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1  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: Looking for system integrators for new asic on: March 14, 2013, 03:38:47 PM
Assuming SHA256 engine computes a single sha256 function

No, it does a double hash.

I still don't understand Your statement about the high chip costs. You don't want to create a real mask set for the chip and continue with the MLM-MPW mask? I don't think this is a good strategy. By the time the chips enter the market the price per chip will be probably in the order of $2 per GH/s => $60-120 for Your chips. If You get only few chips per wafer this price would be too low. I would invest in a full mask especially since these chips will survive on the market much longer than the competing chips.

You are incorrectly assuming the production wafers would contain only a small number of bitcoin asics. They will contain only bitcoin chips, using the same mask, but shielding everything we dont need.
2  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: Looking for system integrators for new asic on: March 14, 2013, 03:19:42 PM
As for the performance estimates; we wanted to remain tight lipped about this to not steal our partners thunder, but since they actually press us to get some more info out, I will give you some. Our design contains 64 SHA256 engines (at least 60 are expected to be operational in each chip). Maximum clock frequency of our samples, depending on voltage, ranges between 1 and >2 GHz. Power consumption per chip is in the 5-15W range.

Couple questions, if you will.
Does each engine produce one Bitcoin double SHA2 hash per clock cycle?

Also, have any of your first round partners met with you in person and seen a live demonstration of your hardware?

Our first partner has had a working prototype for almost as long as we have. The second prospective partner only has documentation atm, we have not signed with them yet.

And yes, one dual iterated hash per clock.
3  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: Looking for system integrators for new asic on: March 14, 2013, 02:08:58 PM
@everyone sending forum messages and emails;
I apologize for not answering each and every one, we do read them all and we will contact most of you when the time is right.  We've made a few very good contacts and we will concentrate on those first, to make sure we are not wasting your and our time. We do not want anyone else to commit time or resources before we have finished our incorporation and signed a deal with the fab and some IP owners.

@Phinnaeus Gage
We are quite aware of our actual competition (Butterflylabs, Avalon,..) , but we are unfamiliar with the companies behind some other recent announcements that are suspected hoaxes. Many people asked us if we had any relation with them, I just wanted to make clear that we do not know them and they are not using our chips.

The answer is your number 2. It is both a MLM and MPW, the mask containing several test structures and designs for customers and our bitcoin miner. Because of this, we only had a relatively small number of candidates to begin with, and since this node was/is experimental, our yields, especially on the first wafers were much, much lower than usual. Only the last few wafers yielded reasonably and as a result we have on the order of a dozen functional chips.

We will come out with a press release once all legal hurdles are taken and the deals are inked. I cant give a precise date for that, I do hope its within the next few weeks.

As for the performance estimates; we wanted to remain tight lipped about this to not steal our partners thunder, but since they actually press us to get some more info out, I will give you some. Our design contains 64 SHA256 engines (at least 60 are expected to be operational in each chip). Maximum clock frequency of our samples, depending on voltage, ranges between 1 and >2 GHz. Power consumption per chip is in the 5-15W range.
4  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: Looking for system integrators for new asic on: March 04, 2013, 09:59:44 AM
We have been flooded with RFI's, I apologize if we havent replied to everyone (yet)
(That apology doesnt extend to those still sending personal forum messages, as pointed out numerous times, please use our email address, as we have better things to do than solve captcha's all day.)

Based on contacts and initial feedback so far, we have made a slight adjustment to our initial plan. In a first phase, we will concentrate our time on two selected companies with a proven trackrecord in B2C (manufacturing, logistics, worldwide sales and after sales support) that are willing and able to market a reference implementation. Time to market is critical, so we want to make sure end users will have several choices of providers this summer, even if this goes at the expensive of diversity of technical solutions initially.

In a second phase we will talk to some of the many engineering companies that have contacted us, most of which appear to have the required technical know how, but have little or no trackrecord in medium volume B2C. We will help those companies create custom implementations for our product,  which they can either use themselves, sell themselves, or sell to our customer facing partners.  We expect to enter the second phase in a few weeks, after we are satisfied our first B2C partners will be ready in time with reference implementations. This means custom solutions may or may not hit the market in time for our first production run, but our first priority is to make sure our chips will not sit idle in a warehouse all summer.

To answer a few recurring questions from forum users:

- Is company X or Y using your ASIC?
We have nothing to do with the other recent asic announcements on this forum. We do not know those companies, and they are not using our product. I also couldnt tell if they are real or not.

