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Major Mining Pool F2Pool Publishes List of Minimum Prices for Profitable Crypto Mining

Co-founder of the world’s sixth largest crypto mining pool has published a list of break-even price points for various crypto miner models.

The CEO of China-based crypto mining pool F2Pool posted a company-branded infographic September 6 that indicates at what minimum price points the mining of various cryptocurrencies becomes unprofitable.

Shixing Mao, co-founder and CEO and of the world’s sixth largest mining pool F2Pool, published a list of price levels for major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Zcash (ZEC) below which mining said currency with various different miners allegedly becomes unprofitable.

According to Mao’s graphic, if Bitcoin’s price hits lower than 36,792 yuan (about $5,376) point, this would mean that mining the cryptocurrency on an Antminer T9 would be unprofitable. In the case of using an S7 model miner, the break-even point amounts to a significantly higher 79,258 yuan (about $11,581) Bitcoin price point.

Break-even price points for different cryptocurrencies and miners

Break-even price points for different cryptocurrencies and miners Source: F2Pool’s CEO Weibo

In contrast to S7, mining Bitcoin on Antminer T9 model that was released in January 2017, is still profit-making at Bitcoin’s currently prices, while the newer Innosilicon T2 has the lowest threshold, amounting to 26,636 yuan or about $3,891.

At press time, Bitcoin is trading at $6,452, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index

In mid-August, U.S. graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturer Nvidia revealed that crypto mining hardware sales were much lower than expected in Q2 2018, claiming that the company does not expect to make significant blockchain-related sales for the rest of the year.

In July, major Taiwanese microchips producer TSMC once again decreased its annual revenue and capital expenditure estimates, following growth rate reduction in the crypto mining field, among other areas.

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Bitcoin Mining to Use 0.5% of World’s Energy by End of 2018, Peer-Reviewed Research Shows

Economist Alex de Vries, who published an article on “Bitcoin’s Growing Energy Problem,” yesterday, May 16, in scientific journal Joule, told the Independent that Bitcoin (BTC) mining will use 0.5 percent of the world’s energy by 2018.

De Vries concludes that as the BTC network currently consumes about 2.55 GW of electricity and moves towards consuming 7.67 GW in the future (for reference, Ireland consumes 3.1 GW and Austria 8.2 GW), the network “has a big problem, and it is growing fast.” However, he does note that solutions like the Lightning Network “may alleviate the situation.”

Bitcoin mining requires energy for performing the calculations – hashes – that give miners Bitcoin rewards. In mid-February, it was reported that crypto mining in the country of Iceland would consume more energy than households in 2018. The debate over whether Bitcoin mining is overly harmful for the environment is seen by some as a non-issue, due to the real need for Bitcoin in underbanked countries.

De Vries told the Independent, however, that “half a percent is already quite shocking:”

“It’s an extreme difference compared to the regular financial system, and this increasing electricity demand is definitely not going to help us reach our climate goals.”

The scientific study goes into detail about the different types of Bitcoin miners and their individual energy usage, noting that “trying to measure the electricity consumed by the Bitcoin mining machines producing all those hash calculations remains a challenge to date.” De Vries uses Bitmain’s Antminers as his main example to show how much energy each machine uses in its lifetime.

As De Vries’s study is the first time data on Bitcoin energy consumption has been peer-reviewed, he hopes his paper will “get the conversation started,” as he believes that the world needs “more scientific discussion on where this network is headed” as opposed to “back-of-the-envelope calculations,” he told the Independent.

Conversely, the technology behind Bitcoin, blockchain, is being used to alleviate environmental impact in some cases. This week, IBM announced a partnership with Veridium Labs with the aim of tokenizing carbon credits to allow companies to better track their carbon footprint through blockchain, potentially allowing them to reduce their carbon impact.

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ASIC Resistance: Will Ethereum Join Monero Against the Mining Giant?

