A study by Forklog has found that ASIC mining rigs are consuming a considerable amount of the Zcash ecosystem. This study relates directly to the ASICs that Bitmain produces, such as the Antminer Z9 Mini, which is designed to mine the likes of Komodo, Bitcoin Gold, Zcash, and others.
ASIC mining has consumed 40% of blocks in the Zcash network. This means that ASICs are taking up more blocks than their largest mining pool: Flypool. There is now a fear that this places Zcash in a vulnerable position.
Zcash runs on the Equihash protocol— this makes it the exact target of the Z9 Mini. Both ZenCash and Bitcoin Gold are also Equihash coins, and they were both subject to recent 51% attacks. The fact that Bitmain’s ASIC mining computers can reach 40% on the Zcash network spells bad news for the future.
Another worrying aspect of this development is that Bitmain has not released their Z9 Mini just yet, meaning that all the actions done to the network may have been conducted in-house by members of the company (there has long been speculation that Bitmain uses their ASIC mining rigs before shipping them off).
This would not be the first time that a privacy coin and the ASIC community have been interlocked— a while back, Monero chose to become ASIC resistant as a means of fending off Bitmain. The lead developers of Monero feared that Bitmain’s X3 would damage their network, so they fought against it before it was even released.
The development team for Siacoin has also expressed their disdain for Bitmain, although they decided not to become ASIC resistant as they felt it was ideologically opposed to their beliefs.
The question on the minds of Zcash holders and fans is whether the developers will choose to fight ASICs. The cryptocurrency community is generally split on this topic, and essentially there is no right or wrong answer. It all comes down to what the developers think would be best for their ecosystem.
Kai is a cryptocurrency copywriter and professional trader. He can often be found investigating various cryptocurrencies, whitepapers, and blockchain technologies. Kai has been a professional writer for 5+ years, and has invested in 50+ different coins and tokens. He also currently studies Law and Philosophy at university.