For those of you following the crypto hardware markets, there is a name you should be familiar with. That name is Xilinx. The reason you are familiar with the name Xilinx is more than likely because of the efforts of one company who has endeavored to continually break new ground with mining hardware, that company is Squirrel Research Labs, hereafter referred to as SQRL.
Looking around my site should let you know that I am intimately familiar with Xilinx chips and the majority of players in the FPGA space. However, there is only ONE company when it comes to FPGAs and crypto that really matters, and that company is SQRL. Without SQRL, the world would have never had BCUs to play with. The group buy SQRL helped organize for the BCUs got screwed up for various reasons. Cough Xilinx breached contract on delivery of BCUs cough – see SQRL Press Release and read between “component shortage” as a way to protect what you thought was a valued partner at the time. Xilinx promised delivery in late July and didn’t finish delivery until December! However, the general public was able to get their hands on high end FPGA equipment because of the work and efforts SQRL put in.
SQRL was not complacent and had designs for HBM FPGAs and some evolutionary tech in the Jungle Cat lineup. For those of you unaware of what the Jungle Cat is, it’s a modular system where you can have up to four FPGA modules installed on one PCIE card that has its own internal network ring called Cat Net. As a techie nerd, the gear is just awesome. It looks effing awesome and performance should be something else. However, something rotten has been going on behind the scenes and it’s been a huge handicap for SQRL.
In September, SQRL started shipping its ForestKitten VU33P HBM2 FPGA. This is a sweet little card that is supposed to be a GPU replacement for crypto mining. It’s a small compact powerful card based around Xilinx’s VU33P chip that has 8GB of HBM2 memory in 2 stacks. This was the first card meant to target memory hard algorithms. SQRL worked their butt off on it. This card originally was supposed to carry a $3,000 retail price tag. However by the time it was ready to launch, SQRL had managed to bring the price down to $1,950. This is what the card looks like without its cooling device attached:
In the process of doing everything necessary with their “partner” Xilinx, SQRL who had mutual NDA’s with Xilinx, divulged proprietary information about their ForestKitten mining card. Xilinx is a partner, what is there to fear? Well after about 6 weeks of furious copy pasta activity at Xilinx HQ, take a look at this image and tell me what you think:
Rumor mill has it that the bare cards were to be sold at the $1,000 price point and around the $1,200 price point with a thermal solution equipped. However, don’t expect these cards to be available to the public. No sir. If you want to be able to buy these cards, your MOQ is in the thousands. This is IP theft that has then been rebundled only for whales while all of us who have already bought product from SQRL can go fuq ourselves based on Xilinx‘s actions. Both of those board prices are UNDER what SQRL pays for each chip alone from Xilinx and the U50C comes with a better FPGA chip than the ForestKitten!
Want some icing on the cake in regards to this “crypto” board sold by Xilinx? SQRL has a lot more experience with the power needs of an FPGA chip in crypto, in fact, they even told Xilinx all about power delivery for their ForestKitten. While 150W is perfect for a VU33P like SQRL deployed in the FK, the JungleCat delivers over 250W to the VU35P chip used in both the JC and the U50C. The 150W power supply for the U50C leads to nothing but an underpowered board and a waste of silicon for real crypto miners. Can we say predatory pricing? Come buy the latest and greatest but you can’t ever hit anywhere close to peak theoretical performance because this thing was neutered from the factory! But then again, this board was never supposed to see the light of day so Xilinx was just trying to fuck the whales and not us plebes which makes it OK? Not.
You know this in and of itself is bad enough but the story doesn’t end here. It gets even worse! What happens when you have a guy whose entire purpose in life is to climb to the next rung in the ladder no matter who he steps on and makes fall in the process? Well, I’d like to introduce you to Rami Halabi.
If this guy doesn’t fit the mold of a used car salesman, I don’t know who would. He just looks greasy and like he’s trying to figure out a way to fuck you while giving you a sleazy smile and probably a warm sweaty handshake.
This guy has a big set of balls but might be lacking in the analytical department about who to try and step on. He had the audacity to demand an off the record conversation, told SQRL they might as well hand over all their IP, board designs and super duper bitstreams because Xilinx was going to undercut them in sales and control their chip prices so they couldn’t compete. Holy fucking shit! Isn’t that illegal? Doesn’t the government start antitrust proceedings when things like that start happening?
But I mean really, should this come as any surprise to anyone who has been watching $XNLX performance on Wall Street? 2019’s trend doesn’t look too healthy, does it?
But you know, maybe I just need to regurgitate this wonderful story that was told with pictures. I’m a nobody but maybe if it comes from the horse’s… I mean Hoarder’s mouth…
It’s amazing the story just a few pictures can tell. The ball has just gotten rolling in this saga. The empire tried to strike back but those who wield the force just aren’t gonna lay down and take it. I’m a crypto miner. I found something my skill set is great for and I quite enjoy it. I don’t like some big mega corp trying to fuck all us little guys because money is the only thing important to them. Ethics are important. Supporting businesses who have good ethics is imperative. Some can and will say I’m a SQRL white knight. So the fuck what? SQRL is the only company out there trying to look out for the little guys like me. Why wouldn’t I try to look out for them? After all, what is it that we want as miners? Do we as miners really want to support Bitmain 2.0? It was easy to castigate Bitmain as they are a foreign company. What do we do when the company that is being predatory against us is based in the US and accountable to US trade law? We do have voices and we do have a certain measure of power. The question is will you exercise it? I for one certainly am.
Want more information? There might be a treasure trove of lots of information here: https://discord.gg/8nmrFBH
Below are some links from around the web that have popped up in the last 24 hours. But you guys know the story about the Highlander right? 😉