One of the lower profile bitcoin mining manufacturers, China-based Bi Wang (BW), has reportedly unveiled a 14 nm ASIC (application specific integrated circuit).
According to a report by Bitcoin Magazine, the startup is marketing its miner to companies as well as to consumers. The launch is targeted for early 2016.
During the pre-order phase, each unit costs 0.87 BTC ($235). However, there is a minimum order quantity of 333, bringing the total cost to 289.7 BTC ($68,000). The bundle would be capable of producing 1 PH/s (1 PH = 1015 hashes, or encryption calculations)- about 0.24% of the total Bitcoin network hash rate.
Each chip is capable of producing 34.6-63.0 GH/s (1 GH = 109 hashes), with a power consumption of 18 W based on a voltage range of 0.59-0.76 V. This implies a peak power efficiency of 0.29 J/GH.
When the miners officially launch in the winter, there will be no minimum order quantity.
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Nine months of research and development reportedly went into designing the chip.
Advances in hardware design have made it more profitable to bring additional hardware online, resulting in the total network hash rate recently reaching new peaks near 490 PH/s. The rate has since dropped to near 430 PH/s.
BitFury, arguably the industry’s most dominant player, recently announced a 16 nm ASIC, claiming a power efficiency of 0.06 J/GH. Spondoolies-Tech, also one of the industry leaders, recently announced a miner with an advertised peak efficiency of 0.15 J/GH.
Some following the mining industry during the past 18 months may be disturbed by the notion of pre-ordering mining equipment. In such business models, the heavy costs of production are financed by funds from customer pre-orders. There were several notable instances of producers repeatedly failing to adequately fulfill orders or process refunds, in some cases resulting in legal action. A number of manufacturers have gone bankrupt.
It is hoped that the industry has learned from these mishaps, and that the surviving generation of manufacturers are of a different breed.