-Whats the performance of your chip? How much will it cost? When will it ship?
The performance of our product will be unveiled at a later date in a joint statement with our partners, expected before the end of this month. I understand miners want to know now, but the reality is that  early performance figures will not help you much deciding if you should buy from our competitors as long as our numbers are not complemented with a price and rock solid shipping date. Especially the price cant be determined today and we cant yet promise a precise shipping date. All I can say with confidence is that we will have a technically superior product and our price will be competitive; I might also add one of our suppliers plans to sell its products through constant auctions, so you will determine the price yourself.

-What will happen to difficulty when you ship? How many TH will you add this year?
It should come as no big surprise that the aggregate hashrate of our first production wafer run is expected to be in the petahash range, but I cant comment yet on a time table for its arrival on the market.

-Will you partner with competing company X or Y?
We do not exclude the possibility of anyone partnering with us; anyone that buys our chips is first and foremost a customer, rather than a competitor. Since no one else is selling asics at this point, we could consider ourselves without direct competition. However, we are focused on not repeating the mistake some of our colleagues made by underestimating the challenges of B2C.
5  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: Looking for system integrators for new asic on: February 26, 2013, 08:44:51 AM
update added to OP.

A lot of people are sending requests through the forum message system, and some are requesting our email.
The email is stated in the first post: helveticoin at. gmail dot com and I would greatly prefer you use that because I have to fill out captcha's to reply to forum messages.

I understand there is a lot of interest and speculation about our time to market. As a principle, we do not want to pre-announce our customers announcements. However, bitcoin asic market is somewhat unique, and gives a huge and unfair advantage to companies announcing early even if they deliver late. Since we want your suppliers to compete on service and technical merits, rather than on the date they announce or start accepting preorders, we will synchronize their product announcements. A date for this is yet to be set, but I hope doing this in May will also give our new partners sufficient time to prepare and we should be sure of our ability to deliver by then. If our partners agree, we will put out a common statement much earlier giving end users a better idea of what to expect and when to expect it.  This could happen in a few weeks time.
6  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: Looking for system integrators for new asic on: February 24, 2013, 10:19:19 PM
Allow me reiterate the purpose of this post was to get in contact with potential manufacturing partners (and as such, it is proving to have been very worthwhile), not to find funding, secure pre orders or satisfy everyone's curiosity. As a rule of thumb,  I will divulge information in so far it helps potential partners determine if its worth their while to talk to us,  but providing implementation details would not achieve that and might expose details Im not comfortable sharing. So Im not willing or able to elaborate on the questions posted above, even if  I do feel that applying some common sense would answer most of them.

As for our website, its near the bottom of our long todo list, and if we get around making one, dont expect to find lots of personal or technical details. I hinted at the reasons for the former,  and we will leave it to our partners to announce their products and provide you with their technical specifications, performance,  time tables and prices at the time they deem appropriate.

edit: what RHA said.
7  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: Looking for system integrators for new asic on: February 24, 2013, 04:59:15 PM
First Id like to thank (most of) the people that contacted me via email. I will get back to you once I return to my office and after I got the green light from our legal counsel regarding the non disclosure agreements, then we can discuss how to move forward.

As for some of the comments on this forum; Im not sure I understand all the questions or remarks, but to clarify, we are not looking for funding. Our operation is fully funded. If anyone wants to see our chips, a demo can be arranged as mentioned above, but it will require you sign an NDA.

As for our competitiveness; our approach certainly isnt the cheapest, but unit production cost of asics is only a tiny fraction of current retail value of asic based miners, and is typically measured in single or low double digits.  So even if our chip cost 5x or 10x  more per GH than those of our colleagues (which it doesnt), our partners will have no trouble competing with other end user solutions.  Over time we expect retail prices to drop low enough for per chip production costs to become a handicap, but only after difficulty has increased tremendously. At that point power efficiency will again become a key selling point, and that is where we have our largest advantage,  so I feel we and our partners will be able to remain competitive no matter what for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, about our decision to implement an ARM core; this was driven primarily for reasons unrelated to bitcoin. One might even say we decided to add a bitcoin miner to some ARM test chips. However, this isnt a handicap.  Even though this tiny core clocks higher than you probably think, the core has its own clock domain and voltage plane. As I indicated earlier, the bitcoin miner can operate with or without the ARM core, and the latter only occupies a negligible portion of our transistor budget. It does use a more significant part of the IO connectors, but the flipside of that will be cheaper PCBs and overall  the chip still has a very low ball pitch.  In short; if you dont like it, just pretend it isnt there and feel free to add an external soc of your choosing.
8  Bitcoin / Hardware / Re: Looking for system integrators for new asic on: February 24, 2013, 09:09:15 AM
(reserved for aaq)
9  Bitcoin / Hardware / Looking for system integrators for new asic on: February 23, 2013, 11:10:02 PM
We hoped to get in touch with at least a few new viable companies with the right competences and exposure to bitcoin, but we are frankly overwhelmed by the amount and quality of responses we have received so far.  We are more convinced than ever that this is the correct business approach to minimize our risks, guarantee proper execution and allow end users a choice of supplier and implementation.

