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Close to the Metal Ep. 48: A breaking point for Bitcoin

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Everyone’s been talking about Cryptocurrency for the last few weeks, and it’s not hard to see why. Bitcoin is reaching new value heights, while side projects like Lightcoin and Ethereum are beginning to gather steam and build hype. But a turning point is coming soon, and it’s going to rattle the cryptocurrency community.

Before we get to that, we’ll talk about how mining for Bitcoin has created a supply shortage of mid-range GPUs, something we saw a few years ago with AMD cards as well. Miners are buying them up for their power efficiency and high hash rate, as well as their appealing sub-$200 price point. That means AIB partners have completely run out of stock, and individual users have been taking to eBay and other secondary markets to sell their GPUs for well over face price.

Part of this newfound enthusiasm comes from a totally new cryptocurrency, Ethereum. It provides smart contracts that allow code to be executed when certain conditions are met. That makes transactions way easier than they would be by exchanging wallet codes and manually checking to see if the funds have arrived. Its value has stabilized since its split, something that Bitcoin may be about to experience as well.

August 1st is an important date for the Bitcoin community, as transactions have become so slow, there needs to be a change in how the system works to encourage continued market permeation. It represents the next evolution of the coin, and it could take Bitcoin in several different directions. Some parties are hoping for a split that would create New Bitcoin and Bitcoin Classic, although probably not with those names. Others hope for a solution that will keep Bitcoin in one piece. Either way, it will be exciting to watch, or a nail-biting experience if you’re invested.

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that takes a deep dive into computing and PC gaming topics. Each show, we’ll focus in on one topic, and leave no stone unturned as we show off the latest in hardware and software. Whether it’s the latest GPU, supercomputers, or which 2-in-1 you should buy, we break down the complicated jargon and talk about how user experience is affected in the real world. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Tuesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.

Brad Bourque
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad Bourque is a native Portlander, devout nerd, and craft beer enthusiast. He studied creative writing at Willamette…
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