Bitmain to Release ASIC Processors for Monero Mining
On March 15th, Bitmain has announced their newest release on their Twitter page – the ASIC-powered Antminer X3, which is supposed to be the ultimate hardware for mining Monero. However, the pre-announced release has been met with skepticism by the miner community and the Monero developers, which stated that the newly released ASICs will not work for mining Monero.
Monero is a privacy-oriented altcoin based on a hashing algorithm called Crypto Night. The algorithm is said to be ASIC-resistant, as the PoW protocol is changed slightly with every ASIC threat on the market. This includes another hard fork scheduled later in the year, that is supposed to outwit the current version of the Crypto Night algorithm. This is the main reasoning behind Monero’s Riccardo Spagni’s claim that the new Antminers will not work.
Another hypothesis started by the Monero mining community is the fact that Bitmain is just trying to get rid of a stock of ASICs that have been used by the company to mine Monero since fall 2017, and will become useless after the next scheduled hard fork. It definitely sounds like a credible theory, especially considering the prices Bitmain is charging for these new processors.
Bitmain has announced that they shall release several batches of the (supposedly) new Antminer X3, the first one going live in May 2018. The prices will start at $12k per unit for the first batch and $7,599 per unit for the second one. Initially, Bitmain has also announced two additional batches to be shipped to Hong Kong, but the information on the website has since been updated, and it now states that the company does not ship to Hong Kong at all. The website also states that there will be no refunds.
Bitmain’s answers to the accusations brought by the community include the fact that Monero is not the only currency based on Crypto Night. Other altcoins, such as Darknetcoin, are also based on the same, which means buyers would be able to mine other currencies with the Antminer X3. However, those currencies have little to no access to major exchanges, which means they are hardly profitable to mine (at least compared to Monero.)