The crypto community is bracing for a real revolution – leading cryptocurrencies may abandon the Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm. The reason is the far-reaching game of mining giant Bitmain, which is building up its monopoly on the market by stamping out new ASICs for top coins. This concerns not only the users who prefer traditional GPU farms, but also the developers themselves, as the ecosystem becomes increasingly centralized and vulnerable to attacks.

It seems that the line production of short life ASICs for new coins has turned into an arms race between Bitmain and less-rapid rivals. Everyone wants to bite off the last piece from the PoW algorithm, promising a quick payback and leaving no chance to traditional GPU farms. The first Antminers are sold out before the start of sales, and users seem to receive the promised profit. If it were not for one thing – ASICs are quickly becoming unprofitable, and growing hash rates lead to Blockchain centralization.

ASIC resistance

In the community, Bitmain has gained a reputation of a “greedy bunch” after using a huge hashrate on its own pool (Antpool.com) to block important votes in the Bitcoin network. The resistance formation itself began at the start of the year when Bitmain suddenly announced the launch of Antminer A3 production for SiaCoin mining, destroying 4 months of labor of its old competitor Obelisk.

At that time, David Warrick, the founder of SiaCoin and owner of Obelisk, did not fulfill his soft fork promise and gave Bitmain a chance to fix the situation.

Actually, the situation was corrected by itself. At the start of sales, Bitmain promised a daily profit of $460, which in just 10 days fell by 2 times, with only $10 to date.

Estimated Rewards

Image source: Whattomine

Yellow card #1

The winter party A3 was not sold out yet when Bitmain announced a new model, which this time would take up the extraction of more popular coin, Monero (XMR):

Already tense, the state of things was further fueled by Baikal, which following its rival hastened to bite off a piece from the Monero pie. Developers of the latter were less compliant than SiaTech and kept their promise to conduct a hard fork for resisting ASIC mining. Nevertheless, Bitmain didn’t arrive and withdrew from responsibility for possible problems with Monero, promptly placing the following disclaimer on its website:

“One major cryptocurrency which is using CryptoNight hash function is about to change their PoW algorihtm [CT: site misprint], and according to their public statement, it is purposely to brick ASIC mining rigs including X3. When you buying it, you are betting that they are wrong.”

Although ASIC miners support other coins, for example, Bytecoin, Aeon and Dash, what about the $4,500 profit promised per month that turned into a pumpkin?

Monthly return as of April 26, according to Cryptocompare

Antminer

Image source: Cryptocompare

Monthly return as of March 17, according to Cryptocompare

Antminer

Image source: Cryptocompare

Particularly as many users are dissatisfied with the the reduced profitability and unusable equipment that “crashes every 30 to 40 minutes and restarts the PC”.

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Yellow card #2?

Bitmain owners would not have been themselves, had they not coveted a more delicious crypto piece. On April 3, developers announced the release of the “world’s most powerful and efficient EtHash ASIC”, now under the Ethash algorithm, which Ethereum and Ethereum Classic work on.

The master of surprises from China successfully refuted the general belief that the Ethash protocol is ASIC resistant and Ethereum can be mined only through traditional GPU cards.

In addition to Bitmain, three other companies are working in this direction, one of whom – Halong Mining – recently joined the Blockchain Defensive Patent License initiative with a patent for the overt version of AsicBoost technology.

It seems that this caused concern in the Ethereum Foundation, which until then had been slow to move to the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm for reducing the role of mining. Is Bitmain sure that Ethereum will not be able to abandon PoW, and the transition to PoS will result in just another Ethereum classic-style hard fork?

While one of the Ethereum developers initiates a hard fork Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) #958 on Github, and the other one receives a 57 percent vote from his Twitter followers supporting this radical measure, Vitalik Buterin shared with Cointelegraph his opinion that the threat is overestimated:

“I am in principle open to it, but I feel it’s early to commit to a specific fork, because we still know fairly little about what kind of ASICs we’re dealing with, whether they are really ASICs or just super-optimized GPUs with non-essential parts stripped out, and what options there are for changing the algorithm.”

