In November, 2021, Bitmain announced a new addition to the Antminer S19-series at the World Digital Mining Summit in Dubai. The new mining hardware, the Antminer S19 XP, is promising some significant improvements to the mining rig game. In fact, the XP boasts a hasrate of 140TH and a consumption of 3010 W.
Naturally, based on these two S19 XP specs alone, it may seem like this new Bitcoin machine will be the best bang for your buck moving forward (see why these specs are important here). But there are a few notable risks to consider that could place the XP in the same realm as preceding Bitmain S19 line. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how the Antminer S19 XP compares to the Antminer S19 Pro 110 TH.
Is the Antminer S19 XP Worth It? Part 1
Bitcoin ASIC Lead Times
When Bitmain announced their new mining rig, they stated the first shipments wouldn’t come online until early Q3 of 2022. Although there are plenty of Antminer S19 Pros online, for the sake of this article we’ll assume that lead times between ordering and receiving a new S19 Pro will place our timeline roughly 6 months ahead of the S19 XP. Uptime plays a major factor in Bitcoin mining, and six months is a vast amount of time considering various risks. Aside from potential issues in durability and machine failure that are always slightly higher for the initial batches of a new Bitcoin mining machine, perhaps the most significant opportunity cost will be the difference in starting difficulties for the two ASICs.
Trends in Bitcoin Mining Difficulty
Source: Mining Insights
With public mining companies in North America deploying thousands of the newest and best ASICs each month and Chinese miners continuing to redeploy their mining rigs in other countries, the difficulty to mine BTC has increased rapidly in recent months—about 20% in the past quarter. In order to compare the economics of the Antminer S19 Pro and S19 XP, we’ll assume that the starting difficulty will continue its upward trend at this rate, with a 100% annual increase. At the time of this article, and when the S19 Pro will be online, the network difficulty is roughly 23T.
Since the new Antminer S19 XP mining hardware will be released early Q3 2022, we’ll assume the starting difficulty will be roughly 35T for the S19 XP (~50% increase from 23T after 6 months). Below is a table that demonstrates the basic spec differences between the two machines.
*Note: Bitmain has pre-sold the S19XP for $10,500 to institutional mining clients placing large orders. However, retail miners buying <100 ASICs typically pay a higher rig price, and we are seeing the same thing with the S19 XP, with the most common retail list price being $13,250 per ASIC.
We’ll use these specs as inputs with the Profitability Calculator from Braiins (with a difficulty of 23T for the S19 Pro and 32T for the S19 XP). We’ll analyze the Antminer S19 Pro for 2.5 years (January 2022 – June 2024), and the S19 XP for 2 (July 2022 – June 2024). Meanwhile, we will increase BTC price by 50%/year to simulate a conservative scenario relative to the 100% difficulty increase. But make no mistake, as Bitcoin miners we believe the price of BTC is going up forever, Laura.
Our goal is to measure the tradeoff between lower hashrate and efficiency for the S19 Pro versus the S19 XP which has superior specs but will not come online until much later, presumably with a higher difficulty.
Mining Profitability Analysis — Antminer S19 Pro vs. S19 XP
Now for the good stuff, let’s finally compare the S19 Pro and S19 XP head-to-head and see which one is more profitable.
Antminer S19 XP
Source: Antminer S19 Pro 110 TH – 2.5 years
We get an end profit of nearly $20k and an annual IRR (Internal Rate of Return) of 28%, by all accounts a good investment.
Antminer S19 Pro
Source: Antminer S19 XP 140 TH – 2 years
Thanks to the 6-month head start with lower difficulty, the Antminer S19 Pro finishes with a slight advantage of $1,610 profit at the end of Q2 2024. Meanwhile, the S19 XP has a faster CapEx Break-Even period and a better annual IRR of 50%.
However, the key metric to look at is the Total BTC Mined. Mining with an Antminer S19 Pro 110 TH yields 0.273 BTC in this time frame, and the S19 XP is just 0.208. Even if we increase the S19 XP to 30 months, it still doesn’t come close—finishing at 0.229 BTC mined.
This is why accounting for difficulty growth is important when analyzing a bitcoin mining machine investment. The investment may look very different in fiat terms vs. BTC terms. If you want to increase your exposure to BTC through mining, then you probably want to hold your profits in BTC instead of cashing out every week or month. When we factor this in, the S19 Pro’s head start with the lower BTC difficulty is what gives it the edge.
Antminer S19 PRO - 100% HODL Ratio
Antminer S19 XP - 100% HODL Ratio
Holding the BTC mining rewards that are leftover after paying operating experiences completely changes the mining profitability. Now we see that the S19 Pro produces an end profit of $36,193 compared to $28,863 for the S19 XP at the end of Q2 2024.
In summary, the long lead time was costly in BTC terms even though it worked out very well in fiat terms. When it comes to purchasing Bitcoin ASICs, it’s critical to find a trustworthy ASIC broker who can deliver quickly so that you can start hashing and generating discounted bitcoin cash flow before the difficulty climbs.
In the bitcoin mining business, uptime is money. While the Antminer S19 XP has impressive specifications, the 6+ month lead times add a lot of risk. There is also added risk in being an early customer for any new mining rig, as it’s unknown what the durability and failure rates will be. That said, if you have new power capacity coming online in late 2022, it can make sense to lock in pricing on these Antminer S19 XP’s since the long lead time lines up with your infrastructure builds.
*Make sure to see our follow up Antminer S19 Pro vs S19 XP (Part 2 – ASIC Value Analysis), where we will help you understand how to factor in the value of your ASICs over time, and explain how Bitcoin rig prices change depending on network difficulty and BTC price over time.