The heavy–duty asic NuMiner 440 is a deception for the investor?

On February 3, Sphere 3D (NASDAQ:ANY) announced the purchase of the latest and ultra-efficient NM440 ASICs in the amount of $1.7 billion. After the news was published, the company’s shares soared by 40%. However, more and more information is being received about the creation of a deception: “the representation of an accessible, tangible, but actually non-existent”. In case of immediate deployment of the computing battery, Sphere 3D becomes the largest public Bitcoin miner with a 16% share of the global hashrate – this bribed investors.

The claimed energy efficiency of the NM440 is 20.2 joules per terahash, which is 4.5 times higher than existing analogues and 36% better than the advanced Antminer S19 Pro+ Hyd, which will go on sale no earlier than autumn. The S19 Pro+ Hyd has good energy efficiency indicators due to water cooling, so it is not clear how the NM440, in the visual absence of a water circuit, will cope with heat dissipation.

All that is in the hands of the community are loud statements and a graphic image of a promising asic. However, it turned out to be stolen from Cerebras, and someone else’s logo even looks through on the presentation model. After the claim, NuMiner removed the image from the site, calling it “drawn for marketing purposes.”

The Coindesk portal made a number of requests to the technical partners and laboratories indicated in the presentation. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:TSM) did not find NuMiner in the list of direct customers, and Xilinx reported the delivery of five chips through a network of distributors. Later, Xilinx demanded to remove the logo and any references to itself from the NuMiner website and presentation.

Things are no better with the laboratory that allegedly conducted full-scale tests of asic.

The presentation listed TÜV Nord BACnet, but they denied this information. NuMiner reported an error in promotional materials: the laboratory is called BTL Inc, which has been certified in the mentioned BACnet. However, BTL also did not find NM 440 in the list of tested equipment and requested the identification number of the report.

It is still too early to draw final conclusions, perhaps NuMiner messed up something in the presentation or were afraid to reveal the unique layout of elements through the photo, and the laboratory just turned out to be slow. But the shadow of doubt is cast not only by the high-profile figures and the announcement of the largest transaction in the history of mining, but also by the litigation against the Sphere 3D subsidiary and the accusation of two members of the board of directors of “securities fraud” and “misrepresentation of information for investors.”

Will we see an ultra-efficient asic, or is it a prop? The investment firm Volt Equity is so confident in the second option that it has opened a short position on Sphere 3D shares.