To buy or not to buy ASICs for Grin, a calmed and unbiased discussion

Hello. I was about to buy the small miner from Innosilicon but I am simply not well informed enough to whether the risk is too much. I know there are people from a few ASIC manufacturers here, and I know there’s hard feelings regarding ASICs, but as a newbie (Never used an ASIC, only GPUs) this makes the choice much harder, and I don’t think I’m only talking about myself.

What I want this thread to be is simple, recomendations on whether to buy an ASIC miner from Obelisk or Innosilicon based on 1) Hashrates and power consumption 2) Price 3) Future of Grin as ASICs become part of the blockchain and 4) Company reputation. This last point tends to get people emotional, and if I had bought a 3000$ piece of hardware which turned out to be a scam, I would be VERY upset, so I’m not telling people to keep quiet about bad experiences, but to simply explains past mistakes and malicious actions by these companies in a manner that’s verifiable and doesn’t rely on any particular sentiment torwards the company.

If the goal is minimize risk and make money, and you know about the topic, I’m asking for your opinion. If you find one company immoral and you personally wouldn’t buy from them because of that, please remember that’s your choice, I want to know if I’m missing out on a great investment, risking a lot of money or somewhere in between. If they have a history on not delivering on hashrate, efficiency and/or deadlines, I want to know, but in the context of these particular miners.

There are plenty of spaces to vent off regarding bad practices, but I still haven’t found one where I can get objective advice. Would you buy one of these machines, and if so which. That’s the purpose of this thread. Thank you in advance. :wink:


You’re asking a question that’s been discussed at length in several threads already. You’re saying take out the emotion ---- but it’s not emotion, the knowns and unknowns are clear.

Point 4, company reputation, is by far the most important factor. In fact it’s the only factor because you’re buying a preorder that comes with a contract and in the contract you agree to pay money now in exchange for a promise that the company will give you a miner of a certain specification and at a certain time. The only way to evaluate this is to look at past performance and see if these have been met by the company making the pre-order. Not only has Obelisk not met any of the dates or specs that they previously announced, when challenged about their promises, the company told a complete fabrication (e.g., telling court that they’re Kickstarter, but the company has no relationship with Kickstarter) Again, this isn’t emotion or speculation, it’s fact. Here’s a recording of Obelisk.

Regarding your other points,

1/ Hashrates. See above. Obelisk is promising a hashrate but the contract makes no promise so the only basis to evaluate this is Reputation.

2/ Price. Price has a good analysis here: Obelisk GRN1 Full Sale - #36 by papacabeza. Remember that if you are in the U.S,. you will need to do separate bookkeeping and pay for taxes on the Grin as it’s mined. The facts as to price that we know are this: if you spend $3k today to buy Grin OTC, you’ll have 1,115 GRIN. That’s the bar that you need to beat with the ASIC. But to beat it you actually will need to mine about 1.7x GRIN to cover tax, electricity, and depreciation. To even out to 1,115 that you would buy, the Obelisk will need to mine 1,895 GRIN in order to have the same value as the 1,115 GRIN you could buy today, and no expert on this forum has stated they think this is possible. Based purely on this point the investment is senseless.

3/ Future of Grin + Asics. On this point — and perhaps ONLY this point ---- does it make sense to buy an ASIC. You’re going to lose money for sure on the investment the question is just how much. However, the investment will help secure the network, it’ll help incentivize other companies to build in the future and provide badly needed revenue for the companies selling them now. It’s important to have a strong ecosystem with a large project like Grin. So on that front, as donation of hash for a greater ecosystem — if that’s your driver then here’s your win.

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I apreciate the lenghty response, do you have an opinion regarding the Innosilicon ASICs? Those are the ones I was actually thinking of buying. The Obelisk Decred miners were… sad, and I’m not a fan of what they did with Siacoin, but I have no opinion, positive or negative, on Innosilicon and I saw some people treating it as the worst of the two.
Best regards.

Yes, I do have an opinion and my own anecdotal experience with Innosilicon. I bought an Inno A5 Dashmaster ASIC and an Inno D9 DecredMaster. The purchasing experience with Innosilicon feels a lot scarier than Obelisk because you’re wiring money or sending BTC to a company in China with, basically, no formal contract — just an agreement to ship.

Neither purchase from Inno came on time or was profitable, but the degree of loss was considerably less than other companies. One rig arrived about 5 days late and another (the DCR) about 17 days late. As it turns out, the Decred difficulty shot right up right after I got my rigs, and those 17 days would have been the difference between nearly break even and a loss.

The Dash rig came a little late but I was able to use it for lots of different algos so the late delivery didn’t matter.

