[Cryptography] Apollo Guidance Computer as Bitcoin mining rig

Henry Baker hbaker1 at pipeline.com
Mon Jul 15 17:27:42 EDT 2019



Ken Shirriff's blog

Bitcoin mining on an Apollo Guidance Computer: 10.3 seconds per hash

We've been restoring an Apollo Guidance Computer.  Now that we have the
world's only working AGC, I decided to write some code for it.  Trying
to mine Bitcoin on this 1960s computer seemed both pointless and
anachronistic, so I had to give it a shot.  Implementing the Bitcoin
hash algorithm in assembly code on this 15-bit computer was
challenging, but I got it to work.  Unfortunately, the computer is so
slow that it would take about a million times the age of the universe
to successfully mine a Bitcoin block.



Computer from NASA's Apollo program reprogrammed to mine bitcoin

It takes the Apollo Guidance Computer 10 seconds to compute a single
hash value.

Timothy B. Lee - Jul 9, 2019 10:15 pm UTC



Bitcoin mining on a vintage Xerox Alto: very slow at 1.5 hashes/second

I've been restoring a Xerox Alto minicomputer from the 1970s and
figured it would be interesting to see if it could mine bitcoins.  I
coded up the necessary hash algorithm in BCPL (the old programming
language used by the Alto) and found that although the mining
algorithm ran, the Alto was so slow that it would take many times the
lifetime of the universe to successfully mine bitcoins.


Not so good performance, but an interesting data point for Moore's Law.

I'd be a lot more curious about the Apollo Guidance Computer's ability
to do a full TLS handshake (or a "measured boot"), so that it couldn't
be hacked by the Russians...

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