BitFury, the third-largest mining operation by total hashrate, announced in December that it will be mass-producing its custom 16nm ASIC chip and selling the chip directly to consumers.
“Each chip will achieve 40-55 GH/s at the highest possible efficiency of 0.055-0.07 J/GH. From 55 GH/s to 180 GH/s the chop follows nearly linear slop of efficiency from ~0.06 J/GH to 0.2 J/GH,” said Valery Vavilov, CEO of BitFury, in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine . Further, the 16nm chip is capable of running with a power supply voltage of 0.35 V.
The cooling mechanism used with these mining chips is an important factor in determining the maximum hashrate. According to the company’s announcement, for miners using a traditional air cooling setup, the ASIC will be able to reach hashing power of 140 GH/s. However, by using liquid immersion cooling, the chip can reach hashrates of up to 184 GH/s. In October, BitFury announced that it would be using 3M’s Novec 7100 Engineered Fluid for immersion cooling in its data centers.
BitFury partnered with GUC, a Taiwanese ASIC design service company, to design the custom 16nm chip. “We have worked closely with BitFury’s experienced IC designers and we are glad to assist BitFury to achieve this outstanding result. GUC is proud that the BitFury-GUC partnership resulted in the first 16nm full custom tape-out for both parties,” said Jim Lai, President of GUC, in a statement.
As the size of the chip gets smaller, it becomes increasingly difficult to mass-produce them.
“Needless to say, this technological advancement didn’t come easy and there were challenges to getting there but we are extremely pleased with the result,” said Vavilov.
While the chips are being produced, there are no miners incorporating the chip are yet being manufactured.
“We are working on several designs and will announce in near future,” said Vavilov. “We are planning to roll out the products starting from late Q1 2016. Price point will be determined by the total performance of the product and will be lower by $/GH than anything that is available on the market at this time.”
A Trend Toward Decentralization
Throughout 2015, there was a growing concern among the Bitcoin community that the mining space was centralizing, with the larger operations continuing to grow their share of the network and building new mining farms.
However, with the recent launch of the Antminer S7, the BW miner, the new Avalon ASIC, and now the BitFury, it appears that smaller miners are able to purchase the newest, most efficient, and cutting-edge chips developed by the large chip manufacturers.
“BitFury is fundamentally committed to being a responsible player in the Bitcoin community and we want to work with all integrated partners and resellers to make our unique technology widely available ensuring that the network remains decentralized and we move into the exhash era together,” Vavilov told Bitcoin Magazine.
Jacob Cohen Donnelly is a consultant and journalist in the Bitcoin space. He runs a weekly newsletter about bitcoin called Crypto Brief .