The rise of riser cards: cryptocurrencies have ushered in an era of wastefulness

In order to meet the demand of the cryptocurrency bubble, hardware manufacturers have increased manufacturing of “riser cards”.  A riser card allows bulky expansion cards such as graphics cards to attach to a motherboard without being inhibited by a shortage of space on the motherboard.

The demand for video cards and riser cards have risen dramatically due to the cryptocurrency craze.  Many mining programs are able to use the graphics processing unit (GPU) instead of a CPU. Graphics cards require a relatively small space and are easier to install compared to CPU chipsets.

The problem is that a large proportion of these peripherals are being manufactured and bought solely to mine cryptocurrencies.

I will firmly stand with my prediction that fundamentals will drive the price of cryptocurrencies much lower in the long run (you can’t engineer scarcity, a fundamental property of money, from software). In the short term, however, psychology and leverage-fueled speculation has ushered in this era of wastefulness.

Nearly $400 million annually is spent on infrastructure to mine BitCoin. This means $400 million annually is diverted away from investment into more fundamentally sound technology using the blockchain. Millions are spent on needless hardware, which will undoubtedly start hitting the landfills when BitCoin and other cryptocurrencies reach their real market value.  The energy and hardware upkeep costs to continue mining will become unprofitable, and one can only hope all the excess video cards and riser cards will be repurposed for something more useful.

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Despite my realistic outlook on cryptocurrencies, there is no reason to ignore taking advantage of the short term bubble at no risk. Check out my guide to automatically mining Monero while away from your home and work computers.

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