CoinDesk Mining Roundup: Dividend Coins, Viper Updates and a CloudHashing Giveaway

Stan Higgins
Jun 27, 2014 at 19:00 UTC
Updated Jan 2, 2015 at 15:12 UTC

In the past two weeks several key companies in the bitcoin mining space have released updates regarding their latest ASIC developments. These announcements are no doubt welcome news to customers eagerly awaiting the next upgrades to their mines.

Academic interest in mining is also growing. New studies have come out dissecting various parts of the ecosystem, including an environmental report by researcher Hass McCook and one by security firm McAfee regarding the threat of mining botnets.

Indeed, these signs raise a key question: will industrial mining be the next big thing for bitcoin investors? If bitcoin’s rising difficulty is any indication – standing at 13,462,580,115 and primed to grow, according to BitcoinDifficulty.com – the next year could be a pivotal one for the mining industry.

So, as June winds to a close and many parts of the world – and a few mines – begin to heat up for the summer, let’s take a look at some of the latest happenings in the world of bitcoin mining.

Vault of Satoshi launches ‘divcoin’ mining

Toronto-based digital currency exchange Vault of Satoshi has launched a new revenue-generating feature to its cloud mining service called ‘dividend coin’, or divcoin.

Calling divcoin a “no-risk, no-obligation investment opportunity”, VoS is pitching the initiative as a new way to generate revenue in bitcoin. Each divcoin, according to the company, is worth 1 GH/s worth of mining. So, someone who owns 10 divcoins will receive daily payouts in bitcoin for the 10 GH/s of hashing power they control.

Dividend

VoS is planning an initial launch phase of 5,000 divcoins. The company stated on its website that, should demand for divcoin increase, it will issue more, saying:

“As demand for divcoin rises, more coins will be available for purchase. To make this even more interesting, we will add the hardware before issuing more coins so that those currently invested will see an improved return for one to two days before we issue more coin.”

Additionally, VoS will host a divcoin market where traders and investors can buy and sell coins. While some may be concerned about the value of divcoin – considering the volatility inherent in any altcoin marketplace – the company said that all divcoin contracts will cease if mining becomes unprofitable.

Alpha Technology issues Viper update, unveils enclosure re-design

Alpha Viper miner

UK-based mining hardware manufacturer Alpha Technology has issued a new update on its upcoming Viper scrypt ASIC.

The company apologized for its infrequent updates to customers, but said that the development team is working hard in anticipation for the arrival of the Viper ASIC chips. Alpha originally announced that the ASIC tape-out had begun in April.

However, it said that the work is paying off, which the company said means that its customers will likely receive more powerful devices than previously expected.

Alpha stated on its official blog:

“In terms of the tweaks due to the increased hash rates: each board will now be 50Mh/s thus the 250Mh/s unit will have 5 boards and of course the 50Mh/s will have 1. 1.2Mh/s per chip was our original worst case figure but we now know each chip will be able to give 1.4Mh/s. A single one of our boards will have provision for 36 chips thus the boards will be slightly higher at a minimum of 50.4Mh/s possibly more we will know when we get the final chips and of course inform you.”

Additionally, the company said that it had reconfigured the Viper enclosure, and included schematics for the new design.

The company also stated that a more substantial update is pending, and issued a second apology to those who have been seeking contact with its payments team. Alpha added that it will begin contacting customers once it is able to begin processing payments, saying “we guarantee it will be before July”.

Bitmain announces specs for new 28nm chip

China-based bitcoin hardware maker Bitmain announced last week that it has begun testing its new 28nm chip, BM1382. According to a post on the Bitcoin Talk forum, the testing is going smoothly, with strong performance being reported during this phase.

The company said:

“BM1382 has achieved 15.75 Gh/s in hash performance, consuming less than 9.33 W on chip level at 0.75V. This means 0.59 J/GH on chip. If the core voltage is at 0.63V, the efficiency will be 0.40 J/GH on chip.”

The company added that this next generation of chips represents a substantial improvement over the previous serious, stating that “BM1382 represents a 20% power saving on its previous generation of 55nm chips and nearly 10 times of better physical densification”.

BM1382

As well, Bitmain offered updated specs for the Antminer S3. It said that the mining hardware is capable of producing 504 GH/s, consuming roughly 390w. This, the company estimated, results in an efficiency rate of 0.77 J/GH.

Bitmain also announced that that sales for the Antminer S3 will open in the next few days on its official website, but stopped short of offering a set start date.

CloudHashing launches free contract giveaway

cloudhashingphotologoCloud mining service CloudHashing is hoping to give one lucky Facebook user a free contract worth $999.

The company announced earlier today that it is holding a contest on its official Facebook page in order to drum up interest and support among users and potential customers. The contest runs through the next two weeks, with the winner being announced on 11th July, according to a press release.

In order to participate, users need to ‘like’ CloudHashing’s Facebook page. Additional entries can be gained by sharing the page with other users. The winner will be selected randomly by using a number generator, with each entry being assigned a number.

CloudHashing stated that there are no restrictions on applications, meaning that both new and existing customers are welcome to try and win the $999 mining contract. Facebook members who have already liked the page are being automatically entered into the contest, the company added.

BIOSTAR pitches new mining-ready motherboard

Since bitcoin mining took off in popularity in the past year and a half, computer hardware manufacturers of all stripes have sought to pick up some of the businesses the mining community has brought. This includes motherboard manufacturers, who are pitching their products to both bitcoin and altcoin miners.

Motherboard

Hardware maker BIOSTAR recently released its TB85 Ver. 6.x motherboard, which is geared for high-performance activity that includes specifically bitcoin mining. The motherboard sports a total of six PCI-E slots, making it a solid choice for those building their latest rig.

The TB85 carries support for the fourth-generation Intel Core i7 and i5 processors. The motherboard offers SATAIII 6 Gbps data transfer speeds, as well as range of security and performance-enhancing capabilities. Like many motherboards geared for bitcoin mining, the TB85 can also be purposed for high-performance gaming and graphics design work.

This motherboard isn’t BIOSTAR’s step into the bitcoin mining realm. In March, the company released a 64-chip mining board, the BTC-24GH, that released to some underwhelming reviews.

One reviewer, Hardwareluxx.com, said: “all in all, the only thing that’s left to say is that the BIOSTAR BTC-24GH unfortunately comes too late and is too slow.”

With the TB85 still fresh in the market, it remains to be seen whether BIOSTAR’s efforts to make inroads in the mining community will be successful.

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Disclaimer: This article should not be viewed as an endorsement of any of the companies mentioned. Please do your own extensive research before considering investing any funds in these products.