mine bitcoins with an old Nintendo Entertainment System. While this suggestion was made in jest, it's not one of those ideas anyone can let go of easily. Yes, it is possible to mine bitcoins with an NES, and [gbg] is here to show us how. Mining bitcoins is simply just performing a SHA256 hash on a random value from the bitcoin network and relaying the result of that calculation back to the Internet. Of course this requires an Internet to NES bridge; [gbg] brought in a Raspberry Pi for this task. There's the problem of actually getting data into an NES, though, and that's something only a USB CopyNES can handle. After doing some 32-bit math, the NES sends this out to the Raspberry Pi and onto the bitcoin network. When you consider that even a high-end gaming computer has little chance of mining a bitcoin in any reasonable amount of time, there's little chance RetroMiner will ever be able to mine a bitcoin. It's all random, though, so while it's possible , we'll just appreciate the awesome build for now. 25 thoughts on " Mining Bitcoins On A Nintendo " Has science gone to far?! Wouldn't the Raspberry Pi be faster at the calculations than the NES? The RP can output to a TV as well. This just seems silly. Shut your mouth sir. The whole point of it is to be silly. You can get an ASIC mining chip for 200$ that can do Bitcoin mining about 20 times faster than the best 4 card mining rig. Its just for shits and giggles.... i kinda wanna know the hashrate from it. I get that. It's just that it would have been more impressive had the interfacing hardware not been more powerful than the NES. Why does it matter what the interfacing hardware is? The point of this wasnt to get a NES to communicate with the internet, but to get a functional Bitcoin mining routine running on a NES, the interfacing hardware could be anything internet and USB capable. No matter how you interface with the NES, the bitcoin miner isnt functional without the rest of the bitcoin network, and the internet. I would hazard a guess that most, if not all, components of these networks will make the NES look like the computational chocolate fireguard. Where can I get this $200 ASIC chip? Because how cool would it be if there was a bitcoin out there that was mined by a 1.76MHz 6502! That's why people do things like this. Hacking is all about making things do things they weren't designed to do. This absolutely fits that definition. The problem is there won't ever be (you might argue that there is a very slim chance, but I would counter that there is more chance of aliens coming down and giving you a bitcoin). The difficulty rate is not only high now even for topend hardware, but also ever increasing. This writeup really isn't complete without a hash rate. Just estimating from the video, but it looks like it comes up with a hash every 10-11 seconds? When mining on a pool he should be able to get some satoshi's. It should find at least 1 share a day I think... I want a beowolf culster of this . I've been mining on the Pi's CPU for a few weeks, purely for entertainment purposes. If you join a pool you'll send them a few shares a day. I get about 180Kh/s from the CPU algorithm. Which is stupendously slow in terms of mining rigs... something like 3500 years per "expected" block generation. The NES will be a lot (lot) slower. I approve! How is a RasPi a faster miner than a GeForce 9800GT? I only get 22KH/s on mine with cudaminer, and that's five times the rate I can get from the AMD Phenon II X2 555 3.2 Ghz CPU. I've found a super deal on a Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 (300+ Kh/s) and an ASICminer USB Block Erupter. Block erupter was $12.49 on Amazon, after spending $10 in credits I got from Swagbucks. The video card was in a lot of four, $111 on an auction. Two of them won't be useful for mining, the 4th wasn't identifiable on the auction site but looks like it could possibly be useful. If not, I'll put the 9800GT in the second slot and boot XP to mine with both. (Damn you, Microsoft for making Vista and later only capable of running one video driver! What's next, limiting Windows to one network protocol and interface at a time, like Mac OS was?) The ASIC will do SHA256 switch pool mining while the GPU will do Scrypt switch pool, both on coinex.pw There's ways to get Bitcoin without mining for it directly. My electricity is six cents a KWh so that GPU will only cost about 24 cents a day (plus whatever the rest of the PC uses) and the ASIC's cost to run will be negligible. Why not participate in one of those shared schemes? i think the REAL point here is the software to do 256bit SHA alogarythms on an 8-BIT cpu. a CPU that MOST of the world sees as "only capable of games" and then doing something like bitcoins... shows just now "universal" a CPU is and how "restrictive" a lot of our modern OS's are. cough;CELLPHONEs, cough. PS: to anyone wanting to know hashrate? my (uneducated) guess would be a day at least, maybe weeks, for one coin/hash. 8 bits on a 2mhz computer doing 8bit math is 2mhz fast (assuming 1:1 cycles/instruction) but 256 bits on a 2mhz 8bit CPU is like 2mhz/32= The 6502 is a general CPU, not a video game console specialized one. Many early Atari, Apple and Commodore home computers used it. The NES CPU is not a "pure" 6502, but that doesn't have much bearing here. Your point about cell phones couldn't be more valid! The ARM CPU in your cellphone is also a general CPU. It happens to be more efficient and faster than a 6502. It's just got extra things tacked on the side, like a GPU. The NES OS is even more restrictive than an OS like Android. There is not a lot stopping you running your own code on the CPU in a cellphone (aside from locked boot-loaders). The point about cellphones couldn't be more INvalid. Rumors that a cooking game was using Nintendo Switches to mine cryptocurrency have lit up the internet. This weekend, one piece of news managed to cut through the noise on Twitter by virtue of its sheer absurdity. While it's since been denied by the creators of the game, claims circulated on Sunday that "Cooking Mama: Cookstar" was using players' Nintendo Switches to mine cryptocurrency. The game, which was originally slated for release in March 2020 per a trailer, is currently unavailable on the Nintendo eShop in the United States. On Sunday, a tweet featuring a screenshot from a Discord chat circulated on Twitter, spreading claims that the game was using players' consoles to mine cryptocurrency and potentially disseminate user information as well. The rumor went that the activities would lead to a spike in Switch network traffic and a severe decrease in battery life, and trigger the console to overheat.
