Chinese company develops Bitcoin mining chip technology in defiance of American restrictions
China’s premier maker of chips used in Bitcoin (BTC) mining has reached a breakthrough in its semiconductor technology, despite the United States government’s continued prohibition on providing it with the essential equipment.
Bloomberg’s Debby Wu and Jenny Leonard reported on July 21 that, according to a July 19 blog post by industry observer TechInsights, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) is now offering Bitcoin mining chips manufactured with superior 7-nanometer technology.
According to the study, the new technology is two generations ahead of SMIC’s 14-nm semiconductors since it permits the fabrication of narrower transistor widths to produce quicker and more efficient mining chips.
Effects of SMIC sanctions and blacklisting
Notably, the Trump administration banned SMIC in 2020 because of national security concerns over the chipmaker’s suspected ties to the Chinese military, which the firm has denied.
Following the blacklisting, the U.S. government prohibited any unauthorised sales of equipment to the leading Chinese chipmaker that may be used to produce semiconductors of 10nm or smaller.
In addition, U.S. pressure on the Dutch government has prohibited the Dutch company ASML Holding NV from supplying any extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) equipment that SMIC need to manufacture even more sophisticated semiconductors using 5nm and 3nm technology.
Nevertheless, despite not having access to the most advanced equipment, SMIC’s China-based client MinerVa Semiconductor Corporation presently shows a 7nm chip on its website (without identifying the manufacturer) and claims mass production began in July 2021.
What the future will bring
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and U.S. Representative Michael McCaul have demanded that the Commerce Department strengthen its export restrictions on SMIC to prevent China from providing Russia with technology and aiding it in evading sanctions.
Finbold revealed in March 2021 that the tight geopolitical ties between the two nations severely impacted Bitcoin miners owing to a lack of mining chips directly caused by the sanctions.