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Open Source Radeon Gallium3D OpenCL Stack Adds Bitcoin Mining 140

Posted by timothy
from the top-priority dept.
hypnosec writes "The open-source Radeon Gallium3D OpenCL stack has been modified to support Bitcoin mining through the use of mining application 'bfgminer.' To mine Bitcoins using the open source GPU driver, one must use Tom Stellard's non-stock branches of Mesa, LLVM and libclc OpenCL library. Further, bfgminer must be patched as well. Once the patches are applied and modified code of the stack is used, users will be able to mine Bitcoins using the Radeon HD 5000 and Radeon HD 6000 graphics cards; however the cards have to be pre-HD6900 Cayman in case of the HD 6000 series."
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Open Source Radeon Gallium3D OpenCL Stack Adds Bitcoin Mining

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  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @10:51AM (#43422311)

    Bitcoins in a rational market would cost only as much as they cost to make with perhaps a small premium.
    Competition for commodities drives the market price down to near cost in a rational market. I wonder if increased competition will do that to this market as more and more way to mine get distributed. I doubt it though, but time will pop the bubble anyway.

    • Bitcoins in a rational market would cost only as much as they cost to make with perhaps a small premium.

      The supply is limited, so you can't just produce more.

      doubt it though, but time will pop the bubble anyway.

      What bubble? Plenty of people perform transactions using bitcoin to pay for goods and services every day and go away happy. How is that a bubble?

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        So they are all mined out?
        Then what are the big miners doing with all those ASICs?

        You can still mine Bitcoins, so they should not ever cost more than it costs to mine another one.

        The bubble is the absurdly high price vs the cost to mine/create one.

        • So they are all mined out?

          Won't happen: the supply rate decreases over time and approaches but does not reach zero.

          The bubble is the absurdly high price vs the cost to mine/create one.

          How much is the cost? It's gone up a lot. You have to buy either a stack of cards (expensive) and a lot of electricity, an FPGA (hugely expensive) and a moderate amount of electricity or an ASIC (if you can even find one) and a small amount of electricity.

          If I wanted to purchase something in bitcoins, the easiest thing to do,

          • by Sarten-X (1102295)

            How much is the cost? It's gone up a lot. You have to buy either a stack of cards (expensive) and a lot of electricity, an FPGA (hugely expensive) and a moderate amount of electricity or an ASIC (if you can even find one) and a small amount of electricity.

            You can also build a particle collider and turn lead into gold, but that doesn't raise the price of gold to a few billion dollars per ounce. The cost that matters is the cost of people's effort to get a Bitcoin. If people are actively hoarding Bitcoins, the price rises until a cheaper long-run investment is to buy the mining equipment. If people are selling off Bitcoins, then the cost that matters is what they're selling them for.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The supply is limited, so you can't just produce more.

        The system has a limit built in, yes, but production is not meant to completly cease for quite some time still. It will simply get exponentially harder, which will increase the bitcoin actual, objective worth (which is currently far, far below its going price).

        What bubble? Plenty of people perform transactions using bitcoin to pay for goods and services every day and go away happy.

        Plenty of people perform illegal transactions. Extremely few, from an eco

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          It will simply get exponentially harder, which will increase the bitcoin actual, objective worth

          Does that not sound like a pyramid scheme to you?

          The people on the ground floor get rich, everybody else does a lot of work for practically zero return.

          Then there's the manipulability of the 'price' of bitcoins. All it takes is a story on the web to crash the price (see story earlier today), then another story will bring them right back up again - there's no regulation so insider trading carries no penalty! Does that sound like somebody, somewhere might be ripping people off? It sure sounds like it to me.

          Th

          • by Anonymous Coward

            No, it doesn't sound like a pyramid scheme at all.

            Newcomers aren't paying anything to existing members, there's no downline or referral type scheme, and there's no recruitment requirements.

            It's more like someone who bought into a tech stock early. They had the foresight/luck to be an early adopter and are now being rewarded for it.

