Samsung has joined the worldwide cryptocurrency craze that is showing no signs of abating. The ever-growing Korean technology conglomerate announced that it is currently manufacturing ASIC chips, which can be used to mine cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The announcement comes in the wake of the news that the company has passed Intel as the world’s leading producer of computer chips.
A spokesperson for Samsung said that the company’s foundry unit is making the cryptocurrency mining chips. Though this person would not disclose for what customers they are making the chips or any other details about them, including who the company might be partnering with in the venture. However, Korean media outlets have been reporting that Samsung is manufacturing the chips in coordination with a yet unnamed Chinese distribution company.
Samsung already sells high-capacity memory chips that are commonly used in graphic processing units (GPUs), which can both facilitate computer graphics and mine for cryptocurrencies.
Canaan Creative and Bitmain, which are both Chinese manufacturers of ASIC chips, right now dominate the market for these chips, in cooperation with Taiwan’s TSMC. It is believed that the current boom in cryptocurrency mining has provided TSMC with somewhere between $350-$400 million in additional quarterly revenue.
At the moment, it is not known exactly how Samsung will fit into this market and who it will compete with, but experts believe that it will most likely directly compete with TSMC, which is something it has done in the past. These same experts also believe that those that will partner with Samsung in the project will eventually compete with Canaan Creative and Bitmain.
Samsung earned nearly $70 billion in 2017 from the sales of computer chips, most of which were used in the manufacturing of smartphones. So, it’s not expected that making cryptocurrency mining chips will form a significant part of their business.