While some cryptocurrency miners are purportedly shutting down due to unprofitability, Chinese mining giant Bitmain continues to not only see its new products sold out but is also improving some of its older flagship devices.
Bitmain previously confirmed that Antminer E3 would stop mining Ether
According to a March 30 blog post, Antminer E3’s lifespan is prolonged with specifically designed firmware launched by Bitmain. According to the announcement, the new firmware was developed to allow miners to continue using Antminer E3 “even after March 2020.”
Specifically, Antminer E3’s new firmware addresses a problem with directed acyclic graph (DAG) files, which was first reported by altcoin mining pool 2Miners in February 2020. According to 2Miners, DAG growth was the primary reason for limiting the capability of Antminer E3s for mining Ether and Ethereum Classic (ETC) due to limited memory capacity.
While Bitmain subsequently confirmed the DAG growth problem, stating that its double date rate (DDR) memory was approaching the limit of 4GB, 2Miners calculated that Antminer E3 would stop Ether mining roughly on April 8, 2020.
Bitmain’s firmware addresses DAG growth issue directly
However, Antminer E3’s lifespan has now been extended with the new firmware that addresses the DAG problem directly. According to Bitmain, the new firmware will expand the usage of DDR memory, as more space is needed to process DAG files.
With the new firmware update, the final approximate block height of the Antminer E3 is 11,400,000, the blog post says. While Bitmain is confident that E3 miners will continue being operable after April 2020, the miner will still support mining until October 2020, according to the firm’s calculations.
Nathaniel Yu, international marketing manager at Bitmain, told Cointelegraph that the Bitmain team started the development of the new firmware at the beginning of 2020. The exec didn’t clarify whether Bitmain started the effort before or after 2Miners reported on the issue.
Yu confirmed that Antminer E3 will stop mining Ethereum around October 2020, adding that Bitmain doesn’t plan to extend the device’s lifespan anymore. He said:
“As far as we know, mining will approximately end during October or sometime after this. This is the latest firmware update developed for the Antminer E3. Currently, we have not made any plans to develop future updates at the moment.”
Released by Bitmain in April 2018, Antminer E3 was touted as the “world's most powerful and efficient EtHash ASIC miner.” As reported by Cointelegraph, Ethash is the Proof-of-Work (PoW) hashing algorithm used by Ethereum and a variety of other altcoins such as ETC. Meanwhile, the Ethereum network is poised to gradually shift from PoW to Proof-of-Stake consensus.
Update April 1, 12:30 UTC: This article was updated to add additional information provided by Bitmain that the firm doesn’t plan to extend Antminer E3’s lifespan to operate after October 2020.