I believe it was late 2012 when I discovered bitcoin, perhaps even earlier when I'd first heard of it. In fact, I remember the first time I'd heard of "bitcoin" was during LulzSec's rampage on the world, though that took place in 2011. My personal interaction with the concept itself took place a little later.
I had a pretty terrible laptop in which I searched about the concept of bitcoin, even spending hours on my phone reading up on the technology and how it worked, finding it utterly fascinating. Being into technology and the world of cyberpunk at the time, it instantly sounded incredible to me: anonymity, hardware fusing with software, and decentralisation. Escaping the oppressive central authorities that plague our world.
I installed bitcoin core, the desktop client wallet, and synced almost immediately. The network wasn't slowly creeping up on 1TB at that point, it was just a mere few megabytes. From there, I attempted, and failed for quite some time, to get CGMiner running for CPU mining. I remember mining at slushpool at first, then eventually moving to BTCGuild.
The space moved incredibly quickly, it didn't take long for CPU mining to become GPU mining, FGPA, then the first ASICs. I never really got into FGPA hardware, but I hopped onto ASIC hardware immediately, grabbing some Gridseed GC3355's, a dual miner capable of 10Gh/s on SHA256 algorithm and 370Kh/s on Scrypt per ASIC. I still own these little things, and I will never throw them away.
I ran them until 2017; and I have no idea how much they've managed to pay themselves off by that point, but I've always loved returning to them and throwing them on something just for the fun of it. Though this time it has been three years. Three entire years of the biggest developments in the crypto space in terms of technology. I'd say we've gone back a few steps in some ways, but that's for another post.
I've somewhat forgotten how to set these things up. They aren't as plug-in-and-play as modern ASIC hardware is. The drivers often need replacing and reinstalling, and the support in terms of mining hardware is all over the place. There's forks of BFGMiner, CGMiner, and CPUMiner, each with different arguments and additions in terms of overclocking and performance, taking advantage of the ASIC's dual mining potential, which today is kind of funny in comparison to today's hardware.
Well, to throw these things out of retirement I first had to find the suitable PSU's capable of supporting the ASIC's SHA256 voltage requirements, which are a bit higher than the Scrypt ones: 12V/5A. It took a bit of digging around, and that's fine, I found them eventually and had their little fans groaning with sadness over being woken up yet again.
Fortunately, I've kept my cluttered folder full of mining software throughout the years, often returning to it for fun and mining something random on my GPU. This includes the various forks of BFGMiner, CGMiner, and CPUMiner with their strange additions and support for the Gridseed GC3355. First step: assume there's a relatively modern Scrypt/SHA256 .bat file in one of those folders, or quickly write one, to test whether they're really functional still. Each of those folders is still riddled with configs from years back, for all kinds of now-dead coins. It's like stepping into the past and seeing ancient relics.
Here's the annoying part of the Gridseed GC3355: each individual ASIC has its own STM32 Virtual COM Port and requires manually installing the WinUSB driver via Zadig to support both Scrypt and SHA256. How exactly did the younger version of me put up with doing this so often?! 7 years ago, I was just 18.
So I've messed around with Zadig and the WinUSB drivers for a while, seeing Scrypt work just fine but SHA256 .bat configs struggling to stay open and discover the STM32 Virtual COM Port each ASIC is attached to. The concept of a .bat file opening and immediately closing itself is quickly addressed with the addition of the command "pause" in a new line in the config, allowing the .bat to execute and literally pause, detailing the issue rather than simply closing upon its failed attempt to successfully run.
Here is one old config I have that manages to successfully function:
This config seems to run, though I haven't been able to run the ASIC's long enough to obtain a share just yet, and I assume that's going to take quite a while given today's mining hardware and network hash rates.
Instead, I'm moving on, I want to set up a SHA256 config, knowing full-well I'll never get a share now that bitcoin's hash rate is approaching a Zetahash, and my measly Gridseed GC3355's amount to a whopping 20Gh/s. But it's all in good fun, and hey, maybe I can solo mine and see whether I can become the luckiest man alive? That's something to take into consideration, I guess.
So moving on, to mine SHA256 algorithm coins I have to migrate to another folder, to another forked version of mining software that supports the ASIC's dual mining and SHA256 mode. Having written a .bat file, again, I can share how different and annoying it is in comparison to the seemingly simplicity of the Scrypt algorithm's mining software.
For anyone relatively new to crypto or never really grasped much of an understanding: while my username is perfectly visible, as is my password, you can do absolutely nothing to my accounts aside from, and I'd greatly appreciate it, mine for me.
The configs of mining hardware use worker usernames and worker passwords, to have a miner username means nothing, as does having a mining password. If someone has my mining password, they can merely contribute to my worker's earnings and that's it. For the most part, the password of "x" is just encouraged as a result of its general lack of meaning.
But let's progress, again, into the complexities of setting up what could be considered a cryptocurrency fossil to compete with the evolved species that roam the land today: SHA256 is a lost cause for these ASIC's. I'd be lucky to get an accepted share with weeks of running, that is to assume I am attempting to mine bitcoin.
So, I have written the config for SHA256 mining, and it functions perfectly, giving me an incredible 20Gh/s of mining power to dominate with. But I won't be using that power, unfortunately. I'm going to try my luck with Scrypt coins, finding some relatively lower hash rate coins that don't have insane all-time-high-every-single-day mining difficulties.
And here we are. Two Gridseed GC3355 ASIC's back on the network. 377Kh/s each. Running Scrypt algorithm and attempting to get a single share on a multipool. I'm curious as to whether it'll happen anytime soon. And honestly, I really hope it does, regardless of whether it amounts to a single Satoshi or not. It's nice to have these things back, returning to the past and enjoying the incredible memories I had in what I consider to be a shared youth between me and a revolutionary technology.
I'll never throw these things away. They're a part of me. And even if once I did put them aside and purchase more modern hardware: Spondoolies SP20's at 3.7Th/s each (which I eventually sold before becoming obsolete, mostly because the noise they made was insanely intolerable), my heart remains with the Gridseed GC3355. The countless nights writing .bat configs and hopping on from all kinds of random pools and coins, just enjoying the space and the enthusiasm we all had for decentralised finance.
And even if nobody cares, and that one day I die, at least my passion for it all remains etched into a blockchain.