According to an official statement, Bitmain has just announced the impending release of the latest generation of Antminer ASIC mining devices.
The new devices dubbed the S17+ and T17+ boast higher hash rates than previous generations alongside relatively comparable energy consumption rates. Both devices are expected to be available for purchase on October 11, 2019.
Prices were not available at press time, but we are assuming they will be in line with other devices Bitmain has released in the past. Join us as we take a look at the new devices and run the numbers on what you might expect to get by running one of these devices.
Another Year, Another ASIC
For the last few years, Bitmain has been regularly releasing updated machines in its Antminer line. Often these devices are initially at the top of their class in terms of hash rate, but their dominance is often challenged quickly by competing ASIC companies.
Another issue that regularly plagues the devices is rampant hoarding and reselling at highly inflated prices. In recent years, it is been common to see devices sold by Bitmain for retail price to quickly be out of stock and have resellers pop up everywhere asking for quadruple price or more.
We will have to see if either demand for these devices has dropped or if Bitmain has somehow managed to produce enough of the devices so that there isn’t a shortage this time around.
According to the release, Bitmain will be launching not one but two different ASIC miners at (presumably) different price points and different hash rates. The flagship device, the S17+ boasts a hashrate of 72 TH/s, and consumes about 2,920 watts of power.
The second device, the T17+ which is more of a budget option clocks in with 64 TH/s and consumes 3,200 watts of power.
Coins by Numbers
The big question is – is it profitable to run one of these devices now? For our calculations, we used the Coinwarz mining profitability calculator and assumed an electricity price of $0.10 per kilowatt. All other variables such as bitcoin difficult were left at their defaults which are based on regularly updated data.
Based on what we found, the S17+ is profitable to operate, but not extremely so. The calculator suggests that running and 17+24 hours a day, seven days a week for an entire year (and assuming no change in difficulty, which is unlikely given the launch of a more powerful device), you could expect to earn about half a bitcoin, or 0.52212548 BTC.
Once you factor in electricity costs, however, you can roughly halve your potential income with an estimated power cost of $2,557.92.
Looking at the other device, you could potentially mine around 0.45156798 BTC in a year, at the cost of $2,803.20 in electricity fees.
Is it worth it?
This is a difficult question to answer because it is based on a number of variables that are impossible to predict.
It is reasonable to assume that once these devices go on the market, they will quickly become the standard for hash rate, thus increasing network difficulty and lowering the efficiency of the machines.
Second, as bitcoin prices have been floating around the $8,000 to $10,000 mark for quite some time, if one’s intent is to immediately sell all of the bitcoin they generate for profits, they would likely only just be able to cover the cost of the hardware and the electricity after the first year and not see much profit beyond that. Of course, if bitcoin prices go up or down, it changes the outcome.
Before one considers getting into mining, however, it’s a useful exercise to consider what would happen if you were to simply by half a bitcoin. At today’s prices, half a bitcoin would cost approximately $4,250 dollars. Compare this to the Bitmain S17+ which will likely come at a cost of close to $2,000 dollars.
If you simply buy the bitcoin, at the end of the year you will have that entire half-bitcoin without having had to worry about running a hot, noisy piece of hardware and forking out loads of cash to pay off your electric bill month after month.
If bitcoin prices go up, you will see the same benefit from buying and as you would have from mining it.
Should you buy one of these devices?
In the end that’s a decision only you can make, but for the casual bitcoin investor, you are probably better off just buying and holding.
If you are dead-set on getting into mining, however, buying one of these machines could be a reasonable way to do it – as long as you don’t pay an overinflated reseller price if another shortage happens. You’ll never make your money back if you pay too much for the hardware.
You may be asking yourself – if mining bitcoin is no better( or in some cases worse) than buying and holding bitcoin, who exactly are these machines for? The answer to that is fairly simple.
The vast majority of bitcoin mining is done by industrial-scale players that have access to extremely cheap electricity and can benefit from economies of scale.
Most likely these big players can buy hundreds or even thousands of these machines at once for a bulk discount and run them at a very low price. For these players, making a profit mining bitcoin is easy.
But if you are just an individual wanting to run one or two of these machines in your bedroom, you’re probably better off forgoing it and leaving mining to the pros.