A Japanese company, GMO Internet Group, is looking to jump into bitcoin mining with new chips that could start a digital arms race.
One thing you can say about the subject of bitcoin mining is that it’s never dull. New players and technologies continue to rise up to keep everything interesting. The newest player to venture into bitcoin mining is GMO Internet Group, which is based in Tokyo, Japan. The company has long been associated with hosting web services and registering domain names, but it now plans on jumping into bitcoin mining with a sizeable monetary investment.
Joining the Modern Gold Rush of Bitcoin Mining
GMO Internet Group has worked with cryptocurrency through its regular internet-based business activities by accepting digital currencies as payment as well as starting an exchange and trading service. Now it seeks to join the modern gold rush of bitcoin mining by creating a new entity called GMO Coin, Inc. The Japanese company believes that cryptocurrencies will become “new universal currencies” that will be available for use by anyone in the world and eventually create a “new, borderless economic zone.”
GMO Internet Group is following the template of other major players in bitcoin mining, such as Bitmain from China. GMO will operate their own mines, rent mines to others, create and sell mining rigs, and develop their own chips to facilitate bitcoin mining in a cheaper and more efficient manner. It is the development of new chips by GMO that is of major interest. The chips they are developing will use 7 nanometer modes that will be four times more energy efficient than the 16 nm nodes that are the current standard.
The Start of an Arms Race?
There is speculation that the proposed 7 nm node chips from GMO could start an arms race. Diego Guiterrez of RSK Labs says,
The other [mining chip makers] will surely follow and create their own 7 nm chips if they are not already doing it. As [chip fabricators] get the new technology, everybody can access it.
Guiterrez also points out that current bitcoin mining operators could find their rigs obsolete once the new chips hit the market. Of course. proposing new and innovative chips is a far cry from actually releasing said chips. Yet GMO Internet Group is putting their money where their mouth is. They are planning on spending more than 10% of their consolidated noncurrent assets, which was at $32,379,001, on this endeavor.
The new chips would be a major shakeup for bitcoin mining and mark another chapter in the back-and-forth over which entities (and countries) will come out on top. Right now, China has a major hold with Bitmain as its mining pools, BTC.com and Antpool, account for over 25% of all the processing power on the global bitcoin network. Russia is challenging China as Putin aims to raise $100 million through an ICO, and Russian power companies are looking to give bitcoin miners a massive boost by selling off excess energy to them at greatly reduced rates. Now it appears that the Land of the Rising Sun has entered the fray.