          • by julesh (229690)

            It will simply get exponentially harder, which will increase the bitcoin actual, objective worth

            Does that not sound like a pyramid scheme to you?

            No, actually that sounds like the *opposite* of a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes get exponentially harder to find new buyers for because the good they sell, membership of the scheme, becomes exponentially easier to acquire as the scheme grows, causing a crash of value of the memberships over time. Bitcoin becomes exponentially harder to acquire new coins over time, which should cause an increase in value. Or to put it another way: the problem with pyramid schemes is that they have no limit to their grow

      • > What bubble?

        "Those who fail to learn the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat them."

        http://www.activemanagersresource.com/images/TI/anatomy-of-a-bubble.png [activemana...source.com]

        --
        "EVERY civilization eventually collapses."

      • by maeka (518272) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @11:20AM (#43422617) Journal

        What bubble? Plenty of people perform transactions using bitcoin to pay for goods and services every day and go away happy. How is that a bubble?

        What bubble? Plenty of people performed transactions for houses in 2006 and went away happy. How was that a bubble?

        What bubble? Plenty of people performed transactions of dot-com stocks up through early 2010 and went away happy. How was that a bubble?

      • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @11:26AM (#43422679) Homepage

        What bubble? Plenty of people perform transactions using bitcoin to pay for goods and services every day and go away happy. How is that a bubble?

        People bought and sold houses during the housing bubble, and used dot-com companies every day in the dot-com bubble. Use has little to do whith being a bubble or not. The notion of a "bubble" is where the price of a commodity far exceeds its actual value. Yes, this can even apply to foreign currency like bitcoins. People are buying bitcoins more as an investment than for actual trade, so the price climbs higher, making everybody happy.

        Then something happens. A few more big thefts, or a flaw in the protocol is discovered, or an economic externality makes people sell off just a few coins at less-than-market price, so they're sure to sell quickly. Other investors see the price fall, and they worry about the bubble starting to burst, so they sell quick, too... and that makes the price drop more, and the cycle repeats, sending the price crashing back to a price on par with its actual value.

        The problem is that Bitcoins have very little intrinsic value. The value of national currencies is based on the stability ogf the government backing it, ultimately reflecting the currency's use for paying taxes and other government charges. Bitcoin isn't backed by a government, though, and even the prices for day-to-day trade are effectively just national currencies with an exchange rate and transaction fees applied. When the bubble finally bursts, Bitcoins' value will hover around the cost of the electricity & equipment to mine them, so investors can write off the purchase as a slight loss or slight profit.

        Like all bubbles, there are some get-rich-quick millionaires who made a fortune getting in early, but their money will effectively come at the expense of those who come in later, buying the bitcoins they're selling off. Someone's always left holding the bag.

        • by DrXym (126579)
          Even today the bitcoin value took a shit, nearly halving in value. It's clearly a bubble, or rather it's a crowd sourced ponzi

          Someone suggested Bitcoins should be called Dunning-Krugerands given the sort of people who think "investing" in this scam is a great idea.

        • by roman_mir (125474)

          When the bubble finally bursts, Bitcoins' value will hover around the cost of the electricity & equipment to mine them, so investors can write off the purchase as a slight loss or slight profit.

          - disclosure (if you need it), from my point of view gold is the real money, not US dollars, not Bitcoins, not Euros, not any fiat.

          however

          I disagree with your premise that Bitcoins have no intrinsic value (just like I disagree with the notion that gold doesn't have intrinsic value, it obviously does or that the US dollar has intrinsic value, it obviously does not)

          Bitcoins do have intrinsic value, which is tied to the value of the Internet or generally networking and being able to pass information around co

        • Someone's always left holding the bag.

          Maybe, but if the bag is small enough then it doesn't matter.

          Imagine that there was only a single Zimbabwe dollar bill. The way people trade is to move that single dollar bill round very very very fast. $1e9 trades have been made but when it suddenly loses all its value, the person at the end was holding a $1 bag, and they've lost a tiny bit.

