The last piece of the puzzle: Will Bitcoin mining machine research and development also be transferred from China to North America?

According to a Forbes report on August 24, as part of the B round of financing, Bitcoin infrastructure company Blockstream raised $210 million at a valuation of $3.2 billion.

The new funds are accompanied by the acquisition of the intellectual property rights of Spondoolies, an Israeli bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer that specializes in the production of ASIC chips for mining machines. The amount of the acquisition is undisclosed.

The Spondoolies team will also join Blockstream to establish the company’s ASIC department. By raising funds, the company hopes to expand its mining operations and develop new products. ” We actually expect Blockstream branded mining machines to be on the market in the third quarter of next year, ” said Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream.

Blockstream is no stranger to everyone. He is a Bitcoin technology company led by Adam Back, headquartered in Canada, with offices and employees around the world, and has developed a series of products and services for the storage and transfer of Bitcoin and other digital assets. .

Coindesk’s introduction is: Blockstream was founded by CEO Adam Back, Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell, and 9 others (including Pieter Wuille, Erik Svenson, Jonathan Wilkins, Austin Hill and Jorge Timon). Famous people who have worked for the company include Andrew Poelstra, Samson Mow, Lawrence Nahum, Christopher Allen and Matt Corallo. It provides a source of funding for Bitcoin developers.

Blockstream’s mining facilities have a total capacity of 300 MW, and they have also purchased a large number of Shenma’s Bitcoin mining machines. On January 28, 2021, Blockstream announced that it had purchased $25 million worth of Bitcoin Whatsminer from MicroBT.

Spondoolies is an Israeli mining company. According to people familiar with the matter, it had a certain strength before 2016, but with the shipment of new models such as the Antminer S9, which swept overseas mining machine manufacturers, Spondoolies had to leave the market sadly.

According to a CCN report, as of May 4, 2016, Spondoolies-tech has ceased operations, and its 7 employees requested the dissolution and liquidation of the company, “because of competition with Chinese Bitcoin hardware developers”. Spondoolies’ third-generation chip design still stays at 28nm, while S9 has come to the position of 16nm chips. Guy Core, the founder of Spondoolies, turned to privacy coins shortly after leaving and founded BEAM.

Due to the 521 renovation, almost all of China’s large mines were closed, and a large number of mines were transferred to the United States. The U.S. mining pool, led by the DCG Foundry mining pool, is also providing lending services to mining farms through the powerful financial group behind it, thereby introducing its computing power. On August 15th, DCG founder Barry tweeted a screenshot showing that the Foundry mining pool from the United States has ranked first in the world (computing power). However, this should only be a short period of 24 hours to unearth the total number of blocks, and the current ranking is stable at the seventh position.

In the short term, miners will not face too much domestic policy risks. Their policy risk actually comes from the United States. Therefore, high-process chips are under strict inspection by the United States, and high-process technology may be blocked from Chinese companies. In addition, if the two sides of the strait change in the future, Bitmain, which relies on TSMC, will be under strong pressure, and the production capacity side may also be an opportunity for North American chip companies.

But on the design side, it is very difficult for North American companies to catch up. Unlike mines and mining pools, Bitcoin chips have huge design barriers. Except for Shenma’s relatively smooth road (to a certain extent following the experience of predecessors), Bitmain and Canaan have invested heavily and constantly trial and error. It has reached the level of today’s competitive mining machine chip.

Although the design of Bitcoin mining machine is simple in logic, the technical difficulty is not small: it is necessary to design a hash core with the highest possible efficiency at a low voltage close to the limit of the physical process, and perform calculations at the limit voltage. It is necessary to design the back-end of the chip and The process nodes of the fab are familiar enough to use a large number of unconventional designs to design competitive mining machine chips. In the case of Bitcoin chips, the difficulty of the front-end of the chip is very low, and the difficulty lies in the optimization of the back-end.

With the strength of the above-mentioned Israeli company, although the 28nm level in 2015, there is still a battle. However, in the current industry where the industry is mainly competing for high-end processes around 7nm, Spondoolies’ patents that year did not have much effect. On the other hand, chips are more of a competition for design talents. The shortage of chip talents in North America is not conducive to the development of local mining machines. On the contrary, China is pushing hard technology and chip industries, and there is a steady stream of chip talents, which is very abundant.

Finally, chip companies in mainland China also have the advantage of being close to the water, and have close cooperation with TSMC, Samsung, and SMIC. It is very difficult for Blockstream to build a good cooperation with the fab and obtain production capacity. The amount of financing of 210 million US dollars may be enough to build a team and conduct filming, but it is not enough to carry out a few trial and error. From this perspective, the mining machine field is still a relatively solid situation in China for the time being. Blockstream may be able to make mining machines, but it is difficult to be competitive, and more will be abandoned halfway or cannot be mass-produced for their own mining.

In comparison, the bigger competitors of the three major mining machine manufacturers may come from China in the future. As Ethereum will completely turn to POS next year, after the huge cake disappears, all mining chip talents and companies will flood into the field of BTC mining machine chip design. This may be the reason why the chairman of Bitmain has “death threats” and lashed out at resigning employees.


Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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