|Additional Note: ASIC vs. GPU mining
ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) are custom-designed microcircuits optimized to execute a limited instruction set very rapidly. Bitmain, a Beijing-based concern, is the dominant designer and manufacturer of ASIC-based mining systems. Where an ASIC is applicable, it is vastly cheaper and faster than competing solutions.
Some cryptocurrencies are “ASIC-resistant”, typically requiring much more memory. GPUs (Graphical Processing Units), a market dominated by Nvidia and AMD, offer the best architecture, whereas CPU (Central Processing Unit) mining is far slower, and because it uses more power per calculation, is less economic. Ethereum is the most popular ASIC-resistant currency.