With coronavirus affecting both the manufacturing and distribution of Bitcoin mining hardware, you might think the market share for Chinese mining manufacturers had waned.
However, China is still the dominant player in Bitcoin mining hardware and with its two main manufacturers Bitmain and MicroBT launching even more powerful mining hardware this year, China looks set for even more market share and
Bitmain Number One Mining Manufacturer But For How Long?
Bitmain, has long held the dominant position in the Bitcoin mining space, and that’s not going to change overnight. However, MicroBT is slowly catching up to Bitmain and with its popular and powerful WhatsMiner mining rigs its market share might just keep growing.
According to figures released by the Shenzen-based outfit, they sold about 600,00 of its WhatsMiner M20 units in 2019. Each unit generates about 60 TH/s their hardware accounted for almost half of Bitcoin’s computing power growth last year, which is roughly 30% of the Bitcoin hashrate worldwide.
Although it’s still the dominant player, Bitmain has struggled on many fronts and has been shrouded in self-perpetuating controversy, losing much of its credibility.
The Beijing-based company was at the centre of the ‘Hash War Collusion’ which saw BCH and BSV fight over the rights and ended up being another hardfork.
Although the case has been thrown out of court, Bitmain did suspiciously deploy 90,000 S9 Antminers just days before the fork to help ‘manipulate’ the outcome.
On top of that, Bitmain’s mining pool subsidiary Antpool was in hot water recently for trying to artificially boost the price of Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Apparently the mining pool had been burning chunks of all Bitcoin Cash mining fees and sending them to a ‘black hole address’.
These are just two cases, and with the firing of co-founder and chief shareholder Micree Ketuan Zhan last autumn, and now news of a 50% cut in Bitmain’s workforce. It seems like Bitmain are on a one-way course of self-implosion. Let’s not even mention their IPO attempts.
The Mining Hardware War Ramps Up
All this and now with MicroBT they have a serious competitor for market domination. Their last instalment, the WhatsMiner M20, proved itself to be an effective rig and challenged Bitmain’s Antminer S17. That said Bitmain does still hold a 65% market share.
Of course neither company is resting on their laurels as they fight out for market share. Both MicroBT and Bitmain intend to launch new hardware as the Bitcoin halving draws ever closer.
Bitmain intends to launch the AntMiner S19 next month. The new mining rig is believed will process between 95 to 110 TH/s – up from 67 TH/s that the S17+ capabilities.
MicroBT plan to upgrade their models and release a new WhatsMiner M30 later this year, which is capable of processing 88 TH/s – up from 60 TH/s that its WhatsMiner M20 can muster.
Coronavirus Could Play Into MicroBT’s Hands
Although Bitmain’s launch will be sooner, the slowdown in manufacturing and distribution due to the coronavirus outbreak might play into MicroBT hands. With delays inevitable, it gives MicroBT time to get their M30 machine ready.
China is slowly opening up again, but it will be a while before things are back to normal, and who knows, it could get worse before it gets better. Either way, the delay will affect Bitmain more than MicroBT.
With Bitmain’s turbulent past, which has seen them dive from one scandal to another, it remains to be seen whether they will continue their market dominance.
With coronavirus not expected to wither away any time soon, it will be interesting to see how it affects the distribution of the new Antminer S19, and whether it helps MicroBT catch up after they launch their WhatsMiner M30 later this year.
Either way, it mostly depends on the power and quality of both companies’ next mining hardware installments, for which we all wait with eagerness.
Author: Tommy Limpitlaw