Samsung joins cryptocurrency bandwagon

Samsung reveals plans to create mining chips as it officially enters cryptocurrency arena

Samsung have announced that their foundry business makes chips designed for cryptocurrency mining. The move was reported by Korean newspaper The Bell who revealed the chips will be application-specific integrated circuit (Asic). It marks the first official move by Samsung into cryptocurrencies.

Garrick Hileman, a cryptocurrency researcher from the University of Cambridge, said the move indicates that Samsung does not see Bitcoin as a bubble that is about to burst.

Bitcoin may be the biggest and most popular cryptocurrency today. However, it has been joined by many others over the years with new coins being launched regularly. Samsung’s chip manufacturing decision is clearly influenced by more than Bitcoin. The combined market value of cryptocurrencies has gone from less than $20bn to more than $540bn making it impossible to ignore.

The South Korean company’s semiconductor business is booming. It overtook Intel to become the world’s biggest chipmaker last year. Asic chips are designed to carry out a single task, which in this case is mining.

Demand for chips grows with cryptocurrency

The demand for these chips has grown in parallel to the value of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is created by solving mathematical problems, with these calculations also maintaining the integrity of the transactions.

As more Bitcoins are mined, these problems become more difficult. Miners who used to use normal integrated graphics cards switched to GPUs designed for gaming. However, they are now turning to specially built ASICs.

Mining is how transactions are verified and added to the blockchain public ledger. Mining is also how new cryptocurrencies are released.

The recent shortage of high-end GPU cards has increased their prices, making Asic technology more appealing.

Samsung believes part of its popularity is down to its memory chips, with high demand from the computer server and mobile device storage markets in particular.

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