Nintendo Game Boy Converted To Bitcoin Mining Noob With Raspberry Pi Pico
Most people would never consider trying to mine Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) on an original Game Boy, a handheld console released by Nintendo over three decades ago. But would it be a feasible mod if someone paired a Game Boy with Raspberry Pi Pico, which is less than a year old? The answer is still no, but someone did it anyway.
For the most part, Bitcoin miners have turned their attention to specialized ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) hardware these days. These devices are capable of mining north of 100 terahashes per second (100TH/s). Remember that figure, because we are going to circle back to it in a moment. But first, let's talk about the Game Boy mod.
YouTube user "stacksmashing" is behind this latest mod. This is the same person who previously hacked Nintendo's Game and Watch handheld, and then got Doom to run on the handheld. His goal this time around was to use an original, unmodified Game Boy console that he could simply pluck in a cartridge and start mining Bitcoin.
To do that, he had to overcome a few challenges, as mining requires communicating with the Bitcoin node and network. In the absence of built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, the modder tapped into the handheld's Link port that enables multiplayer gaming through a special cable. More specifically, he used a Raspberry Pi Pico to serve as a USB adapter between the Link cable and PC.
This is a low-cost mod, as the Raspberry Pi Pico is a $4 microcontroller. And since he already had the Game Boy on hand, there was no additional console cost to factor into the equation. From there, it was just a matter of getting the mining code onto the system, to leverage its 4.19MHz processor and 8 kilobytes of video memory.
The result? He was able to transform his Game Boy into a Bitcoin miner capable of a "pretty impressive" 0.8 hashes per second. He'll be able to pay for a Tesla with Bitcoin in no time!
"If you compare that to a modern ASIC miner, which comes in at around 100TH/s, you can see that we are almost as fast—only off by a factor of a factor of 125 trillion," stacksmashing states, tongue-in-cheek of course. "At this rate, it should only take us a couple of quadrillion years mine a Bitcoin."
He also humorously points out that "ASIC miners use a ton of power," whereas the modded Game Boy simply runs on four AA batteries. "Big success," he says.
Maybe not, but it sure is a fun and interesting mod worthy of a hat-tip.