Black Arrow Minion chips are now being designed at 14nm, beating KnC’s 20nm record. In a world where size supposedly doesn’t matter, ASIC chips keep getting smaller and smaller. The smaller the chip is, the longer the production time and the lower the power consumption.
Alex from Black Arrow gives us the low-down on the Minion high-ground.
Black Arrow Minion Interview
You’ve just set a tape-out date of December 2014 for your new 14nm ASIC, beating KNC’s 20nm ASIC by 6nm and with about half the J/GH. What do you think the market will be like when you release your new Minions next year? How will you ensure that they will stay profitable?
We believe that if Bitcoin mining is going to continue, there will be a need for more power efficient ASICs. The silicon industry is taking us more seriously than last year, and we believe there’s a bright future ahead. We do not want to make any speculations into profitability of the Bitcoin mining as our business is in hardware development, not in financial investment.
What advantage do FinFet transistors offer your product design?
The cost per transistor is certainly higher, but the advantage is the lower power consumption which FinFet transistors can achieve.
What technologies are your competitors using?
Our competitors are currently using 20nm, 28nm, 40nm and 55nm. We are not aware of any company [that has] been able to access 14nm Finfet, and our partners are confident that the competition will not have access to this particular technology before we do. Our current generation chip is called Minion and is able to perform 120Ghash/sec even though we’ve targeted 100Ghash/sec before release. It is made using 28nm lithography and uses 0.75J/Ghash.
In a world where scam ASIC manufacturers are the norm, how do you show the world that you mean business and will work to release profitable equipment to your customers?
We are not aware of any scam ASIC manufacturers so we cannot comment on this. Our company is already shipping the 3rd generation of miners [that] is the first generation to use our ASICs. This year we have been focusing on designing, manufacturing and selling both our ASICs and miners. However, in the future we wish to concentrate less on miners and more on manufacturing ASICs. We are going to support more [active] partners to design miners using our chips. Our equipment will be more profitable than others as it is using less power per Ghash, even with the price per gate higher to manufacture. We believe that by the end of 2015, the majority of the network will be 14nm. Therefore, there should be strong demand for our chips.
You mentioned that you’re looking for ASIC manufacturing partners to assist with the costs of the project. What do you look for in a potential manufacturing partner?
We are looking for venture capitalists that believe in Bitcoin’s future and eventually to join forces with one or more ASICs manufacturers out there. The investment required is limited [we, therefore,] strongly believe that we will find a partner soon.
Do you already have interested companies?
We have been already approached by [two] companies interested in forging a partnership with us. One potential partner is interested in taking Black Arrow public. We are seriously considering their offer however no final decision was taken yet. It is important to us to find the right partner which will enable us to become a leading force in the industry by developing new exciting technologies while remaining profitable.
Do you think that Black Arrow’s new Minions will mine you into wealth or a financial hole? Will you be buying the new chips? Black Arrow has been likened to BFL in the past. Will they deliver as promised? Hopefully, whoever buys chips from Black Arrow will not hastily cobble together devices for meltdown like KnC did before. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Author’s Note: There are a lot of comments below suggesting that Black Arrow is a “scam company.” As always, due your own due diligence and investigate any company you are considering doing business with.
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with Black Arrow.
Featured image from Shutterstock.