I'm somewhat new to the mining scene but I'm a bit familiar with everything. I see that GPU mining will become much less cost effective over the next year or so, especially around December when the block reward size drops to 25 BTC.

As an entry level miner, I don't have a decent rig to just use a pool with or anything. I'm stuck with a quad core AMD mobile CPU in an HP laptop with the worst ATI card known to mankind, giving me about 7.5 Mh/s using rpcminer-4way. Based on what I've seen, the claims that Butterfly Labs is making are pretty substantial and if they're true, they could greatly change the playing field. At a price as low as $150 for 3 Gh/s, I would be willing to invest, since I don't have the money right now to build a GPU mining machine.

I have seen many people preorder the SC Jalepeno model and I'd just like some additional info and background on the company and their products before shelling out $150-$300. And are there any comparable low-cost FPGA or ASIC USB devices with a decent Mh/s/$?

  • 1
    Are they already up for pre-ordering?? I subscribed to Butterfly Labs newsletter but didn't know they were taking pre-orders already. Are you sure? About the question, there's a lot of speculation going on on whether their specs and price are real or just a scam. Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 8:14
  • I saw them now. Didn't notice it last time. Don't have time for research today but will probably check what the folks on BitcoinTalk are saying about this. Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 8:54
  • 2
    It's not clear that the block reward dropping will affect GPU mining's effectiveness. It's possible that the dollar price of a bitcoin may rise enough to counteract the reward halving. And even if it doesn't, some miners will stop mining, leading to a reduction in the difficulty of mining. It remains to be seen what actually happens of course. Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 17:02
  • 1
    @ChrisMoore: The block reward halving will affect profitability, difficulty and price. The product of all these factors is 2, so the simplest theory is that each will change by a factor of the cube root of 2. Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 4:12

5 Answers 5



My original answer may have made sense back when the question was asked, but now it is clear that Butterfly Labs cannot be trusted.

As they say, "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". After all the delays and controversies with their FPGA line, they have given their word that with the experience gained they really will be able to deliver their ASIC line on October 2012. 10 months later (and 20-fold difficulty increase later), even the first pre-orderers didn't get their orders in full. This didn't stop them from announcing a new line, with pre-orders and the same empty promises. Which, if they deliver, will be better performing than their first ASIC line, without any compensation to their loyal customers who have waited more than a year.

The fact that their CEO was shown to be a convicted felon doesn't help.

  • Care to link to "CEO shown to be a convicted felon"?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 22:07
  • @Pacerier: ETA a link to a forum post discussing it, which itself has links to other resources. Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 14:05
  • So those products promised to be delivered 3 years ago all weren't delivered? No one saw a single BFL product?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 13:43
  • @Pacerier: That's not what I said. The edit was made on August 2013 and read "in full", meaning orders were partially delivered. Now we're at 17 months (not 3 years) after October 2012, and I believe all those orders were delivered. This doesn't mean BFL can be trusted. Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 10:51
  • Hmm, but if they did deliver working products, then what's the problem?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 14:05

Beyond the concerns about BL's ability to deliver, should they be successful it's very questionable what kind of return you'll be able to get as an individual user even with the substantial increases in efficiency they promise.

With Bitcoin mining, the number of coins dispensed in a given time period is fixed and self adjusting to the relative strength of the network. When the pre-orders are all tallied and the first production run ships, we're likely going to see lots of chaos as the total network hash spikes up with each block of BL units being plugged in, but eventually it should hit some kind of equilibrium.... At which point exactly the same number of coins will be dispensed to the people who own BL hardware, relative to the $$ they invested with BL.

That said, I pre-ordered a Jalepeno yesterday.

  • 2
    Since you ordered the Jalapeno June 2012. Have you got it? I just ordred one 5 minutes ago. Did you have to wait 6 months before you got anything.. if you got anything at all?
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 10:32
  • 1
    BFL has not yet shipped any units other than a dev unit to luke-jr who authors the hashing software they use. They insist, however, that they will be shipping soon. Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 18:08
  • @eMansipater, still?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 13:44

I have sent Butterfly several emails inquiring about delivery dates, and etc after pre-ordering the Jalapeno. I have yet to get a response back now 4 weeks later, I have sent them another request...this time asking for a refund. I think they should of put a lot more info out there about how long it would take to get our orders. I don't want my Miner next year, I want it while I will be able to actually a decent profit out of it.


I preordered 3 jalapenos. I made a calculation about the net profit with them.

If right now a ATI card of about 150 USD gives about 350MH/s and produces about 0.125 BTC/day, a new Jalapeno costs is 150 USD with 3.5GH/s, so it should produce about 1.25BTC/day, and be like having 10x ATI cards.

Maybe it will deliver a little less, because the cost of energy is lower with the Jalapeno.

  • 2
    Did you get them? And did you prove your calculation?
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 10:34
  • 1
    @mario did you get yours?
    – roman m
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 3:53

Playing by the rules, doing the right thing is of the utmost importance. This often times causes situations that are much harder to deal with or endure, as well more expensive. Understanding that when we buy from a company we advocate for them, through the purchase from them, we as consumers empower them to grow and proceed. It is critical that we ensure the company is something we wish to support. Though we many not always be able to do this, nor is it always possible to gain the required information, we should still try. As Americans we really need to, especially now after all we have learned from history, investigate who it is we purchase from.

Purchasing from companies that harm our workers, only harm ourselves. Supporting Wal*Mart and thousands of unhappy people working at those locations, while destroying our own economy and infrastructure is irrational. Dealing with major banks that have bad histories is another bad idea, and supporting any structure of power that does not value humanity at it's core is something I can not and will not do.

The importance is people realizing that business is to support people, and that it in it's self is a fabrication in reality and has no feelings, if it's interest is not to support people than surely it will only harm society as a whole so a few can become super inflated. I am not so disassociated with reality to think that those who have worked so hard as to earn a sweet spot do not deserve it, no sir. Merely stating that in the game of chess, both kings present are very honorable, and every piece was willing to protect them at all cost. Few companies carry compassion, honor and dignity within their model. The standards displayed by the staff at Butterfly Labs Inc, is exemplary of how a true business treats people. This (King) in modern society equates to an honorable business, whom one would want to empower and support, and thus purchase from.

I can now explain better what has happened. I contacted BFL and (assumed) competition companies, I constructed e-mails to each, much like what BFL received from me. I picked a horrible overrun time when not only is product supply low but customer service staff would be having the most difficult time dealing with unruly customers. I picked an ambitious easily discarded set of criteria to contact about and let the pieces fall where they may. Here is how it played out, and why BFL gained so much clout.

No company replied to me except BFL, not one. Granted there are only a few that can be contacted in this case. The few are very commonly known and are not easily mistaken, and the names will remain obscured for ONLY the sake that everyone makes mistakes. The information given was legitimate and NOT FABRICATED, the texts generated were by my own person.

BFL not only assisted me with finding what I was looking for, but went above and beyond the call of duty! The staff seemed happy and willing to help me, even when they really had no such obligation to such a situation I presented them with. It is in my personal opinion and within my observational reason to say that Butterfly Labs is not only a company that does care about it's customers, but one that cares about it's employees as well.

This information has been sent to the BBB © 2012 BBB of Alaska, Oregon & Western Washington (In the form of business compliment) http://alaskaoregonwesternwashington.bbb.org/ If at any time BFL would like to use my information gained in correspondence with me they are allowed to do so as they see fit.

  • 1
    WHAT, THE BUTTERFLYING **** Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 17:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.