In this fall update we will briefly discuss the state of mining and what is in store for the future.
– Pushback against ASICS – Many algorithms cannot support the large amount of ASICS thrown upon the network. Even the ZCash ASICS may find themselves without a real coin to mine in 2019 as the overall mining community reiterates the importance of decentralization. Although much can be argued about Satoshi’s idea of decentralization, ASICs have shown to be a point of possible failure in network robustness due to the limited availability, manufacturers and lack adaptability. This is apparent in the SIA network and other smaller ones. It is of this writers opinion that most ASICS produced in 2018 will find a door to stop in 2019/2020. Bitcoin SHA-256 ASICS are of a different breed, now having many different high quality sellers. The ASIC pushback may even reach Bitcoin but do not expect change.
– FPGA mining is being rolled out in numbers. Mineority / SQRL have been shipping BCU1525s and more powerful FPGAs are on the way. The biggest hurdle is that the boards need custom cooling and are quite expensive. The ROI on these are about 1.5 years – and with a limited availability of private bitstreams – expect the ROI to worsen. Since a lot of algorithms cannot support many FPGAs, bitstreams (can be compared to mining software) are kept private and to limited amounts of people, often with heavy fees. The bitstream dev has little incentive to release a fee based miner due to the limited amount of FPGAs out there so far. They are still good products but they come with their own challenges. High power cost miners should be the ones most interested.
– GPU accelerators. ACORNS from SQRL are shipping soon and will speed up and lower power consumption for many algorithms. The idea is to take part of the algorithm’s calculation off the GPU/CPU combo and process it in the Acorn’s FPGA chip. Its a little more complicated, but essentially for Ethereum, the Keccak part can use up to 1/5 or 1/6 of the work-time done by the GPU. By using an Acorn it speeds up the process accordingly and saves power too per hash.
– PROGPOW. Expect Ethereum to change mining algorithm in 2019. Major contender is ProgPow, simply put it reduces the advantage of ASICS over GPU on Ethereum’s algorithm. Currently active on BCI coin and more to come.
GPUs are now sold at MSRP and used gear is very cheap. PSUs are also back to normal pricing as are all mining frames and accessories. With winter upon us, there is no better time to build a few rigs to heat the house.
Latest mining software updates include T-rex 0.7.2, Enemy 1.22 for X16r, x22i (SUQA), and the XMR miners have all updated to V8.