South Korean electronics giant has made a bold move into cryptocurrency mining. According to Korean news agency The Bell, mass production of the ASIC chip has already begun.
ASIC (or application-specific integrated circuit) are chips created for a specific, rather than a general, purpose, for example, Bitcoin mining. Samsung will be partnering with an as yet unidentified Chinese distributor. Some reports had suggested the agreement might have been with Taiwanese company TSMC, though this is unconfirmed. TSMC already work with Chinese mining company Bitmain on its hardware offerings.
Samsung have confirmed the news, saying that its “foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips” though it would not comment further on its customers.
The announcement comes the same day as confirmation came that Samsung had overtaken Intel as the world’s largest chip manufacturer by revenue, with 2017 sales topping $69.8 billion.
In its fourth quarter earnings report Samsung hoped extend this lead further and “benefit from cryptocurrency demand increase” for its semiconductors, though as a spokesman told the Bell, “It is in the beginning stage so the proportion of profit from the overall foundry business is small yet.“
No Exchange Ban
Also today the South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon announced that regulators have no intention of shutting down South Korean exchanges. South Koreans are among the world’s most enthusiastic cryptocurrency traders and sentiment there drives world prices. There had been speculation for weeks that an outright ban was on the cards, and many believe that this has led to a sluggish January for cryptocurrency prices.
Kim said that, “there is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrencies” and the intention is instead to regulate. Of particular concern to South Korean authorities is illegal foreign currency trading. The customs authority announced that their investigation of cryptocurrency exchanges had revealed almost $600 million worth of illegal activity.
Cryptocurrency Mining Image From Shutterstock