November 20, 2014
What’s happening in the world of cryptocurrency mining?
Recent reports indicate that despite the shift among some to the cloud, hardware development remains a priority among the major players in the space.
At the other end of the spectrum, the industry continues to face headwinds on the legal and developmental front.
The network hashrate numbers (via Blockchain) from recent weeks suggest that the network hashing strength is fluctuating after reaching an all-time high on or around 1st November. Peaking then at approximately 340 PH/s, the network at press time is at roughly 288 PH/s.
Will this trend continue or will the network hashrate continue its long-term march upwards? Only time will tell.
GAWMiners announces further delay to Vaultbreaker ASIC
GAWMiners has announced a new delay in the development of its Vaultbreaker series of scrypt ASICs, saying that the company originally contracted to built the machines has gone out of business.
According to a forum post from last week, the company concerned ceased operations two months ago and GAWMiners subsequently contracted a new partner to build the ASICs. It did not name either of the companies involved with the development of the ASIC.
The firm also said that it is offering older hardware to interested pre-order customers with equivalent hash rates.
GAWMiners CEO Josh Garza told that the company opted not to make the announcement sooner because it was “not appropriate”, arguing that “there was no upside in making those guys look bad, when just about all our customers ended up with something even better” – a reference to the company’s cloud mining service.
Garza added that follow-up conversations with Vaultbreaker pre-order customers have been positive and that some customers expressed an interest in exchanging their orders for cloud-hashing power instead of older equipment.
The move represents another roadblock for the development of so-called third generation scrypt mining hardware.
Last month, ZeusMiner announced that it was ceasing development of its Volcano scrypt ASIC. At the time, CEO Terry Li noted that growing demand among miners for cloud hashing power was a major factor in its decision.
This trend is not without controversy, however. On forums and social media platforms, some have criticized the move by formerly hardware-focused mining companies to shift to cloud-based solutions.
Concerns about the viability of these business models have been noted by prominent community members, and critics say that relative declines in both bitcoin and altcoin markets will make it difficult for some investors to achieve a return on their investment in the long term.
Bitmain launches new mining pool
Chinese bitcoin mining company Bitmain has opened a new mining pool called Antpool, which launched on 16th November and has maintained an average of 16-17 PH/s since then.
According to data from Blockchain, Antpool constitutes roughly 4% of the bitcoin network as of today – roughly the same as Slush Pool or BTC Guild.
In its announcement on the Bitcoin Talk forum, the company said that it opted to make the pool one node in the broader p2p mining protocol network in a bid to promote greater decentralization in bitcoin mining.
“Antpool supports both solo and p2p mining protocol. Bitmain reaffirms its commitment to help decentralize the bitcoin network, strengthen the bitcoin eco-system and put the majority of hashing power into the hands of consumers.”
Bitmain said that it wants to promote community involvement in the development of the mining pool by making its modified p2pool code open source, inviting input from stakeholders.
The announcement sparked debate about whether or not the company was being forthright in contributing to the p2pool mining protocol, which enables miners to collectivize hashing power without having to rely on a centralized – and potentially fraudulent – mining structure.
Bitmain commented in subsequent posts that it is committed to p2pool development, but added that proper scaling of the network to reach enterprise levels will take time.
HashFast assets to be auctioned off next month
Bankrupt bitcoin mining company HashFast is set to have the remainder of its assets auctioned off in early December, according to a recent decision by the judge overseeing the company’s long-running legal battle.
Court documents (hat tip Ars Technica) show that US bankruptcy judge Dennis Montali approved a request for the company to begin selling off assets, including thousands of ASIC chips, as well as other kinds of computer components.
An auction is scheduled to be held on 4th December in San Francisco, with participants likely to be the company’s debtors and stakeholders who, according to court documents, are owed as much as $40m. Potential bidders have until 2nd December to submit their bids and deposits.
Notably, among the assets up for auction are “claims and causes of action” against HashFast CTO Simon Barber for alleged improprieties related to “preference, fraudulent transfer, and breach of fiduciary duty claims”.
HashFast was granted Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June after a contentious legal effort, during which the company staved off previous attempts by creditors to push it into bankruptcy. Prior to declaring bankruptcy, the company shed dozens of workers in an effort to remain solvent.