Mining farms in the USA have recently acquired a batch of the latest generation Bitmain miners. The disappearance of a pattern in the Bitcoin nonce points to the disconnection of Antminer S9 machines.
The third Bitcoin halving is approaching and the mining industry is taking precautions. Two US companies in this sector claimed to have recently acquired a batch of the latest generation miners. This could be motivated by the low profitability expected from older miners, such as the Antminer S9, after the reduction of the reward.
The firm Riot Blockchain, located in Oklahoma, announced earlier this year that it had acquired 4,000 Antminer S17 Pro devices. These are the most powerful Bitmain mining machines on the market, which will be arranged by Riot Blockchain before the end of January. Accordingly, Blockware Solutions announced the start of its activities by January 15th with more than 1000 Antminer S17 + devices, as said in MinerUpdate.
Although the popularity of the latest generation of miners was indisputable in 2019, these two major acquisitions of batches of miners in the USA could be due to the next Bitcoin halving and its possible consequences on miners’ profitability. The reduction in mining reward is a mechanism used by blockchains such as Bitcoin to prevent the inflation of their cryptocurrencies.
When the third Bitcoin halving occurs in May, that reward will go from 12.5 BTC per mined block to just 6.25 BTC. This reduction will significantly affect miners’ income, reducing their profits by almost half. According to Token Analyst, almost 97% of the mining revenue from this industry comes solely from the reward per mined block.
Cryptocurrency mining also proves to be an expensive activity, which compromises its profitability based on elements such as electricity rates, the climate of the area and the processing power of miners. If Bitcoin’s current price is also considered, many old miners have become obsolete equipment for this market, since they do not generate the same profits as before. Therefore, it is not surprising that companies start updating their machinery and bet on much more powerful miners.
Farewell to Antminer S9
Antminer S9 could be one of the miners whose profitability is compromised after the halving, say analysts in this sector. This forecast could be motivating the disconnection of these miners, which seem to be increasingly missing in the network. The disappearance has been reported by the Plan B team on Twitter, who discovered it thanks to an unusual pattern in the Bitcoin nonce.
In 2016, an uncommon pattern began to be registered in the distribution of nonce values. The nonce average began to register unusual values at that time, being lower than expected. It should be noted that the nonce is a 32-bit field whose value establishes a certain string of zeros to form the hash of a block.
Since Antminer S7 and S9 devices were introduced to the market in 2016, firms such as Token Insight and BitMex noted that it could be the firmware of these miners (a computer program controlling the electronic circuits) that was producing the phenomenon. Although Plan B recently reported that the unusual pattern has completely disappeared from the blockchain, the mystery has not yet been solved.
By Alexander Salazar