Innosilicon has a long history of keeping their products secret either up until they are ready to start ordering wafers, or until one of their competitors announces a product. This is advantageous to Innosilicon because the uncertainty creates risk and FUD for any potential competition, and increases the barrier to entry for the competition.
When they do announce, they like to show that they are as progressed as possible, because the closer that they are to completion, the more it hurts the revenue of their competitors. If Innosilicon had already taped-out, I’m sure they would have said as much, because it would likely significantly harm Obelisk’s chances of bringing a superior product to market. Given that Innosilicon used the terms “currently designing” and “launch… early summer”, and given that Innosilicon “launched” their T3 miner in November even though high volume units do not begin shipping until March, I think it reasonable to assume that Innosilicon is behind Obelisk for their grin miner. If they were not, they would be saying as much, because that would hurt Obelisk much more. They are being vague here because they know the imaginations of potential Obelisk customers will paint a bleaker picture than the actual facts.
A coin is in much worse shape if the developers and leadership are corrupted than it is if the ASIC manufacturers are corrupted. The ASIC strategy has strong incentives protecting the underyling cryptocurrency even when there is a single dominate manufacturer that only self-mines and keeps 100% of the hardware to themselves. But if the developers are corrupt, there are a lot of problems.
Any policy around manufacturers that the developers take should be carefully considered and should be designed to be as hands-off and as objective as possible.
Obelisk has a long term strategy to be the dominant manufacturer for Grin. We intend to demonstrate with the GRN1 that we’ve cleaned up substantially, that we are capable of meeting shipping deadlines, and that we are capable of creating highly competitive ASICs for the Cuckatoo algorithms. We’ve been working tirelessly since the snafu last June to fix our process and ensure that what happened the first time around won’t happen again. And the proof will manifest when we ship our Cuckatoo31 machines.
This is why manufacturing volume disclosures are extremely important. We’ve seen time and time again that when manufacturers aren’t telling you how many machines they are producing, it’s because they are producing so many that buying their machine at the listed price is a bad deal. In the case of innosilicon, they use their markup to build machines for themselves to mine, which essentially guarantees that their customers will not be able to ROI.
I’m happy to talk about this at length if people do not understand why, but it is a really bad idea to buy mining machines from a manufacturer who is not disclosing total production volumes. When manufacturers do not disclose production volumes, they are the only ones who know what the fair value for their miner is. You do not know, and therefore you should not participate. You are fundamentally disadvantaged, and the manufacturer is fully exploiting that fact.
Mining is different from other manufacturing industries because mining is a zero-sum game. The sum of all miners have to share the same block reward. If there are more miners, there is less block reward that can be given to each miner. Comparing best practices with Apple or Intel is a bad idea, because Apple and Intel don’t operate in a zero-sum world. It doesn’t hurt Dell if Intel uses massive amounts of their own processors for machine learning and Intel didn’t disclose that to Dell. But it does hurt a mining farm if Innosilicon uses massive amounts of their own ASICs to mine and does’t tell the mining farm about it.
And I can’t stress that enough. If you do not want to lose money buying mining machines, do not buy mining machines from manufacturers that don’t disclose total production volumes.