He also told Cointelegraph that he expects it “to continue to be debated within the community in the short to medium term”.

It seems that he is right. While some users expect to see a large number of GPU cards coming to the secondary market soon, others pay attention to the fact that by the time the Antminer E3 reaches the consumer, it may actually lose its relevance. According to AsicMinerValue, E3 owners will get $7.38 per day or $221.36 per month after deducting electricity costs.

Profitability

Image source: AsicMinerValue

While Bitmain again shirks responsibility and happily accepts orders for the Antminer E3, no more than 5 units are able to be ordered at a time. According to the manufacturer, by the time the shipments start, the performance and energy efficiency of the model will be improved.

Penalty bench risk

Bitmain’s monopoly continues to grow. At the same time, the number of available coins decreases and the number of miners remains the same. The debate is becoming more acute, shifting more pressure on the development team. The creators of ZCash were openly accused of betraying the interests of the community, Monero conducted a hard fork, and Ethereum is on the way to changing the algorithm.

While some companies conduct hard forks and others occupy waiting positions, Bitmain and its colleagues are actively bringing more and more powerful devices to the market that can supplant obsolete configurations. However, it is worth remembering one weak spot of ASICs is they can be hit by ASIC Resistance followers. This is the impossibility of reprogramming the core. So, fundamental changes in the PoW algorithm could soon send Bitmain to the panel bench.

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Report: Stealth Crypto Mining Much More Prevalent In Higher Ed Than Other Industries

Both intentional cryptocurrency mining and cryptojacking is becoming more prevalent on college campuses than in any other industry, according to a blog post published March 29 by cyber attack monitoring firm Vectra.

Vectra analyzed five industries where crypto mining – which the blog post defines as “an opportunistic attack behavior that uses botnets to create a large pool of computing power”, incorrectly combining crypto mining and cryptojacking into one use case – has occurred from August 2017 to January 2018, finding that “higher education” sees more mining than the other four industries combined.

Top 5 Industries with Bitcoin

Universities are not able to monitor their networks as strictly as corporations, “at best advis[ing] students on how to protect themselves and the university by installing operating system patches and creating awareness of phishing emails, suspicious websites and web ads,” leaving college campuses more open to cryptojacking schemes. The blog post notes that given the “free source of power” provided by universities to their students (meaning free of charge to students, not free of charge in essence), “[l]arge student-populations are ideal pastures for cryptojackers.”

Students, rather than malicious cryptojackers, taking advantage of this “free power” are “simply being opportunistic as the value of cryptocurrencies surged over the past year,” Vectra’s blog post writes.

Joey Dilliha, a student at Western Kentucky University, told financial news site MarketWatch that he mines crypto with a Bitmain Antminer in his room with his school’s “free electricity”:

“I believe more people should be doing it. It’s a super fun, and cool cheap way to be introduced to the market of mining.”

Dilliha adds that because the mining rig is actually a banned item in his dorm – due to it being a fire hazard – he has to “turn it off and put a blanket over it” during “dorm room check days,” adding that his “RA loves to come in and talk about it with me.”

 In January of this year, Stanford University had posted a warning against crypto mining on campus, as school resources “must not be used for personal financial gain,” as well as citing the school’s chief information security officer:

“Cryptocurrency mining is most lucrative when computing costs are minimized, which unfortunately has led to compromised systems, misused university computing equipment, and personally owned mining devices using campus power.”

Vectra also notes the problems with cryptocurrency mining and crypto jacking as “creat[ing noise that can may [sic] hide serious security issues; […] impact[ing] the reputation of an organization’s IP address […] ; [allowing] cybercriminals [to] buy access to compromised computers to launch targeted attacks against universities.”

Vectra’s blog post, which has already several times confused crypto mining and cryptojacking, then goes into detail about the mechanics of cryptojacking, mentioning Coinhive and the CryptoNight algorithm-based Monero as common ways for cryptojacking to take place.