To be honest, the thing that’s scariest about Innosilicon is that it’s a Chinese company and the rights that consumers have with Chinese companies are thin, at best. This gets to the point of Reputation that I made earlier. By no means is the Inno reputation clean — my late deliveries are minor compared to those reported by others. However, on the whole, I think that you have a much larger data set of experience with Innosilicon in delivering what it says it’ll deliver. Inno is a much larger company and has a diversified manufacturing base.

By contrast, the extreme degree of misrepresentations by Obelisk will hopefully incentivize a consumer protection agency to take on the case of Obelisk. It’s reasonable to consider whether the company that you pay to day for the miner in 7 months will even be around, and I think that risk is greater with Obelisk than with Inno.

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I don’t want to clutter this thread, and since the request was for an unbiased discussion (where I am the CEO of Obelisk), I will only be making this single post in this thread.

In terms of cost, hashrates, and power consumption, Obelisk appears to have the best product. There’s another company - Vidtoo - which is claiming to have superior specs, however there’s not much information available and they’ve never shipped a mining machine before. I currently don’t believe that their machine is real, however that could easily change if more information comes forward.

Obelisk has only had one previous line of chips that it made, and that is well known to have not gone well. There are a number of things that went wrong with production, and the result is that the machines were delivered late. To compensate users for this mistake, Obelisk put forward a compensation plan. For every day late that a machine was delivered, users were given credit equal to 100% of the revenue that the machine would have earned (assuming free electricity) if the machine had been mining. We feel that this is a completely fair way to compensate for the late delivery.

Obelisk has since substantially cleaned up both its chip development process and its rig manufacturing process, similar delays will not happen again. Obelisk has also published an audit of the GRN1 chip establishing both that the specifications are reasonable and that industry best practices are being followed. We have substantially cleaned up.

The Obelisk Decred miners outperformed the Innosilicon Decred miners, but were made at a 28nm process, which is not competitive with the 16nm process that the Bitmain and Whatsminer machines were produced with. The GRN1 is a 16nm machine and will not suffer the same disadvantage.

This was not a decision made by Obelisk, it was a decision made by the Sia community. The fork that happened was opt-in, not opt-out, and the fork was executed in a way such that the classic chain had replay protection, wipeout protection, upstream protection, and user file protection. Anyone who disagreed with the fork could easily remain on Sia Classic and enjoy the same features and upgrades as the main chain. That nobody did is extremely strong evidence that the community was in favor of the fork, and that it was not some decision handed down by Obelisk or the Sia developers.

The news doesn’t like to tell the story this way because it doesn’t get as many clicks, but to misrepresent history like this is a genuine disservice to decentralization. The strongest feature of Blockchain technology is that you don’t have to subscribe to a political system that you don’t like. Sia’s fork demonstrated this in a very strong way.

This math is not correct. The cost of running a GRN1 in a colocation facility from October to April should be less than $1000 total on a $10,000 machine. That brings TCO up to about $11,000, which is equal to about 4100 grin that you need to mine, versus buying 3730 grins today.

Because the GRN1 machine is a required expense for realizing the revenue of mining Grins, and because as soon as it’s not mining anymore it has fully depreciated, there should be tax structures which eliminate the tax burden on a machine that breaks even. Naive approaches to taxation may not accomplish this fully, and of course it depends on jurisdiction.

These numbers are unknowable for Innosilcion. Innosilicon has not released target production volumes, and they have a long history of over-producing. If you had the full information available, I believe it would paint a much more grim picture. Certainly that was the case for their Dash miner, their Bitcoin T2 miner, their Decred miner, their Sia miner, and their Monero miner.

Please. Obelisk has already been taken to court over this. You have yourself posted transcripts of a court case where the court sided with Obelisk. We aim to be as transparent as possible, and we aim to make things right for our customers. There was no requirement for us to put forward a compensation policy where we paid miners for the full revenue that they missed due to us shipping their units late, yet we did that anyway.

Obelisk will be able to provide full refunds for its GRN1 customers in the event that it is unable to move forward with full manufacturing, and that includes the funds required for us to keep the lights on.

I’m sorry that these threads keep getting cluttered with the same arguments. I’ve had my say, I will not post in this thread again unless invited by the creator of the thread.

You state the math is not correct but you don’t propose correct math. What is the total cost, what is the math, for electricity/housing + taxes + deprecation? If you have a formula, please propose it. This would be useful for the community.

Yes, Obelisk was taken to court and the facts that you told the court are that you are a “Kickstarter Campaign” and you posted an article to evidence about Kickstarter campaigns are always late. I lost based on those facts. The difference between your accounting of this and mine is that you seem to believe that this is the final adjudication of the situation when it’s really just the beginning.

More to the point, you claim that you have made changes to your manufacturing and other things to solve the problem. But you’ve made no change to the contract with customers, have you? Does your contract still absolve you of all responsibility to deliver on time and on spec?

