Bitmain’s new Ether ASIC mining rig may not fix GPU shortage after all

Cryptocurrency mining rig manufacturer Bitmain announced the pending release of a new Ether (ETH) miner on April 16. The Antminer E9 model is an application-specific integrated circuit chip, which will run on the Ethereum blockchain’s Ethash algorithm.

No official release date has yet been announced for the E9, however, the machine’s arrival may not be as impactful as first suspected. The rig faces competition in the form of Nvidia’s CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor) range of GPUs, designed specifically for crypto mining. Meanwhile, Ethereum’s scheduled move away from proof-of-work towards a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism could mean the E9’s utility is short-lived.

Nvidia recently announced that its CMP range was expected to rake in $150 million in profits in the first quarter of the year — three times more than the firm had originally anticipated.

Despite the apparent booming popularity of its crypto-specific graphics cards, Nvidia chief financial officer Colette Kress said on an investors call this week that the company expected its GPU shortage to continue for the rest of the year, despite increasing supply.

“We expect demand to continue to exceed supply for much of this year […] We will see supply continue to increase throughout this quarter as well as throughout the year,” Kress said, as reported by The Verge.

Nvidia has struggled to meet demand for GPUs from its core gaming customer base for some time, as would-be miners gobbled up cards to mine Ether and other cryptocurrencies. The phenomenon of Nvidia’s supply shortage first emerged in late 2017 as the bull run of that year attracted more people toward crypto mining. After cooling off somewhat in the intervening years, the GPU shortage emerged once again in 2020 and shows no signs of abating.

Nvidia also announced on April 15 the launch of a new anti-crypto mining version of the RTX 3060. Earlier this year, the firm launched the RTX 3060 graphics card with a built-in limiter…

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