          My point is what matters is how much bitcoin is used for trading versus how much is used for investment (i.e. hoarding).

          If bitcoi

          • by khallow (566160)
            As an aside to this, I noticed when I was researching Bitcoins, that there will at some point be a transition from being rewarded for creating money to being rewarded for computing transactions. At that point, the people with the massive computing power are going to have incentive to throw at least some of these Bitcoins into the market just to generate more trade volume.
            • by maeka (518272)

              At that point, the people with the massive computing power are going to have incentive to throw at least some of these Bitcoins into the market just to generate more trade volume.

              Bitcoin's exchange rate against the USD has no bearing on its utility as a token of exchange.

              With fast enough exchanges and sufficient enough liquidity ("enough" being the key word) the total amount of Bitcoins in circulation doesn't even have a large impact on trade volume. Bitcoins don't get consumed in the process of trading.

              Th

        • When the bubble finally bursts, Bitcoins' value will hover around the cost of the electricity & equipment to mine them, so investors can write off the purchase as a slight loss or slight profit.

          "Energy is the currency of the future." --CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly"

          A currency based on something solid, pretty much impossible to fake, and hard to get confused about. Compare that to national currencies base on different people's varying fuzzy perceptions of the stability of the issuing

        • by steve79 (1368223)

          >> The problem is that Bitcoins have very little intrinsic value. The value of national currencies is based on the stability ogf the government backing it, ultimately reflecting the currency's use for paying taxes and other government charges.

          There is no intrinsic value to any fiat currency (except maybe as a fuel to burn). The value of national currencies is NOT based on the stability of the government, it is based on supply and demand for the unit of currency. People want dollars because they are

        • by NewYork (1602285)

          Bitcoin will not succeed until it's pegged to OPEC oil.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_Shock [wikipedia.org]

      • by julesh (229690)

        Plenty of people perform transactions using bitcoin to pay for goods and services every day and go away happy. How is that a bubble?

        The value of bitcoins has ranged between $25 and $250 within the last month. How is that not a bubble?

    • Hmm, let's test your thesis the really simple way

      Dollars/Euros/Rand in a rational market would cost only as much as they cost to make with perhaps a small premium.

      Lesson: A medium of exchange (aka currency) is NOT necessarily a commodity.

      Scarcity of the commodity vs. demand for the commodity drives the market price up or down in a rational market. I wonder if increased competition will do that to this market as more and more way to mine get distributed. I doubt it though, but time will pop the bub
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        No those are currencies, not commodities.

        You cannot right now produce legal USD or Euro. You can produce bitcoins though. Once all the bitcoins are mined then you will be right, but for now there is no scarcity at all.

        • by Lazere (2809091)
          That's not exactly right. You aren't producing the bitcoins, the chain is. You're simply awarded bitcoins for doing work. Not once in this transaction do you ever actually create the coins. Besides, bitcoins are being made a a far slower rate than the USD or Euro.
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Semantics. The coins do not exist in the market until the mining is done.

            There are far more people who want USD or Euros, nor does anyone do fractional reserve banking with bitcoins.

            • by julesh (229690)

              Semantics. The coins do not exist in the market until the mining is done.

              Not semantics. You can't produce bitcoins because there is nothing you or I can do that will change the number of bitcoins that exist in the long term. Sure, we could acquire a huge number of ASICs and start mining, and we'd likely accumulate a huge pile of them. But all this will do is move them out of the hands of others who would have acquired them, the total number of bitcoins generated will remain the same as if we had taken no action at all. Therefore we didn't produce anything, we just moved stuf

        • by Terrasque (796014)

          but for now there is no scarcity at all.

          Then why don't you just drum up a few hundred thousand bitcoins and sell them? You'll be bloody rich, AND you will have the pleasure of crashing BitCoin market and show everyone how right you are and how wrong they were.

          From here [wikipedia.org]:

          Currently, 25 bitcoins are generated every 10 minutes. This will be halved to 12.5 BTC within the year 2017 and halved continuously every 4 years after until a hard-limit of 21 million bitcoins is reached within the year 2140.

          To compensate for increasing hardware speed and varying interest in running nodes over time, the proof-of-work difficulty is determined by a moving average targeting an average number of blocks per hour. If they're generated too fast, the difficulty increases.

          So the supply is rather fixed globally. If the demand is higher than the supply, there will be scarcity, and prices will rise. They might bounce up and down while the market adjusts, but as long as the demand is higher the average price will rise, until it's high enough that the de

    • Bitcoins in a rational market would cost only as much as they cost to make with perhaps a small premium.

      They are probably mined as much as is economical to do. The main sign that this is happening is that mining without the latest generation of GPU is uneconomical. Any short term speculation that drives the price higher just makes it a better deal to mine more.

      At the other end it's easy to imagine a situation where bitcoins aren't useful enough to be worth mining and the price drops below the cost to make them. As long as they're convenient for illegal transactions this won't happen.

    • by pla (258480)
      Bitcoins in a rational market would cost only as much as they cost to make with perhaps a small premium.

      You mean like US $20 bills, which cost 7.5 cents each to print? Or more like pennies (worth 2.5 cents of copper) or nickels (worth 7 cents of copper)?

      Though ironically enough, as an unregulated market, Bitcoins do have a value near their production cost, as measured in electricity. As the difficulty goes up, people switch to more energy efficient mining techniques (from CPU to GPU to ASIC) or quit
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Go try and make your own $20 bills.

        Bitcoins now consume $100+ of electricity to make?

        That only makes me think worse of them.

        • by julesh (229690)

          Bitcoins now consume $100+ of electricity to make?

          No, the energy cost is about 20c. But the investment in hardware required to get them at that price is about $2500 and would need to be ammortized into your calculations of costs over a reasonably short period (as the viable lifespan of that hardware can probably be measured in months at this point of time).

        • by julesh (229690)

          Also:

          Go try and make your own $20 bills.

          Go try and make your own bitcoins. You can't: the network makes them at a predictable and (over the long term) fixed rate, and gives them as a reward to users who provide a particular service to the network. You can do all the mining you want, but it won't cause a bitcoin to be created that would not otherwise have been created anyway.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            So if all mining stopped right now, new bitcoins will still be made? Who gets them if no one is mining?

            • by pla (258480)
              So if all mining stopped right now, new bitcoins will still be made? Who gets them if no one is mining?

              "Mining" a block just means taking the previous block's hash, adding a few fields to it and signing it with a new hash low enough to qualify at the required difficulty level.

              It sounds somewhat misleading to say that the network will still "make" blocks in the absence of mining - More accurately, the network uses the difficulty parameter to target ten minutes as the average block creation time. Until
    • by Molochi (555357)

      There is an article on the USA Today site regarding Bitcoin, what it is, and today's crash. USA Today is about as mainstream of coverage as you're going to get, so I would expect other mainstream newsources' articles and reports to be similar.

      I read its tone as implying a $10 per bitcoin value (or less) as the norm with the recent spike attributed to horders and speculators that are purchasing coins. That article also mentions a boom/bust in 2011. However it also makes the case that the increasing difficult

    • by steve79 (1368223)

      According to your view of the world Picasso's paintings should all cost, oh, about $500 bucks. All 1983 Bordeauxs should cost about $7. All circa 2006 mansions in las vegas built for $1MM (now selling for $500k), should always sell for $1MM. You need to take econ 101. Actually, just about everything in your post is incorrect.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Bu-bu-but it's such an amazing investment!
      • by Richy_T (111409)

        What was the price three weeks ago? Three months?

