Take a step back and reevaluate your options if you have been planning on buying Bitmain’s recently released Antminer X3 to mine Monero (XMR). The developers of the cryptocurrency have gone on record saying that the X3 could be already obsolete for mining Monero by the time it hits the store shelves in May 2018.
Bitmain, one of the largest mining rig manufacturers based out of Beijing, China, claims that the forthcoming Antminer X3 is an ultra-powerful miner built exclusively for CryptoNight hashing algorithm that powers privacy-focused digital currencies like Monero (XMR) and Bytecoin (BCN).
…to enable more users in different time zones to order, we have set a limit of one miner per user and will release both these batches with an equal stock thrice today: 3PM, 6PM and 9PM (15 March, GMT+8). Order while the batches last! (2/2) pic.twitter.com/ezp181HuWB
— BITMAIN (@BITMAINtech) March 15, 2018
The Antminer X3 ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit), with its rather impressive 220 kH/S at 550W, is supposed to ship in two batches — the first batch in May and the next in June. The first batch is going to retail at $11,999 per unit whereas the follow-up batch will see a significant price drop and retail at $7,599 per unit.
However, just when anticipation was building up around the launch of the new device, Fluffypony went public saying that the X3 is unlikely to be a good fit for mining Monero, the digital currency that’s soaring in popularity among dark web criminals.
Just a reminder that this WILL NOT work on Monero https://t.co/rhy6k2I4Yh
— Riccardo Spagni (@fluffypony) March 15, 2018
For the uninitiated, Fluffypony is the online pseudonym of Monero project lead Riccardo Spagni.
Spagni reminded potential buyers of the X3 that Monero is all set to witness some noticeable internal changes including a slight tweak in its proof-of-work protocol.
Here’s some background if that helps:
You are probably already familiar with the impact specially designed mining hardware had on CPU and GPU based PC mining — especially for early miners of coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Monero would be no exception to that trend had it not been for a set of community-driven precautionary measures.
“Any newly developed ASIC [specifically designed for Monero] will obtain a significant majority of the network hashrate and introduce centralization,” the XMR community wrote earlier in 2018.
“Due to the fact that they are designed for a specific use, they will typically have a large performance advantage over hardware that is intended for general-purpose use like CPUs, GPUs, and even FPGAs,” it added.
By design, Monero is different from some of the other popular digital currencies out there. It is powered by the CryptoNight hashing algorithm that works off the application layer protocol CryptoNote.
CryptoNight was configured to offer compatibility with the CPU of an ordinary PC. To accomplish that goal, the algorithm makes use of native CPU instructions, which are very tough and costly to efficiently implement into ASIC mining rigs.
To maintain the status quo, the developers’ team overseeing the Monero network has embarked on the strategy of making small, periodic, and yet unexpected changes to the proof-of-protocol.
The next Monero update is expected to roll out on March 26, 2018, just about a couple of months prior the scheduled shipping of the Antminer X3. The update has been timed such that it will ward off the risks of the Monero network falling to the ever-looming threat of centralization that ASIC mining rigs bring along.
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