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If I purchase a card (or similar device) that claims to mine Bitcoins at 10 GH/s, will that device also work for other currencies? That is, would the device also work on a multi-pool for litecoins, dogecoins, etc?

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ASICs (Application-specific integrated circuits) are especially manufactured for one specific hashing algorithm. Therefore, a Bitcoin ASIC using SHA-256 will not work for Litecoin or Dogecoin as they both use Scrypt. One example for ASICs are the Butterfly bitcoin miners.

There are altcoins that also use SHA-256, such as Freicoin, Peercoin or Namecoin. An overview can be found at altcoins.com.

CPU and GPU can be used for any Coin, but the number of hashes will be different. A card mining SHA-256 (Bitcoin) at 10GH/s will produce much fewer hashes in Scrypt (Litecoin, Dogecoin), because Scrypt is much more complex.

  • So... I could theoretically use this box to mine Scrypt, but the rate might be 10 MH/s instead of 10 GH/s. Is that true? – WEFX Jan 3 '14 at 15:57
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    @WEFX: NO. Butterfly Labs' products are specifically geared towards SHA-256, nothing else. You can't mine a coin whose proof-of-work is scrypt, scrypt-Jane, Cunningham-chains, etc. Their products could only be used for other SHA-256 based coins such as Freicoin, PPCoin or Namecoin. – Joe Pineda Jan 3 '14 at 16:41
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    What Murch says is related to graphic cards such as NVidia and ATI products. Usually, a GPU mining at a certain hash for SHA-256 will deliver 1000x less hashpower for scrypt: say, instead of 500 mega-hashes per sec. in SHA-256, you'd get about 500 Kilo-hashes for scrypt-coins – Joe Pineda Jan 3 '14 at 16:42
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It really depends on which kind of card. If it's a GPU you can mine whatever you want. If its an FPGA which you can reprogram you can switch to the scrypt algorithm too. If you purchase an ASICS (i.e. butterflylabs) this means it's optimized to work with SHA-256 algorithm only and will therefore not work for "scrypt-coins" (dodge, ltc, ...).

  • Okay, so this box from Butterfly wouldn't work for anything besides Bitcoins? – WEFX Jan 3 '14 at 15:46
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    @WEFX Check this page: coinwarz.com/cryptocurrency All coins that have "SHA-256" below their icon can be mined with that box: Freicoin, eMark, Peercoin, Tekcoin, Terracoin, tigercoin... notice also they're the less profitable, precisely because too much people with ASICs are now redirecting their hash power towards them. – Joe Pineda Jan 3 '14 at 16:52
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Now that I think of it, since Quarkcoin applies several different hash functions in series, and one of them is precisely good-old SHA-256, you could theoretically use that box to speed-up quarkcoin mining by changing the miner software to take advantage of the ASIC's hash power just for that small step, then take the result back to the CPU for further processing.

It'd require significant changes to the miner, of course, and I don't think gains of more than 15% could be seen - and probably that number's too optimistic.

So besides freicoin, tigercoin and others that use pure SHA-256 as their proof-of-work, here's another coin whose mining could potentially benefit from a spicy Jalapeño.

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    I haven't really studied Quarkcoin all that much, but since there are several hash-functions used one after the other, I don't think that the speed-up would justify the expenditures for a SHA-256 ASIC and its power cost. – Murch Jan 4 '14 at 13:45
  • @Murch: ¡exactly! 6 hashes (out of 9 possible ones), one after the other, and only one step would be hardware accelerated. That's why I said you could never see more than a 15% (i.e. ~1/6) improvement in your mining times, and I'm sure that number's VERY optimistic :) – Joe Pineda Jan 7 '14 at 2:16

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