So this past week there was an attempted rollout of the ability to convert Hashlet Primes into HashStakers. One Prime could become either five 6-month HashStakers (worth $17.95 each at current rates), or you could exchange it for a permanent HashStaker Prime that will never expire (value indeterminate). I actually bought five HashStakers a week or so back, just for kicks, but now I realize that was a mistake. You see, for the price of one Prime (currently $51 or so), you can get the same five HashStakers that cost me $89.75. Here's the catch: this is a limited time offer, like today is the last day (and probably only hours left).
So if you haven't tried Hashlets yet, go join the ZenMiner Cloud, then buy a Hashlet Prime today, and then convert that into either a HashStaker Prime or five 6-month HashStakers. If all works out, the five HashStakers will generate approximately $135-$180 over the coming six months, and potentially more if Paycoin takes off. On the other hand, if you want to stick with GAW, the HashStaker Prime will never expire, plus you get a "free" Paycoin as a bonus (paid out as 400 HashPoints I believe), which is a $20 value. So, $51 will buy you a HashStaker Prime for life and you get $20 back automatically. Needless to say, I'm generally thinking the HashStaker Prime option will be best, though the first option is good for a quick turnaround and exit strategy.
Note that Zen Hashlets will be next for converting into HashStakers, but there's a "limited number" available so I'm not sure how many will be able to take this route. Are there enough HashStaker slots available to convert all Zen Hashlets? I seriously doubt it, but maybe a bunch of users won't convert. Why they wouldn't, I don't know, as Zen Hashlets are down to paying about 1.5 cents per day after maintenance fees. A HashStaker will generate around 15-20 cents per day for 180 days (assuming Paycoin stays at $20 in the future), so it's basically ten times more profitable than a Zen Hashlet. Anyway, if there are any HashStaker slots left at that point, other Solos and Genesis Hashlets will also get a chance to convert to HashStakers, at a "to be determined" rate.
There's a second question, though: What happens to Hashlets? (Please, somebody think of the poor Hashlets....)
Right now GAW has something like 1 million MH of Scrypt ASICs in varying forms of Hashlet. It doesn't matter if they're Primes or Solos, those Scrypt Hashlets can only do one thing: mine Scrypt. If everyone converts their Primes to HashStaker Prime (maybe 500K worth of HashStaker Prime), then what happens to the 500K of Scrypt ASICs at that point? Paycoin isn't using Scrypt in any form, those ASICs can't do SHA256 or anything else, so do they all go back to mining Scrypt coins? And if so, at some point GAW would reach the point (most likely) where mining Scrypt coins isn't worthwhile because of decreasing profitability vs. constant power cost and maintenance.
The same thing happens with the SHA256 ASICs after the PoW phase of Paycoin -- they go back to being used as Bitcoin ASICs for the short term I guess. Maybe there's more of a future for SHA256 ASICs with Paycoin, but I'm not sure what that would be. Once PoW ends and PoS begins, ASICs lose their usefulness. They become giant paperweights -- and I should know, as I have a few "paperweights" sitting around my house now.
Meanwhile, there are a million or whatever HashStakers, but each HashStaker is mostly just a wallet address. Power costs are negligible. and you could run hundreds or thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands?) of HashStakers on a single server I would guess. If Paycoin takes off then GAW ends up with lots of Paycoin stuff, a relatively small number of servers, and tens of thousands of "useless" ASICs. Maybe someone will find a use for those in the future, but right now it's not looking too promising.
Put another way: remember how GAW said Hashlets would "always be profitable to mine?" Well, staking is a form of mining I suppose, so if everyone converts to staking, I suppose you could still say Hashlets (now HashStakers) are still profitable. Right? GAW also said something to the effect of, "We will ship Vaultbreakers before anyone gets Titans!" That didn't end up happening, though, as instead of Vaultbreakers everyone that pre-ordered ended up with Hashlets/Hashlet Prime. Not that they're complaining (well, they probably are if they didn't elect to take the Hashlets back in August...), but to date no one actually has a Vaultbreaker as far as I can tell.
So what to do now? I've purchased and traded for a moderate number of Primes, and I'll probably keep one or two Hashlet Primes just to see what happens to them in the long run. I also just bought a Prime tonight and converted it into five HashStakers for fun (to see how that works). The rest are going to get converted to HashStaker Prime. I made the mistake of not buying Hashlets when they were first announced at $14.95, and I dearly regret not taking the plunge. I also saw the first Legendary Hashlets for sale at $49.95 or whatever it was back on Sept. 11 and I thought about buying a few, but then I did the math and decided it was a bad ROI. Again, I've kicked myself more than a few times for being too cautious.
This time I'm going nearly all-in on HashStaker and HashStaker Prime, as so far GAW has managed to pay quite well. I've hit the break even point I think, and if Paycoin really becomes worth $20+ in the coming month or two then I've basically tripled my investment. It's been a fun ride, and I'm interested to see what will differentiate HashStaker Prime from a regular HashStaker. What will the amps be for a HashStaker -- higher staking rate? I don't even know. Honestly, there's part of me that hopes it ends up being easier to just let the things sit and generate money. I guess we'll know soon enough.
Hash / Stake On!