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The aproximate computing power of current Bitcoin network in terms of FLOPS (FP32) has been estimated at about ~80,000 exaFLOPS and being aware of the limits of the analogy because of the widespread use of ASICs in Bitcoin mining. I was wondering the computing power of the main Ethereum network, which is currently running on ~8900 nodes and using Keccak256 as its main hash function, which is one that could be GPU accelerated biased toward using traditional GPUs rather than ASICs, peaks now at ~242 TH/s.

A very rough estimate would be for example:

A Nvidia 1070 Ti graphics card has a hashrate of ~31 MH/s (7.5 teraFLOPS)
Current hashrate is about ~242 TH/s
242 (TH/s) / 31 (MH/s) = 7,834,101 (~58 exaFLOPS)

So, current ETH computing power is about 58 times bigger than the current world faster supercomputer Fugaku which peaks at ~1 exaFLOPS.

Is it possible to know the actual computing power (in FLOPS) of the ETH network or sum of the underlying hardware? If we're building a peer-to-peer general purpose worldwide computer, wouldn't be nice to know current power instead of just hashing rate?

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    The number of nodes is critical - you count the miners. Also the "passive" nodes are important. Here the numbers are much higher >1.100.000 (compare with etherscan.io/nodetracker) Sep 27, 2020 at 7:38
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    Hey the Fugaku is actually at 0.1 exaFLOPS, so by your calculations, ETH computing is likely 580x more powerful. Jul 24, 2021 at 13:46
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    my mistake @JanacMeena! Thanks for pointing out. I realized it is actually half petaflop! wolframalpha.com/input/?i=537212+TFlop%2Fs+to+exaFlops
    – ofou
    Jul 28, 2021 at 3:21
  • Yes, it's a worldwide computer, but it's not designed for big computing. Adding an extra node doesn't make it more performant - it actually makes it maybe even less performant, but more secure. So I don't think it's worth it to try calculating "computing power" Nov 1, 2021 at 19:54
  • I think it's useful in terms of comparison with an actual supercomputer, I'm not talking of ASICs here, mostly GPUs used to mine nowadays. Is it possible to know the subjacent hardware used to mine in the ETH network?
    – ofou
    Nov 2, 2021 at 0:42

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Is it possible to know the actual computing power (in FLOPS) of the ETH network or sum of the underlying hardware?

There are two different kind of computational power here. The one spent on Hashing which provides security but nothing more for the user, and the one spent on actually executing transactions.

Regarding hash power, you can only get rough estimates... As long as the network is kept secure, it's enough. I do believe that your estimate is low, the average miner has much more computational power than a GTX 1070... You can check on the hashrates of large mining pools members such as Ethermine.

And anyway, Proof of Work will soon come to an end.

For the useful computational power which I personally find much more interesting, using hashrate is not the way to go. Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) are contributing heavily to the global hash-rate but are virtually useless for actual code execution, the same goes for graphic cards. What matters is useful computational power for this comparison to make sense with super computers. Having dozens of exaFlops means nothing if we cannot do anything with it.

I think we can agree on that, as you said we're building a peer-to-peer general purpose worldwide computer, plus the comments do use the Fugaku for comparison.

The vast majority of computing power used by Bitcoin or Ethereum is useless outside maintaining security.

So let's try another estimation focusing on useful work that I'm afraid will be very disappointing.

According to this website there are 2462 synced nodes at the time of writing (using this one as in the comments you'd get similar numbers).

  1. Assuming that all of them are full nodes, that would mean 2462 processors currently contributing the useful Ethereum computing power.

  2. Assuming that those processors are 100% devoted to code execution for the Ethereum network.

  3. Assuming that they are all 1 Giga FLOPS such as the AMD 5950x (one of the fastest consumer available processor right now)

That's a combined useful power of... 2.462 Tera FLOPS.

But one huge assumption was implicitly made: that their useful work can be summed.

All the nodes are doing the same work actually, so the reality is that the useful computational power available on the whole Ethereum network is not far from what your computer or mine can provide. But that's the price to pay for trustless decentralization, and it's going to stay that way until true sharding is possible.

What is the computing power of the Ethereum network in FLOPS?

In terms of useful work, around what the average computer can manage. (even lower considering the block rate limit)

The dumb answer would be 0.

FLOPS stands for Floating Point Operation Per Seconds, Solidity does not support floating point operations, so the Ethereum network couldn't even manage 1 true FLOP if it wanted to.

Overall, Ethereum is very far from even coming close to what super computers are able to do. The way it is doing it however is (still) revolutionary.

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  • My question goes more towards if there's any way to know the actual hardware been used to mine ETH. I know there's a majority of ASIC on fire (not truly general computing) but I'd be nice to know more about the real hardware (especially GPUs) currently used by the Ethereum network, hence, the computing power.
    – ofou
    Nov 2, 2021 at 0:41
  • Well as the default clients do not expose hardware, there will be no exact information. The only way I see to make an educated guess is to use the public information from centralized mining pools like this one f2pool.com/miners. You can already exclude any card with less than 4Gb of memory as the DAG won't fit in it (minerstat.com/dag-size-calculator). Roughly, it's cards >= GTX 1060 and >= RX470. Up to the latest ones.
    – hroussille
    Nov 2, 2021 at 8:49

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