With Bitcoin mining at home becoming nearly impossible for regular people, unless you have access to either free electricity or perhaps even a data center, a lot of miners are looking at investing in altcoin mining hardware. Alpha Technology announced beastly Scrypt ASIC miners early last year, which should have been delivered by now. Unfortunately, they have not, and things have gotten very silent in that corner.
From Bitcoin Mining To Altcoin Mining
Mining Bitcoins has slowly but surely become less and less profitable ever since the “uber” ASICS have entered the playing field. In order to make a ROI,as far as that is still possible these days, you either need a data center full of Bitcoin ASICS, or look at cloud mining, which is always a bit of a gamble regarding making a profit.
As a result, plenty of miners had turned their attention to altcoins, where GPU mining once used to be very profitable. Several people had invested in tons of GPU’s in order to mine Bitcoin, and thus created their own Scrypt mining farm. Eventually, it would only be a matter of time until we saw the first Scrypt ASIC miners hit the market.
Plenty of companies have come forward ever since, and most of them have been delivering the goods (albeit somewhat late if you order a KnC Titan ASIC miner). However, not every self-professed Scrypt ASIC manufacturer has managed to deliver on their promises, and Alpha-Technologies is one of those companies.
Alpha-Technologies : Lots of Empty Promises
Alpha-Technologies originally announced their services in October of 2013, and the UK-based Scrypt ASIC manufacturer was raising the bar at a steady pace. By offering a 50MH/s Scrypt miner running at 375W for 1,350GBP, and a 250MH/s Scrypt miner running at 1,875W for 5,450GBP; they were making bold claims of what was possible with their “self developed” chips.
Pre-orders were made available in October and customers had a variety of payment methods to choose from, such as bank transfer,Paypal, Bitcoin payments through BitPay, and others. In fact, if you look at their original Bitcointalk thread, you can see I was the first people to notice their thread, and post a reply there, as things looked very promising back then.
Note from the author : I was doing a freelance writing gig for a different cryptocurrency news site at that point in time, way before I launched CryptoArticles.com. Let’s just say I “smartened up” along the way.
Like you would come to expect, people were not too keen on Alpha Technology opening up pre-orders before they had so much as demoed the devices, or even posted the technical specifications. At that point in time, not too much was known about the Scrypt ASICS, except for their price point and alleged hashing power, yet Alpha Technology couldn’t wait to get their hands on customers’ money.
According to statements made by Alpha Technology, they needed the funds for “further research and developments”, as they could not develop Scrypt ASICs on a grand scale with the current budget. You have to keep in mind this was over a year ago, when things were far different in the world of Scrypt ASICS. However, it would turn out later that some things have always been the same, and Alpha Technology is no different in that regard.
While I was in contact with one of the Alpha Technology representatives, they told me via email how they would hold a “special event” to showcase their Scrypt ASIC miners in January of 2014. The event itself would take place in London (easily accessible for me), and I would receive further details in order to attend the event, and even do an interview with the Alpha Technology team.
Needless to say at this point in time, that event never took place, nor did I ever hear back from Alpha Technology either. This was the first of many red flags thrown over the next few months, as things started going downhill from there ever since. Things definitely took a turn for the worst when someone went to the location of their “company” in Manchester, England, and found out it looked like this :
To make a very long story very short, all of the accepted payments methods got removed from the Alpha Technology website, with Paypal being one of the first to go due to the massive amount of refund requests. Throughout all of this, the Alpha Technology accounts on BitcoinTalk tried to keep up appearances, by posting pictures of their “offices and employees” among other things.
BitPay Suspended Services For Alpha Technology
The final nail in the coffin (as far as that was still needed) came about a week ago, when BitPay officially suspended all Bitcoin services for Alpha Technology’s invoice processing capabilities. The reason for this suspension was because of the incredibly high volume of complaints received from customers, which forced BitPay’s hand.
This is just one of the (sadly) many examples of why ASIC manufacturers are nearly impossible to trust, unless they have an actual working unit ready to ship out to customers. While most of us understand how research and development takes time and costs a lot of money, there are ample ways of securing the necessary funds by other means.Unfortunately, I very much doubt this scenario will ever change, and we will see more and more companies promising the “next big thing” before they even developed anything at all.