Bitmain’s Crypto ‘Antminer’ Units Are Failing: Samson Mow


Cryptocurrency miners using several products by reputable mining equipment manufacturers are reportedly experiencing higher-than-expected failure rates: specifically, the Bitmain S17 and T17 Antminer, which are both expected to have a 5% failure rate, are reportedly each failing closer to something like 20%-30% of the time.

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The statistic comes from Samson Mow, chief strategy officer (CSO) of Blockstream, a blockchain infrastructure firm based in Victoria, Canada. Mow said that customers were reporting technical issues–specifically, that “heat sinks are falling off and shorting out machines, while power supply fans are failing.”

Mow also pointed out that Jihan Wu, co-founder and chief executive of Bitmain, places the blame for the failing machines on Micree Zhan, another of the company’s co-founders. Wu ousted Zhan from the company in October of last year, saying that the action was taken to “save this ship [from sinking].”

Coronavirus has disrupted the mining industry; upcoming halving and March price crashes haven’t been helping

The timing of the Tweet is particularly poignant because of the upcoming Bitcoin halving, which is scheduled to take place in approximately 15 days. A number of analysts have speculated that the halving will lead to the exodus of a number of small- and medium-sized miners from the industry, which could mean more competition for mining equipment manufacturers.

In the meantime, however, disruptions in global shipping and supply chains have caused disruptions in the distribution of mining equipment that has already been sold.

Bitmain reportedly sucessfully sold out its updated S19 Antminer Pro, which has a hashrate of 110 terahashes per second (TH/s), on March 23rd; however, the company has since announced that the machines will not be shipped until May 11th at the earliest–only one day before the halving is set to occur.

According to CoinTelegraph, this may have been a deliberate decision on Bitmain’s part “so that it could mine using its next-generation ASICs without competition before the next fork occurs”. Indeed, MicroBT, another mining equipment manufacturer, said that its own MS30S+++ model, which has a hash rate of 112 TH/s, won’t be ready to ship until June.

Bitmain announced earlier this month that purchasers of its Antminer S17+ and T17+ devices with delivery dates between February and April will receive vouchers worth $17-$272 per unit. The vouchers, which can only be used to buy more equipment from Bitmain, reflect the continuing impact of the Bitcoin price crashes last month, as well as the expected mining revenue drop post-halving in May.

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