Cryptocurrency mining hardware giant Bitmain recently revealed its new Ethereum ASIC miner, the Antminer E3. Per the company, the first batch will be ready to ship by mid-July, and orders are limited to “one unit per user” with shipments to China and Taiwan being restricted.
The cryptocurrency community has been expecting an Ethereum ASIC miner since February, when rumors about it started appearing in China. As covered, Wall Street analyst Christopher Rolland recently revealed he could confirm an Ethereum ASIC had been developed, and was going to be ready to ship in the second quarter of 2018.
At the time Rolland stated:
"During our travels through Asia last week, we confirmed that Bitmain has already developed an ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for mining Ethereum, and is readying the supply chain for shipments in 2Q18.”
Rolland’s firm Susquehanna lowered its prospects for GPU manufacturers AMD and Nvidia, as an ASIC miner will likely put an end to the GPU mining era for Ethereum and likely other Ethash cryptocurrencies.
The Ethereum ASIC miners are set to offer 180MH/s of mining power, while consuming 800w of energy. As Tom’s Hardware points out, this is an unheard of level of efficiency when compared to the GPU mining rigs that currently dominate the Ethereum mining scene. Per the publication’s math, a rig with the Antminer E3’s power would cost between $6,000 and $7,000.
Other cryptocurrency miners likely agreed, as at press time the first batch of Ethereum ASIC miners has already sold out. The machines, when it comes to Ethereum, may one day end up not being efficient at all, as the community has shown to support a hard fork to render them obsolete.
This, according to a Twitter poll conducted by Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir, who saw 6,900 people vote. The results showed that 57 percent supported a hard fork that would allow the cryptocurrency to resist ASIC miners, and only 13 percent say ‘no.’ 10 percent revealed they were undecided, while 20 percent just wanted to see the results.