Bitmain has announced the release of the first Ethereum ASIC which is set to disrupt the Ethereum mining scene.
Bitmain just announced on Twitter that the first widely available ETHhash ASIC will be on sale. This announcement comes after a lot of talk about Ethereum’s future with ASICs, proof of stake and a hard fork which would limit the use of ASICs on the Ethereum Blockchain. According to the Bitmain shop page, the ASIC, called the Antminer E3, will run for around $800 USD and will have a hashrate of 180 Megahash on the ETHhash algorithm.
We are pleased to announce the Antminer E3, world's most powerful and efficient EtHash ASIC miner.
Ordering limit of one miner per user and not available in China.
Limited stock, order here now: https://t.co/Zfw3afjJHs#antminerE3 pic.twitter.com/SjHu2eUThp
— BITMAIN (@BITMAINtech) April 3, 2018
To put this number into a bit of perspective, a similarly priced GPU, the Nvidia Geforce 1080 only runs at around 30 Megahashes on the Ethereum algorithm. If Bitmain was to deliver on this ASIC, the results would have a huge impact on the current mining ecosystem around Ethereum and other ETHhash coins.
However, this ASIC is not set to ship until late July, more specifically, July 16-31st.
A large majority of the cryptocurrency community believes that by then, Ethereum will have already set up proper countermeasures to combat the use of ASICs as a part of the Ethereum ecosystem.
Ethereum has been planning for years to switch over to a proof of stake (POS) system. This would mean that instead of contributing computer processing power to maintain the network, that users would hold Ethereum in wallets and would generate network security from the simple holding of Ethereum. This would mean that ASICs would become useless
Additionally, Ethereum developers and Vitalik himself has insisted that they would do their best to fork away from the arrival of ASICs to keep Ethereum secure and always decentralized.
Viable individual-scale mining requires ASIC resistance.
— Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin (@VitalikButerin) September 16, 2017
So What’s Wrong with ASICS?
ASICs are seen as a risk for centralization by many in the community. ASICs produce a relatively large amount of hashrate compared to traditional pieces of hardware and ASICs have mostly become monopolized by Bitmain. With the decentralized aspect of the Blockchain, centralization is the worst thing that could happen.
There was talk earlier in the year about a scandal called ‘Antbleed’ by the cryptocurrency community. This scandal apparently exposed the fact that Bitmain could turn off miners externally using a line of code executed from Bitmain servers. This could have been executed by an executive at the Bitmain organization or even by a hacker who wished ill on Bitmain.
Bitmain eventually responded to the situation and initiated a response to make sure that this vulnerability in some ASIC machines was closed. But that still shows that Bitmain should not have had that much power, especially when they were dealing with a large percentage of the Bitcoin network hashrate.
Some worry about the arrival of Ethereum ASICs and what they could mean for the security and decentralization of the blockchain. It has been a common theme that ASICs have been not too well received by a large majority of cryptocurrency communities worldwide and it looks like the same goes for the Ethereum community today.
What do you think about the ASIC? Do you agree with the use of ASICs on the Ethereum Blockchain? Tell us down in the comments down below.
Images Courtesy of Bitmain, Shutterstock