ASIC Maker Seeks to Bring German Efficiency to Bitcoin Mining

Stan Higgins
Aug 20, 2014 at 20:10 UTC
Updated Aug 28, 2014 at 11:13 UTC

coinbau

Bitcoin mining startup CoinBau is looking to move aggressively into the hardware market with a new ASIC chip.

CoinBau’s chip, dubbed Wolfblood Extreme Efficiency, pulls roughly half the electricity necessary per gigahash – approximately 0.19 joules – compared to most options on the market, which range between 0.35 to 0.45 joules per gigahash.

CoinDesk spoke with CEO Sebastian Krause and CTO Markus Winter, who explained that efficiency is going to be the key factor as the global bitcoin mining industry continues to scale. Data center headquartering is becoming increasingly common among companies in the space, they say, and CoinBau is moving to compete with established crypto hardware firms. Its answer: cheaper mining.

With the chip now developed, the Dresden-based company is seeking between $10m and $15m to begin large-scale production of the chip. Citing strong interest as a result of recent coverage in The Wall Street Journal, Krause said that the company will likely reach its fundraising target.

He explained:

“We are talking every day to investors and a lot of miners. We offer small levels of investment, and we got a lot of responses from miners and people from the community who want to invest. They have a lot of questions, and we are very busy.”

The chip, according to the CoinBau team, was developed over the past year and a half during two phases, with the latter stage beginning in late 2013.

Bringing down the joules

CoinBau plans to make bitcoin mining more efficient through a mix of software and hardware solutions. Winter explained that during the R&D period, the CoinBau team addressed one of the fundamental questions that is shaping the increasingly competitive mining industry – how can more be done with less?

Winter said:

“The key for an economically successful mining chip is power consumption, and there are two important factors to power consumption. One is wattage, and the other one is frequency.”

He added that the development team’s deep history in power development made it possible to explore avenues for reducing the wattage while maintaining top-level performance. This, combined with the efforts of RacyICs GmbH, a Dresden-based chip maker, resulted in the achievement of lower power consumption levels.

Staying ahead of the pack

When asked about the new chip’s effect on the market, the company said that the impact of new chips offering a significant reduction in power consumption is already being felt.

Beyond the chatter among miners and investors, Winter suggested that CoinBau’s competitors in the bitcoin mining space are likely to try and adopt their approach. However, he suggested that they will need to spend significant time and money just to keep up.

Winter said:

“We expect our competitors will have to go the same way, but we do not believe they will be able to do it, at least in the next few months. They will have to invest more money and more time.”

In the immediate future, CoinBau remains focused on fundraising. Beyond building out its operations, the company plans to put its new chips to the test by mining, tweaking and moving to deliver products to the industry.

CoinBau is also in the early stages of building industry partnerships, giving it the ability to put its power consumption solution into the hands of miners. Krause suggested that the bitcoins mined during testing could be used to support other projects, though he said that it’s still too early to confirm any specific projects.

He told CoinDesk:

“We are just in the beginning.”

Images via Shutterstock and CoinBau

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