Either a GPU (graphics processing unit) miner or an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner. These can run from $500 to the tens of thousands. Some miners--particularly Ethereum miners--buy individual graphics cards (GPUs) as a low-cost way to cobble together mining operations. The photo below is a makeshift, home-made mining machine. The graphics cards are those rectangular blocks with whirring circles. Note the sandwich twist-ties holding the graphics cards to the metal pole. This is probably not the most efficient way to mine, and as you can guess, many miners are in it as much for the fun and challenge as for the money.
Altcoins are the new kid on the block and they are as unpredictable as they are exciting. With the biggest altcoins vying to take the top spot from bitcoin, they are all attempting to carve their own niches, with goals nothing short of re-imagining the way we do business, how we send and receive money, and how we transfer assets like properties and cars.
The blockchain is the underlying technology that drives all altcoins and the best way to visualize the blockchain is to think of it as a digital ledger. Let’s imagine a paper ledger into which cash transactions are entered. Mary would like to pay Jason $100. She meets Jason at a cafe along with Terry, the person in charge of maintaining the ledger. Mary gives the $100 bill to Jason, Jason puts it in his pocket, and Terry notes down the transaction: Mary to Jason $100.
Around 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto founded Bitcoin. At the time, a paper was published through the Cryptography Mailing List. The first Bitcoin software client was released in 2009, and he collaborated with many other developers on the open-source team, careful never to reveal his identity. By 2011, the enigmatic Bitcoin founder had disappeared. His peers understood how valuable this cryptocurrency was, and worked feverishly to develop it to its maximum potential.