Canaan, the world’s second largest manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining hardware, unveiled that it has been seeking to develop a 5nm mining chip, just two months after it rolled out its new 7nm mining chip.
While the 7nm battle is just beginning, leading contenders are already on the way to the next battlefield – 5nm mining chip. The Avalon maker has already put 5nm-chip development on its top agenda, said the company’s marketing director Chen Feng in an interview with Caijing, a local finance news outlet.
“The industry is in stiff competition, once you lag behind in one gen product, it will be a backward even if you took the lead in early days… The 7nm mining chip can deliver a maximum hashrate of 48T, with power consumption reduced to half of 16nm chips. The massive adoption of 7nm chips is not only in bitcoin mining, but also a trend in the entire high-end manufacturing sector, with Huawei and Qualcomm both in the pipeline.”
However, Canaan’s latest A9 miner, though equipped with the most advanced 7nm chip, is actually not the best performer in the market in terms of power consumption. At 85 watt per tera-hashes, it consumes more electricity than Shenma M10 (66W/T) equipped with 16nm chips and Innosilicon T2turbo+ (69W/T) with 10nm chips. Chen also admitted there’s still a lot of room for 7nm miners either in terms of hashrate and power consumption, in which they would push harder.
In the meanwhile, Chen said the company has already started working on the 5nm chip. “As chips are in an iteration cycle of 2-3 years, if you want to be ahead of others, you have to make an early layout.”
Apart from mining chips, crypto mining giants have also been focusing their resources on AI (artificial intelligence).
Bitmain previously focused on developing AI cloud chip, aiming to provide AI cloud services at the enterprise level, and it recently launched a terminal AI chip. While Canaan seems to move faster in this area, the company recently released two products that seem to be “bizarre” – a mining TV and a mining heater. According to Chen, the company’s attempt in smart appliance is in fact created to showcase their interest in AI chips.
“If the TV miner keeps on running all day, it can earn about 0.0001 BTC per day based on the network hashrate on October 18, 2018; the heater earns more – 0.0005 BTC per day.”
In the bearish market that has been lasting nearly half a year, crypto miner makers are having a hard time. Both market demand and gross profits are affected in the bear, while overall revenues this year for miner makers, including Bitmain and Canaan, were higher than that of last year. “After witnessing the crypto bull run in the second half of last year, more investors are joining this space and they push up the demand.” Said Chen.
Among the newly increased demand, overseas markets have been a major contributor, with North America and Southeast Asia being the top two. Orders in these two markets start at tens of thousands units, and the great demand urges the industry to upgrade. However, limited by chip production capacity, mining hardware in the second half of last year and early this year are in short supply. In this context, Canaan failed to have a bigger share in the overseas market; however this situation will be changed, Chen disclosed.
*Edited based on an article from 8btc.