New Bitmain Antminer Z9 mini
Bitmain presented a new hardware product dedicated to the Equihash algorithm, used by the Zcash privacy-centric cryptocurrency. This ASIC device, which is called Antminer Z9 Mini, is now available for purchase and will be shipped from June 20th to June 30th 2018.
On the occasion of the announcement, Bitmain posted via Twitter that in order to avoid hoarding and provide access to more people in the world, the company established a purchase limit of one miner per user.
Pleased to announce the Antminer Z9 mini, an ASIC miner to mine #Equihash-based cryptocurrencies. To prevent hoarding and to let more individuals worldwide get one, we've set a limit of one miner per user. Order here (https://t.co/LdIbpRrbgI) now while stock lasts!#AntminerZ9 pic.twitter.com/xJD58SKUfy
— BITMAIN (@BITMAINtech) May 3, 2018
A surprisingly efficient ASIC
The most surprising thing about this announcement is the efficiency of this ASIC with respect to the GPU mining. The approximate comparison is as follows (all variables are average):
GPU – GTX 1080 ti:
- Hashrate = 740 Sol/s.
- Power Consumption = 200 Watts.
- Price = $980.
- Hashing-consumption efficiency = 3.70 Sol/Watts.
- Hashing-investment efficiency = 0.76 Sol/$.
ASIC – Z9 mini:
- Hashrate = 10,000 Sol/s.
- Power Consumption = 300 Watts.
- Price = $1,999.
- Hashing-consumption efficiency = 33.33 Sol/Watts.
- Hashing-investment efficiency = 5.00 Sol/$.
Hard fork or not hard fork? The great dilemma
In the mining community, there’s been the discussion in regards to ASICs centralizing the mining industry since companies like Bitmain are specializing in creating ASICs for the most profitable algorithms, and there are intentions from other companies like Samsung that want to participate in the development of ASICs as well. Recently Monero made a change in its algorithm to make them “Anti ASIC” and Ethereum has not made any changes at the protocol level to block the new Bitmain ASIC just yet, but the community is discussing the possibility. In the case of the Zcash community, several statements have already been made by the developers using the Equihash algorithm:
- Zcash (ZEC)
Never a dull moment in crypto! We’re aware of the Bitmain announcement. ASIC resistance is an important topic. Join the Zcash forum and engage in the conversation. https://t.co/b9knNTZAXU
— Zcash Company (@zcashco) May 3, 2018
- Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
BTG's purpose: counter the centralization and control of mining by ASIC/specialty hardware.
Our purpose has not changed. We WILL UPGRADE our network to counter them!
— Bitcoin Gold [BTG] (@bitcoingold) May 3, 2018
- Bitcoin Private (BTCP)
We're committed to a decentralized blockchain and listening closely to all the thoughtful arguments being made about the recent release of Equihash ASICs. Community consensus must determine the response to this. Join the discussion in our public Discord: https://t.co/X8J2s3KJud
— Bitcoin Private (@bitcoinprivate) May 4, 2018
Those opposed to ASIC mining claim that the introduction of these devices tends to centralize mining in just a few operations of great influence in the network. They also consider that this trend is totally opposite to the intention of decentralization of cryptocurrencies. The founder of Zcash, Zooko Wilcox, said that a possible blockade of this miner is still under debate.