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The dragons are coming. Or so it seems.

At 9:16 PM on November 21, 2017 (UTC±00:00), an obscure tweet from a new Twitter handle, @halongmining, announced “the most efficient Bitcoin miner in the world.” It included a link to @halongmining’s website and a picture of an S9-like tube-shaped miner with a stylized “DragonMint” logo plastered on its side. This tweet was soon followed by another one that linked to a YouTube video supposedly showing the “DragonMint 16T” in action.

What you should know about DragonMint 16T miner

Obviously, this set the Bitcoin community abuzz. After all, if the DragonMint 16T really exists and if Halong Mining’s claimed specs for the DragonMint 16T are true — 16 TH/s for only 1205 W, or 0.075 J/GH — then Bitmain’s days as the (intensely hated) king of the mining hardware hill may finally be numbered. Adam Back, the father of the proof-of-work system currently undergirding the Bitcoin network, even called Halong Mining’s announcement the “biggest Bitcoin news this year,” and went as far as putting his reputation on the line by confirming the existence of the DragonMint 16T and the legitimacy of its claimed specs.

It was even later revealed that BtcDrak, a pseudonymous contributor to the Bitcoin Core project, is one of the founders of Halong Mining, and that they have been developing the DragonMint 16T since December 2016.

Bitmain must be quaking in their boots.

Not So Fast

The Bitcoin community, however, was not impressed.

Right off the bat, accusations of Halong Mining being yet another scam started flying. HagssFIN, a prominent reviewer of Bitcoin mining hardware on the Bitcoin Forum, kicked things off by calling out the DragonMint 16T as nothing more than a dressed-up Antminer S9, and warned fellow Bitcoin Forum members to not believe anything until pictures of the internals of the DragonMint 16T and a review by a trusted Forum member were available. Other members echoed this sentiment. Adding to their skepticism was an apparent discrepancy in the performance of the DragonMint 16T, with Biffa pointing out that the video footage provided by Halong Mining showed the DragonMint 16T hashing at a much-reduced rate of only 4 TH/s, instead of Halong Mining’s claimed 16 TH/s. (Halong Mining dismissed the discrepancy as a software bug in a later tweet, although this did little to quell skepticism.)

So at this point, all that Halong Mining needs to do to convince the Bitcoin community at large is to release more detailed pictures and footage of the DragonMint 16T in action and send some miners along to prominent Bitcoin Forum members for them to review. Sounds simple enough. They arguably have much more to gain than to lose by doing so, as some have pointed out.

So Long, Halong?

DragonMint 16T hashing rate

Halong Mining dismissed the discrepancy as a software bug

At the time of writing, it seems that Halong Mining sent review units to just two people — one of them being in Canada. Interestingly, both do not seem to be known among the Bitcoin Forum community for reviewing miners, and only one of them has a Bitcoin Forum presence — promojo, who claims to have one DragonMint 16T in possession, but no pictures or video footage yet to back up that claim.

Why Halong Mining decided to ignore prominent and long-time Bitcoin Forum members who have proven track records of reliable and unbiased reviews — e.g., HagssFIN, NotFuzzyWarm, and philipma1957, among others — considering how Halong Mining boasts a Bitcoin Core contributor as one of their founders, is up for debate, and it arguably does not help their case. After all, if they’re really short on available units for reviews, as they told HagssFIN, wouldn’t it make more sense, and help their image in the process, to send what units they have available to the most prominent and trusted reviewers among the Bitcoin community?

This, and the absurdly unreasonable three-month long pre-order waiting period (the first batch of miners ships on March 31, 2018, and even that is not guaranteed), makes plunking down $1,595.00 for the DragonMint 16T an unnecessarily risky gamble, at best.