Bitmain Set to Release Antminer Z9 for Equihash-based Cryptocurrencies

Bitmain, the crypto-mining hardware manufacturing giant, has announced the release of a new ASIC miner (antminer Z9) for equihash-based cryptocurrencies. The announcement was made known via the company’s Twitter account on May 3, 2018. The new miner is said to be more efficient than the GPU hardware used by most miners of equihash-based cryptocurrencies. The units are expected to ship later in June as the company is currently taking pre-orders. Bitmain first made a name for itself in the bitcoin mining arena and has of recent been developing specialty mining hardware for traditionally ASIC-resistant cryptos.

The Antminer Z9 Mini Specs

The Bitmain equihash ASIC miner is called the Antminer Z9 Mini and can mine equihash-based coins like ZenCash, Zcash, and ZClassic. The unit weighs about 3.5kg and requires 300W of electric power. According to Bitmain, the Z9 Mini can process 10kH/s. When compared to existing GPUs, the Z9 mini appears to be more efficient and cost-effective. It reportedly offers 13 times more hashpower than a GTX 1080 Ti. Below is a comparison of the two hardware units:

  • Price: The Z9 Mini costs $1,999 while the 1080 Ti costs $9,500.
  • Hashrate: They both have the same stated hashrate of 10kH/s (10k sols/s).
  • Power Usage: The Z9 Mini power consumption is 300W while that of the 1080 Ti is 2,970W.

Important Considerations

The Antminer Z9 will begin initial shipments between June 28 and June 30. As this is still more than a month away, these equihash-based coins may make their networks to become ASIC-resistant. In fact, Bitcoin Gold, an equihash crypto, has announced that it’ll upgrade its blockchain network to become unprofitable for ASIC mining. Others might likely take the same step, and once this happens, the efficiency of the Z9 Mini will become drastically reduced. This decline in profitability was recently seen in the Antminer X3 when Monero performed a network upgrade to make itself more ASIC-resistant.

 

Based on the current network difficulty for Zcash, the Z9 Mini could generate as much as $20,000 to $30,000 per year, all things remaining equal. It should be noted that the specs quoted for the Antminer Z9 mini represent conservative ballpark figures. The actual efficiency and hashrate of the unit might be considerably higher.

The ASIC/GPU Debate

The ASIC/GPU debate is one of the many core debates in the cryptocurrency community. With bitcoin mining already centralized, thanks to large-scale ASIC mining, many crypto proponents are against such a monopoly emerging in the altcoin mining scene. As a result, it has become common practice for these altcoins to perform a hard fork in a bid to keep their networks ASIC resistant. The altcoin community continues to raise concerns over ASIC miners especially after the recent Monero hard fork drastically reduced the network difficulty.

Bitmain is the largest bitcoin ASIC vendor. About 80 percent of the bitcoin miners in operation are Bitmain ASIC units. The company also recently announced the release of an ASIC miner for the Ethereum network.

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