Grin is the community-led implementation of the Mimblewimble blockchain, a brand new cryptocurrency that boasts both privacy and scalability. However it’s notoriously difficult to mine – until now.
Cudo Miner‘s lightweight GUI software miner implements Grin’s full Cuckaroo29 and Cuckatoo31 proof of work algorithms under the hood, which means mining Grin on a Windows or Linux rig is now only a few clicks away.
Grin was only launched in January, but already has quite a following in the mining world due to its novel proof of work algorithms that favour high-end GPUs. For the first time, mining is memory latency-bound and not compute-bound which means it’s resistant to ASICs – for now.
Two ASIC manufacturers are reportedly developing Grin miners – Obelisk is working on its GRN-1 and Innosilicon recently announced its ASIC miner:
Innosilicon is happy to announce that our world class engineering team is currently designing a very cool Grin Asic miner to support the Grin community. We are going to launch our best-in-class miner early summer this year.
— Innosilicon Miner (@Inno_Miner) January 25, 2019
However, it’s not an easy ASIC to design and build. For starters, only one Grin algorithm is deemed “ASIC-friendly” – the so-called Cuckatoo31 (C31) PoW algorithm. But the clincher is that to be significantly faster than GPUs, the ASIC needs low latency on-chip SRAM – and lots of it. And there are limits to how many GB of SRAM can be squeezed into a chip, so a limiting factor is die size. As explained on the Grin Discord by user @Photon:
“SRAM latency is basically zero so lean mining is limited by maximum die size that can be manufactured. For mean mining the limit is bandwidth. C31 is asic targeted, because the PoW will not change in the future and does not have anti-asic measures like C29.”
This means the ASIC miners for C31 will be expensive – over $6,000 in the case of Obelisk – and even then, it’s not clear how much of a performance increase it’ll give you. For comparison, the SHA-256 algorithm used by Bitcoin is well-suited to ASICs because a custom chip can compute one new double-SHA-256-hash from a much smaller area of silicon than a CPU, and it can do so in far fewer clock cycles.
While the ASIC manufacturers figure it out, it means that GPU mining rigs have the upper hand.
With Cudo Miner‘s latest news announcement, you don’t need to spend the time at the command line figuring it out either. As Matt Hawkins, the Cudo Miner CEO, said: “Our goal is to make it as simple and reliable as possible to mine Mimblewimble crypto currencies, so GPU miners can run their rigs and farms without sleepless nights, worrying about lost revenue and configuration.”