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Samsung throws down, begins mass production of ASIC chips

South Korean chaebol Samsung has announced that it will begin mass producing ASIC mining hardware in conjunction with Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC.

Shortly after announcing its success in converting some forty elder Galaxy S5 smartphones into a Bitcoin mining rig last year, Samsung has now announced a new deal that will see it enter the ASIC market.

The South Korean chaebol is now set to partner with Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC to mass produce ASIC chipsets – silicon that is specifically designed to mine cryptocurrencies based on a specific hashing algorithm.

Presently, TSMC supplies ASIC chipsets to Bitcoin mining firms such as Bitmain in addition to producing its own hardware.

It is expected that Samsung’s decision to enter the cryptocurrency mining market might have wider ramifications on both silicon and cryptocurrency spheres.

In conversation with The Bell, Samsung Securities analyst Hwang Min-seong quipped that “Samsung Electronics could increase its revenues through ASIC chip manufacturing but because the foundry only accounts for a small portion of the company’s semi-conductor manufacturing plant, it is difficult to predict that the firm’s mining venture will have a significant impact on the company’s revenues.”

Change of pace

Samsung has traditionally focussed heavily on the development of its own silicon – its own brand of Exynos processors power the latest range of Galaxy smartphones, and expanding into cryptocurrency markets could be a surefire way for the chaebol to capitalize on cryptocurrencies without drawing the ire of South Korean regulators.

Forty of the company’s repurposed Galaxy S5 models now serve as Bitcoin mining rig, which Samsung claims offers superior energy efficiency when compared to a standard desktop system.

The S5-based rig was developed as part of the company’s ‘upcycling’ initiative, which aims to repurpose elder or aging hardware and to develop new applications around deprecated technology.

Have your say!

What other electronics manufacturers could follow Samsung to produce cryptocurrency-specific hardware, such as mining rigs or hardware wallets? Let us know your opinion on Twitter – join the conversation @coininsidercom!

Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA