Mining Roundup: New Viper Tests and Bitmain’s Debut Cloud Mining Service

Stan Higgins
Sep 7, 2014 at 14:45 UTC
Updated Sep 8, 2014 at 18:34 UTC

September is here, bringing cold air to many parts of the world that play home to bitcoin mines on both the hobby and industrial scale. If you’re a home rig operator, you’re no doubt looking forward to the day when you can turn down the air conditioning and let some of that cool fall air inside.

This week’s roundup takes a look at several corners of the mining community, from inside the new rig of a solar power-producing hobbyist to inside Bitmain’s manufacturing facility.

Alpha Technology releases update on Viper

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The long-awaited Viper scrypt miner has reportedly moved closer to completion, according to a new development update from Alpha Technology.

According to the 2nd September blog post on the company’s official site, the ASICs are now undergoing thermal tests and simulations. The development team also released diagrams of the updated enclosure, which the company previously said was being reimagined.

The team added that it expects to begin shipping the Viper later this month, saying that it is trying to speed up the process in order to begin making deliveries. The company has come under fire in recent months for the Viper delays, and earlier this summer announced that issues related to PayPal had disrupted development.

The team said in the post:

“We are now mostly just waiting for the ASIC to arrive so that the final testing and assembly can be done; we will be paying extra to have every aspect of this next stage expedited and we expect shipping to commence sometime in the latter half of September.”

The Viper has seen several design changes over the course of its development arc, a process that has been both praised and decried by the mining community. CoinDesk will continue monitoring the Viper’s development and provide an update when a delivery date has been formally set.

Bitmain debuts cloud mining service

China-based mining hardware maker Bitmain has become the latest company to offer a cloud mining service.

As originally reported by Bitell, the company has launched Hashnest.com, a new platform for cloud mining bitcoins. According to the company’s post on the Bitcoin Talk forum, the move is part of a broader effort to support decentralization in the mining network.

The company noted:

“In the future, most of the mining rigs will be deployed in specialized hosting farms, enterprising and professional teams will help to search the low cost energy and maintenance for the rigs. However, we still need to keep decentralization in this centralization trend. It is sure harmful and dangerous to the bitcoin industry and the eco-system if the majority of hashing power are controlled by a handful of people.”

The official website allows users to pay by the gigahash in bitcoin directly, costing roughly 0.00135 BTC, or about $0.63 at today’s prices. This compares favorably to other offerings on the market, which can range as high as $1.50 per gigahash.

Spondoolies Tech to open pre-orders for new miner

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Israel-based mining hardware maker Spondoolies Tech is putting a new mining product to market. The SP20 continues a trend seen among many hardware makers: the manufacturing of bigger units better suited for a data center than a home hobby rig.

According to the company, the SP20 will be capable of producing an estimated 1.7 TH/s. Power-wise, it is expected to draw 1,100 watts at the wall. It will be available for pre-order next week, Spondoolies said.

In a recent conversation with CoinDesk, Spondoolies CEO Guy Corem noted that the move to data centers is good for the industry, but that companies need to do their part in contributing to the goal of a truly decentralized network of miners.

Corem said:

“We fight for the small guys. Small, capable miners. That’s what we’re trying to do and we support them.”

A look inside Bitmain’s factory

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Ever wanted to see what it looks like inside a state-of-the-art bitcoin manufacturing plant? Chinese-language bitcoin news site BTCSide.com recently published a series of photos from inside Bitmain’s factory, offering a glimpse into one of the busiest manufacturers in the world.

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The picture above shows what BTCSide calls the “aging room”, where units are tested and readied for shipment. Other pictures contained in the gallery show the company’s maintenance room where workers take apart, program and reconfigure the hardware.

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The power needs of a facility like this are tremendous. As the photos demonstrate, Bitmain’s facility – like every other data center-based bitcoin company – is built to handle copious amounts of energy.

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The last stop before the company’s hardware heads out to its customers.

Hobby mining journal debuts

Given the fact that bitcoin mining’s shift toward industrial-scale operations is well underway, it’s not often that you hear about people starting home rigs. But a new hobby journal begun on Bitcoin Talk suggests that the pursuit of bitcoins is still alive and well among entrepreneurial individuals.

Forum user Sakarias-Corporation wrote in a 27th August post that he had invested $1,000 in 10 Antminer S1 units as well as a number of different power source units. The response to the hobby miner’s efforts has been mostly positive, with several users offering advice on how he can maximize his investment.

The owner of the home rig said he and his neighbors operate a small wind and solar farm, selling excess power produced back to their local electric company. Given that cheap resources are required to make any bitcoin mine profitable, the hobbyist was able to remove a key hurdle to getting his project off the ground.

He said:

“I have enough spare power to supply around 800 S1s maybe, and I could always buy a wind turbine. Dispensing heat won’t be a problem, I have a whole room which I will design to do one thing and one thing only, to keep all the miners cooled, of course it will cost a lost, but I’m already down to -23C (without all the fans).”

Looking ahead, the hobby miner said that he hopes to buy more S1s or, in the future, a fleet of S3s to build out his mine.

Images via Bitmain, Shutterstock, Spondoolies Tech, Bitcoin Talk