ASIC (App-Specific Integrated Circuitry) is right now revolutionizing bitcoin mining. These circuits and the big boxes that are running them will be absolutely devastating soon to all existing mining techonology… Yes, including those huge $50,000 room-filling rigs that can mine 500 GH/s.
Why? Because a single box (like this one) that runs on one single power supply can produce 1500 GH/s! Sure, it costs $30,000, but the electricity needs are far smaller and the output is far larger… It’s nothing short of a game-changer for all bitcoin miners everywhere. They’re all going to have to evolve or perish as the market changes on them rapidly this year.
The first ASIC rig has already hit the market. For $1599, Avalon has apparently sent out their first batch of 300 rigs, and the miners who received them can confirm they are seeing 65 GH/s or better. At current difficulty & a $0.16/w electricity rate, that comes out to something like $265.68 USD in bitcoins every 24 hours, making a break-even on their money a mere 5 days!
Of course the difficulty will go up as more miners flock to this tech; and then again when the next halving of the output blocksize happens sometime in the future. But for now, if you want to pick up some bitcoins, ASIC is clearly the way to get in.
So I’m finally taking this opportunity to jump into mining… As soon as I’ve seen the actual reviews from the upcoming Butterfly Labs product line. They have 4 sleek little models coming real soon from a $149 tivo-looking box that can do 4.5 GH/s all the way up to the $30k rig I mentioned before that outputs 1500 GH/s. I am thinking of getting a few of the $1200 60 GH/s models, one for each of the mining pools I want to try… That way I could be totally diversified. (Then later get a big rig or two as the profits stack up.)
Why have I waited so long? Because it was always hard to get your hands on the latest Radeon video card in order to make those pitiful 1 GH/s computers and running them constantly produces a lot of excess heat… To me it was too extreme of a lifestyle change to get involved, so I started out last year just plopping down some cash to MtGox and buying some… Looking back I’m pretty glad I did, because if I’d spent $1000 on a pair of cards back then and only got a measly 50 MH/s rate in return, I’d simply not have as much bitcoin to my name right now. So this is working out well as long as I don’t delay.
The Long View:
With only two companies that I know of, Avalon and Butterfly labs, producing ASIC rigs for miners, it is slow-going right now and everything, yes even the price of the BTC itself, is highly affected by the production rate of those mining rig companies. If they both crank out huge quantities, then BTC will flood the market as miners adopt them and the price of BTC will go down in response. So far they’re still talking about batches though, so it’s all at a snail’s pace so far.
Since it’s so profitable, I’d bet at least one of the two of them takes appropriate steps to have a big Chinese facility crank out enough orders to keep up with demand. (If not, I’ll be sure to recommend that they go on Shark Tank to get it done. 😉 That’d be entertaining!)