What is the Antminer A3? (Competitors in 2018)
The company behind the Antminer S9, Bitmain, released a new ASIC miner for Siacoin called the Antminer A3 in January 2018.
This guide will go through the profitability of this miner, associated risks, and compare it against other miners like the S9, L3+ and T9+.
What is the Antminer A3?
Announced on 16th January 2018, the Antminer A3 is a Blake(2b) ASIC miner. Some popular cryptocurrency algorithms:
- Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash use the SHA-256 algorithm
- Litecoin and Dogecoin use the Scrypt algorithm
- Dash uses the X11 algorithm.
- Monero uses the Cryptonight algorithm.
- Siacoin uses the Blake(2b) algorithm.
So this miner can't be used to mine Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other popular cryptocurrencies; it's used to mine Blake(2b)-based coins specifically, in particular Siacoin.
Is the Antminer A3 Profitable?
You need to be very careful here. The A3 is significantly more powerful than existing Blake(2b) mining hardware, so it's likely that any coins mined using this algorithm will see a significant difficulty increase over the coming weeks/months - similar to what happened to Dash in mid-2017 (see more info on Dash here).
Right now, on the 7th February 2018, if you mine Siacoin with the Antminer A3 you'll get around $12k per year. In just a few weeks this could easily decrease by 60% or more as people start to turn their A3's on. In a worst-case scenario this could decrease by 90-95% over the next couple of months, to where the A3 has similar profitability to the D3 (which optimistically would bring in around $340 per year at the time of writing this). See the A3's current profitability on this page.
The team behind Siacoin weren't very happy about the A3 being released, suggesting that Bitmain (the company behind the Antminer S3) "has a strong track record in Bitcoin of actively working to undermine core development, blocking important network upgrades "; and so they're concerned they may do the same to Siacoin. They initially suggested that they might soft-fork to invalidate the A3 (make it much less profitable by changing the algorithm required for mining it), but have decided against that. There's always a risk of them doing this if Bitmain acts maliciously - further increasing the risk of buying an A3.
Competitors to the Antminer A3 in 2018?
Well right now the Antminer A3 looks to be the only Blake(2b) ASIC miner available to buy. Halong Mining look to be releasing one soon that would be around 3.5x more efficient than the A3; this would cause Blake(2b) difficulty to increase even faster, driving the A3's profitability down even further.
Some alternative Antminer's may be a better choice at the moment. The Antminer S9 continues to be popular for mining Bitcoin, although be aware of next generation Bitcoin miners that may be coming in a few months. Recently the T9+ was released by Bitmain, but the Antminer S9 looks to be more profitable for mining Bitcoin (although buying direct the S9 is more expensive). The Antminer L3+ is another option, which is currently more profitable than the S9.
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