Released in 1989, the original Nintendo Game Boy introduced a generation to the joys of Tetris. With a few extra pieces of hardware, it could take photographs, print pictures, or count your steps. More than 30 years later, people are still finding uses for the machine. The Game Boy can even mine bitcoin. Just not quickly.
As first spotted by PCGamer, YouTuber stacksmashing repurposed an old Game Boy using a Raspberry Pi Pico, an old link cable, and some basic software. The Pico board controls basic input/output from the Game Boy to a PC. It all runs through a link cable modified with a USB and uses a logic shifter to modulate the voltage between the Game Boy and Pico.
According to stacksmashing, you’ll know the Gameboy is working because it begins to whine under the strain of all that hard mining. “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 the video. “Only off by a factor of roughly 125 trillion.”
stacksmashing said that mining a coin at this rate of speed would take a few quadrillion years and can be done portably. “The Game Boy simply uses four AA batteries,” stacksmashing said.
This is the latest in a long line of fun and interesting devices mining Bitcoin. In the past we’ve seen people try to mine Bitcoin by hand, on graphing calculators, on the computer that helped us land on the moon, and on a punchcard computer.