dcrASIC 2018 Update
Risks & Rewards
Designing ASICs is a high risk, high reward endeavor. As many ASIC companies (HashFast, Butterfly Labs, Cointerra) before us have proven, it’s easy for problems to arise that adversely impact the project. Furthermore, given the nature of cryptocurrency mining, it’s difficult to predict the network hashrate at launch in a competitive market.
The result of this is that there’s a lot of unsolvable math for the customer. What will the market and network look like when the unit ships? Will the unit be as efficient at mining as expected? Will ASIC fabrication be successful?
We’ve been thinking about this a lot, and we’ve been thinking about how to address it so you can have the best experience possible with the lowest risk.
Much of these risks are solved at certain points in the timeline of production. The closer we get to shipping, the more the network and market conditions will be known. Once we test our engineering wafers, the fabrication risk will be known. Once we finalize the system enclosure, the power, noise, and temperature specifications will be known with a high degree of accuracy.
Our original idea was to presale units to the community to fund the effort from day 1. However, this puts customer money early in the timeline, where there is still a lot of risk. So after much consideration we’ve decided to open sales later in the timeline.
We’ve received private backing. What this means for us is that we can work through issues internally before bringing a product to the market, greatly derisking the purchase for our customers. We think this is a great solution. When you place your order for a Materia1, you’ll know exactly what the market looks like, what the network hashrate looks like, and have specifications regarding hashrate, power, and heat tested directly from a real chip. And you will know ASIC fabrication was successful.
This means, however, that we do not plan on having a crowdsale for dcrASIC anytime soon. Instead, we will be opening sales once we are ready to go to production.
We look forward to 2018, the year of Decred, and shipping our first ASIC!