Bitmain's New Miner Is Drawing Criticism from Early Users

Bitmain has been criticized over one of its mining products, the AntMiner B3, with users making allegations about its marketing and quality control.

Jun 1, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. UTC

Mining hardware giant Bitmain has been criticized over one of its latest mining products, the AntMiner B3, with Chinese users making allegations about its marketing tactics and quality control.

According to a blog post from the AntMiner's official WeChat account, the new product – dedicated to mining BTM, the native token of the Bytom blockchain – was launched on April 25, one day after the Bytom team launched its mainnet.

Priced at 17,000 Chinese yuan (or $2,600) per unit, the first batch of 25,000 B3 miners was notably sold out in seconds after commencement of the sale.

While the AntMiner B3's official specifications tout a computing power of 750 hashes per second, complaints from the first batch of buyers in China soon emerged, alleging that Bitmain had significantly exaggerated the product's power capability in its marketing.

According to a local news source, the dispute arose after an initial test by miners in China said the AntMiner B3 can only produce 500–600 hashes per second, a difference that critically reduces their calculated profits from an 47 BTM per day to as low as single digit production.

As more complaints have emerged in the local community over the past several weeks, miners have moved to form groups on social messaging app WeChat and have shared their findings on the mining device on Chinese Q&A site Zhihu.

Other allegations that have since then been circulating over the social media include suspicions that Bitmain is using secondhand components to manufacture the B3. According to one post on Zhihu, users commented that the fan of their supposed brand new AntMiner B3 was covered with dust, which could potentially explain the reported weak computing performance.

Subsequently, a dedicated Weibo account that claims to protect the rights of the B3 buyers was also created on May 19, in a bid to demand refunds from the mining giant.

According to a post from the activists' Weibo page, a group of B3 purchasers visited Bitmain's office in Beijing on Monday to discuss a solution to the issue. While the group apparently comprised of fewer than 10 people, the meeting saw local policemen present to ensure the conversation was peaceful.

Based on a news report from Sina, miners from the group said Bitmain expressed willingness to fix products that have hashing power issues, but would not consider refunding customers. The firm is instead open to the idea of resolving the matter through the legal process, as per the report.

While Bitmain has yet to respond to CoinDesk's enquiry for further comment, the company was quoted in another local news report Thursday conceding there are problems with some B3s. However, Bitmain clarified that devices with issues only represent one percent of production so far, based on its internal investigations. The company also denied the accusation that it was selling secondhand products.

In response to the accusation that it exaggerated the specs of the mining machine in its marketing, Bitmain commented:

"Mining machines are in essence investment products ... The profit and the price of the token adjust based on the market dynamics. As such nothing could guaranteed by any company or any individual."

Miners image via Shutterstock

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