A bitcoin address is a string of characters that represents a wallet that can send and receive cryptocurrency. It is akin to a real-life address, email or website. Every address is unique and denotes the location of a wallet on the blockchain.

Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)

An application-specific integrated circuit (abbreviated as ASIC) is an integrated circuit (IC) customized for a particular use, rather than intended for general-purpose use. In Bitcoin mining hardware, ASICs were the next step of development after CPUs, GPUs and FPGAs. Capable of easily outperforming the aforementioned platforms for Bitcoin mining in both speed and efficiency, all Bitcoin mining hardware that is practical in use will make use of one or more Bitcoin (SHA256d) ASICs. Note that Bitcoin ASIC chips generally can only be used for Bitcoin mining. While there are rare exceptions - for example chips that mine both Bitcoin and scrypt - this is often because the chip package effectively has two ASICs: one for Bitcoin and one for scrypt. The ASIC chip of choice determines, in large part, the cost and efficiency of a given miner, as ASIC development and manufacture are very expensive processes, and the ASIC chips themselves are often the components that require the most power on a Bitcoin miner. While there are many Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturers, some of these should be seen as systems integrators - using the ASIC chips manufactured by other parties, and combining them with other electronic components on a board to form the Bitcoin mining hardware.

ASIC Miner

An ASIC Bitcoin miner is designed exclusively for the purpose of mining bitcoin. Though significantly more expensive to purchase, they are far more powerful (higher hash rate) and electricity-efficient than CPUs and GPUs (graphics cards) – used for mining in the early days of bitcoin – and even FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), which were, in 2011, the most efficient option. According to Mike Murray, creator of The Geek Pub, a $2500 ASIC miner is as powerful as 400 GPUs, or 12,000 CPUs, which would cost $18 million. For reference, as of February 2018, the Bitmain Antminer S9 possessed the highest available hashrate at ~14 TH/s, with an efficiency of ~0.1 Joule per GH/s, and cost $3200 on Amazon, not including the power supply. ASIC for bitcoin mining hardware Mining is now so competitive, and the difficulty rate so high, that attempting to do so without an ASIC is unprofitable. Because ASIC mining hardware is so expensive, ASIC for bitcoin mining is done by companies in thermally-regulated data-centers with access to low-cost electricity. Many of these companies lease part of their mining power as a service.

Bitcoin Address

A Bitcoin address is similar to a physical address or an email. It is the only information you need to provide for someone to pay you with Bitcoin. Addresses are anonymous and do not contain information about the owner. A bitcoin address can be obtained for freeusing specialized Bitcoin software. Bitcoin address example: 14qViLJfdGaP7EeHnDyJbBGQysnCpwk3gd. Addresses can be generated at no cost by any user of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Halving

The amount of bitcoins issued in each block reward is halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every 4 years). The supply of bitcoin is finite; there will only ever be 21 million bitcoin in existence. In 2008, block rewards were set to issue 50 bitcoins; in November 2012 this amount became 25 bitcoins, and in July 2016 it became 12.5. Following this schedule, it is estimated that the last bitcoin will be mined in the year 2140, when the cap of 21 million bitcoins is reached.

Bitcoin Network

The bitcoin network is a peer-to-peer payment network that operates on a cryptographic protocol. Users send and receive bitcoins, the units of currency, by broadcasting digitally signed messages to the network using bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet software. Transactions are recorded into a distributed, replicated public database known as the blockchain, with consensus achieved by a proof-of-work system called mining. Satoshi Nakamoto, the designer of bitcoin, claimed that design and coding of bitcoin began in 2007. The project was released in 2009 as open source software.


A bitcoin block is a permanently recorded file containing information on transactions. Each block includes the cryptographic hash of the prior block in the blockchain, linking the two. The linked blocks form a blockchain. If you think of blockchain as a big spreadsheet in the cloud, then each row in the spreadsheet might be a block.

Block Explorer

A Block Explorer is a web application to view and query blocks on the Blockchain. The primary function is to allow anyone with an Internet connection to track bitcoin transactions or interactions, regardless of his or her level of knowledge and expertise.

Block Reward

The successful miner finding the new block is allowed by the rest of the network to reward themselves with newly created bitcoins and transaction fees. As of 11 May 2020, the reward amounted to 6.25 newly created bitcoins per block added to the blockchain, plus any transaction fees from payments processed by the block. To mine half of the supply of bitcoins took four years but the remainder will take another 120 years, because of an artificial process called "bitcoin halving" according to which miners are compensated by fewer BTC as time goes on.


A blockchain, originally block chain, is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a Merkle tree). By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of its data. This is because once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks.