Bitcoin had a pretty fun run this past 2015, and there have been many positive news reports and predictions as we wrap up the year. Cryptocurrency is often filled with forecasts and speculation about what’s to come or what is triggering an individual event. However, there are real-world products and the businesses behind them that are showing actual results in our industry. Bitcoin infrastructure is growing, and this article will list some of the devices and companies that have strengthened and helped grow the burgeoning Bitcoin industry.
Bitcoin miners secure the network and the hardware that goes along with this profession or hobby has come a long way. Businesses who have created the hardware behind mining the digital currency have made breakthroughs in computational science while also securing the networks infrastructure within and outside the system. The mining industry itself has had many startups fall through the cracks and fail. Nevertheless, there are some who have stayed healthy and kept up the technology as the difficulty increased. Mining rigs are getting smarter and faster every day, and there are three companies that are showing the industry that the momentum is moving forward.
The company Bitmain has been a top mining equipment provider for quite some time. The China-based business has produced miners in the industry since 2013 and has remained in the crypto-environment as a leader. Bitmain has been known for its Antminer series of mining rigs that have been well reviewed by consumers. On Amazon, most of the company’s products have a four out five stars, and online reviews of the rigs are above average. Co-founder of Bitmain Wu Jihan has seen his business grow and believes there is “still growing demand in this space and that bitcoin use will continue to trend upwards.”
The Stockholm, Sweden-based KnCMiner is also a well-known mining hardware developer that has been producing cutting-edge ASIC miners since 2013. Its hardware reviews on Amazon and eBay are also above average and the company has a well-known reputation. The company has received millions in equity funding and has used this money towards further development. In the summer of 2015 the company released its 16nm solar chip that sped up processing speed in this technological race. The business also announced a new mining facility they were building in Sweden upping the hash rate in tandem with the numerous farms around the world. Sam Cole, KnCMiner’s CEO, said in June of 2015:
“We’ve produced four consecutive all-new chip designs in only two years, exceeding even Moore’s Law and we see no signs of this development slowing down going forward.”
BitFury has had a standout 2015 as well showing the world its position in the Bitcoin industry. This past summer, the company announced it had acquired 20 million in additional venture funding towards its investments. Created in 2011, BitFury Group has raised $60m USD in funding and has kept its position as a reputable infrastructure provider today. Headquartered in San Francisco and Amsterdam, BitFury has also announced its own 16nm chip and new facilities in the Republic of Georgia.
These three companies have produced hardware that has continued to change the industry revolving around Bitcoin. They have produced real-world results and have shown the growth of this environment first hand.
The rise of hardware wallets has shown a significant amount of growth within the cryptocurrency industry. Companies like Trezor and Ledger have shown they want to keep their leading positions in this space. Newer startups have stepped into the hardware wallet sector this year including KeepKey and Case. Trezor has carried on its success in 2015 by expanding its service to 100 countries worldwide and has remained a leader in the hardware wallet realm. A long way since the company’s initial inception in 2012, says Alena Vranova, who explained that “the milestone is something that we had not even expected since we started to research the concept of a hardware wallet.” Since this time the Trezor product has received solid reviews and kept users’ bitcoins secure.
Ledger is also a hardware wallet startup that has produced an affordable device to protect a person’s digital currency. Headquartered in Paris, the startup serves over 50 countries worldwide and maintains trusted services since 2014. The wallet consists of a small chip that encrypts your transactions and information within the device. The application runs off Google’s Chrome and also has a fair amount of good reviews from consumers concerning its product line.
Meanwhile, KeepKey and Case are new hardware wallet competitors coming into the digital currency arena. Reviews of these devices are just starting to come forward, and they seem to have similar concepts regarding security within the physical wallet space. It’s too early to give a solid review on these two companies, but they have added hardware security solutions to the industry giving people more choices in this storage field.
As the price of Bitcoin has risen, it is no surprise that sales of hardware wallets have also increased. 2015 has been a solid year for this type of architecture and innovation in this field is expected to continue in 2016.
The Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi single-board computers have really made a giant splash in the cryptocurrency environment and the computing world in general. The credit card-sized Raspberry Pi has been distributed worldwide and has made a significant impact within Bitcoin development by producing more nodes and applications, adding to the decentralization of the network. In a very low-cost way, anyone can create a Bitcoin computer that processes microtransactions and also serves as a full node. The tiny computer has strengthened the crypto-industry for the better and has become a very popular tool for computer science.
In February of 2015, the U.K.-made Raspberry Pi microcomputer had surpassed 5 million sales after the company felt it would only produce a few thousand. These small computers have been quite affordable for developers hovering around $20-30 USD apiece enabling developers’ creative tinkering. In November, Raspberry Pi announced its newest concept called, the “Zero.” The microcomputer has a low price of just $5 USD and shows that building cool applications and devices can now be done by anyone with any income. Raspberry Pi model B, Pi Zero operates at 1GHz with 512MB of RAM, which can operate quite a few functionalities within the crypto-world and other computational sciences.
These small computers are bringing further innovation and new tools to the Bitcoin ecosystem by facilitating growth and innovation at a low cost.
Mining hardware, physical wallets and microcomputers have added significant strength to the overall network. These companies and items have produced real-world results and have shown positive innovation within the cryptocurrency industry. Speculation and forecasts provide very little to this growing economy. Whereas reputable companies and quality products truly bolster this industry creating a stronger and more dependable network. While vaporware and teams producing absolutely no value are a dime a dozen, there are those who are indeed adding real value to the Bitcoin ecosystem and it will be interesting to see what they will bring to the table in 2016.
What do you think about the latest hardware devices throughout the industry and the companies behind them? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and the various business websites mentioned above.