Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), Advanced Micro Devices Inc and other companies have seen more than US$200 million in sales last year for computing components used to create bitcoins, Wedbush Securities Inc said.
The virtual currency, which exists as software, is created by solving complex tasks embedded in the program through a process called mining.
Bitcoins currently trade for about US$875 each on the Mt.Gox exchange, up from about US$13 one year ago.
As their value surged, digital prospectors have rushed to create more of the digital money, boosting the market for high-powered machines, some of which cost more than US$20,000 a piece. TSMC, AMD and GlobalFoundries make many of the chips in these machines, according to Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush in Los Angeles.
“Due to the growth of the bitcoin network, mining machines now require powerful application-specific integrated circuits [ASIC] that are designed specifically to mine bitcoins,” Luria said in a report. “We believe the majority of these ASIC chips are fabricated at SMC and GlobalFoundries.”
The report also flagged some potential beneficiaries of the digital boom, such as EBay Inc’s PayPal unit and International Business Machines Corp.
PayPal could make bitcoin one of its payment options, along with credit cards, this year, and benefit from an influx of millions of new users, Luria said in an interview.
IBM could provide software and hardware powering bitcoin and other new digital currencies, he said.
As more consumers adopt bitcoin and other digital currencies for purchases and money transfers, that could adversely impact established financial companies such as Western Union Co, Luria said.
“It’s incredibly easy now to send money with bitcoin from one country to another,” Luria said in an interview.
“But now you need to know how to do it. I expect a flurry of money transmitters to emerge in the next one to three years, and they’ll be able to do this for everybody at a fraction of the cost of Western Union and others,” Luria added.
Jason Gorss, a spokesman for GlobalFoundries, said the manufacturer is working with several companies that design chips for bitcoin mining, such as Butterfly Labs Inc.
“We’re watching digital currencies like bitcoin closely,” Jennifer Hakes, a spokeswoman for PayPal, wrote in an e-mail.
“Many of our consumers prefer cash,” Andrew Silver, a spokesman for Western Union, wrote in an e-mail. “We will continue to track the use of virtual currency in the market, and expect that it should comply with the same regulations and oversight that the rest of the financial services industry must adhere to, to ensure that consumers are protected.”
Bitcoins are not controlled by any country or banking authority, so fees on using the currency to make purchases or transfer money can be much lower. Bitcoins are being used to pay for everything from Gummi bears to smartphones on the Internet.
Retailer Overstock.com Inc said recently it is to begin accepting Bitcoins starting in the middle of the year.
“We think there’s an underserved part of the market that wants to use bitcoins and can’t,” Overstock chief executive officer Patrick Byrne said in an interview last month.
Dutch brewing company Heineken NV yesterday said that it has reached an agreement to acquire a subsidiary brewery of Taiwan’s Sanyo Whisbih Group (三洋維士比集團). Heineken is to assume majority ownership and management rights of the Long Chuan Zuan Co (龍泉鑽興業) brewery in Pingtung County’s Neipu Township (內埔), the Dutch company said. It would become the first multinational brewing company to operate brewery in Taiwan once the acquisition is completed. The deal has been approved by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission, but details of the financial transaction cannot be disclosed at this time, as terms of the settlement have not been completed,
LOOK WHO OWES: China’s exposure to Taiwanese banks was the second-largest, with Luxembourg third, followed by Hong Kong and Japan, the central bank said The US remained the largest debtor country to Taiwan’s banking sector for a 27th consecutive quarter in the first quarter of this year, with its exposure rising 8.3 percent from a quarter earlier on the back of an increase in US bonds, the central bank said on Friday. Data compiled by the central bank showed that outstanding international claims by Taiwanese banks on a direct risk basis to the US stood at US$125.38 billion as of the end of March. Department of Financial Inspection deputy head Pan Ya-hui (潘雅慧) said that the US Federal Reserve’s launch of a rate hike cycle in
GREEN CITY: The company is set to invest US$8 billion to make electric vehicles and batteries for a new city that would rely entirely on renewable energy sources Indonesia said that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) is considering investing in the country’s new capital city, a move that would bolster the US$34 billion construction project. Hon Hai, which is known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), is looking at setting up an electric bus system and an Internet of Things network at Nusantara, as Indonesia’s new capital is to be called, Indonesian Minister of Investment Bahlil Lahadalia said in a statement yesterday. Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Saturday to discuss the company’s plan to invest US$8 billion to build a manufacturing plant
WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY: Costco Wholesale said it expected the purchase of the remaining 45 percent stake to add 1 to 1.5 percent to its earnings per share US-based Costco Wholesale Corp on Thursday said that it had purchased the remaining 45 percent stake in Costco President Taiwan Inc (台灣好市多) for US$1.05 billion, making the local company a fully-owned unit. “We estimate that the purchase would add about 1 to 1.5 percent to [our] earnings per share,” Costco said in a statement. Costco President Taiwan was established as a joint venture with Kaohsiung-based President Group (大統集團), which held a 45 percent stake. Since the first Costco store opened in Kaohsiung in 1997, 14 outlets have been set up in Taiwan, company data showed. PROFITABLE Three Costco stores in Taiwan — in Taipei’s Neihu