From reading this article you'll already understand why that form of the argument is absolute nonsense (and also the reason we've never observed it in practice even though we've had two halvings already and the bitcoin price has fallen by more than 50% on several occasions): the mining difficulty adjustment. However, there is an edge case in which a mining death spiral could conceivably happen . The steel man form of the argument goes like this: At the worst possible time (that is, exactly after a difficulty adjustment), the price of bitcoin drops by an extreme amount (let's call it 99%), and; Very few or none of the miners believe it will ever come back up, and; Miners are physically able to almost immediately shut most (let's call this 99% as well) mining gear off. The result would be that the time it would take to find 2016 blocks for the next difficulty adjustment would be 100 times longer than normal (that is, 200 weeks, or almost 4 years). Moreover, the maximum difficulty adjustment is 4x in each direction, so the next difficulty adjustment would take another 50 weeks, then another 12.5 weeks, then another 4 until block times were normalised. In such a scenario you can imagine that the price would falter (although hasn't it already?) and that the future of the system could be called into question. In real life though, markets don't move like that. And if they did, a permanent 99% (or whatever) price drop would likely be a signal that something else was fundamentally wrong with the system itself. On top of that there are operational concerns on the part of miners that prevent shutdowns on such rapid timelines. Powering down a several hundred megawatt mine is not a matter of pulling a socket plug--you would risk severely damaging the local grid. Moreover, many miners have offtake agreements that mandate that they continue their draw for as long as they are able to pay their contracted bills. The point is: even when bitcoin prices significantly fall (which happens pretty much every year) or the mining reward is halved (which happens at predetermined time intervals), the physical and operational realities of the mining network are such that drawdowns in hashrate take time. In practice, hashrate reductions are therefore always smoothly caught by the dynamic difficulty adjustment and block frequencies never get anywhere near 'crisis levels' (whatever that even means). The Network Was Designed to Handle These Exact Situations. If you're worried that price drops or halvings will have long-term adverse effects on the operational workings of Bitcoin consider the following: This is the umpteenth time the price of bitcoin has seen a dramatic pullback--it happens pretty much every year at some point or another--and this is the third halving of the block reward. Because of the design choices we've explained above the mining network has never failed to produce blocks. The difficulty has reset downwards many times--sometimes dramatically as the result of a pullback in price (the November/December 2018 is an excellent example to study), but never has the network ground to a halt or even come anywhere close to it. Bitcoin as a monetary system is extremely robust. No matter where the price goes, block generation times are coldly and unemotionally kept at their preset levels by computers, not humans. There is no price level that could cause Bitcoin's emission rate to increase. When the dust settles on the current financial crisis, the Bitcoin monetary system will have created exactly as many bitcoins as originally intended. The same is not true of its government competitors. Disclosure. This material has been prepared by CoinShares and its affiliates for educational and informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as an offer or a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell a security nor is it to be construed as investment advice. Predictions, opinions and other information are expressed at the date of publication and are subject to change as circumstances vary. This information has been developed internally and/or obtained from third party sources believed to be reliable; however, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of such information. To the extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any use of or reliance on this information. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Whenever a miner solves a block by writing a signature with enough zeros, they broadcast it and the other miners validate the solution and check to make sure that the transactions listed are all valid. If it all checks out, miners will begin competing to solve a new block using the last block's signature as an input. That brings us, at last, to the question of why miners mine. This answer is actually simple, miners mine because the writer of a new block in the blockchain has permission from the protocol to give herself a reward of brand new bitcoins, called a coinbase transaction. That reward started at 50 bitcoins per block. Every four years the protocol is adjusted, reducing the reward by half. One day the reward will be very small, but miners can also be rewarded by collecting fees volunteered by users that request transactions. We've discussed why mining is necessary: to stop double spending by creating a ledger of all transactions, the blockchain. We've also learned, in simplified terms, how mining actually works. In future, we'll discuss what happens when miners collaborate to mine blocks, forming mining pools, and discuss the cryptography involved more thoroughly. Peter Van Valkenburgh is Director of Research at Coin Center. Why Bitcoin Miners Will Keep Mining. 