Sapphire Launches ‘Money Printing Machine’, a New GPU Miner for Grin Coin

Siamak Masnavi

On Tuesday (January 22nd), Hong Kong-headquartered graphics card manufacturer Sapphire Technology ("Sapphire") launched the "SAPPHIRE RX 570 16GB HDMI Blockchain Graphics Card", which it says has enough memory (16GB) to be able to handle both the "CuckARoo and the "CuckAToo" Proof-of-Work (POW) algorithms that are used for mining the privacy-focused Grin Coin.

What is Grin Coin?

Grin is a new privacy-focused cryptocurrency that implements the MimbleWimble protocol (which is similar to Bitcoin, but supposedly has "dramatically better scaling and privacy properties"), and its mainnet only went live on January 15th. 

According to its documentation, Grin is "an open source software project that implements a MimbleWimble blockchain and fills the gaps required for a full blockchain and cryptocurrency deployment," and these are its main characteristics:

  • "Privacy by default. This enables complete fungibility without precluding the ability to selectively disclose information as needed."
  • "Scales mostly with the number of users and minimally with the number of transactions (<100 byte kernel), resulting in a large space saving compared to other blockchains."
  • "Strong and proven cryptography. MimbleWimble only relies on Elliptic Curve Cryptography which has been tried and tested for decades."
  • "Design simplicity that makes it easy to audit and maintain over time."
  • "Community driven, encouraging mining decentralization."

How to Mine Grin Coin?

Grin's basic Proof-of-Work (POW) algorithm is called "Cuckoo Cycle", and it was "specifically designed to be resistant to Bitcoin style hardware arms-races." It is "primarily a memory bound algorithm, which, (at least in theory,) means that solution time is bound by memory bandwidth rather than raw processor or GPU speed." 

Grin accepts two variants of the Cuckoo Cycle algorithm:

  • "CuckARoo (or ASIC Resistant) is intended to be mined by GPUs. It can be mined using a 6GB+ GPU."
  • "CuckAToo (or ASIC Targeted) is intended to be mined by ASICs in the future. It can also be mined using 11GB+ GPUs."

Sapphire Technology's New Graphics Card for Mining Grin Coin

In its press release, Sapphire Technology says that the "SAPPHIRE RX 570 16GB HDMI Blockchain Graphics Card" is the "first of a new family of GPU Blockchain products to support mining of the recently launched GRIN Coin and other cryptocurrencies," and that it will be available to order soon. Sapphire says that "unlike other 12 and 16GB cards on the market, which tend to be for industrial or professional applications and thus carry a heavy premium, the 16GB RX 570 is superbly positioned for early Grin coin miners." We do not yet know the price, but PC Gamer expects the new card to cost "twice as much as a regular Radeon RX 570."

The specifications are as follows:

sapphire rx 570 specs.png

The Money Printing Machine

Sapphire’s global VP of marketing, Adrian Thompson, explained in a Medium blog post why the new card is a "money printing machine":

"Sapphire Technology looks to have a great early-mover advantage thanks to the imminent release of a 16GB version of its Radeon RX570 graphics card. Not only are the Compute Units of the RX570 well suited to mining the Grin algorithm, but with 16GB of memory it can mine both the Cuckaroo and Cuckatoo algorithms. This will allow miners to see-saw between each one as the difficulty swings from back and forth, a process also known as ‘Dual Mining’.

Sapphire will have access to a Grin miner that will port the CUDA miner. Factor in the affordable cost of the Sapphire 16GB RX570 itself, which is a third of the price of competing 16GB cards designed for professional applications, and Sapphire seems to have produced a veritable money printing machine."

All Images Courtesy of Sapphire Technology