Cryptocurrencies are created (mined) by solving complicated mathematical calculations. Powerful, dedicated hardware, called a crypto mining rig, is used in the process.

Many cryptocurrencies come into existence through what is known as mining. This is not mining in the traditional; sense, but rather a digital version that has similar characteristics. To mine cryptocurrencies, computers are tasked with solving complex equations, and then rewarded by unlocking a new block in the chain, and with some of the coins of that chain.

In order to be the most efficient in cryptocurrency mining, people have put together cryptocurrency mining rigs - these can be as basic as a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) in a computer, but there are often purpose-built rigs.

A purpose-built mining rig is programmed to be the most efficient at solving cryptocurrency hash algorithms. These machines process the sums put forward by the chain with the express goal of being as efficient as possible. Advanced cryptocurrency mining rigs will solve the equations quicker than just a single graphics card, for example.

The benefit of having an advanced rig is that the blocks are solved quicker, which means rewards more often, and less time-consuming energy, making profit margins that much greater. However, these machines are often expensive, hard to come by, and consume a lot of energy.

For this reason, some people do turn to using graphics cards and often pile them together to create their own rigs. Multiple graphics cards can mine cryptocurrency at a better rate than a normal PC, but a lot depends on the difficulty of the chain, and which coin you are choosing.

For example, Bitcoin is one of the hardest coins to mine as there is such competition and very advanced mining rigs that have pushed the difficulty up over the years. Mining difficulty on Bitcoin's chain rises and falls depending on how much mining power is being attributed to the chain.

Essentially, bitcoin adjusts so that regardless of how much computing power there is from the world's mining rigs, a new block will only be mined every 10 or so minutes.

The creation of purpose-built crypto mining rigs has become its own business with many companies producing compact and powerful machines that can be made especially for certain hash algorithms and coins. This has even led to the creation of ASIC chips which are extremely efficient at mining cryptocurrencies.

Having multiple mining rigs like this, and creating what is known as a farm, is also big business as companies set themselves up to mass mine different cryptocurrencies as an entire business.

crypto-mining-rig.jpg A cryptocurrency mining farm with hundreds of purpose-built cryptocurrency mining rigs.

ELI5 Mining Rig

Cryptocurrencies are created by solving math problems. Powerful computers called crypto mining rigs are used to solve math problems to create cryptocurrencies.