        • by DrXym (126579)
          Ah right, so if you are endowed with psychic powers or extreme luck you can exit with money. Such a wise investment. A bit like investing in a pyramid scheme, hoping that you can build enough chumps below you to be one of the few to exit with a profit.
          • by Richy_T (111409)

            Unless you got in in the last 10 days or so, you're probably still looking good. Though it remains to be seen what happens when MtGox reopens in a couple of hours.

  • That's Cayman as in Cayman Islands, right?

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@carp a n e t . net> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @11:05AM (#43422467) Homepage

    I didn't look, don't know if they addressed it. I setup a miner a while back (should have kept it going...damn). What really took the most time setting it up, was that I didn't know it couldn't be done without a desktop running!

    If I build a compute node, the last thing I want on it is a desktop. I don't want to have to login and start up the program....I want it to run on a headless box, and start from init.d or whatever the kids are using after I chase them off my lawn.

    • by Yebyen (59663)

      I am not 100% sure about this, but you can usually trick those programs that want to connect to a display using xvfb.

      It might not work. I use this trick to do headless capybara-webkit testing. Worst case scenario, you need to launch a real X-server with a display. You should not need a monitor (I could be wrong about this too), but you do need to fool the graphics card into letting you access its hardware for OpenCL purposes.

  • Editor.sh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jomama717 (779243) <jomama717@gmail.com> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @11:09AM (#43422503) Journal
    #!/bin/bash

    for submission in ${submissions[@]}; do
      if [ ! -z `echo $submission | grep -i "Bitcoin"` ]; then
        post $submission;
      fi
    done
    • by manu0601 (2221348)
      Please make standard-compliant shell-scripts, use #!/bin/sh
    • shopt -s nocasematch
      for s in ${subs[@]}; do
          [[ $s != *bitcoin* ]] && post "$s"
      done
  • With two 5830's in XFire I can hash at 520 MH/s, will this increase that?
    • by Yebyen (59663)

      Try it and see, will not likely cost you more than a couple dollars in lost mining revenue.

    • by n7ytd (230708)

      With two 5830's in XFire I can hash at 520 MH/s, will this increase that?

      Before I dumped all my hardware and got out of the mining business, I was getting 300MH/s from each of my 5830s in non cross-fire mode. I had one card that could run solid at 330MH/s, but the others became flakey at anything over 305 or so. Try slightly overclocking?

      • by Murdoch5 (1563847)
        Hmmm I'm getting 270 on the high end on each card with out pushing a hard over clock, they are slightly overclocked. I'd rather play it safe, I'm not trying to make any real money doing this.
  • by gumpish (682245) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @12:22PM (#43423475) Journal

    I wonder how many megatons of CO2 will be put into the atmostphere due to people mining bitcoins by the time it's no longer profitable.

    • I wonder how many CO2-eating tree saplings you can buy and plant, with a bitcoin.
      • by amorsen (7485)

        Irrelevant, the amount of bitcoins are independent of the effort spent to find them. Even if it did, it would still be irrelevant because increasing the supply of currency does not increase the supply of real goods, as the Spanish learned while colonizing South America.

    • by damm0 (14229)

      Processing new blocks will still be profitable because of the built-in "transaction fee" mechanism. Miners in the year 2100 may simply refuse to include transactions that don't have a fee of 0.000001 BTC, for example. At which point, there will be so many of them, that itself could be profitable. The profit is then not the fact that you minted 1 BTC, but the fact that you collected all the fees in the transaction block.

  • by jds91md (2439128)
    Bitcoin? Really? I thought news is information that someone cares about. 10 years from now people will chuckle or roll their eyes at the thought of Bitcoin. In 20 years, people will go "huh?" --JSt
  • Bitcoins won't fail due to a bubble. Maybe not even a hack. They will fail for basically the same reason any fledgling currency of any new country fails: instability. And you're seeing it now -- a pizza that cost once 10k bitcoins now costs 1/15th of one. These are MASSIVE stability swings. There is no stability. The buying power of a bitcoin is, and as far as I can tell, will always be, subject to huge swings. Why? Because there is no mechanism by which supply can ever be calibrated to demand. The

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