It’s about to be an all-out war in the cryptocurrency mining arena following reports that ASIC miners are about to venture into the Ethereum mining scene for the first time. The launch of ASIC miners that have been designed to facilitate Ethereum mining is a game changer and perhaps it spells doom for GPU manufacturers.
Graphics card prices have been through the roof in the past year due to heavy demand arising due to their use in cryptocurrency mining. This means 2017 was a great year for Nvidia and AMD as the two biggest GPU manufacturers because higher demand translates to more purchases and subsequently more revenue. However, it was not all rainbows and sunshine for everyone. The heavy demand led to a graphic cards shortage and also higher prices, thus hurting the main customers, the gaming community.
Antminer E3 to hit the market soon
A Chinese company called Bitmain recently announced plans to launch an ASIC Ethereum mining rig called the Antminer E3. The company announced that the ASIC miner will be available for sale in July this year and the best part of it is that it will cost just $800 for each unit. The upcoming miner is expected to provide more efficiency in the mining process while also consuming less power than the graphics cards making it a more appealing option for those who want to mine Ethereum.
However, the announcement has also raised concerns about the mining of the cryptocurrency and word on the street is that Ethereum developers are being called upon to carry out a hard fork that will restore resistance against ASICs. However, it is not clear whether they will pursue that course of action.
What the rise of ASICs means
ASICs will obviously rival graphic card manufacturers since they will take over a significant portion of the market share. However, the rise of ASICs is great news to the PC gaming community because less demand for graphic cards means more availability for them and as a result, the prices will be in the favor of the gaming community.
Things were tough for gamers looking to build hardcore gaming rigs in 2017 because graphics card prices were hiked up and hard to find since they were like hot cake to the crypto mining industry. Fortunately, recent surveys suggest that graphics card prices have started to go down and supply levels are so much better.
Nvidia which claims that the gaming industry is its main business recently called on retailers to take action to curb the rising graphic card prices so that they would focus on making sure that the needs of gamers were met. The company also reported a few weeks ago that it does not consider cryptocurrency mining to be its target market. Nvidia also revealed that GPU mining only made up a small fraction of its revenue in 2017.
There is still a lot of uncertainty right now especially with the upcoming ASIC miner and the rumors that the Ethereum community might take action to invalidate ASIC mining. Time will tell what steps, if any, Ethereum will take.
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