Samsung Starts Making Crypto-Currency Mining Chips

Samsung Starts Making Crypto-Currency Mining Chips

Samsung's move could affect cryptocurrency, other cryptocurrency miners and China's local players.

The chips involved will be application-specific integrated circuit (Asic), according to Korean-language paper The Bell. These processors are specifically designed for a single computational task, as opposed to the multi-purpose processors we now use in our phones and computers. Those computers increasingly require more efficient chips to power them.

Cryptocurrency fever has gripped the world this year, with bitcoin now trading roughly at $10,000, almost 10 times its price this time last year.

Samsung has revealed that it's working on creating specially designed processors for a Chinese cryptocurrency mining company, which the South Korean tech giant expects will boost its 2018 earnings significantly. First, it was just Bitcoin that miners used to churn up by performing a series of complex calculations using graphic cards and now it looks like Samsung is going to take advantage of this market as well.

While the profit was expected, the firm's shares surged more than 8 percent after it unveiled the stock split.

Announcing its fourth-quarter earnings results on January 31, Samsung said potential risks from a certain client are not that much of a concern since it has diversified its customers.

Semiconductors were the main driver of growth, as Samsung said that its memory business that manufactures DRAM and NAND, as orders for high-performance memory products for servers and mobile storage, witnessed strong demand. Samsung said it expects its Foundry arm to be "number two" in the business. At the time of writing, Bitcoin trades near $9,300.

Demand for memory chips got strong previous year due to the spread of new mobile devices and more usage of big data, which requires more memory chips.

The chip business was Samsung's top earner last year, posting a record operating profit of 35.2 trillion won and more than doubling its profit on-year in the fourth quarter alone. On Tuesday, Samsung reported 2017 chip sales of $69 billion, blowing past Intel's $63 billion from a year ago.

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