Cointelegraph recently reported on the ethics of cryptojacking, citing both cases where permission was asked before taking over a computer’s processing power to mine (like Salon.com) as well as malicious or unknown use cases (like Showtime and Telecom Egypt).

In conclusion to their blog post, Vectra writes that

“Cryptojacking and cryptocurrency mining are profitable, opportunistic endeavors that will likely increase as they replace ransomware and adware as the de facto method for individuals looking to make a fast buck.”

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Monero and SiaCoin Reject Bitmain’s ASIC Miners, Who Could Be Next?

On March 24 the creators of Monero made an unprecedented statement – the project devlead, Riccardo Spagni, warned that the coin’s protocol would be changed every six months to make the cryptocurrency less appealing to application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners.

The measure was initiated after Bitmain announced a new super powerful Antminer X3 ASIC miner designed specifically for calculations based on the CryptoNight algorithm, which is the basis for such cryptocurrencies as Monero (XMR), ByteCoin (BCN) and AeonCoin (AEON).

The dominance of Bitmain shook the reputation of industry giants AMD and Nvidia, whose shares fell sharply after Wall Street firm Susquehanna reported that Bitmain’s new Ethereum miner would increase its competitiveness on March 26.

Manufacturers of miners monopolize the market

Today, when the cryptocurrency market becomes stagnant, mining may be the only way to earn profit. This forces the largest manufacturers of video cards and specialized ASIC chips to bring new, more productive models of devices to the market. ASIC-based miners overtop competitors’ CPUs and GPUs, creating a real threat of mining concentration between the largest players provided with the most powerful equipment.

Some in the Blockchain community are concerned about such kind of centralization that could damage network security. Actually decentralization based on the miners’ competition helps to defend the system and its participants, protecting the network from intruders. That’s why the token developers are forced to create artificial obstacles to the use of ASIC equipment.

Due to the present monopoly on the production of ASIC miners and the expansion of its positions in the mining equipment market as a whole, according to Bernstein analysts, Bitmain earned about $4 bln last year, the same amount as Nvidia. It is noteworthy that Bitmain achieved this level six times faster than Nvidia, who took 24 years to achieve these levels of profits.

Antminer X3 developers promise $4,500 profit per month

As stated by CryptoCompare, the new ASIC can give up to $4,500 in monthly profits to its owner, but its calculation process is based primarily on the involvement of devices in Monero network transactions, which may lead to disrupting XMR network functioning.

Antminer X3

Image source: CryptoCompare

Monero reaction

The developers of Monero, in their turn, published defamatory posts about the insolvency of Antminer X3. Monero devlead Riccardo Spagni noted on his Twitter page that it “WILL NOT work” for Monero, since Monero’s core development group (CDG) is going to perform regular updates of the hashing algorithm.

Moreover, the upcoming hard fork will be aimed at making significant changes to the Proof-of-Work (PoW) protocol in order to prevent potential threats from ASICs.

To prevent the centralization of mining, changes would be regularly made in the protocol, making it impossible to calculate Monero using the new high-performance devices. The first update, preventing XMR mining on any types of ASIC chips, has already been released.

Some experts expressed their support for the official devteam of Monero on the issue of updating the algorithm.

Antonio Moratti, co-founder of the GoByte platform, which uses the NeoScrypt algorithm, said that he “would do the same”. He told Cointelegraph:

“GoByte was X11 in the testing phase. And some users have already started mining with ASICs. And we decided for NeoScrypt. Even that the GPU temps are not so good compared to other algos. I think XMR will have a new algo. I would do the same.”

David Vorick, the founder of Siacoin, wrote on his Reddit post:

“Bitmain has historically been very greedy, and very willing to sacrifice the well-being of the community, of their customers, and of the ecosystem, if that means they can make a couple of extra dollars.”

