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ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) are specialized computers that are solely designed for mining cryptocurrencies.

Generally speaking, every computer – from a smartwatch to a desktop – has, at the minimum, RAM (random access memory) a processor, a hard drive, and I/O ports. Computers optimized for gaming or creating high quality graphics will have a graphics chip, which has additional processor(s) and RAM to increase the performance of those specific tasks. In the same way, ASICs have special, optimized hardware that maximize the chance that the machine will be the first to solve proof of work algorithms and mine blocks. Moreover, most ASICs are optimized to mine a specific cryptocurrency in particular.