Silicon Valley Startup to Sell ASIC Based Bitcoin Mining Equipment
TerraHash (http://www.terrahash.com), a Silicon Valley based startup company, announced today that it will start selling ASIC based Bitcoin mining equipment in the near future.
The company's equipment will be based on an ASIC chip developed and sold by another company called BitSyncom. BitSyncom is one of the first few companies to have successfully developed an ASIC for Bitcoin mining. BitSyncom's ASIC chip is known as Avalon.
Bitcoin is a decentralized virtual currency that is not controlled by any central authority but is based on a peer-2-peer network. First described in a 2008 paper by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin has recently gained huge popularity.
Bitcoins are mined on ordinary computers processing transactions on the network. Bitcoins are designed to be finite in number, and with time it gets harder and harder to find more coins. The faster a computer is, the higher the probability that it will find Bitcoins. Starting with CPUs (Central Processing Unit), the miners slowly graduated to GPUs (Graphics Processing Unit), which were an order of magnitude faster than the CPUs. Slowly the network difficulty caught up, and the miners began migrating to FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Array), which were an order of magnitude faster than GPUs. Recently the network difficulty has gone very high, and it is no longer feasible to mine with CPUs or GPUs and even the FPGAs barely break even.
ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) are the end of the road for technological advancement in Bitcoin mining, and they are an order of magnitude faster than FPGAs. Although the current ASICs do not exploit the latest technology, and there is still some room for improvement. There is a speculation in the community that quantum computers might throw everything off the rails, but quantum computing technology is still in a fledgling stage and it may take decades before quantum computers start appearing on work desks.
Providing more information, Justin Reynolds, the CEO of the company said that for the last 6 months they have been trying to raise venture capital for designing and producing their own ASIC. But given the speculative and volatile nature of the Bitcoin economy, not many venture capital companies are interested in investing at this time.
"So we decided to instead focus on something that is already available in the market and work with that. When BitSyncom decided to sell Avalon ASIC chips, we saw an opportunity there. We thought it would be a great idea to design and manufacture printed circuit boards for those chips, and sell assembled kits. We have already ordered around 20,000 Avalon chips, which we hope to receive in a couple of months," he said.
The company will sell different kinds of products. TerraHash will sell 16-chip (4.5 GH/sec) and 64-chip (18 GH/sec) assembled PCBs for semi-pro users. Each module can be daisy chained with upto 32 other modules through USB, with one of them connected to a computer and acting as the main controller. For an all-in-one solution, TerraHash will sell complete assembled kits containing up to twenty 16-chip modules or ten 64 chip modules, a power supply and cooling solution. The kits will be modular, which means additional modules can be installed in them later. Reynolds said that the company will also provide board assembly services, which implies that people can send them Avalon chips, and the company will send the assembled boards or kits back for a fee. He further said that company has not finished the design of the custom board yet, but is willing to work with others in the community working on an open design.
The pricing information for the products can be seen at the company's website at http://www.terrahash.com/
TerraHash's team has over 30 years of cumulative experience in designing, manufacturing and selling computer hardware. Having worked in large consumer electronics companies the team boasts of its expertise in motherboard design and assembly.
When asked about future plans for the company, Reynolds said,
"Every company has their own expertise. Avalon is good at making chips, let them focus on that. Similarly we will just focus on assembling boards/kits. Although, if we make enough profit from this business, we might invest it back in designing a more efficient ASIC, but that is off the charts for now."