Fears of a major semiconductor chip shortage have started to make headlines again as the chips power nearly everything from new cars, phones, computers, and a myriad of other items. Reports stemming from Malaysia show that semiconductor manufacturers are dealing with an uptick in Covid-19 cases and this is plaguing the supply chain. Moreover, the machines that secure the Bitcoin network are also powered by these chips, and semiconductor prices might increase by over 20% in the near future.
Semiconductor Shortage Could Cause a 10-20% Rise in Chip Costs
On August 24, the well known German technology and engineering firm Bosch explained that the semiconductor supply chain is broken, as the world currently faces a major chip shortage. Covid-19 is hurting semiconductor manufacturing hubs like Malaysia that are dealing with the virus.
The uptick in coronavirus cases in Malaysia is allegedly causing chip shortages, as major suppliers like STMicroelectronics Nvamong, NXP Semiconductors NV, and Infineon Technologies AG operate chip plants in the country. Despite Taiwan having almost zero Covid-19 cases, a regional report noted that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) could possibly increase the price of wafers by 20%.
Unnamed sources stemming from the IC design houses say that TSMC has been notifying major clients that they could see a 10-20% hike on all chips involving sub-16nm process manufacturing. Smartphones, computers, cars, and bitcoin miners leverage sub-16nm process manufacturing and some of the top bitcoin mining rigs use 10nm to 7nm semiconductors.
Taiwan’s Economy Minister: ‘Taiwan Is Doing Its Best to Assist on the Chips’
Similar to the way it was months ago, a few of the official websites of some of the top mining rig manufactures indicate that physical mining products are sold out across the board. A few firms do have rigs for sale on the spot, as Bitmain currently has mining rigs for sale that will ship in ten working days after the item is “fully paid.” At press time, the cost of an Antminer S19j Pro 100 TH/s is $10,000 per unit. The five other Antminer mining rigs Bitmain has advertised on the website are completely sold out.
Every now and then in 2021, firms like Bitmain, Canaan, and Microbt announce large sales to some of the largest mining operations worldwide. The average consumer is forced to buy bitcoin mining rigs via second market providers, ones that usually tack on a significant premium. Meanwhile, a number of car companies are cutting production these days, as firms like BMW, Toyota, and Volkswagen have had major issues accessing chips.
Taiwan’s Economy Minister, Wang Mei-Hua, addressed the public on Tuesday and said that Taiwan is doing everything possible to keep the supply chain of semiconductors going strong. Wang told the press that U.S. diplomat in Taiwan, Sandra Oudkirk discussed it with him on Monday. “I mentioned that Taiwan is doing its best to assist on the chips,” Wang told the press that day.
Over the long term, alongside the fact that the shortage has already tightened supply chains, the effects of the global supply shortage of semiconductors may stall bitcoin mining operations and manufacturers who build these machines. Items like system on chips (SoCs), CPUs, GPUs, ASICs, and controllers are likely to cost more going forward if these shortages continue. All of the aforementioned semiconductor products are leveraged by the cryptocurrency ecosystem, in general.
What do you think about the global shortage of semiconductors and how it might affect bitcoin miners in the future? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.