Will Bitmain Stop At 3nm?
According to Zhang Zhongmou, founder of TSMC, 3nm will be the physical limit of silicon wafers, which will be achieved in the next decade. If the prediction is true, then bitcoin ASIC miners might reach its real boundary eventually.
Moore’s law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. The observation is named after Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, whose 1965 paper described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit.
The period is often quoted as 18 months because of Intel executive David House, who predicted that chip performance would double every 18 months (being a combination of the effect of more transistors and the transistors being faster).
Moore’s prediction proved accurate for several decades, and has been used in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and to set targets for research and development.-wikipedia
Zhang Zhongmou is considered to be the best spokesperson for Moore’s Law. The development TSMC has perfectly illustrated the development course of semiconductor industry. Being the major beneficiary under Moore’s law, TSMC has been actively advocated Moore’s Law. However, with the technology continues to evolve, the physical limits of silicon wafers is around the corner. In September 2017, Zhang talked about the limits of Moore’s Law. In his opinion, there are about 10 years to come for Moore’s Law to be in effect, which means 3nm could be achieved. But anywhere below 3 nanometers is uncharted territory. This problem could become the turning point in the development of TSMC.
Although TSMC now controls nearly 60% of the world’s chip foundry market with a production value of 50 billion U.S. dollars, it’s difficult for TSMC to dominant the market with well-funded Intel and Samsung around. In recent years, TSMC’s capital expenditures in new technology, new equipment and new factory investment has remained around 10 billion USD and showed a clear upward trend.
According to its financial reports, in Q4 2017, the consolidated revenue of TSMC rose 5.9%, a total of 277.57 billion Taiwan dollars (about 9.396 billion US dollars). The same period, TSMC net profit of 99.29 billion Taiwan dollars (about 3.36 billion US dollars). If you follow this estimate, TSMC to consolidate its own advantages and sprinkled out of the real gold billions, even more than the total annual revenue, which is undoubtedly a gamble.
As mentioned earlier, TSMC became the biggest winner in the war between Huawei and Apple. Mobile phone chips will undoubtedly continue to show high growth momentum in the coming years. Mobile phone chips contribute more than 50% revenue for TSMC. And to the envy of competitors, TSMC has another aces: cryptocurrency mining chips.
With the ups and downs of bitcoin in 2017, new concepts such as blockchain, mining and cryptocurrency have started to skyrocket worldwide. On January 19, 2018, Zhang Zhongmou talked bluntly about emerging markets. One of the key factors driving TSMC’s revenue growth in 2018 was the continued strength of cryptocurrencies mining or production.
According to public information, in the past six months, the world’s top two digital mines producer bit mainland Antarctic mining machine and Avalon Jia Yunan Zhi, are TSMC customers, the former In December 2017, it jumped to become the largest mainland customer of TSMC, which set itself the target of “becoming one of the top three customers of TSMC globally by 2018” on its official website.
Public information shows that in 2017, Bitmain placed 100,000 pieces of chips from TSMC alone, revenue of which is almost equal to the new iphone from Apple. Revenue of Cannan in 2015 was 55.31 million yuan but they paid TSMC up to 58.12 million yuan. In 2016 Cannan paid TSMC 186 million yuan out of 316 million revenues and the number in 2017 is estimated to reach 500 million yuan.
With its dominant market share, will Bitmain surrender to the law of physics? Will the hashrate of bitcoin network stop growing if 3nm ASICs are readily available in the market?