The shortage of chips in the market, which arose due to a decrease in production volumes and changes in the delivery schedule during a pandemic, had an impact on manufacturers of various equipment, including devices for mining cryptocurrencies. According to the WSJ, the semiconductor shortage will continue into 2022.
Affected industries modify devices and revert to legacy designs. ForkLog found out from experts how critical the shortage of chips is for the mining industry.
According to the head of the Six Nines data center, Sergei Troshin, network hash rates are growing more slowly against the backdrop of a global shortage of chips.
“The more equipment, the higher the hashrate of the entire network and the more difficult it is to mine cryptocurrency. Moreover, every moment a certain number of new devices are added to the network, which creates competition. However, now, due to the lack of semiconductors, it comes in less, and this leads to a slowdown in hash rate growth, ”he explained.
Mining equipment has grown in price, and its delivery times have increased. This applies to both ASIC miners and video cards.
"The price of" ASICs "is formed on the basis of the payback period of 12 months, excluding electricity, and video cards - 18 months. In proportion to the growth of the network hashrate and the cost of cryptocurrencies, the price of equipment grows, "Troshin said.
He noted that manufacturers of video cards of a wide profile orient them towards mining and include this in their cost. It has become more difficult and not more profitable for gamers to buy GPUs.
The head of the Comino liquid-cooled computer company, Evgeny Vlasov, is convinced that the shortage of chips had a positive effect on mining. Cryptocurrency rates are growing amid inflation and equipment margins.
“Mining and all related areas are currently on the rise. Judging by the growing hashrate schedule - it has doubled since July - there is no shortage of equipment, ”he said.
Vlasov did not rule out that small companies may experience a shortage of equipment, since the market is centralized around large players. At the same time, a gray market is growing, where "hardware" without a guarantee can be bought cheaper than in a store.
“If you look deeper, the potential of many current chips has not been fully squeezed out - the software previously developed in the paradigm of an almost endless IT resource,” the expert noted.
He recommended for beginners to hedge risks, since excess profits in mining are usually temporary.
The effect of the shortage of chips for the production of miners was offset by two factors at once, continued Roman Nekrasov, co-founder of the ENCRY Foundation. After last year's halving on the Bitcoin network, most of the equipment has become insufficiently energy efficient and profitable.
“The fact that in one region with one electricity price is unprofitable may be quite profitable for use in another region with a low electricity price. Thus, large volumes of mining machines of previous generations appeared on the secondary market, ”he said.
The second reason for the saturation of the secondary market, according to the expert, is the ban on mining in China. This led to the fact that, despite the worldwide shortage of chips, mining manufacturers, in particular Bitmain, chose to reduce or suspend the production of computers in order to support market prices.
“As such, there is no shortage of mining machines on the market. But there is a shortage of new energy-efficient and more powerful computing equipment, such machines are ordered at least three months before delivery and even more, "Nekrasov summed up.
Recall that the mining ban in China in May 2021 led to a reduction in the hash rate and a decrease in the difficulty of Bitcoin mining.
According to Bitfury's calculations, the Chinese miners turned off the equipment, the aggregate hash rate of which was 90 EH / s, and the power consumption reached 5,2 GW - the capacity of several large power plants.
In July, the hashrate of the first cryptocurrency began to recover amid the migration of miners to other jurisdictions.
On November 15, as a result of another recalculation, the difficulty of bitcoin mining increased by 4,69% - up to 22,67 trillion hashes.