Today, Bitmain, the Beijing-based Bitcoin mining giant, is releasing its new S9 ASIC miner. It is the first commercially available mining unit to use a cluster of 189 16nm ASICs and deliver a mining power of 14TH/s per single unit.
The S9 compares favorably to both Bitmain’s earlier models of miners and products of other companies. With an advertised hashrate of 14TH/s at a 1.38kW energy consumption, it offers an almost threefold increase in productivity at a similar rate of expenditure, when compared to the company’s last model, S7.
In its official announcement, Bitmain claims to have delivered “the most efficient 16nm Bitcoin miner” with low energy consumption and reasonable maintenance costs. The S9 is going to be available in limited quantities, so potential buyers should place their orders beforehand, on Bitmain’s website.
The ups and downs of Bitcoin mining
The Bitcoin network has experienced a sharp difficulty spike over the past two years, and mining became mostly an affair limited to professional enthusiasts and dedicated companies.
Small players were pushed out by vast mining farms operating at maximum efficiency in low-energy-cost and low-temperature areas of the globe.
Any single mining rig available to an amateur was expected to last for about 3 months until it became obsolete.
Now, that trend seems to have ended, with the difficulty expected to somewhat stabilize. Here is what Andreas Antonopoulos, one of the most prominent experts in the industry, had to say about this:
“Over the next 2 years we will not see a 10,000 times improvement (in mining efficiency), we’ll see a 2 times improvement ... That means that instead of the equipment being obsolete in 3 months it will now have a shelf life of 2 years”
New era for Bitcoin miner manufacturers?
That potentially spells a beginning of a new era for Bitcoin miner manufacturers, who will compete with each other in a bid to offer an efficient and long-lasting machine. Bitmain stands to be one of the first companies to enter that race, with its announcement of its new gadget. The company claims to have won customers from more than 100 countries with its Antminer line of Bitcoin miners.
Bitmain also operates Antpool, the world's largest Bitcoin mining pool with 28 percent of the network's hashrate. And recently, it has invested $1.6 million in BitKan, a Bitcoin data and trading services provider.
Sharif Allayarov of Bitmain says:
"We decided to invest in BitKan to help expand its OTC (Over the Counter) business. It is a very attractive business that will provide a platform for people all over the world to trade bitcoin, especially to those living in non-mature bitcoin markets such Africa, South America, and India."