Surge of hashrate

Monero’s steps to prevent potential threats from new Bitmain equipment could have been caused by the surge of hashrate up to 1,07 GH/s in their transactional network, which was observed in mid Feb. 2018, when the values of XMR tokens’ mining process soared.

Monero (XMR) Network Hashrate Chart

Image source: Coinwarz

Some users linked the surge to the subsequent Bitmain announcement to sell used devices. A month ago one popular Reddit user made a post where he suggested that Bitmain might “calculate very thoroughly when to announce and sell them [ASICs] so their customers will be (or think they will be) able to make some pennies”.

Here is how he describes what comes next – “dump their used equipment on the market by batches as the new version batches comes in freshly manufactured”.

Bitmain reputation: developers feel “anxiety”

Earlier, Bitmain had already acquired an ambiguous reputation before the start of sales of a new model. In January, amid negative rumors about the chance of extremely high network values, which could be created by the mass launch of Antminer designed for SiaCoin, the latter refused to support the algorithm at all.

Unexpectedly, Siacoin founder David Vorrick and his ASIC manufacturing company, Obelisk, fell into competition with Bitmain, which almost has a monopoly on Bitcoin mining equipment.

In his Reddit post Vorick expressed dissatisfaction, saying that the developers of Siacoin feel “anxiety”.

Later, SiaTech leader Zach Herbert gave an official green light to Bitmain and said they would “not invalidate A3 miners via soft-fork unless Bitmain takes direct action to harm the Sia project”.

Mine or buy?

Although Antminer X3 can contribute to the production of cryptocurrencies based on CryptoNight technology (DarknetCoin, AeonCoin etc.), the previous equipment for mining XMR usually did not bring a profit comparable to the potential profit from Monero’s trading circulation.

According to the analysis made by Reinisfischer XMR mining is “profitable, but not as lucrative as mining ether”, moreover “it would break even after a year of operations”.

For instance in December with $3,880 (the average price of 12 GPUs) one could earn about $1,940 in 10 days,

Monero Chart

Image source: Coinmarketcap

while CryptoCompare says mining with GPUs for the same price would bring only $325 per month.

Chart

Image source: Cryptocompare

Beyond the immediacy of security issues, in general, Bitmain’s activity does not affect the state of individual cryptocurrencies.

That’s what co-founder of GoByte platform, which works on the principle of decentralized mining – a potential competitor of the current technology, Antonio Moratti, said to Cointelegraph:

“I don’t think a privacy coin would want to gather a lot of attention. XMR can mature further on its own without any further PR scandal.”

Will CryptoNight algorithm be used?

The fundamental task of CryptoNight is to eliminate the gap in the production of tokens between users of standard PCs and owners of specialized ASIC devices. The algorithm technology is based on allocating a data block with an unpredictable sequence in the computer’s RAM, with the data temporarily stored in RAM and not calculated at each access.

Compared with the same Scrypt algorithm, the CryptoNight structure has a number of technical advantages:

  1. small time intervals between blocks (transaction speed less than 60 seconds),
  2. smoothly falling emissions,
  3. less central processing unit (CPU) and graphics card heating than when mining on other algorithms,
  4. use of CPU + GPU binding and thus achieving faster access to RAM, increasing the speed of transactions.

Among other advantages of this hashing algorithm there are adequate conditions for its use on CPUs, where even passive income is possible (for example, on some Intel Xeon E3 users steadily receive up to $2 per month by using CryptoNight).

Who’s next?

Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Decred and Sia – one by one these cryptocurrencies have become “victims” of ASIC-miners. The miners could consider the cryptocurrency becoming more centralized after the appearance of specialized devices, although the practice has not yet proven this.

Monero can become the first of the leading cryptocurrencies that will launch a radical means of combating ASIC-miners through the update of CryptoNight hashing algorithm. The further events will show how much the algorithm will be modified and whether this will affect the sale of Antminer X3 models.

