Samsung Joins Bitcoin Mining Fray

But Samsung's entry into this space, even as potentially just a parts supplier, might mean their profits could now be affected by increased or decreased bitcoin mining demand and more generally crypto mining as they also mass produce GPUs. ASICs are processors that have been specially designed for a single computational task, as opposed to the multi-purpose processors we use in computers and phones. Its foray into mining-specific hardware, which are much more efficient that GPUs, suggests that it's ready to play a bigger role in the booming cryptocurrency industry.

The spike in prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies over the past year has driven up interest in mining them.

As well as an overall boost to its chipmaking reputation, it now appears Samsung is diversifying its options by manufacturing ASIC chips used to mine cryptocurrencies like ether, bitcoin and ripple.

"It is hard to give specific details, but we have been trying to diversify our clients and reduce reliance on a certain customer to build a healthy portfolio", a Samsung executive said in a conference call yesterday when asked about the potential impact of lower than expected iPhone X sales. Bitcoin is now trading near $10,000, almost 10 times its price this time a year ago.

Samsung shares have soared today after the company revealed healthy Q4 and annual profit figures as well as a 50:1 stock split, the latter of which is created to increase investment.

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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.

Cryptocurrency mining requires powerful computers that are capable of solving complex mathematical problems.

However, the downside to using Samsung's chipsets for cryptocurrency is that users might not be able to get the most out of mining.

"In the first quarter, earnings are expected to rise on the ramp-up of 2nd generation 10nm process products for this year's flagship smartphones and growing demand for cryptocurrency mining chips", it said.

  • Delia Davidson