THE KING IS DEAD, long live the king! Samsung is the new top dog in the chip-making game, having bumped Intel into second place, and confirmed it will make cryptocurrency mining chips to solidify its lead.
For 25 years Intel ruled the roost as the world's largest chipmaker. But changes in fortunes, the move to mobile, and arguably a lack of innovation in processor designs has seen Intel drop-off pole position allowing Samsung to overtake.
Belting out mobile processes and memory chips for mobile devices helped Samsung's chip fortunes soar and when it posted its 2017 end of year financials, the die was cast and it became the new king of semiconductor hill.
And now it's going to manufacturer application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips, which are commonly used to crunch calculations for 'mining' cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
This should help the South Korean electronics giant to capitalise upon the rampant furore surrounding cryptocurrencies and add to its cash-filled coffers.
"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, confirming the company's ASIC plans but keeping other details under lock and key.
A lack of additional information leads to speculation that Samsung could become a big player in the crypto mining world, after all, it does produce memory chips for graphics accelerators which are often used for mining cryptocurrencies.
By building chips with cryptocurrency mining in mind, Samsung could not only tap into an emerging market but also have a dedicated product for the task, thereby avoiding companies from snapping up its other chips and repurposing them into crypto farms and causing the price of said chips to balloon out of hand.
This is a problem Nvidia is facing with its consumer graphics cards, which are getting price bumps by retailers looking to exploit the demand for GPUs capable of crypto mining. Nvidarguesgue that using gaming GPUs for mining ends up with graphics card prices being bumped up out of the reach of PC gaming enthusiasts.
But for Samsung, cryptocurrency mining looks to be a boon for it. And it may be wise to move into other markets as Apple is apparently slicing production of the iPhone X which Samsung provides displays for and make a bucket load of cash from, thereby posing a risk to Samsung's revenue. µ
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