The bitcoin network currently has a whopping of 4.3 million mining machines running on it and the market is still seeing buying interest, with a need for 1.5 million more devices, according to Innosilicon, a China-based ASIC miner manufacturer.
The surge in bitcoin price this year has juiced demand for new mining equipment, putting pressure on manufacturers to produce enough machines to satiate buyers. Apart from the bitcoin price rally, factors such as growing mining difficulty and bitcoin’s approaching 2020 reward halving are boosting the market for more bitcoin mining rigs. Wang Shenglin, sales director at Innosilicon, said at the New Era Mining Industry Summit in Chengdu that the company estimates the mining machine market gap to be 1.5 million units.
As more ASICs come online, Bitcoin’s hash rate has recently seen a spike nearing a 100 exahashes (E) milestone. If the market demand is fully satisfied, the Bitcoin network’s hash rate will increase by a whopping 75 E, assuming all are as powerful as Innosilicon’s 50T miners.
Yang Zuoxing, founder of bitcoin miner maker Whatsminer, estimated that the Bitcoin hash rate will hit 120 E by the end of 2019 based on the current production capacity of miner makers. But the former Bitmain chip design director added that he didn’t think the industry could keep up its current momentum in mining machine development. He said that the power consumption of next-generation miners would be reduced by only 10 to 20 percent and could be kept in service for a longer time, about four to five years into the future.
Yang added that bitcoin miners in mobile containers would account for nearly half of the total number of miners in the next three to five years as a result of their frequent migration to places where lower electricity is accessible, as in the case of Chinese miners relocating their mining devices to Sichuan where abundant and cheap hydropower is available once the wet season begins. He also predicted that water-cooled miners would be the mainstream option in the next five years, taking a lion’s share of perhaps 80 percent of the market, as such miners are easier and cost less to maintain and repair with longer lifespan and much less noise than other machines.
Chinese bitcoin mining industry leaders are not only optimistic about the future of cryptocurrency mining, they are also quite bullish on the bitcoin price. Canaan’s chairman Kong Jianping has said that it is only a matter of time before bitcoin breaks $100,000, while Whatsminer’s Yang predicted that the bitcoin price would hit $110,000 in 2021 and could ultimately surge to $1 million.