Last week, the Monero community faced a hard task: executing a network-wide hard fork. And more if someone is forcing your hand. The Monero dev community hard forked to evade Bitmain’s hash rate centralization. But the mistake was believing that they were acting to protect for a future event; the reality is that the event had already happened.
According to a thread started by the user Swericor, sarcastically titled “Bye Bye ASICs” and posted in the Monero subReddit, the hash rate of the network decreased by roughly an 80% of its amount before the hard fork. The thread can be found here. And it seems to be accurate because the hash rate of the now “Monero Classic”, the fork that has reportedly embraced ASIC as an evolution for their blockchain, has gone up immensely too. The mining difficulty will drop too, making mining profitable for small miners again.
A result that was to be expected if Bitmain ASICs were already available freely in the market for anyone to buy them and use them. But the Bitmain ASIC, the Antminer X3, was announced to be launched in June of this year, as this tweet from Bitmain declares.
So, if the ASIC miners from Bitmain are going to be launched next June, and no one still has them, there is just one possible explanation. What was once just a rumor, seems to be confirmed with this development: Bitmain effectively mines with their hardware covertly before launching it to the mass mining market. Some miners had reported this already, but without proof, but this seems to support their claims. Maybe they even had more potent models that they are keeping just for them.
Bitmain has grown to be a behemoth company in a short amount of time, with record sales and earnings, but we don’t how much of these profits come from covert mining using their hardware before launching. Now Monero miners can rest easy, but for how long? Bitmain is certainly already working into their next Cryptonight ASIC. And miners won’t know it until it is too late.