CoinTerra Battles With Performance Issues and Security Breach

CoinTerra’s TerraMiner IV units are about 20% slower and consume 20% more power than originally promised.

AccessTimeIconFeb 3, 2014 at 2:12 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:19 a.m. UTC
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CoinTerra is offering compensation to early adopters of its latest TerraMiner IV mining rigs, based on the GoldStrike I ASIC.

All customers who ordered the first batch of TerraMiner IV units, scheduled to ship in December, will now receive a second rig, free of charge.

Although the first batch was originally supposed to ship in December, it was actually shipped last week. The second batch was pushed back from January to February, while those who ordered TerraMiner IV units from subsequent batches should get the miners on time, The Register reports.

Not quite 2TH/s

was hoping that its TerraMiner IV rigs would hit 2TH/s, but production units are actually running at 1.63TH/s to 1.72TH/s. The power draw is between 1900W and 2100W, substantially higher than the 1650W the company predicted.

In other words, the rigs are about 20% slower and consume 20% more power than promised.

Even so, these are the fastest rigs money can buy at the moment, and getting them ready was by no means easy. Nothing ever runs smoothly in the world of silicon, and the company has faced a fair few challenges so far.

 A rear view of the TerraMiner IV.
A rear view of the TerraMiner IV.

CoinTerra CEO Raviy Iyengar said the company had to put “immense” pressure on GlobalFoundries, going from tape out on 8th November to packaged and tested silicon on 28th December. Needless to say, that still wasn’t enough to ship the first batch on time.

Iyengar insists that the new GoldStrike I ASIC meets or exceeds the published spec. However, performance was dragged down by power circuit inefficiencies on the boards. The company is now working to improve the boards, Iyengar said:

“We are somewhat under spec, but the improvements we are working on in the lab have shown improved performance getting us closer to the advertised system performance.”

Confirmed security breach

As if board issues weren’t enough, the company also suffered a security breach over the weekend. CoinTerra said the attack was detected on Sunday and it is still investigating.

For the time being, the scope of the attack remains unclear. However, CoinTerra was quick to reassure customers that they won’t be affected:

“A small number of customers who paid for their order with bitcoin between January 31st and February 2nd may have been affected and we are in the process of reaching out to those customers directly. Note that this will not affect the current shipping schedule of our units to customers this week.”

CoinTerra also urges all customers who received any “suspicious emails” regarding their orders over the last few days to get in touch. It seems the emails were promising customers some rather shady deals.

Some messages were promising to move orders to an earlier batch in exchange for a payment via bitcoin, while others were offering to sell cancelled orders: the attackers were obviously planning to make a quick buck on CoinTerra’s delay.

“We would like to make it very clear that CoinTerra has a strict policy of never offering new customers the option to buy into an earlier batch ahead of existing customers, or of offering discounts or free shipping in return for quick payment,” the company stressed.

When it rains it pours, especially in the world of bitcoin ASICs. CoinTerra is not the only company dealing with lengthy delays and performance issues – in fact, most mining hardware outfits are facing similar woes.


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