CRYPTO MINER PI

Disclaimer

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Warning

To extract the crypto currency generated you will need to set up your own wallet. You will need to do your own research into each currency you decide to mine, and setup your own wallets. This will not be covered in this project.

Please ensure you are using the latest SD Card image which is available here.

 

Teacher Overview

Blockchain is the technology that is the foundation of crypto currencies, that uses a list of hashes created by all the transactions that have occurred. Mining is the process of checking the history of the hashes in a specific block and making sure nothing has changed. The first widely released crypto currency was bitcoin, which launched in 2009 and was intended to be a decentralised currency that wasn’t controlled by any banks or large corporations. This is the ethos that can be seen in most of the other crypto currencies that have been created since then, there are over 1500 different crypto currencies that are being mined and in distribution now, with more being created and released daily. The popularity of a crypto currency is dependent on its use as this also equates to its real currency worth that is then traded on the stock markets, as more people mine and more importantly use a currency its worth will increase. A hash is a cryptographic function that is created by inputting string into the hash function and the output is a unique string that cannot be reverse engineered back to original input string. This maintains the security and integrity of the system and increases the trust of the users of the currency, so it is used more.

Mining is the process of comparing a section of the blockchain called a block, using the processing power of the PC to do this as fast as possible. This used to be able to be done on a commercial Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), but different currencies also increase the difficulty of completing the hashing process. With Bitcoin this has increased the difficulty to a point where using a GPU is not feasible and will not create enough profit between the initial costs and electricity used to make mining this way possible. To mine Bitcoin there are custom made devices called Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are used which increase the hash rate and lower the power consumption so when used in large numbers makes mining Bitcoin more profitable. There are a range of other currencies that are easier to mine and do not require specialised hardware like Bitcoin does. The other way of mining is contributing to a pool of miners, instead of working alone and you are then rewarded for your contribution to the pool. This can be much more profitable in the long-term if you configure your mining device properly.

Suggested Year Group

The suggested age group is 16+, due to the nature of this project and the skills it is developing.

 

Learning Outcomes

  • Teach the students about crypto currencies and develop understanding;

  • Instruct the students how mining works;

  • Show the students how to configure the Raspberry Pi to mine as a part of a pool.

 

Hardware Required

Component Number (Peli Case)

(Base) 4 + 5

(Base) 5

(Level 1) 3

(Level 1) 3

(Level 1) 5

(Level 1) 1

Component Number (Box Case)

Slot 1

Slot 11

Slot 11

Slot 11

Slot 12

Slot 13

Component

Raspberry Pi + Case

Raspbian SD Card

HDMI

Wireless Keyboard

Wireless Mouse

Power Supply

 
 

Conclusion

There is a big stigma around the world of crypto currencies and blockchain and its relationship with the dark web and criminal enterprise. While there is an association, it is no more than the association with legitimate currency and crime. Blockchain has a wide range of application and is being used for more than just crypto currencies. Invite the students to research the additional applications of blockchain, such as property security, IoT, etc. While using the Pi for mining is not profitable it is an easy introduction to the world of crypto currencies and the blockchain in cyber security, students need to understand how this project can be applied and change opinions around crypto currencies.