However,  we also believe its in no one's interest to have too many partners duplicating their engineering and marketing efforts and killing each others margins. Therefore, we will review all current applications and new ones we may yet receive this week, and somewhere next week (first week of March), we will select and contact a few companies we deem to be best positioned to start formal negotiations with.

Original post follows.


We are looking for system integrators to help bring to market another ASIC-based bitcoin miner.  Partners will be supplied with packaged and tested high performance ASICs, all technical specifications, a reference design for the PCB and early software. We expect our partners to implement or customize our PCB design, perform or oversee the PCB assembly, system design, manufacturing and assembly of the end-user devices, handle sales, marketing, logistics and after sales support.  We may also require some help with the software, but we are looking to contract someone for that.

About our ASIC

Our currently unnamed bitcoin mining chip taped out last October; we (ab)used spare estate on our 28nm SOI MLM test wafers we were running at ST Microelectronics. Several successful wafer test runs have been conducted since, and as a result, we currently have a limited number of functional chips that can be supplied for testing and validation.  We are about to sign a deal that allows us to produce these chips in volume. Packaged chips are expected to start arriving in volume in June of this year.

Since we use state of the art 28nm SOI technology, our chip is quite significantly more power efficient and higher performing than anything currently announced or shipping.  The downside of our technology is that we require expensive wafers and we are using a multi layer mask, so our per chip production costs are likely higher than our competitors. But since no one else is selling asics, and no one has a product that can match our specifications, we can assure prospective partners that our per chip prices will be low enough to allow them to compete very favorably in all relevant metrics with current known suppliers and that we have more than enough margin to follow aggressive price cuts that we expect will happen over the course of this year.  I realize this is vague, but we will release exact performance data and cost estimates under NDA to prospective partners. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Performance and costs aside, one other notable feature of our chip is that each one integrates an ARM Cortex M3 core which is fully capable of running linux and mining software. Our reference design board provides up to 256 MB RAM, USB, ethernet and Sdcard controllers allowing each board to mine without needing a host.  Our reference board hosts only one mining asic, but even a single chip is more capable than most competing multi chip solutions. We currently have no design for multi chip boards, but its entirely possible for partners to design a PCB that will hold many ASICs, without duplicating all the IO. The chips are designed to be used as slaves, although we have not yet tested this in hardware.

We currently have one integrator that has committed to bringing our chip to market, but we are looking for at least 3 more. Our prices will be the same for every partner, and will vary only with quantity.

About  us

I represent a small team of highly skilled engineers with decades of experience in developing custom soc's for embedded and mobile applications. Unlike our competition, we realize we dont have the skills, time, resources or expertise to go from silicon to end user satisfaction. Thats why we decided to find partners who can complement our skills and provide the mining market with more choice and competition.

We are in the process of setting up a GmbH under swiss law, but we prefer to remain out of the spotlight to avoid our non bitcoin customers perceiving conflicts of interest. Obviously any partners will get to know exactly who we are.  We can arrange meetings and demo's in Switzerland or France.

If you are interested in partnering with us, contact me helveticoin at gmail dot com and please provide some information to help us judge your ability to integrate our chip in a consumer product. Large scale mining operations are also welcome to inquire, but do realize you will face non trivial technical challenges and costs to develop a functional miner,  and we will require minimum quantities. Technical and financial details will be provided under NDA only.

I will try to occasionally answer questions on this forum, but serious inquiries should be sent by email.



(I would appreciate if this post could be moved from newbies to custom hardware and getting whitelisted so i can respond to questions)
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