Bitcoin Network Aggregates More Cycles than the TOP500

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Over at the The Genesis Block, “Phillip Archer” writes that the bitcoin network is now eight times more powerful than the TOP500 supercomputers combined.

While aggregated compute cycles on a network is a far cry from a supercomputer, the comparison does show the remarkable growth of the bitcoin network.

Interestingly, the estimate may still be useful for estimating how well other supercomputers and distributed networking projects would be able to mine bitcoins. Their speed is measured in FLOPS, but they also have the capability of performing the integer operations used in hashing. What would happen if the top 10 supercomputers all switched to bitcoin mining? How much would that affect the network? Lets reverse the equation, and say that they would receive 1 hash for every 12.7k FLOP. The fastest computer, Sequoia, would measure at about 1.6% of the bitcoin network. Their combined speed is 48 petaFLOPS, roughly equivalent to 5% of the bitcoin network. In fact, the top 500 supercomputers have a combined speed of 12% of the bitcoin network.

According to the Wikipedia, Bitcoin is accepted in trade by merchants and individuals in many parts of the world. The processing of bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called Bitcoin miners, which communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically. In addition to archiving transactions each new ledger update creates some newly-minted bitcoins.

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