Rewind one year. What would you have guessed would be the most impactful event in the Bitcoin mining industry? A North American ASIC manufacturer? Record hashrate levels? Two ASIC manufacturers going public? Hashrate futures?
Nobody would have guessed that a toxic year-long battle would take place among the co-founders of the most dominant ASIC manufacturer. This battle led to competition in the mining hardware market intensifying, significant delays for latest-generation rigs, and a questionable future for Bitmain.
Developments in the Bitmain battle have been fast-paced and hard for anyone to keep track of. We have timelined the developments over the past year and also detailed the buildup. We will update this article regularly as new events unfold.
Hashrate estimates reached record highs with some figures recently reporting a hashrate of over 150 EH/s. Reports show that latest-gen rigs are finally being delivered to miners after significant delays due to factors like the Bitmain battle and COVID-19 shipping delays.
The latest difficulty adjustment recorded a jump of 11.34% reflecting the higher levels of hashrate deployed on the network. The next adjustment is currently estimated to record a decline of roughly 2%. A combination of the higher difficulty level and lower bitcoin prices has likely brought some Bitcoin miners offline.
Hut8 deploys 2,000 mining rigs. Speaking of record hashrate levels and mining rigs being deployed, one publicly-listed firm has confirmed that they have recently installed a significant number of rigs. A press released issued by Hut8 Mining announced that they received 1,000 Whatsminer M31S rigs and 1,000 Whatsminer M31S+ rigs at one of their mining facilities. These rigs will collectively have a hashrate of roughly 154 PH/s. The M31S series is roughly 20% less powerful and efficient than M30S and Antminer S19 rigs. Nonetheless, these rigs should be a boost to the prospects of Hut8 who have struggled to remain competitive in recent years due to a recently dissolved agreement to exclusively use hardware produced by Bitfury. The press release further notes that a shipment of 1,590 M30S rigs is expected in November.
Bitmain and Core Scientific partner to open a US-based repair centre for Antminer mining rigs. This a huge positive development for North American-based Bitmain customers. Customers were previously forced to send rigs to Asia for repair which is both a costly and lengthy process. Earlier in the year, Core Scientific secured a purchase order of 17.6 thousand latest generation rigs from Bitmain.
Reports have surfaced that Apple has booked TSMC’s entire 5nm production. Bitmain was recently included in a shortlist of seven companies that were assigned the bulk of TSMC’s 5nm production. Successfully designing and taping out rigs with 5nm chips may have led to Bitmain producing a mining rig vastly more efficient than the current generation. However, such innovation may have pushed back if it is true that Apple has purchased TSMC’s entire 5nm production.
Canaan launches a new miner. Canaan has announced the AvalonMiner 1246. The touted specifications are a hashrate of 90 TH/s and an efficiency of 38 J/TH. This would put the rig among the most energy-efficient on the market. Bitmain and MicroBT announced rigs with even better energy efficiency early in 2020. However, if Canaan can deliver on the advertised specifications, and MicroBT or Bitmain don’t release a next-generation rig in the meantime, it will be the first time that Canaan has a rig that isamong the most efficient on the market.
Three Iranian power plants have been approved to sell surplus energy to Bitcoin miners. Power plants Ramin, Neka, and Shahid Montazeri will auction the surplus energy to miners. The auction is intended to increase revenue for the power plants while also lightening the load on the nation’s grid. Bitcoin miners have put tremendous strain on Iran’s grid infrastructure since a government department issued 1,000 licences to miners in January.
A Venezuelan government department has legalized crypto mining but requires miners to register with the government. It wasn’t so long ago that Venezuelan authorities carried out widespread seizures of mining equipment. Electricity is virtually free in Venezuela and it makes sense for citizens to consider mining Bitcoin as their domestic currency spirals out of control. The latest development from the government requires that crypto miners register with the government and keep business records for ten years. The government also requires that all miners connect to a national mining pool which will give the government control of the block rewards earned by miners.
Kraken enters banking with the upcoming launch of Kraken Financial. Kraken makes history by becoming the first US digital asset company to be approved a bank charter. Kraken Financial will now be able to accept deposits, act as a custodian, and take on fiduciary responsibility for digital assets. As the years progress, it will be expected that Kraken Financial provides all the services of standard banks such as savings and loans.
Kristy-Leigh Minehan never fails to pique interest when she talks about the mining industry. Whit and Kristy discuss ETH 2.0, the future of ASIC manufacturing, and high-performance computing versus Bitcoin mining.
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