Quantum Blockchain Technologies Plc – FPGA and ASIC Development Update
Early internal calculations show a final chip that could run 24% faster than the best ASIC available today
The Company’s goal is to develop disruptive Bitcoin mining technology, to mine both faster and with lower overall energy consumption than current practices. A number of advanced technologies are used by QBT to achieve this goal; namely, quantum computing, AI neural networks – Deep Learning, algebraic-boolean reductions, very big data, cryptography and custom chip programming and design – using GPU, FPGA and ASIC.
The current technique used by producers of Bitcoin mining technology on dedicated computers to achieve the fastest performance is to manufacture custom single-use ASIC chips, which can only perform one wired function, namely the calculation of double hash; the SHA26 cryptographic algorithm used to mine Bitcoins. The simple reality is that the faster the algorithms are computed and the more ASIC chips deployed, the more likely a miner is to mine Bitcoins.
Before manufacturing an ASIC chip, which is an expensive operation, there are usually two initial steps; firstly, developing the logic gate architecture that will be used by the final ASIC chip – this is achieved on a cheaper but slower chip called an FPGA, which already contains predefined functions – and second, by customizing the design to take advantage of the greater freedom offered by ASIC technology, initially by manufacturing a prototype in small series, to keep costs low. The final step, the manufacture of the finished ASIC chip, is an expensive process, but the end result is a very small scale (currently down to 5nm) processing chip, which is significantly faster, leading to large scale processing times. best results when mining Bitcoin.
QBT has now completed the FPGA development phase and is preparing to develop its ASIC prototype.
The first estimates derived from the performance of the FPGA obtained from our internal tests, would indicate that when the final design of the industrial ASIC prototype is completed, it could surpass by at least 24% the fastest ASIC chip, currently used to mine Bitcoin. .
In addition, the first experimental evidence, using AI techniques to multiply the speed of an FGPA by several factors to calculate the Bitcoin mining algorithm, would even make an FPGA a competitive Bitcoin mining tool. . This same principle would apply to ASIC and other existing commercial mining tools. Testing of this innovative approach will continue over the next three months.
After testing various design options, an unrolled SHA-256 architecture has now been implemented, with a number of existing optimizations coded, for QBT’s prototype FPGA chip.
The company’s patented ASIC ULTRA Boost enhancements (patent pending) will be added in the coming weeks, thanks to the close cooperation between the in-house crypto expert and the company’s FPGA designer.
The current performance of the Bitcoin mining architecture developed by QBT on the FPGA (based on 16nm technology, at a base cycle of 600 MHz and the coding area available for general purpose average) is 2.8 Giga-hash per second (GH / s) with an estimated power consumption of 50W. The ASIC ULTRA Boost optimization is expected to improve the above performance by 7% as previously stated.
To put it in context, our in-house expert calculated that to date, a high-end FPGA (using the QBT architecture of the algorithm implementation, to make it run about 15 times faster than the FPGA standard), is still around 23.4 times slower than the existing best 7nm Bitcoin ASIC mining chip, and much less power efficient.
The company never intended to compete in terms of speed and power efficiency with an ASIC chip, using an FPGA chip, but, in order to keep testing costs significantly lower, it was a necessary step to QBT in this phase of its development. As a result, the company is now in a much better position to assess the performance projection of its SHA256 Bitcoin mining architecture, and the team is therefore confident that it can now move this solution to an ASIC chip.
Preliminary rough calculations indicate that on a 12nm ASIC chip, extrapolated by comparing it to a commercial 16nm Bitcoin ASIC mining chip (with around 300 million gates), our ASIC could achieve a double hash rate of 392 GH / s, with the ULTRA Boost ASIC Optimization adding an additional 7% as previously announced, reaching 419 GH / s, which would still be 2.26 times slower than the fastest commercially available ASIC.
However, the company strongly believes that, compared to the best commercial 7nm ASIC chip for Bitcoin mining available on the market today, industrial production of the 7nm QBT ASIC would indicate double the hash rate. of 1.19 TH / s, so 24% faster.
This performance of the QBT architecture on the 7nm ASIC does not yet include the 7% efficiency achieved by the optimization of the patent application filed in September, which remains to be implemented. Ongoing work on a second patent by the Company’s crypto expert will hopefully lead to further hardware optimizations.
Detailed power consumption simulations will be run as soon as our ASIC portal design layout is complete.
ASIC programming will begin this month, and we estimate that by the end of Q1 2022, we will be able to announce when the first batch of prototype chips will be available for in-house testing. Once testing is complete, the company expects production of chips, for QBT’s own use, to begin by the end of 2022.
At the same time, QBT’s R&D team is also considering an alternative computing approach SHA256 (which is classified as Bitcoin’s core mining algorithm), and this will be tested over the next three months. The joint effort of our AI team members and the company’s FPGA expert could improve the current 2.8GHz / s FPGA hash rate by a highly hardware multiple factor, making mining by the Potentially competitive slower FPGA chip compared to best in class ASIC chip. If this route is successful, mining via this method could begin as early as the second quarter of 2022.
These AI techniques, if successful, could also improve the performance of current Bitcoin ASIC commercial miners.
The Company’s new R&D IT infrastructure, which will also allow Bitcoin mining tests to be performed, will be operational in five weeks. The wait is due to the severe global shortage of silicon chips, which is delaying the scheduled delivery of the hardware. However, the Company has adopted the massive use of cloud resources in order to avoid any disruption of R&D activities to different groups.
The Company remains very confident in the R&D strategy it has adopted which it believes could lead to disruptive Bitcoin mining. It should be noted that the Company’s R&D program is fully funded until the end of 2022.
Francois Gardin, CEO and Chairman of QBT, commented, âOur R&D has provided very impressive results in a very short period of time: in just four months since the start of the program, we have filed a patent application in which we believe that ASIC ULTRA Boost has improved the mining algorithm. standard, after five years of little or no progress following the 2016 publication of the ASIC Boost article.
âWe will soon be ready to begin designing our Bitcoin ASIC mining chip which, on paper, already outperforms the current best-in-class commercial Bitcoin ASIC mining solution in speed. This significant improvement is ahead of the implementation of the new ASIC ULTRA Boost optimization and we are confident that our second patent application, which is being developed by our crypto expert, will add another radical improvement to the process, including also including a reduction in energy consumption. consumption.
âAll of our other teams are working extremely hard on the other R&D fronts: quantum computing and AI-Deep Learning neural networks and algebraic-Boolean optimization. Meanwhile, an AI accelerator will be tested over the next three months, which we believe could dramatically improve the performance of existing commercial miners, as well as our GPU, FPGA and, in the near future, our AISC chip. . We consider the R&D activity undertaken by our group of 15 experts to be incredibly exciting and, if successful, could potentially be radically innovative for the industry.