ASICMiner, which had been able to charge a premium for its ASIC mining hardware because it was the only company with miners in stock, has lowered the price of its blade hardware down to 3.5 BTC.

The blade offers 12.8 GH/s of mining, making it ASICMiner’s most powerful piece of hardware. A smaller USB miner that offers 300 MH/s of mining power is also available.

Purchases of at least 20 blades can be made through the company. Smaller orders are available through resellers. The price of 3.5 BTC only applies to orders of 100 units. The price at 20 units is 3.9 BTC.

This move reflects an exponential increase in mining difficulty on the network thanks to the introduction ASIC chips. Customer returns on investments are dropping sharply.

Competitor Avalon has begun shipping its hardware, with a million ASIC chips pre-sold for a cumulative 400 TH/s of mining power that will soon drop on the network.

However, deliveries will be at least a month later than customers anticipated, and this is making customers anxious. ASICMiner is simply trying to move its supply now, while the demand is there.

Public shares of ASICMiner have dropped considerably over the past two months. Shares are down from a high of 5.15 BTC to 2.71 BTC. A shrinking hash rate, declining sales and diminishing ROI are all contributing to this slide.

Meanwhile, the company is holding tight, not yet keen to introduce a new generation of mining hardware.