The new controller is called the zenController and will allow for simple setup and use of almost any miner that needs a controller. It will do so in a secure environment and will allow anyone to pick up mining.
I spoke on the phone with Thomas Fraser of Zenminer, Josh Garza, and Rami Abramov of GAWMiners for an hour getting details of the new controller, hardware that it is on, shipping and roll out dates, security concerns I had as well as some other interesting bits of information.
[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]he controller is an ecosystem of hardware and cloud. The zenController base is a Raspberry Pi running a custom image that when booted up will detect your attached miners and connect to a cloud service that will download the correct drivers and even update the firmware directly from the manufacturer.
A zenController is shipping with along with ASIC miner purchases from GAWMiners starting on 5/23/14. It will have a unique code. You will go to Zenminer.com and create an account. You type in your zenController’s code, and it will add it to your account. From here, you have a full cloud control access to your miner controller and any miners attached to it.
The software will sync with your controller and from there you can setup your connected miners, pool information, monitor hash rate and even get the latest firmware installed to your miners.
What is revolutionary about this controller is that it makes mining so simple that people who are not technically inclined can use it. They will be able to buy a miner with a controller, just plug it in and with a simple web login that most people are used to start mining. The controller takes the steep learning curve and fear factor out of mining. The zenController changes what at times can be a mess of configuration hell, to a simple task.
The last several years crypto currency mining has been a technical battle. With hardware manufacturers, that are shipping before miner software code writers have had an opportunity get their hands on the units. Many times the before code writers even just the drivers the manufacturer has for them until well after launch it can be a crap shoot on how well your miners will work.
With the zenController, much of this will be a thing of the past. GAWMiners will ship one with their new miners, this will allow them to sell miners to a whole new group of customers.
The cloud aspect of controlling your miner is big as it will allow the customer to login to monitor or make changes to their miner. The customer can use any computer anywhere for control. For many current miners and the tech savvy, this is easy to setup but for those that it is not this will be a huge draw. Everything in one easy to use graphical interface is going to help new miners even more. Most people are just not used to the command line that you need for many arrangements making the all-inclusive operating system, controller and GUI help mining adoption even more.
There are so many good things about the zenController and cloud service.
Based on the Raspberry Pi that so many miners use now it is familiar hardware to many in the mining community. The developers are right from the mining community and have been working closely with Thomas of Zenminer who started this project 10 months ago, so you know the code going into it is solid.
At the time of this article the Dev’s wish to remain anonymous as the rollout is going to be massive, starting with the first round of ASIC miners shipping from GAWMiners on Friday. They have done so to provide a consolidated source of service provided by Zenminer and GAWMiners.
[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]hen I asked Thomas about how he came up with the idea, I expected it was because he was an active miner and technically inclined. I was quite wrong.
I have a background in business and finance, Bitcoin and other crypto currencies really drew me in. The problem is that I am not a technical guy. Mining seemed like a great way to get into Bitcoin, and this was back in early 2013, but mining was way over my head. I kept thinking this has to be easier and why isn’t it?
That was when I decided to do something about it. I put together the concept and got in touch with developers, and we have been working hard ever since to bring this to the market. I have known Josh for several years, and when I saw how he was able to get products to the market with GAWMiners I knew he was the right one to contact about it and bring it to market. This is why our first partnership is with them, and other resellers will be added in the future.
I want Zenminer to be like the “Intel Inside” campaign; I want it to be part of the ecosystem people look to when they think crypto currency miners. That kind of reliability and ease of use.
Josh then told me, his first question to Thomas was, “Why didn’t you bring this to me sooner… it is brilliant!”
[dropcap size=small]O[/dropcap]ne of my big concerns is security as most of us in the mining and crypto currency realm. Several factors are in play on the security front. Zenminer uses a couple layers both in using the pin of the controller to strongly coded password encryption that also requires a strong password on the users end. They have several other features that they will speak of with me at a later date. The security layer on the website is also tight employing newer technologies to protect the customer’s account and mining equipment.
I asked in if the zenController had to be connected to the Zenminer cloud to mine. I was assured if for whatever reason that you could not connect to Zenminer and your internet connection was up your miner would still function just like normal. One of the other aspects of the controller is it would allow for easier service if a customer were having problems. Zenminer can with the customers permission log in and instantly see what is going on. The remote access takes tech support several steps over troubleshooting by phone. Making diagnosing and fixing problems more accurate and much faster. An extension of this is that GAWMiners Josh has told me will be moving all of their hosting services over to Zenminer as well. Swtiching to this model will allow GAWMiners to focus on the hardware aspect of service directly in their hosting centers while Zenminer can deal with software issues and quickly relay to GAWMiners if a physical miner has malfunctioned needing a replacement. Some interesting bits of information that came out of this as well are the following. GAWMiners will ship one controller to each customer who has already purchased from them free of charge!
Josh said sending a zenController is another way to show his customers his appreciation and give them an opportunity to try it out. They are going to start shipping them in late June. With GAWMiners close ties to the manufacturers they should be able to get units in Zenminer’s and their Dev’s hands in plenty of time before launch so rollouts are smooth and supported promptly. Within a couple months, they hope to have the downloadable image of the OS ready. The existing Beta testing is happening with some existing customers, and it has gone very well.
[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap] think this is a huge step forward in mining. The zenController is going to shift how people look at crypto currencies. Instead of as something only tech types can mine to something everyone can. GAWMiners has the customer base and scale with manufacturers to help make this happen. They ship an immense amount of mining hardware. Growth like this can also help disperse the hash rate to more people that can help mitigate things like 50% attacks like we saw with Coinotron recently with Litecoin. The Zenminer will help the adoption of crypto currencies as a whole. It can also help alt coins as more people get interested and find the coins that they like and support them. The more people are doing that, the more they are going to be telling businesses that they want to pay with crypto.
I am looking forward to seeing how well it goes. Once I get some more hands on with the Zenminer and how it works I will post a follow up review with my findings and thoughts.