Cryptocurrency Mining is making it impossible to buy a graphics card

If you've heard of BitCoin (or one of its many cousins, like Dogecoin), then you know what cryptocurrency is. If you were trying to buy a new graphics card this summer, then you probably also noticed the money you set aside is no longer enough. What's been happening?

In short, mining has made a comeback. This means that digital currency miners have been buying out stock of several Nvidia and AMD cards all over the internet, causing a spike in prices of (almost) every kind of card, even the older GTX models.

So, before I enter and angry rant, what's all the hubub? Why are these coins back in the spotlight? It's due to the rise in popularity of Ethereum. Ethereum, however, is not a currency; it is an open-source platform that uses blockchains and features "smart contracts", which facilitates online contractual agreements (like the kinds that feature exchange of currency). This explanation is very simplistic, as a whole other blogpost could be dedicated just to Ethereum.

Mainly, what you need to know is that Ethereum does not require a specific hardware set up to run, thus any newly-purchased graphics card becomes a good candidate for a mining operation. That brings us to where we are today.

If you already had the big bucks to spend on the newest models of cards (like the 1080 Ti, for example), your only problem might just be stock shortage. Because, if no specific setup is needed, one might as well save money by buying the 2nd or 3rd best model. The same type of mid-range model the average PC gamer might want. So, for someone who just wanted an AMD RX 580, this is how I feel:

To better illustrate this point, here is a chart courtesy of this article from DigitalTrends:

So, what to do? At this point, one either has to wait it out if they didn't already upgrade in the Spring. I supposed the early bird does get the worm.


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