What is the potential that the ASICs being developed for mining could be used for other cryptographic applications such as building rainbow tables? I know that for instance those that crack GSM with rainbow tables utilize systems similar to those for mining for building rainbow tables and decrypting GSM packets. Such systems are also used for building MD5, SHA, rainbow tables for traditional password/shadowfile cracking.
The ASICs are optimized for bitcoin mining. Not just Sha256(Sha256(x)) hashing, but very specifically bitcoin mining. You can't even use them for the Sha256(Sha256(x)) hashing in the rest of the bitcoin system, like hashing transactions.
The ASICs are made for hashing 80 bytes, where you give them the midstate from hashing the first chunk (64 bytes), and 12 bytes from the second chunk. They then try all variations of the last 4 bytes to try and find a hash that starts with 4 zero-bytes. Only values that result in the 4 zero-bytes are reported at all. That's basically what mining is.
The ASIC could aid in password cracking if:
TLDR; forget about it.
ASICs for BTC mining are optimized for one calculation:
|show 2 more comments|
Lets say you want to build a rainbow table of double-sha-256, you then want to calculate 2^256 hashes which is 1.579*10^77 hashes lets divived by on the average ASIC power we have (one at 30Ghash/s):
Which is, correct me, more than the time of the UNIVERSE!
And if we took the actual bitcoin network power (@ about 20 Thash/s), we would still wait 1.8358*10^56 YEARS. Which is not even really faster.
So well good luck trying to do a rainbow table, I guess.