Bitcoin Gold is about to hard fork to move from Equihash to a brand new algorithm. While Zcash will be soon invaded by ASICs from Bitmain and Innosilicon, Bitcoin Gold will hopefully remain loyal to us GPU miners. Let’s talk about what that could mean to the mining community.
Why Bitcoin Gold
The initial raison d’être of Bitcoin Gold was to be an ASIC-resistant alternative to Bitcoin. Based on Equihash, Bitcoin Gold pools were initially free from any ASICs.
Initially designed to be ASIC-resistant, Equihash has attracted a lot of attention and many coins have been based on this algo. Zcash is the first and most popular Equihash coin out there that we have been mining with our GPUs for the past months. Coin price and trade volumes went up, which attracted the attention of Bitmain and Innossilicon.
Eventually, those two companies have managed to bypass the defenses and create ASICs for Equihash – Bitmain has made the Antminer Z9 mini and Innosilicon – the A9 ZMaster.
As you could expect from an ASIC, the A9 ZMaster costs like 12 GTX 1080 Ti, though it performs like a rig of 60 mentioned GPUS, while consuming only 5% of the power such a rig would require. The Z9 mini is smaller and less expensive, though it still greatly outperforms any known GPU.
Is Zcash about to Die?
Not literally die of course, though Zcash might soon become no longer viable for GPU mining. According to the devs of Zclassic, Zcash might be working on a solution to ASIC centralization, though as for today, little is known. All we see are rumors of people getting their Z9 mini ASICs and plugging them into the global network. What does this mean for Zcash?
ASIC resistance is a quality that is highly appreciated in the modern crypto community. Lately, coins such as Monero and Ravencoin skyrocketed because of that feature alone, while Ethereum got hit hard after one of its core developers have refused to do anything to prevent the first ASIC from joining the pool.
Knowing this, we might expect part of the community to lose some in Zcash and switch to Bitcoin Gold. This might mean that it’s time to start thinking about mining BTG.
Bitcoin Gold is Forking
It is still unknown when the hard fork will happen. The original announcement dates back to the 12th of this month and we are still waiting for updates. The hard fork will not spawn a new currency; instead, it will change the algorithm of BitcoinGold from Equihash to Equihash-BTG.
This new algorithm is meant to be more memory-intensive. Besides making any existing Equihash ASICs incompatible with it, this new algo is meant to be less vulnerable to any upcoming ASICs because of the higher memory requirements (17 times more than the existing Equihash algo!). Those memory requirements are huge for an ASIC yet quite reasonable for a GPU – even 3GB GPUS will still be able to mine it.
Simply put, even if there will be an ASIC for Equihash-BTG in the future, it will not be very different from GPUs performance-wise.
I am monitoring Bitcoin Gold closely because it might be the next big thing. I like the way devs are trying hard to keep the coin aligned with its initial purpose. If Zcash will be too slow to react to the new ASICs, we might see a lot of traffic switching to BTG. Make sure you subscribe to be among the first ones to have the tutorial on how to mine Bitcoin Gold after it forks.
Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.
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