Many in the crypto world, particularly those who are holding ETH and are invested in its success, have been suggesting a “Hard Fork” due to Bitmain’s introduction of their new ASIC miners. And it might be a good idea. Chinese company Bitmain has been working diligently on a new miner that has already had effects on the finance world. According to this article by CNBC, financial analysts already devalued AMD/Nvidia stocks due to the introduction of this new miner, alleviating pressure on the GPU markets. A good thing for gamers, as hopefully now stock will no longer be an issue and prices for GPU’s can stabilize.

What this new ASIC or Application Specific Integrated Circuit miner does, is mine a specific coin, much more efficiently than GPU’s, but is more or less locked into that specific coin. So say your ETH ASIC miner is running fun blast, but ETH tanks, well then that ASIC miner is now useless and its resell value gone. Where GPU’s still have an inherent value to them. One of the reasons there has been resistance to ASIC miners, especially on the ETH platform, is that it gives ASIC miners a much higher advantage over GPU miners. And in the crypto world, fair play is often held in high regard (though price manipulation still seems to be OK, for some reason).

Vlad Zamfir, an ETH developer posed this question on Twitter on March 28th. 57% stated yes, with only 13% stating no (20% wanted to just see results of the vote). We’ve already seen resistance to ASIC miners in the ETH space, places like Ethash even going so far to alter algorithm for GPU miners only. Monero and SiaCoin have already put work in place to cripple ASIC’s.

The biggest problem with ASIC’s, is that they are so efficient, the companies that create them such as Bitmain, can monopolize the market. The biggest draw of Crypto, is its decentralized nature. This is one way to contrast that and profit.

“Due to the present monopoly on the production of ASIC miners and the expansion of its positions in the mining equipment market as a whole, according to Bernstein analysts, Bitmain earned about $4 bln last year, the same amount as Nvidia. It is noteworthy that Bitmain achieved this level six times faster than Nvidia, who took 24 years to achieve these levels of profits.” – CoinTelegraph

With ETH being one of the top crypto’s in the entire industry, there’s a certain level of pressure on them to get this right. Hard Forking can help alleviate this ASIC issue, though it brings in a new set of issues with it. Weighing issues against each other to find one that can benefit the coin the most, is something the ETH will need to figure out. This is all in the midst of ETH moving from a PoW (Proof of Work) mining model to a PoS (Proof of Stake) which could take a year or longer. Bitmain being (speculated) as the sole reason the ETH mining difficult has spiked, and I think a hard fork just makes sense. It’s easy to implement, and can be implemented quickly. Anything to help divide the power Bitmain has accrued.