Bitcoin is halved, and everyone is panicking. Some people say that this may cause the biggest mining disaster in history.
Ethereum has not halved, but as of this August, it is likely that Ethereum GPU miners will surrender, and more than 50% of the computing power of the entire network may withdraw from the Ethereum network.
The sword of Damocles hanging on the GPU miner is an Ethereum DAG file that is close to 4G, which means that the 4G graphics card is likely to be completely wiped out.
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This is not alarmist. Just in the past two days, the 2Miners mining pool was exposed. In February, Bitmain's ant mining machine E3, the once strongest Ethereum Asic mining machine, lost about 80% of its mining efficiency on ETC. %, From 180 MH / s to 30 MH / s. They predict that in April E3 will not be able to mine ETH.
2Miners believes that E3's problem may be related to DAG, because E3's graphics card is only 4GB.
What is DAG? Why is it a nightmare for GPU miners? Where are these GPU miners to be phased out? Is Ethereum in danger due to a drastic drop in computing power? Who will benefit from it? Let's take a look together.
What the hell is a DAG file?
Ethereum's consensus algorithm is called Ethash, which is similar to Bitcoin's POW algorithm.Miners need to constantly look for random numbers to obtain mining rights.
According to Shi Haihong, developer of the MATPool mining pool, unlike Bitcoin's emphasis on the computing power of mining machines, the Ethash algorithm consumes graphics card memory and is a memory-hard algorithm. Specifically, the Ethash algorithm requires that the verification information of the new block includes the encrypted information of all previous blocks. This is the DAG file (DAG is also called a directed acyclic graph). This file needs to be stored in the video memory during mining.
Therefore, to dig Ethereum, the graphics card memory must be larger than the current DAG file.
In June 2016, Ethereum adopted this design in algorithm optimization. Since then, this DAG file has been growing at a rate of about 520M per year, and by December 2020, the file is expected to reach 4G.
To a large extent, this design makes Ethereum suitable for GPU mining and has strong resistance to Asic miners. Xinghuo mining pool Qiu Xiaodong introduced that Asic mining machines can also pile up memory, but the cost is relatively high. To this day, Ethereum has only two Asic miners, Core Motion A10 and Bitmain Ant E3.
Taking A10 as an example, the machine has a low energy consumption ratio, but the price is not low. One can reach three graphics cards. Some miners think that the price is not high. Moreover, its mining efficiency is not very prominent compared to GPU miners. So today Ethereum mining is the world of GPUs.
However, the DAG file has a side effect. Once the video memory is lower than 4G, these graphics cards cannot continue to mine Ethereum, and it is not possible to mine Ethereum classic ETC.
▲ Ethereum DAG file growth schedule, source: investoon.com
Will 4G graphics be wiped out? Ethereum hashrate may drop by 50%
According to investoon.com, the current Ethereum DAG file is 3.48G, and the Ethereum Classic is 3.56G. Calculation shows. On December 25, 2020, the Ethereum DAG will reach 3.99G. This means that the GTX1050TI 4GB graphics card cannot be mined.
But the problem may be more urgent, because the 4G graphics memory is actually less than 4G, and the system also takes up space.
Song Xuejian is a big Ethereum miner and a cloud computing platform that is bound to win CMO. He is currently conducting Ethereum mining in the MATPool mining pool. He said that in August 2020, 4G graphics cards will continue to encounter situations where mining is impossible. 4G graphics cards currently exceed 60% of the total power of Ethereum. This batch of graphics cards is the main graphics card mining machine for 2017-2018 mining.
Does this mean that all these graphics cards will be withdrawn from the market? not always. Song Xuejian introduced. There are two ways for miners to extend their working hours.
First, switch systems. Switching the miner from Windows system to Linux system, Linux system occupies lower graphics card. The problem is that there are no tests to show that this works. In addition, there are 500,000 4G graphics mining machines, and the project is huge.
Second, modification. Extend 4G video memory to 5G, 6G or 8G, but the conversion cost is hundreds of yuan per card. It depends on the price of Ethereum at that time, so as to determine whether it is cost-effective.
If the above plan is not feasible, then these graphics cards will have a place to become game cards to enter the second-hand market.
But not all GPU miners have the ability to handle 4G graphics cards. Therefore, Song Xuejian speculated that it is very likely that in the second half of 2020, the computing power of Ethereum will plummet, and the number may be 50%.
At present, Song Xuejian said that they are ready, but what to do by then will still depend on the price of Ethereum.
Earlier, Qiu Xiaodong of Xinghuo Mining Pool said that for graphics card miners, it is necessary to upgrade the mining machine, that is, to upgrade the 4G graphics memory to 6G or 8G graphics memory.
Song Xuejian did just that, and the process has already begun. But even so, the 4G graphics miner in his hand still accounts for more than 50%.
Sadly, in the fourth quarter of this year, those miners who have 4G mining machines in their hands, most of them will definitely leave Ethereum.
Ethereum is in danger? The rise of small currencies?
At present, qkl123 data shows that Ethereum's network computing power is 181T, and Ethereum Classic 12T. This is almost the most GPU computing power on the market.
Will this foreseeable drop in computing power put both chains at risk? High probability is not. To a large extent, a 51% attack is not a question of whether it is possible or not, but whether it is profitable. In the currency world, no one should be able to attack Ethereum with a hashrate. And if it is out of the circle, there is no high probability that the computing power giant will do this business.
So, if these 4G graphics cards continue to stay in the currency circle, will they flow to those small currencies?
Qiu Xiaodong believes that finding an alternative currency and letting the potential POW currency to take on a large amount of ETH graphics card computing power is a top priority for miners to upgrade beyond the mining machine.
Which small currencies have this ability? From the data provided by the official website of the MATPool mining pool, it can support the mining of 18 GPU currencies, including Grin, BEAM, CKB, RVN, XMR, BTG, AION, etc. This is a relatively well-known currency, and more unknown small currencies can also be mined using GPUs.
▲ MATPool mining pool shows the ranking of GPU mining revenue
Sany, the founder of the bullion circle, told Babbitt that computing power will first be dispersed to GPU mining currencies with higher market value. "The increase in computing power and the increase in mining costs are good for the price support of small currencies. "He says. But the problem is that if the computing power and price fluctuates too much for small currencies, and the market value is not high, after a large number of graphics cards are entered, the miners will sell the tokens, which may smash the price down, which will cause ecological damage and thus a small currency It collapsed.
Song Xuejian also mentioned that small currencies are actually "troublesome" for miners. They must both look for them and consider whether they will collapse.
From the perspective of computing power, there is almost no small currency that can take on these retirement computing power. But in any case, these computing powers that have nowhere to go may be a really good opportunity for small coins. 2020 is considered a minus minus half a year, and the total amount of mined coins is more than 700.
Which small currency stands out? Perhaps this is a major highlight of this great migration of computing power.