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First Bitcoin ASIC, Delivered to Core Bitcoin Developer (bitcointalk.org)
39 points by mrb on Jan 30, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments

Picture of the inside: http://garzikrants.blogspot.com/2013/01/avalon-modular-room-...

I hope this will put a stop to most of the non-believers constantly trolling on bitcointalk.org

I prefer the term skeptic, and I think it's quite reasonable to be skeptical of a $1300 device capable of generating $210/day with still no proof. I think the skeptics will be much calmer once he plugs it in and verifies that it does what it says it does.

EDIT: Now confirmed on Jeff's blog: http://garzikrants.blogspot.com/2013/01/avalon-its-alive.htm...

Jeff Garzik has plugged it in and confirmed ~68GHash/s


> capable of generating $210/day

and for a limited amount of time. Bitcoins are a finite resource, once they are all mined, this hardware will be pretty much useless, as far as I understand.

No, not worthless because of transaction fees.

Miner reward = Transaction fees + block reward Currently the the former accounts for only 1%. This will likely change in the future (a decade or so). See here https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_Commons

Actually, Moore's law guarantees that the hardware will become useless much sooner than the Bitcoin mining rewards run out.

What are the specs for someone who doesn't really follow the whole BitCoin thing?

66 GHash/sec. Or about the same as a cluster of 110 AMD Radeon HD 7970 cards!

Right now, 66 GHash/sec generates about $210/day (11 bitcoins/day).

If you have a machine that generates $210 a day, why would you sell it for $1,300? Wondering why they wouldn't plug them all in and not start selling any until they've dropped the value of bitcoin below their profit margin...?

Mining is extremely risky right now. If someone else turns on ASICs before you do, the resulting difficulty spike would reduce your profits significantly. It's even possible (although unlikely) that some of these ASICs will lose money. But selling ASICs locks in the profit immediately.

Very simple: they did NOT have the funds to develop these ASICs by themselves. They HAD to pre-sell them via pre-orders to bootstrap their business.

Avalon is literally the work of 2 chinese guys (ngzhang and yifu). They are not a big company with lots of money.

If they had enough to build one, they could bootstrap themselves up from that. (It takes about 6 days for an ASIC to generate enough money to make a new one.)

You can't build one ASIC; you have to order a batch of thousands and you have to pay over $100K for the masks weeks before you receive the chips.

$100K is nothing for the kinds of profit numbers I'm seeing here.

Firstly, their true NRE costs are closer to $200-300k IMHO.

Secondly, $200-300k is not "nothing". I bet they tried to raise investor money, but didn't find any. $210/day/unit is a lot, but Bitcoin still remains relatively a risky investment.

If these things can print money, then they're worth $200-300k.

If they can't, then they're not worth $1.k/ea.

The problem is that they can print money if they are released before their competition, but we don't know when the competition will ship. (In retrospect we can see that Avalon batch 1 shipped before BFL, but there was no way to know that ahead of time and batch 2 is still unknown.) So I can understand why outside investors would refuse to touch it and why the Avalon developers might have decided to reduce their risk.

Still, I don't understand why they don't delay/cancel the shipments? eEven if it's unethical.

No need to sell any of these machines before somebody else hits the market.

The $210/day for $1,300 only holds for a single incremental device. Since the network produces a mostly fixed number of bitcoins per day regardless of the hashing power thrown at it, there are severe diminishing returns for running a lot of these devices. I think the current math is that if you ran 300 of these, each would only be producing $100/day. 600 and each would be producing $70/day, etc. (Pre)selling them scales much better and is far less risky since it insulates them from the fluctuating BTC/USD exchange rate and the possibility of competitors diminishing their share of the network down the line.

300 at 100 a day is $30k/day. If they're selling them for $1.3k, let's assume a 50% markup; it would only take about 6 days to make back their investment. 12 days if they're selling them at cost.

I don't really follow the maths here.

Presumably they want to sell much more than 300 devices (enough that running them themselves would be less efficient than selling them) and turning on these 300 for themselves would make customers much less willing to buy more from them in the future.

> Presumably they want to sell much more than 300 devices (enough that running them themselves would be less efficient than selling them)

That still doesn't make sense to me. If these machines work, they're money trees. You build them, run them, and use the ridiculous proceeds to build and run more of them, or to get out before the market becomes too crowded.

At scale you could fill racks with these things for a relatively small outlay.

> ... and turning on these 300 for themselves would make customers much less willing to buy more from them in the future.

The truth outs. In a gold rush, sell shovels.

The major cost of generating bitcoin is not the hardware itself, but the power.

I know people who have unplugged their entire setup and flown it half way across the US to get power 10% cheaper.

That's no longer true for ASICs. This box consumes only $1-2/day of electricity, so it's likely that it will consume less than $1,300 of electricity over its entire lifetime.

If you sell machines, you get $1300 cash. If you mine, you'll get continually decreasing returns, and you end up with bitcoins instead of USD.

The blog referenced in another thread mentioned that you have to pay them in bitcoins and not in cash...

But they immediately cash out the Bitcoins anyway.

Smart guys.

When there's a gold rush, you want to be the guy selling the shovels.

Thank you!

Bitcoin Mining is measured in hashes per second. This box is 60GH/s for $1,299.

Deepbit, one of the more popular pools (teams that split profits) is currently doing 1.9 TH/s and accounts for roughly 17% of all mining operations.

So you are buying a single device capable of approximately .5% of the output of everyone else combined.

Apparently they already built 300 in the first batch, and they plan to make 500 in the next one. This is going to disrupt bitcoin mining, badly.

Why are they selling them? Surely the manufacturers would be better just to corner a large proportion of the mining capability for themselves.

Because of two things. Firstly they needed people to chip in money via pre-orders to even get the funding to produce these things. Secondly, it seems they don't want to ruin their reputation (and thus lose future orders) by mining with the devices themselves. These two factors result in them selling the hardware instead of mining with it themselves.

You could view it as a bet that Bitcoin is a sucker fad and the green paper folding stuff is where the smart money's at.

That doesn't make sense. If they chose to mine bitcoins they could just instantly cash out in dollars. Creating a business that sells Bitcoin miners doesn't seem like a smart route to take if you think Bitcoin is a fad.

but by this reasoning, you shouldn't be buying this machine anyway, so i dont know know what rational thought could lead anyone to purchase this machine, if the seller of the machine wouldn't use it themselves.

66 gigahashes per second (GH/s) for ~440 W; that's ~160 MH/J compared to ~0.7 GH/s and ~2.4 MH/J for the best GPUs. I hope that math is right.

I hope someone somewhere is documenting all the Bitcoin farming hardware.

The future people would probably like a nice list of things that people are trying. Bitcoin mining (and to a lesser extent Folding@home) are entry level clustering for hobbyists.

>I hope someone somewhere is documenting all the Bitcoin farming hardware.

>The future people would probably like a nice list of things that people are trying.

I can imagine future "coin" collectors gathering the ancient application-specific hardware that was used to mine bitcoins. "And here we have a 2013-era bitcoin ASIC...quite quaint really. I'd imagine she might be worth around...600 pounds?"

I ended up on this page recently: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Mining_hardware_comparison

Is this what you are looking for?

66 GH/s... damn...

but ... does it blend ?

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