01-30-2018: Samsung Manufactures ASIC Cryptocurrency Mining Chips

Samsung has confirmed it is now manufacturing specialized cryptocurrency mining chips after reports to that effect surfaced this week. South Korean news outlet The Bell first revealed the news, stating that Samsung was kicking off manufacturing in January, aiming to provide application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to an unnamed Chinese mining firm. A company spokesperson has since told TechCrunch: “Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing cryptocurrency mining chips.” Samsung’s move into the cryptocurrency mining space will undoubtedly bring serious competition to China-based Bitmain, which claims to hold over 70 percent of the market share and uses ASICS from Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC (coindesk).

The US’s two major financial regulatory authorities have announced that they will hold a dedicated hearing on virtual currencies on February 6, 2018. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will meet to discuss what an advance notice describes as their “oversight role”, as the industry becomes an increasingly prioritized focus of lawmakers around the world. SEC chairman Jay Clayton will join CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo as chief witnesses. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies entered the public spotlight anew during last week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018, with senior politicians from various major economies stating their intention to heighten legislative interaction (cointelegraph).

The BTCC Bitcoin exchange, formerly known as BTC China, has been acquired by a Hong Kong-based Blockchain investment fund on terms that are yet to be disclosed. Calvin Cheng, an advisor for the investment fund, expressed his excitement about their acquisition of the longest-running Bitcoin exchange in China, saying that they were “humbled” by the opportunity. According to BTCC’s press release, the company will now focus on three major market spheres, namely the international BTCC Mining Pool, Mobi wallet software, and its own cryptocurrency exchange. Co-founder of BTCC Bobby Lee expressed his confidence for the future after the deal, saying that he is “very excited about the resources this gives BTCC to move faster and aggressively grow [its] businesses in 2018 and beyond” (cointelegraph).

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, refuted the Bloomberg report that Goldman Sachs will be opening a crypto trading desk in an interview with CNBC, although the New York bank has owned a stake in a crypto trading desk since 2015. In 2015, Goldman Sachs’ principal investment strategy group, which invests specifically in technology companies, participated in a $50 mln funding round with Bitcoin-startup Circle Internet Financial. The deal closed on April 29, 2015, when Bitcoin (BTC) was trading at around $225.59, according to CoinMarketCap. By press time, BTC was trading around $10,040, about a 4400 percent increase from when Goldman Sachs invested in the Bitcoin-startup (cointelegraph).

And lastly, Huobi, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges that was originally founded in China, has revealed its plans to open an office in San Francisco. The announcement took place during the Blockchain Connect conference. The company’s new office is already under construction in the Silicon Valley. Huobi’s Chief Strategy Officer Cai Kailong stated “The U.S. will be our focus right now,” (cointelegraph).

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