First, don’t pretend you had nothing to do with the Siacoin fork. I don’t have an issue with Siacoin having one company manufacturing their ASICs, but I do have an issue with that decision being made after several other miners were released, people sold their SC1s for 200$ while the decision was being made, then all the other people who bought miners from others companies got screwed and you started selling, net result is a few lucky winners and a metric f*ckton of people losing thousands of dollars. There were 2 players that mattered during the fork, you were one of them, at least own it.

That’s a minor complaint though, compared to the courtcase I just almost cringed myself to death listening to. You run a company akin to kickstarter, indiegogo and patreon? I’ve gave money on kickstarter for the production of a documentary (I did not get the documentary), maybe some boomer judge can’t tell the difference but Jesus Christ do you think everyone who mines crypto has an IQ of 80 and smokes angel dust all day long? I’ve preordered things from Amazon, are they now ‘‘a’’ kickstarter? That’s the other thing, your lawyer used the term as a concept, then you use it as the site, which one is it? Your lawyer used a 2012 article from CNN as evidence, I laughed hysterically until I convinced myself I wasn’t being trolled. ‘‘You know my fellow crypto-enthutiasts, CNN said in 2012 that a website we had never claim any affiliation to until now usually doesn’t meet it’s goals in time, therefore, we can be late too, even though there is a physical product we promised at a given date, a very, VERY specific type of product which by definition devaluates extremely fast’’ Court decisions are irrelevant when the topic at hand is not understood by those who make the decision.

Innosilicon is simply another big ASIC company, they have the faults they all do, but to claim your customers are not your customers but a part of a crowdfunding effort and therefore they have no protections under the law, that takes effort, that’s not simply over-producing or being late and owning it, that’s sinister. I can see that you’re scared of the gentleman who ACTUALLY ANSWERED my question, he exposed you, but how petty can you be to come to this tiny thread completely off-topic to respond to criticism regarding your company, in fact I wonder how can you run a company when you need to respond a comment on a forum on a thread with a single like made by a completely new member.

I already got my answer Mr Vorick, please go run your company now instead of acting up the moment someone mentions you on the And learn some etiquette regarding forums. And you’re not invited again to this thread, let’s see if you can keep that compromise, because while papacabeza was a little specific, he answered my question, you simply came here because I’m guessing in your mind my future investments, sorry, ‘‘crowd funding’’ is irrelevant when someone says something less than positive about your company. Grow the f*ck up.

What are you so offended by? Seems very over the top. Looks like people are signing up just to bash Obelisk.

@papacabeza can you please take your drama elsewhere? There’s no need to continue polluting the Grin ASIC threads. We understand your delivery was late and that you were outwitted by Obelisk’s lawyers and subsequently lost your court case. We also get that you were expecting a full refund but Obelisk re-negged because they couldn’t afford too and refunding everyone would have put them out of business. However, it seems like Obelisk have still done a reasonable job at compensating customers. At the end of the day when you’re pre-ordering a new gen ASIC, you’re taking on an exceptional amount of risk. You can’t expect guarantees on profit or on a timely delivery.

Thanks for the invitation to leave – nice of you to offer but I’ll stick around.

Hi, thank you for listening to that, I’m glad you did. The only solace that I have from losing this case in Small Claims is the fact that my choice of forum provides the transparency to see what Obelisk is saying under oath. They’ll say anything to get out of the commitment.

I didn’t ask you to leave. I asked you to please take your drama elsewhere.

Oh that clarifies things, I don’t know how I misunderstood that to ask to leave. I will stay. But how’s this, I will also take you up on your invitation to take the story elsewhere as well. The word on this situation definitely needs to get out!

There are a couple justifications in the decision to fork for Siacoin that I’m trying to parse but can’t.

First of all, Siacoin is a private company running a private blockchain. It may be a distributed blockchain but it is not decentralized. Despite efforts to run Sia via foundations and with communities, the centralized structure of your company (or of any company) defines your blockchain centralized. In fact, what you did by bricking activities may have involved community consultation but it was a centralized decisionmaker (you) decided unilaterally to make your chain survive and to brick the investments of others. Setting aside any judgment about whether this was right or wrong — the point is that you’re running a centralized operation, so is the unilateral decision you took to brick everyone.

I’m trying to parse this justification here, too, but I can’t. Although Bitcoin was founded in the spirit of unshackled regulation, there’s nothing in the blockchain that says “you don’t have to subscribe to a political system that you don’t like.” Perhaps this is your view but this subscribing to political systems or not isn’t really isn’t a thing in Blockchain.

I’d buy one, but I won’t pre order one.

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The reason I mine is because, due to personal medical issues, I had to put college on hold and I wanted a way to make my own money. Since GPUs are not paying what they used to, I want to try the next step. I was thinking of getting the G32-Mini PCIe Card since it’s only 800$, but since it’s efficiency is probably the lowest among all the ASICs that have been announced, I’m still worried I’ll end up with a 800$ paper weight.

