What is the Halong Mining DragonMint Bitcoin Miner?
Halong Mining DragonMint Bitcoin Miner is a new miner on the market by a new ASIC chip manufacturing company, Halong Mining. The DragonMint 16T is an ASIC SHA256 miner. It is rated at 16TH of hashing power.
According to the website, “The DragonMint 16T miner is the world’s most efficient Bitcoin miner, running faster and cooler than any competing miners. It’s the culmination of over 12 months research and development which has resulted in major advancements in mining technology including a brand new generation of ASIC mining chips. The DM8575 ASIC runs at a staggering 85GH per chip with power efficiency of around 0.075J/GH.”
New Miner Backed by Bitcoin Core Team?
BtcDrak, a pseudonymous developer and a Bitcoin Core contributor, helped set up Halong Mining DragonMint Bitcoin Miner over the past year, and produced an initial batch of mining hardware, with plans to ship to consumers in early 2018. “We started a mining project with the aim to bring much needed competition to the market,” BtcDrak said. We want to ‘make SHA256 great again. The DragonMint will be the most advanced miner to date.”
He also added that the miners have been produced by a team with serious expertise, however thus far, only a prototype batch has been produced which will not be sold to the public, “Research and development is not cheap, and we need a lot of diverse skills. Other companies that want to enter the ASIC mining industry develop everything in simulations, and then the first presale batch tries to pay for small production. But the NRE [non-recurring engineering] and making wafers is fraught with difficulty; the first run is not easy to do well.”
Halong Mining has invested $30 million in research and development so far, with over 100 people involved, including chip designers, electronics hardware specialists and software designers.
The first mass-produced batch of DragonMint miners, not to be shipped before March 2018, are currently priced at $1595 with an additional cost of $115 for a 1600W Power supply unit. The minimum pre-order is 5 units. Halong Mining will also be selling mining chips in addition to miners. By comparison, Bitmain's Antminer S9 costs $1700. Halong Mining claims the DragonMint 16T is 30% more efficient than any miner on the market.
Bitmain has dominated the mining hardware industry since 2013, with an estimated 75% of network hash power produced by Bitmain's miners. Furthermore, half of all hash power comes from mining pools owned by or affiliated with Bitmain – AntPool, BTC.com, ConnectBTC and ViaBTC.
BTCDrak said of the this mining monopoly, “One manufacturer as a monopoly is not good for Bitcoin. Centralization in mining is a problem regardless of how benevolent you are. If there is a center, then governments and criminals can attack it. Decentralization protects the entire system and all its participants. So I wanted to bring competition.”
By distributing ASIC miners far and wide, Halong Mining hopes to decentralize mining. The company is also considering open sourcing its board designs and software to help new manufacturers build on the research carried out by Halong Mining over the past year.
“There is a lot at stake here. A lot of time and money has been invested … and we have a huge opportunity to bring more diversity to Bitcoin mining, and in turn help secure the network more,” concluded BTCDrak.
Bitmain Not Amused
Following the announcement, Bitmain owner, Jihan Wu, created a parody website, tulipmining.com, to mock the new competitor's website as typical of a scam for providing very little information.
Blockstream CEO, Adam Back, however attested to the legitimacy of the miner, “I can confirm I have seen #DragonMint's operating in person. they are very real, specs as advertised. this is huge, biggest Bitcoin news this year. site https://halongmining.com/ explains it's development story back to Dec 2016. happy thanksgiving Bitcoin news for US Bitcoiners.”
Halong Mining DragonMint Bitcoin Miner Conclusion
There remains concern about Halong Mining's rather sketchy announcement, in particular that there isn't any information on the people behind the company. We're unlikely to find out any time soon as the website notes, “Because we have considerable costs to recoup, particular details of our process will also not be made available until closer to shipping of the first batches, to give us a better chance of succeeding and being able to drive forward with innovation into the future.”
This could be beginning of Bitcoin Core vs Bitcoin ABC (backed by Bitmain) miner wars.