Bitmain Announces Next Gen 7nm ASIC Chip Amidst IPO Controversy

  • New 7nm semiconductor chip will significantly improve power efficiency in what the company hopes will boost ASIC sales following prolonged rig sales market slump
  • Release comes as company is accused of concealing poor sales and using false information to boost its valuation ahead of its planned IPO

Bitmain Technologies has announced the launch of its next-generation ASIC chip BM1391 which is designed for bitcoin mining using the SHA256 algorithm. Announcing the launch on Friday September 21st at the World Digital Mining Summit in Georgia, the world’s largest manufacturer of crypto mining rigs also revealed that it is set to launch a new generation of its flagship Antminer ASIC mining rig product range as it attempts to address falling sales volumes.

Low Power, High Output

According to Bitmain, the chip uses cutting edge 7nm FinFET semiconductor manufacturing technologies and integrates over a billion transistors, which makes it optimally suited to maximise operational efficiency. Speaking at the summit, Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu stated that the chip’s unique circuit structure and low power technology enable it to achieve an energy consumption to mining capacity ratio of as little as 42J:TH.

According to Wu, the chip is set to go into mass production, after which it will be used to power a new generation of Antminer bitcoin mining rigs, improving their energy efficiency and overall performance. Speaking further, Wu predicted that beyond cryptocurrencies, the future developments in the space will be driven by blockchain applications. This he said, presents an opportunity for Bitmain to satisfy the anticipated demand growth for data processing capacity, hardware acceleration and parallel computing.

Bitmain’s IPO Controversy

From 2016, when the Chinese company unveiled its 16nm chips and started shipping Antminer S9 models, Bitmain experienced astronomical growth, eventually dominating an estimated 70 percent of the global crypto mining rig market, in addition to hosting its own bitcoin mining operation which at a point controlled close to half of Bitcoins hashpower.

CryptoGlobe reported earlier in the year that Bitmain plans to IPO in Hong Kong, which could see it valued at as much as $18 billion. In the light of the persistent crypto bear market however, many mining pools have struggled to stay in business, buffeted by falling prices and fixed energy costs which eat into their business margins. Some have even left the market altogether, and this has had a negative effect on mining rig sales across board.

Bitmain however, has been accused of hiding the extent to which it has been affected by falling sales by intentionally spreading rumours about large investments supposedly going into the company during it last pre-IPO funding round. CryptoGlobe reported in August that Tencent and SoftBank denied their purported involvement in a Bitmain funding round that was widely reported at the time.

Critics believe that Bitmain is in fact sitting on a large pile of unsold inventory that may never be sold under existing crypto market conditions, whilst e looking for an IPO exit to leave new investors holding the bag.

If Bitmain’s gambit with the new 7nm chip pays off, the expectation is that sales of the new Antminer series will take off, driven by miners who want to take advantage of increased energy efficiency and stay competitive as mining difficulty continues to grow despite falling prices.