I knew Obelisk was controversial, but it’s an ASIC manufacturer, it comes with the territory. But what stood out for me is how they took advantage of the lack of understanding regarding crypto by governments and courts. I expect Warren Buffet or Bill Gates to say things that delusional, not an ASIC manufacturer. And they have the balls to criticize Innosilicon for over-production, something that can happen to any miner given the volatile nature of crypto, it doesn’t necessarily carry a malicious intent. And to top it off the owner of the company comes to my thread to justify their screw ups and shit on the competition, somehow managing to forget to even give me a reason to buy their miner. I never thought that having the opportunity to talk to the CEO of the company would be a negative or that I would reject that chance, but that wasn’t a CEO, that was a petty little man who wants his costumers to be his funders legally so they lose any costumer protection while gaining nothing.

I will say I was a little confused about your first response, mainly because you went into such detail on Obelisk, and while having read your post on Medium (I can’t respond, they banned me), I personally think it’s something everyone should take notice off given the implications it has on Obelisk as a company, for the next time, I’d just link the medium article. Given the amounts of claps and the comments, I’d say you already made them lose possible buyers, I don’t think this forum is the best place to antagonize them, they do a pretty good job themselves in doing so anyway, and this place is supposed to be to talk about Grin as a project. Putting how they behaved on Medium was the right call, but look at it from my perspective when I wrote the post, it was literally my first post on the site and I was neutral, if anything I was 99% not likely to buy from Obelisk for pricing reasons. After seeing the CEO jump in, then I got angry, and it would have been a much shorter post if I knew whether I can swear here.

I’m no stranger to controversy, I don’t know anyone else who has been banned from Medium (And I know pretty… colorful people), but I’m not everyone, and for those who just want to get involved in crypto, it may come off as agressive, and you don’t usually change a person’s mind by taking that aproach. I would have DMed you this but I don’t know if I can… just try to not antagonize yourself while talking about Obelisk, let the evidence speak for itself and if people buy their miners, I hope they do well but it’s their risk to take, it doesn’t mean they’re Obelisk supporters, they’re just trying to make some money like all of us.

Based on the later posts by the person who created this thread, it appears to me that it was created for the purpose of sharing information, rather than in an effort to gather information.


Thank you for your thoughtful feedback and comments. I appreciate your background on why you are mining. For me, although there’s an undeniable financial component to blockchain, what drives my interest and my projects is research. In a real life I research on openness, standards, Internet governance and on public policy. This has been a wild research project because it’s still a very valuable research project but has a very different character than what it had when I started out: I would never have expected that a project on technology and governance would turn into a situation (i.e., losing the entire investment and dealing with all the conflicting representations in fora and in court about these things). $20k is a lot of money to spend----and get nothing.

As to Grin and the relevance of the project here—

You make a really good point and I respect the purpose here is to advance technical community and usability issues for the project. What’s unique with Grin is that the project has specified a dual-algo system that expressly integrates ASICs into the design. This is an especially unique public policy challenge (and related to the project) because circumstances with one of the main providers — Obelisk — comes to the project with a track record that (as you pointed out so eloquently). The only happy customers are the ones that got firesale deals on Sias before they were known to have the mining monopoly. On the other hand, the entire Decred was a total loss for customers.

Because of these circumstances—I hope to continue to participate in this but at the same time, I recognize the challenge of doing so. Thank you again.

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Putting aside history and reputation of Asic vendors, its all still a prisoners dilemma in my opinion. From the total number of Asics produced (that need to be produced to sell a high enough quantity of chips to cover development costs) we see that at the current price of Grin the Asics are profitable if and only if not all of both vendors get sold (also excluding preorder discounts here). So if only few buy it is indeed very profitable for those who do, but if all units get sold most buyers will wish they did never buy one.

Thats making the decision complicated. Atm I would assume those who preordered are very happy about the discussion, because low sell volume due to controversal will increase their profit, but as soon as it appears profitable for many that can change quickly. So any prediction about if its profitable appears to be very thin ice.

Grin mining with ASICs will be very profitable.
My prediction is, that there will be some kind of magic, probably some big fire will occur in Innosilicon & Obelisk factories and all the ASIC machines will be destroyed, except few ones which will be shipped before this fire. So these few lucky ones will mine a lot of Grin my lovely friends, good for them!
The only bad news is, that the price of Grin will be at least 20 000$, but in year 2095.
Wish a good luck for children of these ASIC owners. BYE.

Well, if you come to not like a blockchain where you have invested, you are one trade away from moving shop. There is also forking, granted you are not the only one who does not “like” the existing “political system”. Or you skip it altogether. So yeah, permissionless blockchains are voluntary systems.