Samsung signs a chip deal with Russian Bitcoin mining company Baikal

Industry sources claim that Samsung Electronics recently signed a major chip-making deal with a Russian company called Baikal, which specializes in dedicated Bitcoin mining hardware.

The Korea Herald reports that Samsung’s component-making arm will supply 14-nanometer ASIC chips for Baikal’s newly updated Bitcoin mining hardware. First chip samples have already been tested, with mass production scheduled to kick off in January 2018.

From the report:

Industry watchers noted that since it’s very rare for Samsung, who usually sticks with the safer and established partners like Apple and Qualcomm, to team up with a lesser-known company based in Russia, the company is making a bet on the future business aspects of cryptocurrency.

ASIC chips (ASIC is an acronym for an application-specific integrated circuit) are tailored for a particular use, in this case for the incredibly resource-intensive computations required in cryptocurrency mining and solving Bitcoin blocks.

The main advantages of ASIC-powered Bitcoin systems over older mining devices that mainly rely on general-purpose CPUs, GPUs or FPGAs are speed and lower power consumption.

South Korea is one of the world’s top five markets for mining software and hardware.