Bitmain, a Chinese company dedicated to mining cryptocurrency and design application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), unveiled their shiny new product on the market – an ASIC mining hardware invention called the Antminer Z9 mini. The product is dedicated to the Equihash algorithm which is used by Zcash (a cryptocurrency known for its emphasis on privacy).
The new ASIC’s release was announced by Bitmain in a tweet yesterday:
Pleased to announce the Antminer Z9 mini, an ASIC miner to mine #Equihash-based cryptocurrencies. To prevent hoarding and to let more individuals worldwide get one, we’ve set a limit of one miner per user. Order here (https://t.co/LdIbpRrbgI) now while stock lasts!#AntminerZ9 pic.twitter.com/xJD58SKUfy
— BITMAIN (@BITMAINtech) May 3, 2018
Sales of the product are already available on Bitmain’s website and shipments are expected to initiate in June.
ASIC chips offer a new alternative cryptocurrency mining method, opposed to the excessively expensive central processing units (CPUs) and graphical processing units (GPUs), so generally individuals interested in getting involved in cryptocurrency mining are more likely to turn to the new kid on the block. Owing to this, ASIC inventions come with an element of controversy because their introduction to the market generally leads to centralize mining into a few large operations – which can lead to a few large corporations having an excessive amount of control of the mining industry. Those enthusiastic about the concept of the decentralization in cryptocurrencies are often opposed to the monolopy of mining and are subsequently averse to ASIC mining.
The creator of Zcash’s, Zooko Wilcox, commented on the issue that lies within the controversial prospect of ASIC miners being developed for his cryptocurrency saying that he is “chagrined that [he] let it sound like [they] were committing to a social contract of ongoing ASIC-resistance” and continued:
“That is absolutely never what I had intended to commit to, because (a) I always thought that it would probably become impossible long-term, and (b) I always believed that there was a fundamental trade-off between widespread distribution of the coins on one hand“.