Bitcoin is the market leader when it comes to cryptocurrencies, and this is by and large due to it being the first of its kind. Created in 2008 by the elusive Satoshi Nakomoto and then released the following year, Bitcoin is decentralised, which means that there is no involvement from banks or financial institutions. Nowadays, everyone pretty much knows how to sign up for a Bitcoin wallet from Luno or any other reputable company, which then allows the user to purchase the cryptocurrency together with transacting and/or moving funds.

However, not as many people will know that Bitcoin mining is a crucial part of its existence. Not only does mining confirm transactions on the blockchain in a transparent manner, it also creates new Bitcoins too, which keeps the world’s top crypto alive. While most Bitcoin mining operations are taken on by powerful computing setups, otherwise known as rigs, there is a way to utilise an Xbox 360 for mining too.

Central processing units, otherwise known as CPUs, have been the preferred choice when it comes to Bitcoin mining for some time, but even with one onboard the Xbox 360, the performance was lacking for the task at hand. However, experienced Xbox 360 developers have put their heads together to achieve what many suggested was impossible, finding a way to make the console capable of mining Bitcoin efficiently.

The developers have put unified shaders to work, which effectively makes graphics processing units, often referred to as a GPU, more efficient. Unified shaders, used in conjunction with OpenCL, which is a programming language, allows those using the Xbox 360 to mine Bitcoin to work through multiple hashes simultaneously. Therefore, Bitcoin miners using the 360 can outpace CPUs based on hashing power per watt and per dollar.

Steps must be taken to ensure an Xbox 360 is up for the job, and these begin with finding a console which not only has a GPU with unified shaders but one with superb integer performance too. Ideally, the machine should have a high-performance GPU when compared to the cost of the console, and users should also be able to gain access to the unified shaders through rooting, hacking or through an application programming interface, aka the API.

GPUs in use for Bitcoin mining should be made up of at least two gigabytes of RAM and the same for video memory. The RAM should be DDR2, which in effect means double the number of gigabytes. For those intending on mining using an Xbox 360, they should be aware that they will have to work in a pool, as an individual GPU based device can’t compete for shares when a mine is underway.

So, while Bitcoin mining using an Xbox 360 console is entirely possible, it can prove to be a futile task. You can buy cheap AMD graphics cards which pack a more significant punch in the power stakes when compared to the Xbox 360, with the latter’s hardware now outdated. The GPU is an Xbox 360 can provide a small amount of hashing power, but this the process will prove to be unprofitable in the long run.