Alpha Technology is still in tape-out – The company gets an overhaul

Rick Mac Gillis @ManWithNoBrows
July 30, 2014

Alpha Technology was working towards shipping their Viper units by the end of July, but due to technical issues, they had to go through a second-tape-out process, thus delaying the shipments. They waited until July 28th to tell customers about this little surprise, distancing themselves from their claim of being transparent. Their news even went so far as to “remind” all of their customers that they upgraded their devices from 25MH/s to 250MH/s back in May. Even though PayPal did what PayPal does best, and locked Alpha Technology’s funds, Alpha Technology was still able to fund the second tape-out with funds collected from other sources. PayPal prevented Alpha Technology from fast-tracking their manufacturing, and goes to show you just how much the fiat currency system needs to be replaced with decentralized cryptocurrency.


Lack of transparency

Alpha Technology has been deleting posts on their forums and banning people. The boards are now almost completely bereft of posts, yet the old post count is still displayed in the footer as 4,070 posts in 327 topics. The message I received from a customer of theirs indicates that the forum was filled with negative posts about the company. KNC, if you’re reading this, I give you mad props for letting people speak their minds for the most part, on your forums. Alpha Technology apparently emptied the forum by moving everything to the member access only archives to start fresh with their customers and make things better by talking things out like grown-ups… Or perhaps it’s all just damage control.

Alpha Technology Forum Statistics

Fiaz states that Alpha Technology is starting fresh and has unbanned all the members whom they previously banned. He asks everyone to discuss the situation with him on the thread he started, entitled, “A New Direction For Alpha Technology.”

A new announcement from Alpha Technology

Fiaz, in his post, stated that they will post a new announcement sometime soon and that it will be a total game changer. He never said what the new announcement was, potentially in an attempt to keep people’s interest peaked. From reading the comments, I gathered that his decision to work with the customers to improve the company’s standing was well received.

What went wrong with the tape-out?

On July 29th, Fiaz gave a very technical rundown of what happened during the tape-out. As he was talking over most people’s heads, customers asked him to elaborate on what the initials mean, but Fiaz only replied with a link to the “A New Direction For Alpha Technology” thread.

There is no issue with the chip, however during tape-out it was discovered that even though the DRC & LVS reports for the chip is clean, and there are sufficient test structures embedded, GF insisted on having ACLV macros to be embedded to find out details on leakage control. In order to adhere to GF requirement of ACLV macros, the chip had to be inserted with these macros. [They have] been inserted, and the GDS database has been resubmitted so we are hopeful it can be resolved relatively quickly.

In other words, they had to put a special thingy in a special place because someone wanted it there. All kidding aside, if I’m reading this correctly, it basically states that they finished creating the chip, but the chip manufacturer wanted to add another feature to it (something to get details on leakage control) even though they finished the tape-out. This cost everyone months of waiting around for them to add that special feature.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Alpha Technology, but I’ve been burned by PayPal as well.

Photo credit: Viper by Alpha Technology

Rick Mac Gillis @ManWithNoBrows

Rick Mac Gillis entered the world of Cryptocurrencies in late 2013. He is a controversial journalist committed to investigating and exposing the "dirty bits" of the community. With over a decade of experience in LAMP web development with a focus in custom cryptographic security methods and ethical hacking, Rick Mac Gillis understands the need for proper security standards in cryptocurrency.