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Samsung confirms it’s working on chips for cryptocurrency mining

A render of virtual currency.
Just like everyone else on the planet, it looks like Samsung is getting in on the cryptocurrency business, by manufacturing ASIC chips designed specifically for mining those precious bitcoins. Or litecoins, or NEM tokens, or dogecoins, take your pick. Point is, one of the world’s largest chip manufacturers is muscling into the cryptocurrency mining industry.

“Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips. However we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers,” a Samsung spokesperson told TechCrunch.

According to TechCrunch, the move comes as part of a collaboration with a distribution partner in China. Other than that, there is not much to go on here, Samsung has remained tight-lipped about who it’s making the chips for, and to what end — other than their purpose as crypto-mining tools.

To clarify, Samsung isn’t making CPUs or GPUs for bitcoin mining, instead it is making application-specific integrated circuit or ASIC chips. Think of these as processors designed for one specific purpose, rather than the kind of general use processor inside your computer or smartphone. ASIC chips are made with particular uses in mind, and optimized to perform a single task very well and very efficiently. That’s why ASIC chips built for cryptocurrency mining are in such high demand. They get the job done because it’s the only job they’re built for.

Samsung getting in on this part of the cryptocurrency craze makes sense, since its a massive company with its snaking tendrils in hundreds of different businesses. Manufacturing ASIC chips for crypto mining isn’t much of a stretch for Samsung’s enormous manufacturing infrastructure. It is, however, big news for other ASIC chip manufacturers.

As TechCrunch points out, it’s not clear exactly where Samsung is going to fit into the cryptocurrency chip manufacturing business, but at the very least it’s putting itself in direct competition with some big players in chip manufacturing — namely, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC.

As the world’s largest chip manufacturer, TSMC has made a comfortable niche in the cryptocurrency-facing ASIC chip market. We will have to wait and see what happens now that Samsung is jumping in with both feet — either way, it’s sure to make some waves.

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