May 25, 2018

Bitmain’s Antminer Z9 Mini Intended to Mine Zcash, Threatens ASIC Resistance

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Mining components maker Bitmain has introduced the release of its new Antminer Z9 mini, an ASIC (application-particular built-in circuit) miner able of mining any cryptocurrency functioning the Equihash evidence-of-operate (PoW) algorithm. This contains, most notably, Zcash.

The enterprise made the announcement by way of its Twitter site:

“Pleased to announce the Antminer Z9 mini, an ASIC miner to mine #Equihash-primarily based cryptocurrencies. To protect against hoarding and to let much more men and women worldwide get a single, we have set a limit of a single miner for every consumer. Order … now when stock lasts!”

Zcash (ZEC) is a decentralized and open up-source cryptocurrency intended to offer consumers full (but optional) privateness in transactions. In addition, Zcash has often used the Equihash PoW mining algorithm to protect against the development of Zcash ASIC miners and has predominantly been mined by typical-goal GPU chips, which are well-liked among avid gamers.

ASICs have long been a subject matter of controversy. Their introduction has led to centralized mining for some larger functions, and quite a few have argued that ASICs operate towards the decentralized intentions of many cryptocurrencies.

In addition, Bitmain in certain has been accused in the past of leveraging its impact as a dominant player in the mining business. Critics have claimed that Bitmain does not have a sizable competitor and features an unfair benefit when trying to centralize hash electric power. As such, Zcash mining, too, could wind up in the hands of only a handful of important mining firms like Bitmain.

The growth of ASIC components has previously induced some cryptocurrencies to improve their evidence-of-operate mining algorithm. Martin Kuvandzhiev, functions guide of Bitcoin Gold, which uses the very same mining algorithm as Zcash, has said that an future hard fork has been scheduled to guarantee that the forex manages to stand towards ASIC mining. Monero, in the meantime, has not long ago altered its mining algorithm to counter ASIC components.

It is probable that Zcash will adhere to accommodate and improve its PoW mining algorithm as well, but no conclusion has been made on this concern as of but. Just hours right before Bitmain’s announcement, Zcash co-founder and CEO Zooko Wilcox did generate in a forum submit that ASIC resistance “would possibly turn out to be not possible long-term” but that he was struck by how critical GPU mining was to people today in nations like Venezuela.

“If Venezuelans check out to import ASIC miners (i.e. for Bitcoin, at the moment), then they danger acquiring the miners stolen or extorted by the military which controls all imports,” he stated. “I’m fundamentally still in the very same place now that I was 4 a long time in the past when we 1st determined to go for common-distribution-of-coins at the cost of sunk-price tag-incentive-alignment. I still consider that common-distribution-of-coins is much more crucial (but I still consider it simply cannot last forever …).”

This write-up at first appeared on Bitcoin Journal.