Bitmain is clearly intent on introducing a lot more ASIC miners in quick succession. Their latest unit is the Antminer Z9 mini, which is primarily designed to mine cryptocurrencies relying on the Equihash algorithm. Although none of those currencies are even remotely popular, it seems there may still be some interest in this mining unit.
The Purpose of the Antminer Z9 Mini
One has to commend Bitmain from suddenly releasing so many different ASIC miners. It seems the company has been working on ASIC chips for specific mining algorithms, including CryptoNight, Equihash, and a few others. This begs the question as to how long the Chinese firm has been “secretly” mining these cryptocurrencies and driving up the prices accordingly.
Even so, the release of the Antminer Z9 mini comes at a rather interesting time. For those unaware, there are a few cryptocurrencies which make use of this particular algorithm, although none of them will be on most speculators’ short lists right now. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for such currencies, but releasing a dedicated ASIC miner for them seems a bit odd. That is, unless Bitmain acknowledges that mining those coins with their own hardware is no longer profitable enough to keep going.
It remains to be seen how many people will actually order this mining unit, which is priced at $1,999. In exchange for their hard-earned money, customers will get a machine capable of hashing away at 10,000 solutions per second. The unit consumes 300 Watts of electricity, which is more than acceptable compared to some of the other goodies sold by the company. As with most other ASIC miners, customers should not expect a refund for any orders of this unit.
Among the currencies using the Equihash algorithm are Bitcoin Gold, Zcash, Komodo, ZClassic, ZenCash, and a few others. Other than Zcash, it may not even be worth buying such an ASIC miner, although that decision should be made by users individually. We do know the Bitcoin Gold team is already preparing to fork away from this mining algorithm to avoid the ASIC threat altogether. Whether or not that’s a smart decision is something else entirely.
Unsurprisingly, Bitmain has no plans of accepting payments through Equihash currencies for this mining unit. Instead, they’ll stick with the same traditional options, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. Whether or not anyone will even purchase this unit remains to be seen, as none of the Equihash coins have gained much traction. It is another somewhat odd decision by Bitmain, although we will have to wait and see how things play out.
It is evident a lot of things are changing in the world of cryptocurrency right now. Bitmain seemingly has a finger in every pie, which means the company may be responsible for controlling most hashrates of individual currencies on the market today. Anything that is not an ERC20 token or non-mineable asset is potentially subject to Bitmain’s interference in one way or another. That is not a positive thought by any means.