An ASIC is an Application Specific Integrated Circuit. They are specially designed pieces of hardware for performing the Litecoin hashing algorithms necessary to mine a specific coin and verify hashed transactions. These pieces of hardware are designed and manufactured to perform necessary hashing and nothing else.
With the increasing valuation of Bitcoin, in fiat terms, the economic viability of ASICs begun to make sense some time ago. The development of ASICs to do SHA256 became a reality. There were issues along the way with bringing them to market, but ASICs have arrived.
With the increasing valuation of any coin the same is true: ASICs become a viable option. It is difficult and some would say impossible to avoid ASIC development in the face of viable economic incentives.
ASICs are considered undesirable for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they concentrate mining power too heavily and diverge from the original ‘one cpu one vote’ intention of Satoshi.
The proof-of-work also solves the problem of determining representation in majority decisionmaking. If the majority were based on one-IP-address-one-vote, it could be subverted by anyoneable to allocate many IPs. Proof-of-work is essentially one-CPU-one-vote. The majoritydecision is represented by the longest chain, which has the greatest proof-of-work effort investedin it. - from Satoshi Nakamoto's white paper on Bitcoin.
There are two main mining computations for crypto-currencies in use at the moment: Scrypt and SHA. Scrypt was most popularly implemented in Litecoin in 2011. It was an attempt to resist ASIC development as much as economically possible, through memory hardness.
Litecoin has been wildly successful, achieving a market cap of over 1 billion dollars last year, at its peak. It has an emerging chart pattern that mirrors the market price movement of Bitcoin. So, the economic incentives are now there to develop ASICs for Litecoin.
This is exactly what one company has done.
Mining ASICs Technologies B.V. (MAT) is in development of an ASIC Litecoin SCRYPT miner and FPGA Litecoin SCRYPT miner.
They have signed a partnership with German Company Dream Chip Technologies. Dream Chip Technologies is a German engineering company with a strong track record in System on Chip and embedded Software design.
The PLATINUM FPGA Litecoin SCRYPT miners will be embodied in two products , the 10 MH/s device and the 30 MH/s device. Shipments are planned to start in August of 2014. Pricing for their mining gear is available on their website.
The company is taking pre-orders. As always, in line with the principles of Caveat Emptor, consumers are encouraged to conduct all the necessary checks and due-diligence. Check the scam list on bitcointalk.org.
These promise to be high performance and very efficient Litecoin miners. The company will be taking only 35 percent as a deposit payment. There is no full payment for pre-orders needed. These Scrypt Litecoin miners will able to mine Litecoin, and all other Scrypt cryptocurrencies like Dogecoins, Feathercoins and many others.
Mining ASICs Technologies B.V. (MAT) is providing its mining and Cryptocurrency expertise while Dream Chip Technologies will handle hardware development, production, and quality assurance.
FPGAs and ASICs for Litecoin mining would represent a significant increase in computing power backing the Litecoin network. At present, most mining of different Scrypt coins takes place on regular graphics cards/GPUs, as did Bitcoin mining before ASICs become popular for mining.
Mining ASICs Technologies B.V. (MAT) has begun with an FPGA conceptualization of Litecoin's primary Scrypt hashing algorithm, before designing dedicated ASIC hardware.
All specifications at the moment are pre-release and subject to change. Mining ASICs Technologies B.V. (MAT) has additionally announced the start of development ‘Titanium’: a new-generation of powerful ASIC Bitcoin miners using 28nm chips that will provide at least 6 TH/s of power.
Any images currently floating around of the miners are only representative of the device. The actual final product may look different.
Full information, details and contact information is available from the companies website.