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Modder Turns Old Game Boy into a Bitcoin Miner

Credit: Unsplash

A whole coin in just a few quadrillion years!

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you how Bitcoin mining works, because I honestly have no idea. All I understand is that nearly all of a computer’s processes need to be directed toward mining coins, and it has to be a pretty powerful computer to begin with in order to mine coins at a halfway decent rate. Theoretically, though, if you’re not in that much of a rush, you could use a simpler computer to do the deed. And really, does it get much simpler than a Game Boy?

YouTuber and Twitter user stacksmashing, an IT researcher and engineer, dug his old Game Boy out to perform a mildly pointless, but still very interesting technological experiment. By Frankensteining the Game Boy together with a modified Link Cable, a Raspberry Pi Pico board, and a specially-designed USB game cartridge with mining software, stacksmashing was able to transform the simple gaming device into a bona-fide pocket Bitcoin miner.

Obviously, the tiny device can’t mine Bitcoin in a timely manner, as it has a fraction of a fraction of the sheer muscle that dedicated mining rigs posses. “The hash rate is pretty impressive, roughly 0.8 hashes per second. If you compare that to modern [Application Specific Integrated Circuit] miners, which comes in at around 100 terahashes per second, you can see that we are almost as fast,” stacksmashing joked in his video. “Only off by a factor of roughly 125 trillion.”

With that kind of processing power, the Game Boy miner could conceivably mine a single complete Bitcoin unit in about, oh… a few quadrillion years, give or take. The point was never to actually mine Bitcoin, but merely to prove that it could be done, technically speaking, and stacksmashing did prove that!