What’s happening in the world of mining? As recent coverage suggests, the network is beginning to see a steadily rising hashrate as mines around the world get started and begin generating bitcoins.
It’s not just the big companies – small operations using state-of-the-art chips in super-efficient data centers are also moving to mine their share of bitcoins. And between all that activity, the bitcoin mining community continues to develop, grow and discuss the issues of the day.
Gavin Andresen talks bitcoin “backbone” project
In a new post on the Bitcoin Foundation blog, chief scientist Gavin Andresen discussed the recent work of bitcoin core developer Matt Corallo.
Corallo’s new project, which Andresen called a “bitcoin backbone project”, involves the construction of a global network of servers aimed at providing miners with a quick, low-latency means of connecting with one another.
Andresen said that the initiaitive is aimed at improving connection speeds for both solo miners and pool owners, writing in the blog post:
“If you own a mining pool or are a solo miner, you should connect to Matt’s backbone network; your blocks will propagate faster to the rest so you are less likely to lose block races. And you are more likely to hear about new blocks sooner, so you waste less time building on an old block.”
He added that network participants outside of those demographics have little to gain from syncing with Corallo’s network, saying that it would result in higher bandwidth consumption with little gain.
Beyond the infrastructure build-out, Corallo has also developed a block relaying tool that, according to Andresen, helps streamline the amount of data sent for each transaction. The solution reduces the amount of old data sent in new blocks by 95%, which helps alleviate a key problem in the bitcoin network: information bloat.
At the end of his article, Andresen addressed the criticism that approaches like Corallo’s encourage centralization. To that point he said:
“Anybody can do what Matt has done, and I encourage anybody concerned about centralization to create an even higher-performance backbone network and software.”
CoinTerra launches sub-$1 mining contracts
Competition among mining contract firms worldwide has resulted in what some may call a price war, with companies vying for market share in an increasingly crowded ecosystem.
Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer CoinTerra, which began offering contracts worth up to 1 PH/s earlier this year, has hit the market with a new offer that is notable for its low cost: a $0.99-per-gigahash contract.
In order to receive this deal, you have to sign up for a 12-month, 1 PH/s contract that clocks in at just under $1m. As costly as this may seem in the bigger picture, it reflects the growing bidding war for miner-customers who may be shifting away from home rigs to hosted solutions.
In a statement, the company said that the new contract offers are tied to its next-generation mining products, which are set to hit the market in the next few months. With Q4 expected to be a busy time for bitcoin hardware manufacturer, CoinTerra’s new miners will be one of several entrants vying for market share.
CoinTerra noted that the company has been seeking to push down internal prices in the past year, saying:
“When we were developing the TerraMiner IV last year $3/GH was our target for standalone hardware. Now, just one year later we are able to offer fully hosted mining contracts at a fraction of that price.”
Other companies in the space, including PeerNova, BitFury and Hashplex have been seeking to make inroads with cloud-based mining solutions. As the bitcoin network’s resource demands grow and more large-scale miners shift to data center spaces, contracts like these become attractive to some in the community.
Cloud mining isn’t without controversy, however. In a recent Reddit post, Gavin Andresen said that many companies in that space could prove to be Ponzi schemes rather than legitimate businesses.
Spondoolies Tech moving next-gen miner to market in October
Like many other companies in the hardware space, Spondoolies Tech is looking to position itself as the go-to solution for data center-level mining equipment. The Israel-based company is moving aggressively to capture market share in this high-value space, leveraging its near-term success on the SP31 Yukon.
Offering 5.5 TH/s in hashing capacity, the Yukon sports 30 ASIC chips in a slimline design. Power-wise, the Yukon draws approximately 1,500 watts at the wall, cementing this product’s status as equipment meant for the seasoned miner.
Expected to ship in the second half of October, the self-style mining “beast” will no doubt be put to the test once deliveries begin. In a recent statement, Spondoolies CEO Guy Corem remarked that shipments of the company’s existing product line are on schedule.
He noted on the company’s official blog:
“For customers who have already placed orders and are awaiting delivery, our priority is to ensure on-time delivery of your machines so you can immediately start seeing ROI. I am therefore very pleased to report that we will meet our original delivery schedule and provide all customers with on-time delivery.”
Heating your home… for bitcoins?
Given the fact that some miners in the community have been operating since digital currency’s infancy, there have been pieces of equipment that, along the way, have stopped being useful for the purpose of generating bitcoins. A recent thread on Bitcoin Talk posed the simple question: what else can your miner be used for? The answers ranged from the pessimistic to the humorous, sparking an interesting conversation about finding uses for then-expensive technology.
The immediate reaction for some, as one can imagine, is to use old hardware as a doorstop. Yet others suggested that using a mining rig as a stand-in for a space heater is a great approach to keeping a warm room. While it may not be the most efficient way to provide heat, you can’t deny that generating some bitcoins at the same time isn’t a bad proposition.
As one BTCTalk forum member noted:
“If you normally have electric heating in your home, you might as well use bitcoin miners instead. All power used by these things ends up as heat, so in that sense they’re just as efficient as a regular heater that uses the same amount of power. Except you also get bitcoins.”
Another user concurred on this particular utilization, saying that “I was in a sauna, making BTC and LTC.”
Perhaps the most humorous response came from one forum member who plans to keep his or her miners intact for the long term, joking that they might become artifacts of study for future generations:
“Maybe thousands of years from now some archaeologist will uncover them and wonder what the hell they were for.”
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Disclaimer: This article should not be viewed as an endorsement of any of the companies mentioned. Please do your own extensive research before considering investing any funds in these products.
It’s not just the big companies – small operations using state-of-the-art chips in super-efficient data centers are also moving to mine their share of bitcoins. And between all that activity, the bitcoin mining community continues to develop, grow and discuss the issues of […]