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After almost a full year of development and one month of delays, BitFury’s ASIC bitcoin mining prototype has begun hashing at 400 GH/s. Application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) are customized chips that perform bitcoin mining calculations. While there have been a couple companies releasing ASIC miners (Avalon, ASICMiner, Butterfly Labs), there is significant room for improvement within the technology itself. With hundreds of units expected to land in Europe and the Americas this month, Bitfury products represent the most advanced chips to hit mass production and will significantly change the bitcoin mining landscape.
BItfury ASIC chips use a 55nm process and are sold running at an estimated 1.56 GH/s per chip, with demonstrated performance up to 2.7 GH/s. Although they are clocked slower than Butterfly Lab’s 4 GH/s chips, they will run 4x more efficiently at 0.8 Watts/Ghps. Power efficiency will be a deciding factor in a bitcoin miner’s longevity as profitability narrows with increasing difficulty.
Bitfury will sell both fully assembled kits and bulk order chips through US (Washington, USA) and EU (Finland) resellers. Pricing will be separated into two batches depending upon expected delivery date with the August deliveries commanding a significantly higher premium than October deliveries. Full kits include a main board, 16 hashing boards, a raspberry pi, and cables to set up the miner. Starter kits include just the same components, but with only 1 hashing board. Additional boards can be bought individually as well.
The ASIC chips passed their first milestone in June when they first demonstrated working test vectors. With the assistance of community members printed circuit boards (PCB), on which ASIC chips are mounted, were completed in late July. The photo below shows the first set of 16 boards attached to a main board along the bottom, with a raspberry pi controller attached to the right.
It is worth noting as well that 100TH/s, a publicly traded mining company, has partnered with Bitfury to launch a publicly traded company that will utilize the 55nm ASIC chips. The prototype hashing currently in Washington is the first of their 100 TH/s preorder. The company is incorporated in the Marshall Islands but will host equipment in a Washington facility that is operated Bitfury’s US distributor Megabigpower. 100TH/s went public in January, issuing 518,000 shares for 0.04 BTC each with the goal of raising $500,000. Shares are currently trading for around 0.33 BTC, placing them at an estimated market cap of $16,000,000.