A major research company Susquehanna has lowered price targets for Nvidia stock and reduced the rating of AMD shares to negative from neutral. The reason for that is the increasing competition from Chinese cryptocurrency mining hardware producer Bitmain, which has reportedly started producing new ASIC miners for Ethereum and other similar digital currencies.
According to Susquehanna analyst Christopher Rolland, this is likely to reduce demand for GPUs by cryptocurrency mining firms, as ASICs are more efficient if compared to chips from Nvidia and AMD. Approximately 10% of Nvidia and 20% of AMD sales profit now comes from mining companies.
The new ASIC miner will be compatible with Ethash, the Proof-of-Work hashing algorithm used by virtual currencies and will have 3 motherboards, with each motherboard containing 6 ASICs and 32GB of DDR3. The shipment of first chips, Rolland noted, is expected later this year.
“During our travels through Asia last week, we confirmed that Bitmain has already developed an ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for mining Ethereum, and is readying the supply chain for shipments in 2Q18,” Rolland wrote in a note to clients Monday, according to CNBC.
“While Bitmain is likely to be the largest ASIC vendor (currently 70-80% of Bitcoin mining ASICs) and the first to market with this product, we have learned of at least three other companies working on Ethereum ASICs, all at various stages of development,” he added.
The price forecast for AMD stock was reduced from $13 to $7.50, what is a 29% downgrade from market close on Friday. Meanwhile, the forecast for Nvidia shares was lowered to $200 from $215 at Friday’s close, although its neutral rating was not changed. “Nvidia has a stronger and more durable gaming franchise which would help it work through this potential Ethereum-related unwind,” Rolland noted. AMD shares declined by 1.79% on Monday, while Nvidia stock increased by 4.94%.
Earlier this month, Bitmain has announced the release of its new chip, the Antminer X3, designed for mining the Monero cryptocurrency. However, the move faced criticism from the Monero community as it turned out that the device might not work by the time the company starts shipping them in May, 2018. Monero project lead, Riccardo Spagni, also warned its users that Bitmain’s chips will not be suitable for mining the cryptocurrency.
The problem is that Monero developers have decided to update their software in April, completely changing the system which will make new ASICs useless for mining. Besides, the team said the changes will be performed twice a year. The move, according to developers, is expected to prevent the centralization of mining and discourage ASICs from mining the Monero cryptocurrency.
At the moment, the sales page on Bitmain’s site warns users about the risks of cryptocurrency mining. “These risks can be related to changes in exchange rate of the cryptocurrency or to changes in the algorithm that is used to mine the cryptocurrency. Please deliberate well before making a purchase because we will not accept any requests for refund for orders of this batch,” the site reads.