Following the recent Ether boom it’s unsurprising that a massive amount of Radeon 480 to 580 graphics cards – widely regarded as being the most efficient for Ethereum mining – are completely sold out nationwide.
Ethereum doesn’t seem to be able to be stopped: this week alone it has risen from a low of £168 to a high of £207 and shows no signs of slowing down.
“If you’re having trouble finding the higher end AMD RX cards at the moment, you’re not the only one!” – PC Gamer
Mining is the process of creating new Ethereum: it’s essentially a process of crowdsourcing the minting of new coins.
On a miner’s GPU (or GPUs!) many complex calculations are solved and contributed towards the current Block in a pool. Once enough algorithms have been solved the block is refreshed and miners are paid a share based on their contribution.
It’s a system that can be closely maintained to ensure Ethereum still has value whilst at the same time giving the system usability and giving the coin intrinsic value. Miners get a good deal out of it, too!
It’s important to note that this is temporary, however. Soon we’ll reach the PoS stage of Ethereum’s life cycle (Proof of Stake) whereby you can contribute to Ethereum by agreeing to store your Ether away for use on the network.
We don’t know exactly when this will occur and there are no clear signs pointing to even a hint of when it will be.
There is a roadmap laid out on Ethereum’s website explaining that Eth first needs security and protocol upgrades before reaching this point.
In the meantime mining remains a profitable activity and a fun hobby to get involved with, which is why there is a mass sell out of these graphics cards.