Bitcoin miner manufacturers have seen their global distribution power negatively affected by varying manufacturing delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China. Despite this, China-based hardware makers, MicroBT, has managed to increase its market share while industry leader Bitmain struggles with supply chain setbacks and internal strife. The company was able to attain this growth even as CEO Yang Zuoxing battles legal issues stemming from his tenure as a Bitmain employee and embezzlement charges.
MicroBT’s WhatsMiner M20 hardware continues to present itself as the fiercest competitor to the Bitmain AntMiner S17. The hardware company sold an estimated 600,000 units of its flagship unit last 2019. This Bitcoin miner generates approximately 60 tera hashes per second on average, explained MicroBT sales head Vincent Zhang in an online panel discussion hosted by Chinese mining pool Poolin. Since Bitcoin’s current computing power stands at 110 EH/s, this signifies that MicroBT could account for nearly 30 percent of Bitcoin mining power with 30 exahashes (EH/s) of hashing power.
A research report by crypto firm Coinshares estimates Bitmain’s dominance in the Bitcoin hash rate was about 65% last December 2019, slipping from 75 percent in 2017. Adding to this decline of Bitmain are its many notable setbacks in 2019. The company fired its co-founder and chief shareholder Micree Ketuan Zhan in October 2019, while deciding to trim employee count by 50% to start the new year.
While Bitmain’s older S9 remains the most widely used ASIC miner, it faces an increased risk of becoming obsolete as Bitcoin’s halving event quickly approaches in May effectively reducing mining rewards from 12.5 Bitcoin per block to 6.25
As both companies continue to compete for dominance, Bitmain remains a formidable contender with both scheduled to release new high-end machines in 2020, e.g., rumored AntMiner S19 and WhatsMiner M30. The production quantity of these products largely depends on the supply of wafers from semiconductor companies such as Samsung or TSMC.
While MicroBT was able to outmaneuver Bitmain in manufacturing and delivery in 2019, and delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak will adversely impact both the companies in the months to follow. A TokenInsight report stated that by the end of 2020, Bitmain, Ebang, Canaan, and MicroBT would control over 98% of the Bitcoin mining market. All of these hardware makers are based in China. Earlier this month reports circulated online that all four ASIC hardware makers had begun sending notices to customers via Wechat channels, advising them of shipping delays.
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