A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is a type of integrated circuit. A benefit of using an FPGA is that they can be given a unique configuration which can lower the amount of electricity consumed.
FPGAs are one of the types of integrated circuits used for mining in the virtual currency industry. FPGAs can increase the profitability of mining rewards (coinbase) and can flexibly respond to future changes to the algorithms of virtual currencies.
FPGAs are commonly used for a wide variety of electronics ranging from TVs and mobile devices to medical equipment for diagnostic imaging or performing ultrasounds. The circuit design of FPGAs can be altered without changing the hardware, which minimizes the cost and time of development.
The versatility of FPGAs can meet various needs and is an important feature, as users can change their specifications according to their specific needs.
In the early days of mining, miners would use the Central Processing Unit (CPU) that was already built into their own computers.
As more competition started mining, being able to perform massive amounts of calculations was advantageous which lead to the use of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) for mining. Currently, using Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) has become common.
ASICs are specialized for specific applications which can lead to high profitability. Their construction is simple, making them limited to their specific application. They are widely used and considered easy to use for beginners.
However, ASICs are unable to adapt to changes in a virtual currency’s algorithm which could cause them to become useless for mining in the future. Conversely, FPGAs can respond to changes in algorithms and switch to mining other currencies in response to the state of the market, which can lead to maximizing long-term profitability.