Bitmain, a Chinese manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining equipment, launched the first miner based on the Ethash algorithm for the mining of Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Expanse and other cryptocurrencies. The announcement of this miner attracted a lot of attention at the beginning of this year.
According to Bitmain’s website, Antminer E3 is designed for the Ethash/Dagger-Hashimoto algorithm, it generates more than 180 MH/s, consumes 800 watts of electrical energy and its price is 800 US dollars. A rig with six graphic cards RX 570 with approximately the same power consumes around 1,000 watts. The difference is, only the graphic cards in this type of rig are cost around 2,000 dollars, without other components of the rig.
The first batch is currently on sale and one user can only purchase one Antminer E3. Bitmain accepts only Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and US dollars. The company does not ship the equipment to Hong Kong, Taiwan or Macao and the shipping is scheduled to start between 16th and 31st of July this year. The first batch is already sold out.
Bitmain points out it would not cover the risk of change of the mining algorithm by the developers of the cryptocurrency the users would like to mine. The company maintains the policy established with the launch of Blake2b (for the mining of SiaCoin) and CryptoNight (for the mining of Moner) miners. Bitmain established this policy after the Monero community decided to fork the mining algorithm in order to continue being ASIC-proof or switch to POS sooner than expected. When it comes to SiaCoin, the community decided not to change the algorithm, but the community is alert to any threat coming from Bitmain.
There were numerous rumors before the miner was launched and the Ethereum community has been discussing this topic, proposing to bifurcate its blockchain to avoid the use of the new Ethereum miners from Bitmain in its network or even to advance the transition to the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm.
Despite the risks related to the Ethereum algorithm, the first batch of Antminer E3 sold out, partly because there are other cryptocurrencies besides Ethereum, such as Ethereum Classic, Expanse, Musicoin and others that can be mined with the new equipment from Bitmain. Also, the new miner offers a good benefit-cost ratio when compared to the current mining rigs.
There are reports that say at least four companies are currently producing ASIC miners for Ethash, which means this will probably not be the last model coming from Bitmain. Bitmain will probably have to update it to keep track with the competition.