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Sunday, September 21, 2014

GAW Hashlet Prime Plan B?

Yesterday's news apparently caused quite the stir among Hashlet owners... well, Hashlet Prime owners to be more specific. It seems a lot of people didn't like the idea of Hashlet Prime becoming a less premium product and they want to keep the price at $50, and so a "Plan B" has been proposed by the miners, with GAW now offering a poll to see which route is preferred. Before I weigh in on which option I think is best, let's start by quickly dissecting Plan B.

At it's core, Plan B is basically a return of the "advanced features" that were apparently previously part of the Hashlet Prime roadmap. These features include Boost Speed (pay to boost), Double Pool (mine two pools at once), Rapid Pay (instant payout based on yesterday's rate), Hashlet Spawn (random -- what? -- number and type of Hashlet Solos for some amount of time), Delay Pay (earn interest by delaying the payout), Time Stop (lock in the current payout rate for a period of time), Random Boost (Primes boost randomly), Fee Drop (no fees for some number of days), and/or Fee Defer (defer maintenance fee for some number of days). It's not clear when these features would roll out or how they would all work, but they're certainly a way of adding complexity to Primes.

Beyond this list of advanced features, the new $49.95 price of Hashlet Prime would remain, which would mean if you bought in at a lower price you have probably already hit ROI, there would be refund options, and Vaultbreaker batch 2 would get an alternative upgrade path (either temporarily mine on the A2 farm, or get Primes at a 1:1 ratio). There would also be some new features added to Hashlet Solos, though we don't know exactly what those features are at present.

In other words, the Plan B is to not make any major changes to the Prime roadmap -- keep them as a premium product and add new features. Which means that Plan A gets scrapped.

So here's where you can take things in a lot of different ways. At one extreme, you could say that the $25 price drop was a farce -- it was set to be in a few days, with refunds going out to people who bought in to Hashlet Prime at a higher price. Well, if Plan B wins than those refunds don't occur and effectively all we had was some "news" that ended up not being news. Consider also that many (most?) owners of Hashlet Prime bought in at the original $14.95 per Hashlet price, so for those users of course they would want the new price of Primes to be $49.95. They could potentially sell off their $14.95 investment at $39.96 each, all while keeping any BTC mined in the interim!

The other extreme would be that Plan A was terrible (I'm not actually sure why you would think that, unless you happen to own a bunch of Primes that were purchased at $14.95 -- see above), and Plan B is simply GAW listening to their customers. While I would like to think this is likely the case, I'm not ruling about the above "market manipulation" yet. I also think that the customers GAW is listening to are primarily the people who went in early on Hashlets and want to make their investment worth even more by having the price more than triple for Johnny-come-lately buyers.

Without concrete details on the future Prime features, it's impossible to say how good they might be. Doubling your hashing speed is always a nice bonus, but with Primes costing more than twice as much as any Hashlet Solo you could be at the boosted speed almost 24/7 and still take longer to hit ROI. All of the other features basically amount to varying forms of "gambling" in my book, so they're not really all that interesting -- okay, the Delay Pay might be a nice way of earning interest above and beyond the normal amount, but that's about the only truly interesting item I see.

I'm pretty sure any discussion of which way to go is a moot point, as based on what I've read it sounds like there are a lot of users that bought Hashlet Prime when it was just the original Hashlet, and in fact they're a majority of Prime owners. There's no reason any of them would want to see the price of Primes decrease, so they'll all likely vote for Plan B and that will be the way things go. Which is unfortunate, as I'd love to have Prime available as a reasonable option that doesn't take more than twice as long to hit ROI. Not surprisingly, Plan B is currently leading by a vote of 68% to 32%.

Something else to remember: Vaultbreaker is in theory showing up with GAW any time now, and of course the "I will beat KnC to market no matter what" stuff is now meaningless as the people that pre-ordered Vaultbreaker Batch 1 will instead get Hashlet Prime, right? But Hashlet Prime could be running on a bunch of less efficient hardware! So this is all potentially a big smokescreen to hide the fact that Vaultbreaker might not be doing 750 MH at 1000-1500W. Even at $25 each, 750 MH of Primes would be worth $18750, or nearly twice the cost of a Batch 1 pre-order. On the other hand, 19 ZeusMiner X6 Lightning ASICs would be the same performance as a Vaultbreaker, only with power use being much higher (by a factor of almost 20x), which would make the $25 per MH price a lot more "reasonable".

What do you think, is my "worst-case" just a conspiracy theory; was this just a way to drum up news coverage? Or is all of this real, and GAW was actually about ready to refund any late Prime purchases a bunch of money and drop the price of Prime to $25? Does Vaultbreaker actually exist, or is GAW simply hiding their lack of highly efficient ASICs behind Hashlet? Either way, I'm still on track to hit ROI in under four months, which is nice to see. Let's hope BTC takes a ride on the holiday rocket again and come Christmas we're all sitting on $2000 Bitcoins!

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