It's pretty easy to reuse CPUs or Video cards that were previously used for Bitcoin hashing, but what can I do with FPGA hardware when the difficulty becomes too high for it to be worthwhile to mine?

Are there competing networks I can mine for? Are there other technologies (like email/hashcash) that can reuse the hardware with little modification?

Is there a similar way to recycle old ASIC's when the time comes?


3 Answers 3


FPGAs and GPUs are reprogrammable, so you can use them for anything. FPGAs require some specialised programming, while GPUs just use OpenCL.

ASICs have specialised chips highly optimised for mining and only mining. I don't think they could ever be reprogrammed or reused to do anything else than mining blocks according to Bitcoin rules.

As for what to do with that hardware, have you considered such noble causes as Folding@home, or perhaps less noble split-key vanity mining, for example through my Vanity Pool website?


You could try reselling your FPGA board, especially if it is a fairly generic board rather than one purpose-built for mining. I remember having bought one for an electronics prototyping project. And some young electronics enthusiasts can be rather budget-constrained, so there are chances you can get (some) money for it, though surely nothing close to what the latest and coolest prototyping boards will fetch...

  • 1
    Alternatively, if it has to be computing, there probably are ways you could use it. Number theoretic computations (say, finding big primes or factoring large numbers) and password cracking come to mind as applications that could probably make good use of either video cards or FPGAs. Note that these are activities that attract both academic researchers and cybercriminals---there are possible nefarious applications. Consider checking who you're helping if you find a way to do it as black-box-like as joining a mining pool. Just going for the highest offer might land you with the wrong bunch.
    – user6049
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 10:33

You could use your obsolete mining hardware to help cryptographers find some collision for the sha256 hash function. See this page for the relevant project.

  • Is this yours? Thanks for setting it up. My personal opinion is that this kind of stress-testing and research would be best applied to Sha 3. (Graphics cards and FPGAs could be ideal). Would also be good to see the distinct value add of this research against what has already been done in KDFs. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_derivation_function Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 17:37

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