I can't figure it out and there doesn't seem to be a clear explanation of it anywhere. The company marketing them, GAWMiner apparently has shipped some hardware to some people before, but hosted mining seems to be their thing. Apparently 12 days ago they started selling something called a "Hashlet" which has only so far been described with buzzwords. There's some very questionable claims being made.
In the progression from CPU to GPU and then FPGA to ASIC in mining the Hashlet promoters offer it as some further evolutionary leap. Let us consider some specific claims GAW's announcement makes:
GAW Miners has sold more ASIC miners than any other provider in the world. You can say that we are “somewhat experts” in knowing what makes a good miner. We have seen just about everything out there and learned a ton in the process.
At times Butterfly Labs has made the same claims, and everyone knows how well many of their other claims went. GAW to my knowledge isn't BFL though. They haven't been around that long. I've noticed their ads started appearing on sites in force a few months ago. Now this wasn't particularly notable at all.
Now At this time a lot of mining companies are crawling out of the woodwork with names like Antminer and Spondoolies.1 This guy tends to follow the scene more than I do. Maybe GAW actually did sell the most ASIC miners? Maybe there's an unwritten caveat that their claim only refers to Scrypt miners?
What is a Hashlet?
Hashlets started with one goal: to bring all the best parts of hardware miners forward, and leave behind all their limitations. Hashlet is the result of our most ambitious R&D initiative ever. We’ve built into every Hashlet miner jaw-dropping features that you could never dream of having on previous hardware. I’m talking features like zero pool fees, Forever. I’m talking features like maintenance fees that actually decline over time.
A Hashlet is capable of things no physical miner or virtual miner could ever be! Simply put, a Hashlet is a Digital Cloud Miner that keeps getting better
Now this is simply an abuse of the verb "is" and it offers no useful information. "Is" happens to be the third person present tense of the word verb "to be" in the English language. It's function is to allow a person to take a thing as the subject of the sentence, insert the word "is" an then have a predicate object which constitutes the meaning, definition, substance, or essence of the subject. Just because metaphysics creaks on as a sub-discipline in Philosophy because of disputes in the nuance of what "is" precisely is, does not make the meaning so ambiguous that GAW's sodomous assault on the English language here acceptable.
In the first paragraph instead of a definition they offer in order:
- A desire narrative where they suppose and goal and define that goal.
- A boast that the Hashlet took OMGWTFBBQ work to develop.
- A Promise that Hashlet has all kinds of features, with the subclaim that even dreaming of these feature being on previous hardware is impossible.2
Now opening the second paragraph "A Hashlet is capable of things no physical miner or virtual miner could ever be!" contradicts the bolded text where they seemed to want to plant the seed in people's minds that the thing might have been hardware. It also contradicts the photo of a sleek Aluminum thing with a Hashlet logo on it that always seems appear during any "press coverage" or advertisement for the Hashlet. At the end though a something that might have been able to satisfy the word "is" is offered. The Hashlet is a "Digital Cloud Miner." There's no further clarification, even though a definition of what is meant by Digital Cloud Miner ought to seem mandatory.
Throughout the rest of their announcement and the even on the page where they offer these "Hashlets" for sale in sizes ranging from 1 MH/s to 100 MH/s and at prices ranging from $25 to $2500, no clear description is offered of what exactly the "Hashlet" is or represents.
From the clear abuse of language I'm inclined to suspect GAW is an Idiocratic organization weaponizing malicious stupidity in order to make a quick buck off of people who afraid of not mining.3 Even Gavin Andresen managed to raise serious concerns merely by asking a naive question:
I don't know nuthin about "cloud mining" — so I've got a dumb question.
How do you know that when you send money to a cloud mining place they are actually dedicating hardware to hashing for you? What stops them from practicing "fractional reserve mining" — reselling the same hardware to eleven different people, and using the money coming in to pay Fantabulous Weekly Returns With Profitability Guaranteed?
Now I don't care to investigate this Hashlet thing any further than I already have by simply reading their announcements, and fruitlessly spending a few hours for a more clear description of what a Hashlet is. The astoundingly empty marketing itself and the attempts at misrepresenting their product ought to be enough to keep this product from being purchased, and the malice that seems to be behind the failures at GAW related to their Hashlet ought to preclude anyone involved from seriously being involved in any serious Bitcoin related venture in the future.4 If anyone wants to attempt to offer an actual description of a Hashlet in the comments they are free to try.
I'm amazed how many companies seem to be popping out of the woodwork and seem to start delivering harware before I've heard of them now. ↩
One feature the offer specifically, the zero pool fees forever, has always been available through solo mining or operating your own pool. At one point, back in the bad old days there was even a pool like thing that seemed to have negative pool fees. A reasonable inference seems to be the previous thing was a thing set up by Pirateat40 to get freshly mined coins that weren't immediately connectible to his Ponzi. ↩
There definitely seem to be people who believe if they aren't constantly "reinvesting" all of the Bitcoin they come across into mining they are missing some sort of opportunity. Even though 20% difficulty increases are still a thing that happens. Mining is perilous, and sinking all of one's Bitcoin into mining is a solid recipe for having less Bitcoin,but doing it the legitimate way. ↩
This generally is how actual regulation often happens in Bitcoin. Someone sees something appallingly stupid or other wise doomed, and they warn people away from it. Some time passes and the nonsense ends. That fuel for the chumpatrons persists is hopefully a problem that solves itself by 2050. ↩