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Samsung’s chip-making division is diving into the lucrative space of cryptocurrency mining.
“Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips,” the company told TC without disclosing any further details.
This could make Samsung a very serious competitor to Chinese companies such as Bitmain, Canaan and the U.S.-based Bitfury. These companies specialize in producing ASICs (application-specific integratied circuits) — chips designed specifically to mine Bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies.
New Bitcoins are created through the process of mining, in which networked computers solve a tough math problem while at the same time powering Bitcoin’s payment network. Details may differ, but many other cryptocurrencies employ a similar process for creating new coins.
Initially, nearly anyone could mine Bitcoin using their home computer. But as Bitcoin became more popular, the mining difficulty automatically increased, and has now reached such levels that one can only seriously mine with ASICs.
Mining is a profitable business, and it’s no wonder that Samsung, the world’s largest chip maker as of Jan 31, 2018, is looking to enter the space. Taiwanese company TSMC, which makes chips for Bitmain and Creative, added $350-400 million in revenue in the last quarter from the crypto-mining business alone.
Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.