The world of technology never ceases to be astounding, and those who keep up with its innovations must always be “on” as there are often changes that leave us speechless. In fact, the world moves so fast that it would be strange not to encounter at least one “revolutionary” announcement per week.
The philosophy behind the development of cryptocurrencies is one of the reasons why several people decided to support and adopt their use (have you ever seen anyone criticize Ripple, Monero, Bitcoin Cash or Venezuelan Petro, just because?, or why ETC rivals so much with ETH?). In the case of consensus algorithms, developers’ visions of what their crypto-currency “should be”, often influence their decisions, beyond just saying “screw it… I’ll just go with profitability!”.
The CryptoNight consensus algorithm was created to solve the “rich get richer” problem involving the use of traditional PoW algorithms (how many could afford a decent bitcoin mining rig four years ago, and how many can afford it now?). And it looks like they had it all figured out, creating a code that used a level of operations in memory far superior to that supported by traditional ASICS (if you are one of those tech geeks, an in-depth explanation can be found here).
However, in the early morning of March 11, 2018, the twitter of a small (and little-known) ASIC manufacturing company, announced something that could represent a landmark in the world of mining (let alone another new victory in hardware) – the first ASIC miner designed explicitly for cryptos using the CryptoNight/CryptoNight-Light algorithm.
While a few days ago there was a rumor that mining giant Bitmain would be developing the first ETH ASIC, today’s surprise is given by a less famous Baikal Miner, which announced its new Cryptonight friendly ASIC: The ‘Giant-N’.
According to the information provided by the company, the ASIC uses an ATX Power(12v 6pin connector*3), comes with 1 Ethernet port, works with a Temp Threshold of：0 ~ 40 ℃ (32 ~ 104℃). Its physical dimensions are 198mm(L) x 125mm(W) x 139mm(H), weighing around 1800g.
It will have a hash rate for Cryptonight of 20KH/s ± 10% and 40KH/s ± 10% for Cryptonight-lite, with a power consumption of 60W (YES! That’s right… 60W). The device will mine cryptonight-based coins such as Bytecoin, Electroneum, Graftcoin, IPBCcoin, Sumokoin, and Aeon.
Now, with Monero there seems to be a problem since the website lists it as mineable, but the twitter account unlisted it, so there is no way to know the actual BaikalMiner’s “official” opinion, being both sources equally legit.
The price is not published, inviting potential buyers to contact the company directly for more information or orders. However, after making contact via Skype, the following information was received:
Sorry for delay.
Thank you for your contacting.
Three types of sale. (shipping charge not included)
1) Giant-N Price at 3600 usd/pc Delivery within 7 working days after receiving payment.
2) Giant-B Price at 4000 usd/pc Delivery at 10th-30th April.
3) Giant-X10 Price at 4000 usd/pc Delivery at 10th-30th April.
Payment: USD dollar transfer Only
Minimum order quantity: 6 units (MOQ for each type)
Shipping will be DHL/UPS. Waybill could be provided once we have sent the miner by email.
Power supply: We never sell PSU. We would recommend you to buy PSU from your local market or an online shop like Amazon.
Please let me know which product you are interested in.
Our cutting-edge technology creates a brighter future for you！
Web: www.baikalminer.com 丨 Skype: baikalminer
Email:email@example.com 丨 Facebook: @baikalminer.offical”
One of the most attractive features for the potential buyer would be the possibility of using the ASIC with Monero, being this the currency with the most substantial market cap of all the minable cryptonight altcoins. However, Monero’s philosophy actively concentrates on avoiding the possibility of using this types of equipment to solve its algorithm. An official post shows their view on this matter:
“Mining, in general, is also prone to the rich-get-richer effect, which ultimately leads to centralization. For example, a large miner may have significant economies of scale which allows him to grow his share of the hashrate. The Cryptonight algorithm, due to its egalitarian design, somewhat mitigates this effect because miners have competition from (i) miners that have virtually no costs (e.g. botnets), (ii) hobbyist miners, who use their CPUs and GPUs to support the network and aren’t predominantly profit-driven, and (iii) web miners (…) By contrast, ASICs accelerate the rich-get-richer effect, because ASIC miners have no competition from the aforementioned mining “groups” (…)
In sum, we strongly believe that it’s beneficial to preserve our ASIC resistance. Therefore, we will perform an emergency hard fork to curb any potential threat from ASICs if needed”
A softfork is in the works for this month, which could modify the code to make it BaikalMiner’s ASIC resistant, however, it is not yet known if Baikal’s ASIC will be able to handle it, as the miners’ technical specifications are still unknown to the point that many doubt whether it is really an ASIC or an FPGA.
Monero’s team has not yet posted specific comments regarding the launch of this mining equipment.
Alternative stores have already appeared listing the ASIC at 3800$ and $4799 + $994 shipping costs – a slightly higher price, but with the advantage of allowing the purchase of only one ASIC whereas the minimum purchase order from the official website must be at least six pieces of equipment.
Theoretically, a piece of equipment with the proposed characteristics would have a daily profit that varies between maximum amounts of 33.4$ for SUMOCOIN and a minimum profit amount of 14.4$ for ULTRANOTE.
The most popular altcoins return the following daily benefits:
Bytecoin $17.3, Aeon $18.8, Monero $20.2 and Electroneum $25
The site is not well known, the components look “cheap”, the information is scarce, and the (almost) minimal amount of energy required is so impressive it seems “too good to be true”. The high return rate does not come from Hashing Power but the attractive Hashing vs. Power Usage ratio.
Monero’s fork may very likely be able to make such a coin resistant to this ASIC, but there are already some people interested, placing buy orders on the website and creating buying groups.
If you are willing to take the risk, it could be a good investment; however, it is crucial to investigate before you buy thoroughly.
Featured Image: Twitter