Rumors have been circulating that popular manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining ASICs Bitmain is planning to release an ASIC chip to specifically mine Ethereum. At the moment, regular graphics cards are being used to mine Ethereum, but a specialized ASIC could heavily disrupt the market and make the use of graphics cards for mining a lot less interesting.
Mining with graphics cards for certain altcoins such as Ethereum has seen a huge increase lately, causing huge shortages and price increases of GPU’s these past months. Ethereum benefits from a lot of video memory and a high memory bandwidth – which makes graphics cards ideal. ASICs haven’t been built so far because GDDR5 memory is quite expensive and more expensive than it has ever been.
However, it appears that Bitmain has figured out a way to create an efficient Ethereum ASIC with plenty of memory for a relatively low price. Each of Bitmain’s ASIC chips would feature 4 GB of DDR3 memory instead of the usual GDDR5 memory seen on graphics cards. DDR3 is slower, but a lot less expensive as well. According to the rumors, the mining company has purchased a hefty amount of DDR3 chips to bring the price down.
Bitmain would release an F3 Miner with 18 of these ASIC chips spread across three separate motherboards. If these F3 Miners do hit the market, graphics cards will be a lot less interesting to mine Ethereum with, and could quite possibly become irrelevant.
Another popular cryptocurrency Monero has decided to fork its cryptocurrency to combat ASICs, and it’s unclear whether or not Ethereum will do something similar. According to the same rumors, Bitmain isn’t the only manufacturer who’s planning to release an Ethereum miner and at least three other manufacturers are currently investigating an Ethereum ASIC.