In the world of cryptocurrency mining, ASIC hardware is in high demand. Although many people would associate this type of hardware with Bitcoin or Litecoin mining, there are devices suited for other currencies as well. More specifically, Bitmain has announced the Antminer A3, which is designed specifically for the Blake (2b) algorithm. So far, there is only one (major) currency which uses this algorithm. Fans of Siacoin will be pleased to hear that this device exists.
A New Siacoin ASIC Miner
It is always good to see mining hardware manufacturers look beyond Bitcoin and the top cryptocurrencies. There is plenty of mining hardware for a select few currencies, even though there are plenty of other coins to keep an eye on as well. Especially when it comes to currencies using slightly different mining algorithms, there are plenty of opportunities waiting to be explored. It is somewhat surprising to see a company such as Bitmain introduce a miner for Siacoin, but it was only a matter of time until this came about.
According to the company’s website, the new Antminer A3 will cost US$2,375, which does not include shipping costs or taxes. It is a very steep investment for people who are excited about Siacoin, but there is a good chance they will make their money back sooner rather than later. Some people even claim this device is capable of generating US$300 worth of SC in one day, although your individual mileage may vary. If a few of these machines hit the network at once, those earnings will quickly drop by half or more.
On the technical side of things, the Antminer A3 offers a mining speed of 815 GH/s. Do keep in mind there is always a variance of up to 5% to contend with, but it still packs a lot of power into a rather small form factor. As one would expect, the power requirement for this unit is not on the low end of the spectrum. The A3 is expected to draw an average of 1.186 kilowatts from the wall, which makes it a rather power-hungry machine. At the same time, if people can still make a few hundred bucks a day despite these electricity requirements, we can only wonder what future, more energy-efficient models may bring to the table.
Moreover, the Antminer A3 weighs 4.2 kilograms, with operating temperatures of anywhere between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius. This is in line with most other cryptocurrency mining ASICs produced by this Chinese company these days. On the noise front, the A3 is a rowdy machine, as it produces around 76 decibels when under full load. Cryptocurrency mining is not something people do in their living rooms, for obvious reasons. It is something to put in one’s basement or anywhere else with access to clean and cool air.
As was to be expected, there is a genuine demand for this particular mining unit already. In fact, it seems the demand is so great that people have been seeing “out of stock” messages on the site already. That in itself is rather interesting, although it is unclear how many of these units are currently available for purchase. People willing to take the plunge can make a lot of money by buying these units in the first batch, mining plenty of Siacoin, and selling the units a few weeks later to the people still waiting for their orders. That is how most people do it these days, anyway.
For the time being, it is unclear how the Antminer A3 will affect the Siacoin ecosystem. It is evident this new ASIC miner will bring more hashpower to the network, even though the exact impact is difficult to gauge right now. It is good to see more interest in alternative currencies first and foremost, as cryptocurrency is about so much more than just Bitcoin or the top altcoins. Moreover, it will be interesting to see how many units Bitmain actually ships in the coming months.