New Bitmain Firmware Launches for “Overt AsicBoost” On Antminer S9 Crypto Mining Devices

New Firmware Launched by Bitmain for “Overt AsicBoost” On Mining Devices

China-based Bitmain Technologies Ltd. is the largest designer for ASIC chips in the cryptocurrency industry, primarily focusing on support for Bitcoin mining. In an effort to improve their current model, the AntMiner S9, the company has created new firmware, which was announced on Twitter and on their blog. On Twitter, the post reads:

The “overt AsicBoost” function is only presently active for the AntMiner S9, but the blog reveals that they “will also release in one week the firmware to activate this functionality in other BM1387-based models.” The other applicable models will include the AntMiner R4, S9i, S9j, T9 and T9+. With the new firmware, the mining chips will have a stronger long-term network, though the coding used is fairly controversial.

Originally, the company had not planned to activate the firmware within their own mining hardware, based on “the legal uncertainty surrounding the use of AsicBoost.” The company explained:

“As an organization, we didn’t want to violate patent laws or act in any way that was untoward. Instead, we continued to focus our efforts on R&D and building the industry’s most efficient mining chips. It’s worth noting, as outlined in an April 2017 blog post, our ASIC chip BM1387 has the capability built into the chip technology.”

However, now, the company is offering the firmware as a “boost” for miners that

“have the capability to support this function a choice to avail this advantage without any negative impact on the Bitcoin protocol.”

The version available from Bitmain is more of a combination of the firmware that other manufacturers of mining chips and devices have been using.

As far as patent rights, Bitmain believes there isn’t any current issue with AsicBoost from a legal aspect. In fact, they note in the blog:

“Based on legal opinions from various jurisdictions, we believe that there isn’t and may never be a patent right over AsicBoost. Thus, all miners should be entitled to make their own choice on whether to use AsicBoost technology without anybody having an exclusive right over it.”

Bitmain has certain priorities for what they aim to offer miners. They strive to offer the “best mining technology in the industry,” which is exactly what’s made them rise to the top. The blog notes that there are “two main objectives” that the activation of the firmware allows them to do. Those objectives are “future objectiveness” and “stronger network.”

Daniel Johnson, the director of Blockchain Technologies for Advania Data Centers, replied to the announcement on Twitter. He commented:

Right now, the new firmware is available to be downloaded here.

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