The proof of work mining algorithm known as Equihash that is used by the likes of Zcash (ZEC) as well as other virtual currencies is on the verge of getting less equitable. This is because Bitmain, a mining hardware manufacturer, has disclosed the development of the first ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) miner that will be able to mine on networks that are secured by Equihash.
The Zcash ASIC miner from Bitmain will go by the name Antminer Z9 Mini and is expected to have a hashrate of 10k Sol/s. Antminer Z9 Mini will start shipping towards the end of next month. In a tweet announcing the Zcash ASIC miner Bitmain revealed that in order to prevent hoarding and allow more individuals across the globe to get their hands on one, they would only sell one unit each per miner.
Centralization of hashpower
Zcash has been known to be ASIC-resistant but the tide may have already changed since the cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer is believed to privately use its new hardware prior to making them available to the public. ASIC critics say that the development of these mining rigs leads to the centralization of hashpower. This is particularly so since Bitmain lacks a competitor.
Since it came onto the scene Zcash was primarily mined using hardware that was powered by GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). Zcash intentionally adopted Equihash in order to prevent a situation where it would be mined using ASIC miners. However in recent months Bitmain has managed to crack ASIC-resistant mining algorithms and has launched miners for various mining algorithms including Blake (2b), Cryptonight and Ethash.
Recently Monero (XMR), one of the most prominent Cryptonight virtual currencies, made alterations to the mining algorithm with a view to making the ASIC miners of Bitmain incompatible with its network. Ethereum (ETH), which uses the Ethash algorithm, is also considering similar measures.
Bitcoin Gold (BTG), another Equihash cryptocurrency, has also revealed plans to activate a hard fork in order to remain ASIC-resistant once the Equihash ASIC miners begin shipping. However according to the co-founder of Zcash, Zooko Wilcox, it is impossible for virtual coins to remain ASIC-resistant forever.
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