FPGAs Threaten Smallcap Altcoins as Xilinx Enters Crypto Mining

Xilinx, a Fortune 1000 semiconductor company specializing in FPGAs, is entering the crypto mining market, said sources. This poses a threat to coins with “vulnerable” mining algorithms such Ravencoin, Nervos, and others.

Xilinx is a semiconductor company with a market capitalization of over $24 billion. Recently, leaked communications from within the firm show that they are making moves into crypto mining with FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays). This segment has historically been dominated by Nvidia and AMD GPUs.

Previously, the firm mainly served other hardware designers in this market, such as SQRL, which designs specialized FPGAs for cryptocurrency mining.

An FPGA is a type of chip that allows a miner to configure it to effectively mine different algorithms, and thus different coins. This capability may even allow FPGAs to withstand algorithm hardforks meant to thwart specialized hardware, such as those employed by Monero. ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits), meanwhile, are locked into mining on a single algorithm, like Bitcoin’s SHA256.

Crypto Briefing spoke with SQRL CEO David Stanfill. He said of FPGAs:

“In the hardware world outside of crypto mining ASICs, the growing event for the last year and a half has been the gradual replacement of GPU farms with new high-end FPGA based accelerators. Nothing like the small FPGAs that briefly existed in early Bitcoin days.”

Now, sources say that Xilinx is now building its own FPGAs geared toward large-scale mining farms. Stanfill claims Xilinx, a partner of theirs, copied these designs from SQRL. Crypto Briefing reached out to Xilinx and has yet to receive comment.

“Their new boards are capable of mining every coin and chain, almost always more power efficiently than GPUs,” Stanfill added.

These FPGAs pose a threat to smaller altcoins and less commonly used mining algorithms. Coins such as GRIN, Beam, Monero, and Ethereum are still primarily dominated by GPUs, said Kristy-Leigh Minehan,…

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