Inside Bitewei: The New Bitcoin Miner Being Hailed as a Serious Bitmain Rival


Things have not been straightforward of late for Bitmain.

After CoinDesk revealed the China-based crypto mining big was planning an preliminary public providing (IPO) for September, the corporate has confronted a wave of maybe unprecedented scrutiny. On social media, allegations emerged Bitmain was every thing from bancrupt to presenting a rosy outlook for its financials, all of the whereas buyers linked to the funding effort backed away from the deal.

Now it seems Bitmain is dealing with a new and well-capitalized competitor.

Revealed completely to CoinDesk, Bitewei, a Shenzhen-based mining chip producer led by Yang Zuoxing, the previous director of design at Bitmain, has raised 140 million yuan (round $20 million) to convey to market mining chips that long-time mining business insiders consider could lead on it to rival not less than one space of Bitmain’s enterprise.

Tyler Xiong, COO of the bitcoin mining pool operator Bixin, which joined Bitewei’s preliminary funding, informed CoinDesk that it believes the corporate’s Whatsminer line of mining chips to be “a game changer.”

Founded in Shenzhen in July 2016, Bitewei is now thought of by some to be probably the most environment friendly {hardware} producer in the marketplace.

According to check outcomes revealed by Bitewei, the upcoming WhatsMiner M10 is roughly 30 p.c extra environment friendly, when it comes to electrical energy consumption than Bitmain’s most up-to-date flagship product the AntMiner S9 Hydro.

Yang informed CoinDesk Bitewei has to date acquired pre-orders of over 1,000 items of Whatsminer M10, a product scheduled to formally launch on September 19, however that began its pre-sale in mid August. With a mean worth round $1,600 relying on the transport batch, the brand new product may already be producing a income past $1.6 million.

That stated, Bitewei admittedly has a lengthy technique to go, as IPO supplies recommend Bitmain controls 85 p.c of the worldwide cryptocurrency mining {hardware} market. Further, it has a well-developed software-based enterprise, with its BTC.com and Antpool mining swimming pools offering mining instruments to 30 p.c of the community’s miners.

This giant market share is considered with skepticism by cryptocurrency builders, who consider it conflicts with efforts to open entry to cryptocurrency protocols and the digital financial rewards they create.

As such, the truth that {hardware} distributors are already promoting Whatsminer merchandise has created pleasure amongst those that consider the rise of extra, aggressive mining chip suppliers may gain advantage the business whereas higher making certain its ethos.

David Vorick, CEO of Obelisk, a firm that got down to problem Bitmain with an utility particular built-in circuit (ASIC) miner for the Siacoin cryptocurrency, stated he believes Bitewei proves that competitors is feasible, if troublesome to attain.

Vorick informed CoinDesk: 

“There should be a lot more players in the bitcoin mining space and a lot more manufacturers, especially if we can figure out everything that Whatsminer is doing to get the efficiency gains that they’ve been getting.”

Others, nonetheless, say effectivity is not every thing, and that Bitewei should nonetheless show it could execute, avoiding the pitfalls which have seen different mining companies go bankrupt despite competitive products.

“It takes a lot, luck included, for a company to grow to that size and influence,” Xiong stated, evaluating Bitewei to Bitmain. “It’s hard for a new hardware company to get that influence now. Besides, there are only 4 million bitcoins left to mine.”

Cutting-edge merchandise

Still, Bitewei’s check outcomes recommend its product far exceeds the present norm.

Ahead of the Whatsminer M10’s formal launch, Bitewei kicked off the pre-sale by publishing two rounds of testing outcomes on August 10 and 25, respectively. In each instances, Bitewei claimed the machine was acting at a degree that consumed 66 watts to 68 watts of electrical energy per 1 trillion hashes (66W/TH).

In comparability, in line with the official specifics revealed by Bitmain about its newest AntMiner S9 Hydro, the mining big’s flagship product has a energy consumption that is round 96 W/TH.

Speaking of rising competitors from different bitcoin miners that not too long ago launched merchandise that includes 7nm chips, together with Canaan Creative and GMO Internet, Yang stated his subsequent step can be to roll out a 7nm-chip bitcoin miner in 2019.

Yet, Vorick stated he believes Bitewei now has a appreciable edge in comparison with each different startups and incumbent opponents, as Yang’s 50-people crew combines expertise with cutting-edge chip designs.

“It seems like the majority of the design talent at Bitmain is now at Whatsminer [Bitewei],” Vorick stated.  

Perhaps that is why Yang does not seem deterred by fierce competitors in the course of the summer time’s total bearish crypto market, with bitcoin’s worth sliding under $7,000“The market always has ups and downs and 2018 is somewhat like 2014, during which the bitcoin price kept declining for a year,” Yang informed CoinDesk.

He added:

“Nothing can stop the enthusiasm for people inside the industry. Outsiders may hesitate, like Intel or NVIDIA, but not us.”

The chipmaker

Bolstering the passion for the corporate is that this is not Yang’s first business effort, as his expertise with bitcoin mining began lengthy earlier than he joined Bitmain.

