Obelisk is a company that was established by a part of the team that worked on the Siacoin cryptocurrency. It is operating as a developer of ASIC miners for such coins like Decred and Siacoin. The main goal of the Obelisk developers is to build a community where ASIC mining is a preferable way of gaining coins. Its teaser was issued on the June 18th, 2017. The official site of Obelisk went live on June 23rd.
The company is not only an ASIC developer, it also provides various services for miners. One of these services is providing a collocation for the Obelisk miners. The team offers a list of the data centers that can be used for mining with the Obelisk products. The user can have his miner shipped right to the data center, where it will be unpacked, installed and maintained. The list of companies providing such services can be found here and contains businesses spread all over the world.
Obelisk also provides the launchpad services. The cryptocurrency development teams can cooperate with the Obelisk team and get the help in the development of the coin’s algorithm. The result will be an ASIC-friendly PoW algorithm and an upcoming party of Obelisk miners, compatible with the new coin. The architecture of the newly developed ASICs will be open source, making ASICs as approachable a possible for the large audience.
ASIC advantages and the problem of the GPU mining
According to the Obelisk team, ASIC miners have a tighter bound to the community of the cryptocurrency they were designed to mine. It is mostly due to the fact that ASICs can’t be switched from one coin to another as easy as it is done with GPUs. The ability of GPU to switch between coins in order to find more profitable one damages the community by reducing the utility of mining as a way to support the coin. Obelisk tech team also sees the other important issue of the large GPU mining power of popular coins in the fact that all this power can be used to perform 51% attacks on the other, smaller networks that are mined with GPU. For example, at least 3 Ethereum mining pools can perform 51% attack on the Siacoin network.
In the estimation of the Obelisk company, mentioned problems lead to the significant security issues for the whole cryptocurrency industry. The obelisk company is a supporter of the Proof-of-Work as a consensus algorithm. The Proof-of-Capacity algorithm has all the problems related to the GPU mining-powered networks. The Proof-of-Stake consensus is flawed by the fact that it is very hard to lose your stake after you got it. The stable stake can lead to the establishment of several centers of power, including such with more than half of all value of the network.
Obelisk tech team says, that in order to upgrade Proof-of-Work and make it secure, it needs to be mostly performed with ASICs. It says that the Obelisk miners, which are ASIC miners for such coins like Siacoin and Decred, are an attempt to help in the building of the sustainable and robust network for the maintenance of the mentioned coins.
The Obelisk miner still under development and the first shipment is yet to be performed. However, the pre-sale of the first party was already completed. Obelisk “DCR1” miner for Decred was sold in the number of 468. The party of pre-sold of Obelisk “SC1” was much smaller with only 5 miners sold.
The team behind the Obelisk company sees ASICs as the best solution for the cryptocurrency mining. As the most important advantages of the ASIC they state the following: Specialized hardware is much more productive both in terms of the work outcome and energy efficiency
ASICs are mostly very expensive and have no use other than for mining of the crypto it was developed to mine. Because of this, it is very unlikely that an ASIC-powered network will lose most of its hashrate. It means that cryptocurrencies mostly mined with ASICs are more secure in terms of maintenance and less exposed to the 51% attack.
Another advantage in terms of securing a network also comes from a fact that ASICs are developed to mine a particular coin. Is is built on the fact that if the network is attacked and the price of its assets falls, the price of the mining gear also falls. However, this presumption is not true for GPU mined networks, as GPU can be used for all kinds of other aims, including mining of different coins. The technical details of the Obelisk miner as stated on the official website are the following:
|Chip||FULL CUSTOM 28NM ASIC||FULL CUSTOM 28NM ASIC|
|Hashrate||1200+ GH/S||550+ GH/S|
|WEIGHT||20 POUNDS||20 POUNDS|
- Obelisk official website
- Medium - Siacoin: Choosing ASICs for Sia
- Siawiki: Obelisk
- Siawiki: Obelisk teaser