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Samsung meets Bitcoin? Yep, the firm is making crypto chips

The phone and appliance powerhouse is also the world's largest chipmaker. And it's making processors for mining virtual dinero.

Cryptocurrency illustration

That clinking, clanking sound, it makes the world go 'round. And apparently Samsung's not deaf to it.

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You're not the only one who dreams of cashing in on cryptocurrency mania. Samsung's right there with you.

In its fourth-quarter earnings report Wednesday, the consumer-electronics purveyor and world's largest chipmaker by revenue said it expects its foundry business to get a bump-up from "growing demand for cryptocurrency mining chips."

It also confirmed, separately, that it's making such chips.

"Samsung's foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips," the company said in a statement sent to various media outlets. "However, we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers."

Mining for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin means putting your computer to work solving thorny math problems that're used to verify cryptocurrency transactions. In return for your gobs of processing power, you can be rewarded with coins.

And with some cryptocurrencies worth thousands of dollars per coin, and huge hype around the phenomenon, it's no surprise a rush of gold diggers are pumping up their computer systems with high-powered chips to get in on the act.

In fact, despite a dip in the value of Bitcoin, things have gotten so frenzied that computer gamers who want to make home-brew systems for playing Call of Duty (or whatever) are having a tough time getting hold of graphics cards. It seems the cards have turned out to be great for mining cryptocurrencies like Ethereum.

The Samsung chips in question are ASIC, or application-specific integrated circuit, chips, the BBC reports, pointing to the Korean-language newspaper The Bell. ASIC chips can be customized for a particular use.

In hopping onto the crypto bandwagon, Samsung joins companies like Kodak, which earlier this month announced a cryptocurrency-based service designed to help shutterbugs get paid when their photos are used without a license. And where there's money, there's monkey business: Facebook said Wednesday that it's temporarily banning cryptocurrency ads on the social network to protect people from scams.

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