What is the Antminer B3? (Profitability May 2018)

On the 24th April 2018, Bitmain announced a new Bytom ASIC miner called the Antminer B3. Prior to the 24th April, Bytom was an Ethereum-based ERC20 token rather than a coin itself. The Bytom mainnet (e.g. it's standalone coin) was launched on the 24th along with the Antminer B3.

Because the B3 and Bytom mainnet were released at the same time, there's both a lack of tooling around this coin (e.g. no difficulty charts or profit calculators) and confusion around how miners will be rewarded (e.g. via ERC20 tokens or coins). This guide will explain the situation around mining Bytom with the Antminer B3, risks involved and potential profitability.

Antminer B3 Specs, Difficulty & Profitability

So this miner was announced on the 24th April, and available to pre-order for $1588 with arrival between 11th-20th May 2018. It claims to offer 780H/s at 360W, and mines a proof-of-work algorithm called 'Tensority' (the one used for Bytom).

We've seen rumours that orders were limited to China, but we've also seen mentions of users in Europe being able to order them (although on the Bitmain website they specify that they can't ship to Hong Kong).

We've added the B3 to our ASIC profitability calculator here, and right now mining with the Antminer B3 looks to have a return on investment of around $5600 after 1 year. Keep in mind this is likely to drop very fast as users start to get their B3's (the first batch is expected to be arriving right now, mid-May), where in a month or two it may not be profitable unless Bytom's price goes up.

Some highlights that will effect Bytom's difficulty:

  • Bytom's mainnet was released on the 24th April at the same time as an ASIC, as these ASICs arrive (between the 11th-20th May) Bytom's difficulty will rise sharply. In the past 6 days alone, Bytom's difficulty has risen from 160M to 959M, and its hashrate has increased from 2.58MH/s to 5.32MH/s.
  • We've seen mention that there are 2500 units in the first batch of Antminer B3's, these combined would be around 1.95MH/s. Given Bytom's current hashrate is 5.32MH/s, this may suggest either many CPUs/GPUs are mining it, Bitmain have released more than 2500 units, or Bitmain are pre-mining with their own ASICs.
  • The mining community around Bytom seems to be annoyed at many factors such as a lack of support/information, Bitmain potentially mining a large stake of the total Bytom available, Bytom claiming to be unaware of Bitmain's actions after they'd been reported publically, lack of pool support & new batches shipping very fast (potentially within 1 week).

What is Bytom?

At some point we'll write a full guide on what Bytom is, but some highlights relevant to Bytom miners:

  • The goal of the Bytom blockchain seems to be for issuing & storing assets (they decribe themselves as a 'digital asset layer protocol').
  • One of Bytom's main partners is Bitmain (the manufacturer of Antminers), which suggests the team behind Bytom is pro-ASIC (and may have close ties to Bitmain). This decreases the risk of Bytom hard-forking to become ASIC resistant.
  • Bytom uses a proof-of-work algorithm called 'Tensority', which they state 'promotes AI techniques' (given Bitmain has an AI branch called 'Sophon' their partnership with Bytom makes a lot of sense).

ERC20 vs Bytom Mainnet

This is any area many people have found confusing. So when creating a new coin, you can either create it standalone like say Bitcoin or Ethereum, or you can build it on an existing smart contract-based platform such as Ethereum/NEO. This has several benefits over creating a standalone coin from scratch:

  • It allows the coin to be distributed via an ICO.
  • It allows the coin to be launched much sooner than a standalone coin.
  • It can be launched on Ethereum/NEO initially, and then swapped for a standalone coin later on.

When you launch a project on Ethereum, it's referred to as an 'ERC20 token' rather than a coin (although many people use these terms interchangably, which makes this more confusing).

So in short, from the 24th April when Bytom launched their mainnet (e.g. the network for the standalone coin), they then plan to swap any 'BTM' ERC20 tokens for their standalone coins (which also seem to have the ticker symbol 'BTM'). Right now it seems the ERC20 token is still being used for things like mining rewards, so this process is not complete yet. Also the Bytom ERC20 token was added as recently as the 10th May on the CoinTiger exchange.

Looking at this Reddit post, looking at the address seems to be the easiest way to work out if you're using the ERC20 token or the coin. Addresses starting with '0x' are ERC20 tokens, and addresses starting with 'bm' are the coins. See this post for more info on this swap process.

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