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On May 4th, Friedcat, CEO of ASICMiner, announced the worlds first ASIC USB miner: operating at 300 MH/s for 1.99 BTC. As he refined the hardware, he was able to increase performance to 336 MH/s before shipping in early June. ASICMiner has listened to customer concerns on the forum, requesting smaller minimum order quantities and lower prices. They have lowered the price for each USB miner to 0.89 BTC on cumulative orders over 1,000 (this total includes any previous USB orders), or the option to buy at 0.99 BTC with a minimum order size of 50.
The original pre-orders began arriving on June 3rd. Miners who received one of the first shipments would have netted a 0.27 BTC return over those 23 days, assuming 100% uptime and no electricity costs. Given that the new USB miners use the same hardware, it is reasonable to think that these lower priced units will begin arriving soon. Unfortunately, the 1.1 BTC difference in price to start mining a month earlier does not seem to have paid off for the early adopters, and will likely result in a loss compared to if they had waited to order.
This announcement follows Friedcat’s post last week that they are temporarily halting orders of the 10 GH/s Block Erupter Blades while they prepare an upgraded model for release in July. Given that the last Blade/USB set priced for the same bitcoin cost per GH/s, it seems reasonable to expect that the new blades will debut around 4 MH/s per dollar. This would make them significantly less attractive than other options, such as Avalon’s ASIC chips.
ASICMiner shares have continued their relentless rise. When Friedcat first announced USB Miners in early May, shares were trading at 1.2 BTC. As of June 25th, shares have been trading in the 3.3 BTC range, a 275% increase in valuation. Additionally, these shares have provided a significant dividend return. Over the last two months ASICMiner shares have returned 0.187 BTC in dividends, or 15% per share. Their mining operation only accounts for around 0.015 BTC per week, so a significant portion of this dividend was due to hardware sales. ASICMiner share holders should watch closely to see how competitively priced the next round of Block Erupter Blades will be.