The cryptocurrency mining industry has grown significantly over the past years along with the technology that facilitates this process. Newer and better hardware continue to emerge to make the mining process more efficient and in turn profitable. However, a recent development in this field saw an IT security researcher being able to adapt Nintendo’s first major handheld game console to mine cryptocurrency.
According to a recent video from Youtuber Stacksmashing, a vintage console from popular game developer Nintendo, first released in 1989, was used as a starting point to mine Bitcoin. The has now built-in wireless capability and significantly predates the Internet era, hence the Youtuber said he had to use a Raspberry Pi microcontroller board attached to the Game Boy’s link port alongside a USB flash card to establish a connection to a bitcoin node on his computer.
“My goal was to use an original, unmodified Game Boy,” said Stacksmashing. “I want to plug in a cartridge, and start mining,” he said.
The Youtuber also wrote his own mining code for the console’s read-only memory, and integrated mining software tweaked to run on the gaming console while running a node on his computer. As a result, nonces were getting incremented on the console’s green screen, as the rig attempted to mine crypto.
“The hash rate is pretty impressive, roughly 0.8 hashes per second,” the Youtuber noted. He explained:
“If you compare that to a modern ASIC miner, which comes in at around 100 Terahashes per second, you can see that we are almost as fast, only off by a factor of roughly 125 trillion. At this rate, it should only take us a couple of quadrillion years to mine a Bitcoin.”
Gaming Consoles and Crypto Mining
Prior to this, several tech enthusiasts have tried to modify gaming consoles to be able to mine cryptocurrency, but mostly, these systems aren’t meant to mine crypto. Earlier this month, one Chinese software developer pranked the crypto community after claiming to have mined Ethereum on Sony’s flagship Play Station 5 console.
While the Youtuber’s experiment with an age-old 8-bit gaming console was just for the experience, he noted on Twitter that he is not done yet. He also claims to have used Nintendo’s Super Game Boy, released in 1994, to mine BTC in a similar fashion.
“Obviously, mining Bitcoin on a Game Boy is everything but profitable, but I learned a lot of things while building this, and definitely had a ton of fun.”