Samsung is making processors solely for cryptocurrency mining

Samsung ASIC cryptocurrency chips

Thanks to the cryptocurrency craze the prices of graphics cards have been inflated to up to three times their retail cost, while inventories have been falling to all-time lows. But relief for PC gamers could be coming soon, as Samsung has announced that it's making new chips specifically for mining.

Samsung confirmed to TechCrunch that its foundry business is "engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips". Aside from the scant confirmation, a separate Korean news report from The Bell suggests that the company will produce application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) designed for single computational tasks.

Among the many unknowns when it comes to Samsung’s new mining chips is how this form of ASIC will be able to readily chip away at Ethereum, which has classically been ASIC-resistant. Ethereum isn’t necessarily invulnerable to ASIC, but it’s a problem that Samsung will need to solve.

The Korean electronics firm’s move into the cryptocurrency world may seem like a curious one, but the company is already deeply involved in mining. A majority of the graphics cards used in mining feature Samsung’s high-capacity memory chips. 

And, while Samsung is largely known for its smartphones and QLED 4K TVs, the company recently toppled Intel as the world’s largest chipmaker, so this latest initiative could help solidify its position in the silicon arena.

Hopefully, Samsung’s move into ASIC chips can help take some of the stress off the world’s stockpile of GPUs – but we can also easily see the company’s burgeoning focus on the mining world cutting into the availability of memory supply for graphics cards.