Bitaxe Ultra: Efficient open source miner from the community

The Nerdminer v2 is an absolutely nerdy gadget that allows you to immerse yourself in the world of Bitcoin mining in a fun way. The device costs just 40 euros*, is not much bigger than a USB stick and has a color display that provides information about the current mining process as well as many exciting parameters about the Bitcoin network. With a bit of luck, you could be in with a chance of earning some great Bitcoin rewards. The feedback on the article was enormous: I was able to order several of these small miners for others and put them into operation. I got them to get more involved with Bitcoin.

But it gets even better, and in many ways: with the Bitaxe Ultra. Like a Raspberry Pi, which we use for the Bitcoin Fullnode, it is a small single-board computer equipped with one of the most efficient and fastest ASIC chips. This not only makes the Bitaxe Ultra around ten million times faster than the Nerdminer v2 and therefore significantly increases the chance of a block reward, but also contributes to the further decentralization of the Bitcoin network.

Decentralization of the mining market

The Bitcoin mining market is dominated by just a few companies that provide and develop correspondingly powerful hardware and software. If you want to mine profitably and efficiently, you have to use their closed systems, which the providers naturally pay dearly for. The prices for this can quickly reach several thousand euros.

The Bitcoin community would not be the Bitcoin community if it did not want to find a solution to this problem. Under the leadership of Skot, the community has taken on such a miner, analyzed the chips down to the smallest detail and made them usable via its own open source software.

It's safe to say the bitaxeUltra is working! Single BM1366 ASIC (from the S19XP) running at 527 GH/s and 20 J/TH. Open source everything.

Massive props to the Open Source Miners United crew for figuring this one out!

— skot (@skot9000) August 21, 2023

The Bitaxe Ultra is basically a specially developed circuit board that anyone can print themselves and fit with the necessary capacitors and resistors using the parts list. A single one of these chips, which comes from old stocks and discarded miners, is soldered on. Everything together costs around 100 euros. Fully assembled kits with power supply unit, cooler and housing cost around 200 euros*.

This makes Bitcoin mining more affordable, reduces hardware waste and even ensures that mining is further decentralized through the participation of more and more entities, as everyone can participate themselves and from anywhere in the world at low cost.

Highly efficient mining

The Bitaxe Ultra relies on the BM1366 ASIC chip from Bitmain, hundreds of which are used in the Antminer S19XP. While the latter achieves a hash rate of around 140 TH/s and a power consumption of 3,010 W when fully equipped with eleven hashboards and ten ASICs each, the Bitaxe Ultra is content with around 11 W and a hash rate of around 450 GH/s. Like the Antminer S19XP, it therefore achieves just over 20 W/TH.

This can even be optimized, as the operating voltage of the chip and its clock rate can be adjusted. By default, the BM1366-ASIC is operated at 1.2 V with 485 MHz. With a little trial and error, the voltage can be increased to 1.3 V and the clock rate to up to 575 MHz via the software. In our tests, we were able to achieve a speed of 500 MHz at 1.215 V, which means that a hash rate of 500 to even 600 GH/s can be possible at times. The power consumption then rises to around 12.0 to 12.5 W.

This is far more than the Nerdminer v2, which achieves around 75 KH/s at around 1.5 W after a software update.

It remains a lottery ticket

This significantly increases the chance of finding a block. If we assume that the hashrate of the entire Bitcoin network doubles every two years and we are willing to let the miner run continuously for ten years, the chance of finding a block is 1 in approx. 7,500 over the entire period. Broken down to each block, this is 1 in approx. 1.1 billion. Over the entire period, the probability is 0.013%. With Nerdminer v2 it is only 0.000000002 %.

You basically play the lottery every ten minutes. There is currently 6.25 Bitcoin for every block found, plus all transaction costs incurred for the block. The next halving is expected to take place in April, which will halve the payout ratio to 3.125 Bitcoin.

Das Trojanische Pferd der Freiheit: Bitcoin als Chance im Kampf um Selbstbestimmung und Menschenrechte*
  • Das Trojanische Pferd der Freiheit: Bitcoin als Chance im Kampf um Selbstbestimmung und Menschenrechte
  • Farbe: Yellow
  • Gladstein, Alex (Author)

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Andreas Stegmüller

Andreas is the founder and operator of this blog. During his more than ten-year editorial career, he has written for several major media outlets on a wide variety of topics. The stock market has been his passion since 2016.

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