Bitcoin ASIC vendor planning IPO

June 14, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
Sequoia Capital China is reported to have a led a $400 million pre-IPO round of finance in Bitmain Technologies Ltd. (Beijing, China) that values the Bitcoin miner and mining chip designer at $12 billion.

Bitmain, which has become one of foundry TSMC's significant customers at 16nm and 7nm  is planning to apply for an IPO in Hong Kong in September with an expected market capitalization by the end of the year of between $30 billion and $40 billion.

This is despite the fact the Bitcoin currency has been falling in value throughout the year. In December of 2017 the currency hit a peak value where one bitcoin was worth in excess of $19,000. On June 14, 2018 the currency is quoted as being worth about $6,500. 

Bitmain was founded in 2013 and develops Bitcoin mining machines using accelerator ASIC chips it gets manufactured at foundry TSMC. It is reckoned to have commanded 80 percent of the market for Bitcoin mining ASICs in 2017.

However, the company also intends to branch out from Bitcoin mining into artificial intelligence and machine learning, which may have a longer-term future. Bitmain has already introduced a tensor computing processor under the Sophon brand, part number BM1680, manufactured in TSMC's 28nm HPC+ manufacturing process.

The Sophon BM1680 ASIC is for tensor computing acceleration and is intended as a replacement for the Google TPU. Its internal accelerator core uses enhanced systolic architecture technology similar to the Google TPU. It is designed for both deep learning training and inference of neural networks such as CNN, RNN and DNN.

Related links and articles:

www.bitmain.com

www.sophon.ai

News articles:

Cryptocurrency mining IC startup now a TSMC top-ten customer?

TSMC talks cryptocurrency as sales driver

Cryptocurrency mining demand sucking up TSMC IC production

Google's second TPU processor comes out


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