Bitmain’s Mining Monopoly Continues With New Antminer Z9 Release
The new Antminer Z9 from Bitmain sparks further concern throughout communities regarding non-ASIC resistant cryptocurrencies, as the tech giant increases its centralized control over PoW mining.
Pre-orders for the new Antminer Z9 went live two days ago, superseding the ‘Antminer Z9 mini’ which caused a huge uproar from GPU miners when it came out in May this year. The larger Z9 is priced at $3,319 with an estimated shipping date around early September 2018.
The latest model has been marketed as Bitmain’s most powerful and efficient ASIC miner to date, boasting a whopping 40.8k Sol/s± 5% hashrate while only consuming 1150W± 10% of power.
“As a comparison, that is the equivalent hashrate of over 65 Nvidia GTX 1080ti’s put together.”
This makes the new Z9 the most profitable Equihash Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) in the Bitmain mining rig range.
So What’s The Problem?
Bitmain has already been in the news lately over fears that it could potentially control over 51% of the Bitcoin network, with its Antpool and BTC.com mining pools currently accounting for over 40% of the BTC hashing power. The dreaded ‘51% attack’ is the stuff of nightmares for crypto-miners, whereby a single entity could potentially have manipulative power over an entire network. These powers include the ability to double-spend and control transactions - not to mention removing the idea of ‘decentralization’, which is the very foundation on which cryptocurrencies are built.
These concerns are not exclusive to Bitcoin miners either. The new Antminer Z9 mini created widespread outrage recently among Zcash miners in particular over fears that the new mining rig will uproot the current GPU mining community; taking block rewards away from them and placing them into the hands of a much smaller group of people who will be using these highly effective machines.
This centralization has the knock-on effect of making Zcash a much less attractive coin to be involved with, from an investor point of view. Once Bitmain controls the necessary 51% of the Zcash network, they could easily manipulate the value of ZEC tokens by allowing select transactions to go through or blocking them all together.
Monero is another example of cryptocurrency that was forced to hard-fork. It took this route in April 2018 in a bid to avoid this overbearing control from taking over their network.
Siacoin and Bitcoin Gold are also victims of Bitmain’s unstoppable ingenuity, after specific mining rigs were developed by the tech giant to overcome their ASIC resistance.
Right now, the Chinese ASIC chip developer’s hunger to rule the mining industry is posing a significant threat to the very essence of why cryptocurrencies have become so popular - about removing centralized control away from corporate monopolies.
In an effort to avoid this threat, Proof-of-Stake and other consensus mechanisms are proving to be increasingly popular among newly created cryptocurrencies as they move away from PoW protocols. Those that aren’t so fortunate as to be able to change away from PoW will need to rely on hard forks to alter their protocol in order to remain resistance to Bitmain’s onslaught of invasive mining capabilities.
The new release also means that those that have already purchased the Z9 mini (who won’t receive their rigs until August) have already been technologically surpassed by the new model.