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The full-blown bitcoin mining arms race continues, as the eASIC/ActiveMining partnership announced more details on their ASIC bitcoin miner line that tops out at 24 TH/s. ActiveMining is a publicly traded bitcoin mining company who has partnered with eASIC to develop a 28nm application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip. ActiveMining is the parent company of Virtual Mining Corp (VMC), which is the business entity selling mining products to consumers. To design and manufacture the chips they teamed up with eASIC, a semiconductor company that’s received $124M in funding from well-respected investors
28nm Product Line
If Butterfly labs were to be considered the Apple of the bitcoin mining world with their clean looking products and concise product lines (eschewing shipping concerns), VMC has gone the opposite route with industrial utility and hundreds of configurable options. They appear to be targeting large scale mining operations both with their choice of design and price point. A detailed table with configurations is provided at the end of this article.
VMC offers three Editions of rack-mountable cases, which can be configured from 1 to 6 modules each. Modules range from 64 GH/s to 256 GH/s, depending upon the edition, and can be purchased with the cases or individually. There is also the option to use expansion cases in place of a module. Expansion cases are priced at $7,500 and can hold up to 16 modules – meaning each base unit can hold house anywhere from 1 to 96 modules if using 6 expansion cases.
Additionally, modules can be run independent of their cases. Modules are PCI-E mounted, meaning they can also be used in a standard computer graphics card slot, and contain a USB port so they can be controlled unplugged from a motherboard as well. ActiveMining has closely guarded the production status of their chip. The more conservative estimate for their first shipment appears to be for November, with an October shipment schedule aggressive but possible. Current orders that are placed forecast a three-month lead time and an early December arrival date.
It has become common practice in the ASIC bitocin mining industry to also offer bulk chip sales and VMC has offered these as well. They will sell their Fast-Hash chips, which run at 16 GH/s, in lots of 500 chips for $75,000. These can not be used immediately, but must be mounted in a printed circuit board (PCB). Avalon and Butterfly Labs have done this in the past and the bitcoin community has created open source designs available to anyone with the ability to manufacture them. It seems likely this will happen again when VMC releases more detailed chip information.
Active Mining Corporation is based out of Belize and has 25,000,000 outstanding shares. Of those there is a 10,000,000 share float (40%) traded on BTC Trading Corp and BitFunder and 15,000,000 restricted shares held by management. AMC initially planned on operating as a mining-share company after purchasing six Avalon Miners (430 GH/s total), 68 K-16 Boards (307 GH/s total) and 20,000 Avalon chips (5,640 GH/s total) for a combined total of 6,377 GH/s. They have received the six Avalon Batch 3 miners and are paying dividends on mining income, however the later two orders have yet to arrive and refund requests have been filed with Avalon.
Active Mining Corp merged with Virtual Mining Corp, who had a prior relationship with eASIC to manufacture bitcoin mining hardware. Given that the network hash rate has continued to climb over 70% per month, combined with Avalon’s continuous trouble getting chips to customers, selling mining hardware will likely turn out to be more lucrative for shareholders.
ActiveMining issued shares for their combined entity on July 8th for 0.0025 BTC, promising investors that restricted shares would not receive any dividends until their investment was recuperated. Share prices rose steadily through July before reaching an all-time high of 0.009789 on July 29th. Since then shares had declined to 0.004 BTC at the time of the eASIC 24 TH/s miner announcement, before reaching 0.0068 BTC several hours later and quickly retreating.
ActiveMining has officially stepped into the 28nm bitcoin mining market and will compete head to head with KNC, HashFast (a separate company from ActiveMining’s Fast-Hash chip), and CoinTerra. New customers can expect similar delivery estimates across these competitors. KNC and HashFast orders placed now are expected to ship at the end of November, while VMC and CoinTerra’s orders will be shipping in December. All of these companies sold through pre-orders. With the steady 30%+ rise in difficulty every 2016 blocks, delivery schedule will prove as important as chip performance for customers. Time will tell which company has the most reliable supply chain and those that placed their bets properly stand to be rewarded handsomely.