Monday , 19 February 2018

Samsung is now making cryptocurrency mining chips

As reported earlier this week in Korean news outlet The Bell, the South Korean technology conglomerate Samsung will produce Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) processing chips in its own foundry in a deal with Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC. Ironically, TSMC provides the ASIC chips used in Bitmain’s Antminers, but it’s new partnership with Samsung could well provide the first real competitor to Bitmain’s chip manufacturing ventures.

Bitmain’s stranglehold

Chinese mining giant Bitmain has long had a monopoly on the mining community. Having developed ASIC chips, Bitmain quickly turned the Bitcoin mining game on its head.

ASIC miners, which are highly efficient at solving the SHA256 algorithm used to confirm transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain, outperform traditional GPUs – which muscled hobby miners and their existing graphics cards out of the market.

With its own mining farms powered by its in-house, signature ASIC Antminers, Bitmain has become somewhat of a black sheep in the mining community due to its 29% global hashing power dominance through its Antpool and mining pools.

The big dogs enter mining

Samsung’s foray into the cryptocurrency mining space has a number of ramifications for the mining community. It signals the arrival of a mainstream, global electronics conglomerate to the cryptocurrency space. Samsung has established itself as one of the top global producers of high quality electronics, and its looking likely that its ASIC chips will be highly efficient and powerful.

A number of mainstream tech firms may consider following suit – given the massive demand for ASIC mining units worldwide. One only needs to look at the demand for Bitmain’s flagship S9 Antminers. Recent batches launched on its website have sold out within minutes – highlighting the voracious appetite for quality ASIC miners.

A household name like Samsung further legitimises cryptocurrency mining as a viable business venture. While it will almost certainly be a revenue booster for Samsung, the company shied away from making any financial predictions on its new venture. The true tester will be the mining community’s feedback once the new chips are launched.

Reports suggest that mass production of the chips began in January 2018, while Samsung are said to developing GPU mining chips which will be focused on altcoin mining algorithms. This could be a boon for Ethereum miners in particular, however further announcements will be needed to provide clarity there.

Samsung are said to be producing chips for the Chinese market first and foremost so it’s not clear when the rest of the world will have access to Samsung-powered ASIC miners.

The South Korean tech giant, however, did not provide any details on its customers or the chips, TechCrunch states.

However, in its recent 4th quarter and fiscal year 2017 results report yesterday, talking about the growing demand for cryptocurrency mining, Samsung said that, in 2018, it will provide 8-nanometer and 11nm processes to meet market needs, as well as start a “risk production” of 7nm.


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