Linzhi Begins Rollout of Long-Awaited Ethereum Miner ‘Phoenix’

Ethereum’s mining competition just got a bit hotter, even as the second-largest blockchain by market cap has begun the formal process of getting rid of its dependency on the industry all together.

Shenzhen, China-based mining firm Linzhi Inc. has begun rolling out a new Ethereum ASIC miner dubbed the Phoenix, reportedly three times more powerful than top options available today. As reported by CoinDesk, the journey to produce a more powerful and efficient Ethash ASIC miner was begun some two years ago by Chen Min, former CTO of mining giant Canaan.

Mining pool F2 Pool released a demo of the new machine on YouTube Saturday. The Phoenix outpaces the next best A10+ Pro at 2,600 megahashes per second MH/s to around 500 MH/s. Linzhi’s new machine is also more energy efficient clocking in at 3,000 watts per hour to the A10+ Pro’s 1,300 W, F2 Pool says.

“If you look back on CoinDesk reporting about Linzhi dating back to the first article in September, 2018, it’s clear we had delays,” Linzhi Director of Operations Wolfgang Spraul told CoinDesk in an email. “Some due to underestimating the technology, then some due” to the coronavirus pandemic.

Spraul said the firm is rolling out pre-orders and limited quantities to “developers, community, pool operators, etc.” Innosilicon carries the A10+ Pro for about $4,440 per unit while Linzhi has yet to release a public price figure.

The new product comes as the Ethereum network has begun a technical transition from a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake (PoS). That process began Dec. 1 with the launch of the Beacon Chain. That chain acts as a central conductor for the new blockchain network which uses coin deposits as a means of securing the network, called “staking,” over mining.

Still, miners have at least a two-year runway with PoW on Ethereum. The current network, Eth 1.x, won’t be moved over to the new PoS blockchain until phase 1.5 of Eth 2.0.

The current Linzhi Phoenix demoed by F2 Pool will need at least one upgrade to stay useful before that transition, however.  

The Ethereum network’s directed acyclic graph (DAG) – a component of Ethereum’s PoW algorithm called Ethash – stands at just under 4 gb, while each Linzhi Phoenix only has a 4.4 GB memory. The incumbent A10, on the other hand, can house between 6 and 8 gigabytes, F2 Pool says. 

The Phoenix will need a bump in memory size or aftermarket components if it is not to become obsolete before phase 1.5. Spraul told CoinDesk in an email that the Phoenix miners currently rolling out are limited to quantities of pre-orders. The firm is “working on a successor with an increase in DAG memory – no specs yet,” he said.

Of course, other Ethash-based cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum Classic will still be using proof-of-work, meaning a market will still exist for the Phoenix even after Eth 2.0 phase 1.5.

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