Micro mining denotes the restricted capacity mining event which can be carried out by commonly utilized Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled mobile devices, hand-held electronic devices, and home appliances.
The concept of micro mining was promoted as a solution to the mass adoption and scalability problem of cryptocurrency by making use of the restricted memory and processing power available in several home appliances — such as air conditioners, smart refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, as well as washing machines. The innovation has not yet become a success in its entirety, largely owing to the absence of IoT consumer adoption and the labour intensity of mining Bitcoin.
How Exactly Does Micro Mining Work?
Micro mining basically enables small devices that have connection to the internet, including IoT-connected appliances, e-readers, smartphones, etc. to mine for cryptocurrencies during their idle processing time. These household and personal appliances could then help their owners to generate small amounts of revenue that can assist in defraying their costs of operation or even purchasing costs.
Another factor behind the proposal of micro mining can be attributed to high transaction costs and delays in transaction processing, both of which were identified as the two greatest challenges to mass adoption of cryptocurrency networks, especially Bitcoin, during the increasing momentum to0 the crypto bubble of 2017/18. A number of crypto enthusiasts proposed utilizing connected devices for the dispersal of the computing power needed to mine cryptos, consequently accelerating the entire process and increasing its efficiency.
The Validation for IoT Micro Mining
The energy-intensive and computing mining process for cryptocurrencies that brought about the generation of new coins and validation of transactions prompted numerous crypto enthusiasts to find a solution beyond the capital-intensive and expensive mining operations. One of the proposed solutions was to use the Internet of Things (IoT) to ease this burden.
IoT refers to the ecosystem of Internet-connected accessories, smart devices, and appliances, that are fitted with memory modules, (micro-) controllers, and (micro-) processors. These devices have the capability to store, process, and exchange data with other networks and systems in real time —capabilities that were believed to be capable of being harnessed for mining use.
For example, a hypothetical IOTW blockchain system would permit micro mining supported by IoT-enabled white products. In theory, it would nullify the storage requirement of the transaction ledger as well as its maintenance by the device, and “outsource” this ledger storage and maintenance responsibility to several reliable, pre-established nodes on the IOTW blockchain.
In this case, the household appliance only carries out the restricted activity of confirming the transaction and transferring the necessary information to the trusted node. The network nodes would then receive these validated transactions from different devices, storing them in the network ledger according to required consensus and authentication.
This delegation of maintenance, processing, and storage to the trusted and reliable nodes would nullify the necessity of the low-end device to possess high memory and computation power but still allow it to make significant contribution towards the mining process, which thereby leads to higher scalability and swift execution of transactions.
The Future of IoT Micro Mining
IoT micro mining is not expected to manifest anytime soon. The visionary version of this argument, which received momentum in popular culture circa 2011, was founded on the belief that internet-enabled devices would be largely popular and adopted by the close of the decade. Today, the belief that every electronic appliance in our homes would communicate with every other gadget seems farfetched, and the belief that owners of devices would gain by amassing crypto coins so as to contribute towards mining is far from becoming a reality.
What went wrong? From the onset, the standard mining activity of top cryptocurrency networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum demanded high-end hardware even as far back as 2013. The available limited resources in the computers of consumer goods can not meet up to those requirements, which actually became even more burdensome with the entry of more dedicated players in the mining space. Moreover, the halving of Bitcoin means the capital needed for Bitcoin mining is becoming exponentially more cumbersome, and not less.
On the other hand, the hope for IoT boosters was greatly off the reality level. Following the delivery of the initial consumer-focused IoT devices to market, technology manufacturers have come to the realization that a lot of consumers are not interested in internet-connected garage door openers and toothbrushes because they don’t really add value to the function of those things.
Moreover, a particular industry analyst presented it thus, “the development process for IoT laid bare the inherent friction between the ‘internet’ and the ‘things’ worlds. The internet (or software) world is characterized by much greater tolerance of faults, less robust testing, and faster iteration and time to market. The hardware industry, in contrast, comes from a heritage of organizations that are much more risk-averse, understandably so because when hardware fails people die.” This is indeed quite accurate for industrial applications of the Internet of Things as it is for consumer applications too.
- Micro mining was a proposed idea for internet-connected things (IoT) and mobile devices to mine little volume of cryptocurrency as a process of fast tracking transactions and reducing the costs of devices.
- The proposal appeared to be rather impractical for two reasons: first, mining proof-of-work cryptos such as Bitcoin grew to be extremely capital intensive than what could be carried out on an embedded processor. Secondly, the Internet of Things (IoT) was unable to meet the expectations of growth.
- There is however a possibility that micro mining can still make a comeback later in the future, with the growth and success of the IoT and several alternative cryptocurrencies.
In conclusion, neither industries nor consumers saw any real value in the leasehold of the computational power of their devices (whatever was there because there really wasn’t much in the first place) as a result of the fact that the value of cryptocurrency mining does not support the capacity loss. At the end of the day, micro mining utilizing IoT is till today merely a science fiction ‘fantasy’ and not yet a practical reality.