Samsung seems keen to put crypto at the core of its operations. Its semiconductor business, the world’s largest, is making chips for cryptocurrency mining. Its electronics business, also a global giant, is reportedly working on a blockchain to monitor its logistics.
Samsung plans to use a blockchain to streamline the logistics of its mammoth electronics business, Bloomberg reported yesterday. The effort could save the company 20% on shipping costs, according to Samsung’s logistics chief. The project is notable because it would serve Samsung Electronics, the heart of the conglomerate’s business empire. This unit generated $170 billion in revenue last year from consumer electronics, displays, and mobile phones.
Samsung’s semiconductor business, meanwhile, recorded $69 billion in revenue last year, making it the world’s largest, ahead of Intel. In January, it reported that the chip business received a boost (pdf, p. 3) from cryptocurrency mining. According to its earnings report, the group is supplying cutting-edge 10 nanometer chips to unnamed manufacturers of crypto-mining rigs. These machines would be significantly more efficient than the current industry standard: 16 nanometer chips manufactured by Taiwanese foundry TSMC for Bitmain’s Antminer S9 rigs.
Samsung’s chips may be fueling an arms race in the multibillion-dollar bitcoin mining world, as rumors swirl that they power rigs from a secretive new rival of Bitmain called Halong Mining. The firm claims that its Dragonmint T1 unit is 25% more energy-efficient than Bitmain’s unit. Crypto mining consumes a huge amount of electricity, and it is a miner’s main operating cost.
Much is at stake in both the corporate blockchain and crypto mining worlds. Firms like Walmart, Foxconn, IBM, and Maersk are all testing blockchain solutions to streamline their logistics networks, projecting savings of billions of dollars. Meanwhile, crypto miners are growing so profitable that they are showing up as material contributors to earnings of listed firms like TSMC. Bitmain is said to have made up to $4 billion in profit last year. Samsung is setting itself up to get in on the action on both fronts.
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