After incomes a Ph.D. in engineering physics from China’s Tsinghua University, Yang began in 2014 as a chip designer at ASICMiner, a bitcoin miner maker based in 2012 by Jiang Xinyu – a.ok.a Friedcat on bitcointalk.org – whose unexplained disappearance in January 2015 remains to be one of many bitcoin business’s unsolved mysteries.

Promptly after Friedcat’s disappearance, Yang offered his full-custom chip design to Micree Zhan, co-founder and chairman of the Beijing-based Bitmain. It was the design that might quickly change into Bitmain’s Antminer S7, as Yang joined Bitmain’s crew within the spring of 2015.

The full-custom methodology adopted by Yang, in layman’s phrases, permits a designer working with built-in circuits to fully customise the structure of every transistor and the way they join to one another.

The profit is that, as against different strategies such as semi-custom which makes use of pre-designed structure to some extent, the full-custom technique permits a designer with the correct skill-set to maximise the chip’s output on the lowest level of energy consumption.

But, as Yang informed CoinDesk, this technique can be extremely pricey and time-consuming. That’s why it’s best suited to large-scale manufacturing, like Bitmain’s factories.

It may have been a good match. However, Yang stated he determined to maneuver from Bitmain’s Beijing’s workplace again to Shanghai after simply two weeks as a result of he did not slot in with Bitmain’s “working environment,” including he “didn’t feel respected.”  So he continued working part-time on designing the Antminer S7, balancing that distant job with a new aspect challenge of his personal.

After Bitmain formally rolled out Antminer S7 in August 2015, Yang stated he had 5 rounds of negotiations with Bitmain about fairness, all whereas protecting management of his designs for the Antminer S9 for the corporate, quickly to be Bitmain’s flagship product (revealed in May 2016).

Yang stated whereas Jihan Wu – additionally co-founder of Bitmain – agreed to supply him 2 p.c of Bitmain’s fairness, Zhan didn’t go together with that plan and made an alternate provide of 0.5 p.c.

When negotiations went bitter, Yang ended his Bitmain contract in June 2016 and launched Bitewei one month later.

Beyond Yang himself, Bitewei attracted a number of different bitcoin business veterans.

The startup’s checklist of early buyers included notable figures within the Chinese bitcoin mining group, such as co-founders of the F2POOL Wang Chun and Mao Shixing, as effectively as Wu Ying, chairman of an funding agency referred to as China Capital Group. Based on a Chinese enterprise registration database, each Mao and Wang at the moment are Bitewei board members.

Bad blood

Bitewei’s rivalry with Bitmain intensified in the course of the previous two years as they battled over the mental property Yang designed.

Last 12 months, Yang told CoinDesk Bitmain filed a patent infringement lawsuit towards him over Bitewei’s adoption of the so-called “serial power circuit design” for Whatsminer – a expertise that Bitmain secured a patent for in March 2016.  

In retaliation, Yang filed a declare to revoke Bitmain’s patent on the grounds that serial energy provide circuit designs had been broadly used and documented.

China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) invalidated Bitmain’s patent on April 8. The SIPO’s assertion about revoking Bitmain’s approved patent, for lack of distinctive creativity within the Antminer’s design, stated:

“If a technological solution sought by a patent has different characteristics than existing technologies, but such difference is public knowledge, then it is obvious the solution would incorporate this public knowledge.”

The Urumqi Intermediate Court in China’s Xinjiang province, the place the authorized criticism was initially filed by Bitmain, then adopted the SIPO’s lead and dismissed the case on August 31, in line with a courtroom doc Yang shared with CoinDesk.

Bitmain declined to remark.

By this level, Xiong famous that the animosity between these manufacturing groups was frequent information in bitcoin mining circles. But the controversy surrounded Bitmain has gone far past this patent battle and its ongoing {hardware} and mining pool dominance.

Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu has lengthy been an outspoken supporter of the cryptocurrency bitcoin cash, created by a disagreement over the technical path of the bitcoin software program, a reality which has made him a persona non grata amongst bitcoin’s builders.

Yet as argued by the analysis agency Alliance Bernstein, Bitmain’s robust perception in bitcoin money could have brought about it a problem of declining money circulation, and will put it in a additional place to be challenged by a competitor. Analysts wrote in a latest report that Bitmain now holds about 5.7 p.c of the entire provide of bitcoin money, which they stated was “likely” bought utilizing its working money and bitcoin holdings.

“These BCH holdings, valued at $890 million as of [Q1 2018], pose another major risk as BCH is illiquid and has depreciated nearly 20 percent since [Q1 2018],” the report noted on the time.

Bitmain’s controversy may grow to be a boon for Bitewei, which has prevented entanglements with blockchain business rumors and conflicts.

If Wu and Bitmain are bitcoin money believers of their core, then Yang is solely the chip man.

“Full-custom methodology can be applied to literally every type of chip,” Yang stated of his imaginative and prescient for Bitewei, which is to change into the best chip maker, hinting within the long-term, the agency just isn’t restricted to only making crypto miners.

He concluded:

“Our miners’ market share may go above 50 percent. But our own hashing power will never go above 50 percent, in fact, 10 percent will be already good enough.”

Bitcoin mining by way of Shutterstock

The chief in blockchain information, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the very best journalistic requirements and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an unbiased working subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.





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