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Monero Devs Follow Through On Threats To Upgrade Algorithm To Maintain ASIC Resistance

After Bitmain’s announcement earlier this month of their new ASIC-powered Antminer X3 designed to mine Monero, as well as other cryptocurrencies based on the CryptoNight algorithm, the altcoin’s developers have released an update that will prevent the new device from being effective, according to Monero core developer Riccardo Spagni’s Github post from March 24.

The new Monero update, called Lithium Luna, is scheduled for April and states that it “slightly changes the proof-of-work algorithm to prevent DoS attacks by ASICs.”

When the Antminer X3 was added to Bitmain’s website on March 15, Spagni (@fluffypony) posted on Twitter that the device would “NOT work” on Monero. The privacy-centered, ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency had posted on their blog back in February that they would counter any crypto miner that threatened their ASIC-resistance by changing their Proof of Work (PoW).

Spagni’s original March 15 Twitter post has updated comments by the developer, who wrote on March 18 that any of the updates flaws are made up by preventing the effectiveness of the Antminer X3:

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Bitmain Announces New Monero-Mining Antminer X3, Crypto’s Devs Say Will ‘Not Work’

Bitmain’s just-released ASIC-powered Antminer X3, designed to mine the CryptoNight hashing algorithm used by Monero (XMR), may not be effective by its first release in May 2018, according to an article by The Next Web published yesterday, March 16.

The new Antminer, announced on Bitmain’s Twitter on March 15, comes at two price points: $11,999 for the first round in delivered May, and $7,599 for the second datch, delivered in June.

However, the project lead at Monero, Riccardo Spagni, linked to Bitmain’s Twitter announcement in his own tweet, stating that their new miner will “NOT WORK [sic]” for mining Monero:

Bitmain is also offering two additional batches that ship after the first two batches, but only to addresses in Hong Kong. The two new batches are priced at  $3,000 for shipping after batch 1 and $1,900 for shipping after batch 2.

Apparently following Spagni’s response, the sales pages for the two Hong-Kong bound Antminer X3 batches were updated to contain the following notice in the product description:

“One major cryptocurrency which is using CryptoNight hash function is about to change their PoW algothrim, and according to their public statement, it is purposely to brick ASIC mining rigs including X3. When you buying it, you are betting that they are wrong.”

The notice adds that there will be no refunds accepted.

In February of this year, in response to potential threats of new types of ASIC mining that would be able to mine Monero, the privacy-centered cryptocurrency wrote on their blog about their “intention to maintain ASIC resistance by swiftly reacting to any potential threat from ASICs and considering slightly modifying the PoW at every hardfork”:

“We strongly believe that it’s beneficial to preserve our ASIC resistance. Therefore, we will perform an emergency hard fork to curb any potential threat from ASICs if needed. Furthermore, in order to maintain its goal of decentralization and to provide a deterrent for ASIC development and to protect against unknown or undetectable ASIC development, the Monero team proposes modifying the Cryptonight PoW hash every scheduled fork, twice a year.”

The Next Web does note that the Antminer X3 is marketed for mining more than Monero, as it is also compatible with Bytecoin, Aeon, Dash, and several others, although the site adds the caveat that there is “no guarantee this will still be the case” by May and June.

Users on Reddit have quickly taken offense to Bitmain’s new Antminer. Reddit user KnifeofPi2 posted yesterday, March 16, an excerpt from a satirical press release alleging that Bitmain was entering the “doorstopper” business:

“When asked why a doorstopper had the word “miner” in its name, Jihan Wu, the CEO of Bitmain, stated that “The Antminer X3 looks, works and sounds like a cryptocurrency miner. It even has a built-in 550 watt heater that hashes an obsolete algorithm.”

Another Reddit user, hodlingvtv, took a more serious approach, writing that “Bitmain is currently performing a large scam”:

“tl,dr: Don’t buy bitmain’s x3. They asic mined monero and now that this will not be possible anymore they want to dump their machines on you.”

