Now that Samsung has taken Intel’s title as the world’s biggest chipmaker, it’s decided to turn its eye toward the cryptocurrency market. The company is mass producing application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) used to mine cryptos like bitcoin.
Korean site The Bell originally reported the news, citing unnamed Samsung officials. It claimed production was taking place in collaboration with an unnamed China-based mining equipment manufacturer, who will distribute the hardware.
"We are making progress with our foundry business that supplies to a virtual money mining company in China," a Samsung rep told the publication. "It is in the beginning stage so the proportion of profit from the overall foundry business is small yet."
Speaking to TechCrunch, a spokesperson confirmed the news. “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.”
Samsung is already working on its 10-nanometer 16Gb GDDR6 DRAM chips. They come with better power efficiency, are designed to increase a GPU’s performance, and are also used for mining purposes.
This isn’t the first time Samsung has shown an interest in cryptomining. Last October, it showed off a bitcoin mining cluster consisting of 40 Galaxy S5 handsets as part of its upcycling initiative.
Right now, Chinese company Bitmain is the industry leader when it comes to mining hardware. It claims to own over 70 percent of the market share. Both it and Canaan Creative use Taiwan-based company TSMC to manufacture their chips.
Samsung will compete against Bitmain's ASIC chip supplier. It will use its foundry in its semi-conductor plant to manufacture bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining equipment.— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) January 30, 2018
Important to note, Samsung has one of the largest semi-conductor plants. https://t.co/d6HMOgZAdM
TSMC has added $350 million to $400 million to its quarterly revenue thanks to crypto mining. Samsung said on an earnings call today that it expects its foundry arm to be "number two" in the business behind the Taiwanese giant.