17th March 2020. Bitcoin prices have dropped sharply, cutting mining revenues in half even before the actual incoming halving This situation will undoubtedly bring the 'mining death spiral' argument back to the forefront of the bitcoin media cycle 'Mining death spirals' do not actually happen in real life--they are highly theoretical edge cases without any historical real-world precedent Mining cost is largely a function of the difficulty , this is a dynamic metric determined by the protocol itself and it can adjust both up and down to keep block times at 10 minutes on average This will be challenging for high-cost miners and many will not survive If prices do not recover the hashrate will fall--and when the halving hits it will fall again --this is not a problem for Bitcoin, nor is it unprecedented. Glossary. Bitcoin - The Bitcoin protocol, network and monetary system bitcoin - The bitcoin monetary unit Hashrate - The total current number of hashes performed per second by the mining network Mining Difficulty - An automatically adjustable limit which regulates the cost of mining. For the Miners, This Price Move is Effectively Equivalent to the Halving. Since its February 2020 peak of around $10,500, the bitcoin price, and with it, the mining reward, has fallen by more than half. And in a way, for all of those who are worried about the halving this is a perfect prelude because the end effect on miners is the exact same. Hence, the hashrate dynamics we're likely to see in the upcoming weeks will be an excellent parallel to those we might also see after the halving in May. So what are we likely to see? Reductions in hashrate. And that's totally fine. Here's the how and why: The Mining Difficulty Adjustment Keeps Bitcoin Block Frequency Steady, No Matter the Amount of Total Network Hashrate. Miners rely on the mining reward to cover their ongoing electricity costs. The mining reward is made up of two parts: 1) Transaction fees; and 2) Newly created bitcoins. Miners have costs denominated in their local currency, so the purchasing power of their bitcoin income is dependent on the exchange rate between bitcoin and their local currency. When the bitcoin price falls, the miners' bitcoin income offers less purchasing power to cover ongoing electricity costs. As a result, the miners with the highest production cost will no longer be profitable and will be forced to stop mining (more on these dynamics here, reading it will make this article a lot easier to fully grasp). This is almost exactly analogous to normal commodity production cost curves. The overall network hashrate will then drop, but this is where the comparisons to normal commodity production stops. For example, iron production costs are the same no matter the price of iron, whereas the production cost of bitcoin is variable and dynamic (see accompanying graphic for an idealised illustration). Every 2016 blocks (approximately every 14 days), the Bitcoin protocol adjusts the difficulty to reflect the average hashrate of that period. The rule is simple: Bitcoin blocks should take exactly 10 minutes on average to create. If the 2016 blocks came every 9 minutes on average instead of every 10 minutes, the mining difficulty is increased. If blocks came every 11th minute on average the difficulty is reduced. Therefore: No matter how little or how much hashrate the combined mining network produces, the Bitcoin protocol will automatically adjust the difficulty such that new blocks are found every 10 minutes on average. Source: CoinShares Research. Remembering that new bitcoins are created every block, the difficulty adjustment ensures that no amount of added hashrate could make bitcoins be produced any faster than prescribed. The opposite is also true. An important net effect of this, is that the cost of mining always tends towards the market price of bitcoin. If the price of bitcoin increases, more hashpower will be brought online. This raises the difficulty until the cost of mining again approaches the price. If the price of bitcoin decreases, some hashpower will be removed from the network. This lowers the difficulty until the cost of mining again approaches the price. Unless the Price Recovers Sharply, the Hashrate Will Fall, Then the Difficulty. The bitcoin price is now down more than 50% from its 2020 highs. This means that miners' income has lost more than 50% of its purchasing power. The highest cost producers will now be unprofitable and some will even be cashflow negative. When miners turn cashflow negative they will turn off their gear and hashrate will fall. This will cause blocks to be produced more slowly than before. In turn, this means that the next time the difficulty is adjusted, it will be lowered, such that the remaining hashrate finds blocks at the same frequency as before. Whichever miners are able to remain cashflow positive during this transition period will end up having their cost of mining reduced . After the difficulty adjusts downwards, a new balance is found where the remaining miners find a higher percentage of blocks than they used to (aka, their bitcoin income is increased, making up for the loss of reduced prices per bitcoin sold). Bitcoin-denominated income therefore flows from inefficient high-cost producers to efficient low-cost producers, Bitcoin as a system will draw less power than it did before, and the average power it draws will be lower cost (aka, less useful for society) than the average power it drew before. The main overall effect is that the cost of writing (and rewriting) the chain decreases. But no one really knows how much chain-writing cost is enough , and that topic is way outside of the realm of what we can fit in this article (if you're interested we can recommend starting here, here and here). 'Mining Death Spirals' Exist Only in Theory, not in Practice. In price environments like these you will hear countless uninformed pundits peddle the 'mining death spiral' concern. The weak form of the argument generally goes like this: If bitcoin prices fall, mining will become unprofitable causing the hashrate to drop. This will grind the network to a halt since no new blocks are mined. This in turn will cause price to drop further causing more miners to shut down until no one is left mining and the price hits zero.