Cryptocurrency Prices Drop, BIG TIME
Cryptocurrency Prices Drop Heavily
This is something we've been covering quite a bit here on TweakTown, cryptocurrency prices and especially the hot coins like Ethereum, Bitcoin, Zcash, and others. All digital currency has taken a big hit, but Ethereum is the one that has shaken the market the most.
It went viral in June, plateaued towards the end of the month, and dived right off a cliff in early July. The price came crashing down, while the difficulty of mining Ethereum didn't just go through the roof - it went into the stratosphere. It made small miners (single GPU miners, and even those with 10-20 cards) completely bottom out - forcing some to sell their rigs.
I said this would happen in my first article, but now we're here - Ethereum is at $180 right now, down from its heights of nearly $400 last month. This isn't good, and neither is the sharp increase in the DAG, pushing those with less than 30-40 cards out of the Ethereum mining game. Heck, I have 58 graphics cards running right now, and I'm struggling... big time.
Ethereum Price Recovers... Slightly
The price of Ethereum did reach the lows of $140 on July 17, resulting in more gray hair for me and I'm sure many other ETH holders and ETH miners across the world. It has since recovered, driving up to $180... but it's not stable at all. Volatile is a nice way of putting it.
Difficulty Begins Another Spike
The difficulty of mining Ethereum continues to increase, as we reached 1.2T last week - and dropped under 1.2T just over the last 24 hours. This is scaling back up and will reach 1.2T, and probably 1.4T or so in the next week.
You can see here that the last week hasn't been good at all.
The last seven days of ETH mining difficulty... reaching the lows of 1.15T, and scaling back up past 1.2T is on the way.
Second-Hand Market Lights Up With GPUs
Here They Come...
This is another thing I warned about in my Ethereum content, the second-hand GPU market lighting up at the first sign of major trouble, and here we are. Radeon RX 400 and RX 500 series cards are hitting eBay, Amazon, and other second-hand markets - joining used GeForce GTX 1060s as well.
There are finally Radeon RX 400 and RX 500 series cards on Amazon, with the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6GB selling for $298 - a great price considering they were $100+ on top of that a couple of weeks ago. Radeon RX 570 4GB and 8GB models are back at $300+ but look at the Club3D Radeon R9 390 8GB... listed for $339. But it gets worse.
VisionTek's Radeon 7870 2GB (which would be junk for ETH mining) is a massive $373... I don't even.
Radeon RX 580 8GB cards are $400+ which is still heavily inflated, even the PowerColor RX 580 4GB is $449 (but there's six left in stock at least).
eBay Prices: $400+ For Radeon RX 580
It's not just the new cards on Amazon, but the second-hand markets are lighting up with used Radeon RX 580s in both 4GB and 8GB varieties. There are even brand new SAPPHIRE Nitro+ RX 580 8GB models selling for $700, while RX 580s from SAPPHIRE, MSI and GIGABYTE are selling for $410 to $464.
Some people are cashing in with six SAPPHIRE RX 580s for $4000... while "brand new sealed" SAPPHIRE Nitro+ RX 580 8GB models are also listed for $491. Crazy stuff.
Once these sellers realize that the consumer Ethereum mining adventure is all but dead, these prices will come down. The DAG for Radeon users is also getting scary high, with NVIDIA GeForce cards becoming a better alternative for not just ETH mining, but Zcash mining - and power efficiency. Most of my personal mine are GTX 1060s and GTX 1070s, as they rock some amazing price/power consumption/mining speed.
Mid-Range GPUs Are Still WAY Too Expensive
Where Are All The $200 Graphics Cards?!
There's a massive problem looming for AMD right now, as they're just weeks away from launching their most important GPU architecture of all time: Vega. AMD has already released their professional-oriented Radeon Vega Frontier (in both air and liquid cooled forms), but Radeon RX Vega is where gamers will want to concentrate on.
Radeon RX Vega will be available in extremely limited numbers through to the holidays, with our world exclusive story stating there will be less than 16,000 units available for the few months post-launch. Why does this matter?
AMD hasn't been able to make enough Radeon RX 570/580s to meet Ethereum mining demand, which resulted in $800+ cards hitting Amazon and eBay. They're only just floating down to $400 now as we've just reported on the previous page, but will the lack of big numbers of RX 570/580 cards push RX Vega into the $1000+ territory for desperate miners? Probably not.
The mid-range market is more important than the high-end gaming market as many more units are sold in the sub-$200 market than the $600+ enthusiast market, especially in a world filled with crappy console ports and multi-platform games.
We need the Ethereum mining boom to bust, as it is right now with miners with less than 10-20 cards, and soon 20-30 cards won't be enough to get ROI. Once the RX 570/580 are back to sub $300, we'll be on a better footing - until then, hold off on buying anything AMD for now.
Remember that it's not just AMD, as NVIDIA has seen its GeForce GTX 1060 and even GTX 1070 supplies run dry. Things are improving for NVIDIA quicker than AMD as Team Green seems to have many more graphics cards available right now, and they haven't had their enthusiast range (GTX 1080, GTX 1080 11Gbps, GTX 1080 Ti) exhausted.
I think we'll see mid-range cards back in proper supply sometime next month, but only time will tell with the popularity of Ethereum mining. In my previous article, I compared the huge explosion in Ethereum mining popularity as something similar to Pokemon GO, where it was everywhere - and then it kinda just disappeared. It wasn't wiped away from the face of the planet, but it wasn't in your face - it took 6-8 weeks for that to happen.
Ethereum really burst onto the scene 6 weeks ago, and we're seeing the end of consumer mining now - we aren't too far away from a massive restocking of mid-range cards thankfully.
The Next Wall Is Nearly Here
We're not far away from the difficulty of Ethereum mining to get to the point of 1.4T, which will push more and more miners over the line.
If you're like me, spending most nights trawling /r/EtherMining, you'll notice that there are heaps of people selling not just their graphics cards, but their entire Ethereum mining rigs. And that is because the difficulty is so high, and the price of ETH is so low (compared to its highs of $393 last month).
I would expect a rise in difficulty in the next few days, and it's going to be much higher than the previous one. I think we're on the edge of pushing out mining Ethereum at home, much before the Point of Sale happens and squeezes everyone out anyway.
It has been a fun ride, but if you haven't jumped off already, don't say we didn't warn you.
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