The normally secretive Bitmain made the news in late February, when a report showed that the four-year-old company had made profits between $3 and $4 bln in 2017, while American graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturer Nvidia, founded 24 years ago, made $3 bln during the same time period.

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Obelisk Threaten Soft Fork in Reaction to Bitmain Antminer A3 Launch

Chinese mining giants Bitmain caught the mining community off guard on Wednesday with the surprise launch of a new cryptocurrency miner.

The infamous Chinese company has had a chequered past among the cryptocurrency community, being embroiled in the scaling debate in 2017 which saw Bitmain lean towards support of Bitcoin Cash.

It now sees as though Bitmain are looking to squeeze the life out of another virtual currency – Siacoin.

The new Antminer A3 model will be able to mine cryptocurrencies using the Blake(2b) hashing algorithm – which currently powers Siacoin.

The model is on sale in intermittent batches for around $2,375 in an attempt to stop vendors placing large orders of the unit. This has been a particular problem in recent months, as buyers flocked to get their hands on Bitmain’s Bitcoin S9 miners, as well as their Dash D3 and Litecoin L3+ miners.

Obelisk threaten soft fork

The announcement of the Antminer A3 launch came out of the blue and has already caused a stir in the mining community due to its focus on the Blake(2b) hashing algorithm.

As it stands, Blockchain cloud storage service Sia uses Siacoin as it’s cryptocurrency, which is mined using the Blake(2b) algorithm.

Nebulous Labs, the studio behind Sia, launched its own ASIC cryptocurrency miners Obelisk which has been in presale since 2017. Two miners are available, the Decred cryptocurrency miner DC1 and the Siacoin miner SC1. The first batch has already sold out and is expected to ship in June this year.

Bitmain’s surprise announcement effectively muscles in on the market before Obelisk has shipped its new SC1 miners. The Chinese mining company has promised delivery within 10 days after full payment has been made.

This has not gone unnoticed, and Obelisk founder David Vorick posted a stern warning to Bitmain on the Obelisk Reddit forum, hinting at a soft fork that would disable the Bitmain A3 units from being able to mine the coin.

“Bitmain has a long history of being abusive towards coin communities, their customers and towards coin developers.We prepared for something like this by adding an extra feature to the SC1. We can do a soft-fork that slightly changes the PoW algorithm which would invalidate the Bitmain ASICs, but allow the SC1 units to continue working. In the event of an attack from Bitmain, we can activate this soft fork.”

The Obelisk founder and Sia lead developer, known by his nickname taek, made it clear that a move like that would be a last resort to protect users that have preordered Obelisk miners.

“At this time, I do not think it is necessary, but if they start mining empty blocks or otherwise prove problematic for the network, we have recourse that does not involve destroying the usefulness of the SC1 units. This fork would of course require community adoption, its not something the devs could decide to activate on their own. It would be a UASF because the majority hashrate would not be standing behind the soft fork.”

 In a parting shot, Vorick said a final decision on the correct course of action rests in the hands of the mining community.

 “Overall, I do not think we have much to worry about. Hopefully (and very likely), this soft-fork will never be necessary. But I wanted to remind everyone (including Bitmain) that, at the end of the day, it is the community that has control, not the miners. If ASIC manufacturers act in a way that is harmful to the network, we have recourse.”

According to Obelisk’s website, 3,598 SCI units were sold in the first preorder batch. 1,585 SCI units have been sold to date in the second presale batch.

Standing up to the big dogs

Bitmain’s mining pools, Antpool and BTC.com, account for over 29 percent of the world’s hashing power, which some experts believe challenges the decentralized nature of Bitcoin. Furthermore its estimated that 70 percent of the world’s Bitcoin miners use Antpool hardware.

Business is ruthless, and Bitmain’s secret launch of the Antminer A3s show that they are looking to outfox their competitors at every turn.

Bitmain hasn’t broken any rules, but it’s good to see that Obelisk are willing to stand up and make preeminent moves of their own. But once again, it’s likely that the mining community will have the final say.