Bitmain is best known for Bitcoin mining hardware. The announcement that the company would be producing an ASIC miner for Ethereum has been greeted with mixed reactions. Those who mine digital tokens have expressed excitement while the response of Ethereum developers has ranged from tepid to openly hostile. Some developers are even calling for a hard fork to prevent the use of ASIC miners.
There have been rumors since February that Bitmain would be producing an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) Ethereum miner, and the interest has been so high that the first production run has already been sold out. Named the Antminer E3, the rig could deal a blow to tech giants AMD and Nvidia. Those companies currently produce graphics cards that are used for cryptocurrency mining.
Some developers want to make adjustments to the Ethereum platform which would effectively block the use of ASIC mining technology, presumably because the new miners would enable some collectives and individuals to gain a disproportionate share of hash power. At least one developer has gone so far as to propose a hard fork of the Ethereum ecosystem.
Another concern is that Ethereum could be switching to a POS, or Proof of Stake, system in the near future. This would make traditional mining obsolete.