So, there is this rumor about a massive 72GB of ram "ASIC" miner coming up from bitmain specifically to mine Ethereum.

I knew that Ethereum is ASIC resistant, so how would this potential miner even work ?

Will Ethereum be capable to resist this kind of miner ? And in general, what could it mean for the whole Ethereum ecosystem ?

2 Answers 2


I knew that Ethereum is ASIC resistant,

Resistant to the technology available, but not fundamentally, provably resistant forever. It's always been theoretically possible to manufacture an ASIC able to run Ethash, it's just the cost of the memory required has so far made it economically implausible. So no one bothered.

so how would this potential miner even work ?

By having enough memory to get around the memory-hardness imposed by the DAG, which is presumably what that huge wad of 72GB is for. (See By what mechanism are ASIC-based miners made less favourable?)

Will Ethereum be capable to resist this kind of miner ?

If the technology works like they say it will, then Ethash will no longer be "ASIC-resistant".

And in general, what could it mean for the whole Ethereum ecosystem ?

Probably not a lot.

  1. Ethereum is moving to Proof-of-Stake. The sooner it does so, the less financially viable the new Antminer gear will be. (Unless they can apply the same ASIC to the hashing algorithms of other altcoins, some of which, yes, use Ethash.) Antminer are aiming to release the F3 in quarter 2 or 3 of 2018. If there's a delay for any reason, and the PoS testing and development continues at a good pace, then the window to monetise their new technology will shrink.
  2. It may be possible to "poison the well", rendering the ASICs impotent. From the White Paper, under "Mining Centralization":

"However, one notably interesting feature of this algorithm is that it allows anyone to "poison the well", by introducing a large number of contracts into the blockchain specifically designed to stymie certain ASICs. The economic incentives exist for ASIC manufacturers to use such a trick to attack each other."

  1. They're claiming 200-220 MH/s, for a price of $2500 - $3000. You can already get better rates per dollar with some current GPUs.

And, finally (though there are probably other things... ):

  1. Vitalik: "This is pathetic."

Speculative, off-topic part...

Will Ethereum be capable to resist this kind of miner ?

I haven't talked about social or community resistance. You could speculate that the community wouldn't be happy: we've all been playing along nicely without ASICs.

Without going into a discussion about chain governance, one possibility would be a community-driven hard-fork to replace Ethash with a different hashing algorithm, thereby nullifying the effort and cost that Antminer has spent on development and production. They've presumably factored this into their gamble...

  • Thank you for your answer, you've been extremely clear.
    – Ther0
    Feb 22, 2018 at 8:22
  • As a programmer, I will confirm, three's no such thing as ASIC resistant. With time, they will figure out a way to mine any algo. This is rendering my $4000 mining rig worthless.
    – M H
    Mar 12, 2018 at 17:07

According to sources at DMM Japan they have access to the ASICs already. https://news.bitcoin.com/japans-dmm-launches-large-scale-domestic-cryptocurrency-mining-farm-and-showroom/

It is 650 MH at 750 Watts which beats out any GPU equivalent.

Also to continue ASIC Resistant does not mean that ASICs cannot be manufacturered and ran, its meant to be that if an ASIC is produced a slight algorithm change is done to render those ASICs useless.

  • That article has no indication that those ASICs are mining ETH Mar 27, 2018 at 18:22

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