Running hot on 84 amps
Rick Merritt, EETimes
8/14/2014 05:25 PM EDT
CUPERTINO, Calif. – In eight short months, startup CoinTerra designed a 28nm ASIC that pushes the envelope in logic power density and shipped a system using four of them. Its tale is typical of the headlong race to hardware acceleration in the emerging bitcoin economy
Bitcoin is the most high profile of several emerging digital currencies founded on a set of mathematical formulas and open source software released in 2009. Its de-centralized economy is based on bitcoin mining, essentially clearing transactions that use an increasingly complex set of cryptographic puzzles based on the SHA-256 hashing algorithm.
The first bitcoin mining systems to crack the code of a puzzle get rewarded, sometimes to the tune of millions in virtual currency. Initially participants used standard PCs for bitcoin mining. But as transactions became increasingly complex the community moved to GPU and FPGA accelerators and -- since January 2013 -- to ASICs.
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