Samsung is making chips designed specifically to harvest cryptocurrency coins as it looks to cash in on the rise of blockchain transaction technology.
The firm made the disclosure in its latest earnings report, where it said the activity should boost its profits, as the South Korean company overtook Intel to become the biggest chipmaker last year.
The electronics giant forecast strong demand for its forthcoming Galaxy S9 smartphone, which is due to be revealed on 25 February.
“Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips. However, we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers,” the company’s spokesperson was quoted as saying by media.
People “mine” bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by using computers to solve complex math puzzles. Those computers increasingly require more efficient chips to power them.
Experts have raised concerns about the environmental impact of the huge energy demands from bitcoin mining, much of which is located in China.
The spike in prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies over the past year has driven up interest in mining them. Bitcoin is currently trading near $10,000, nearly 10 times its price this time last year.
Samsung declined to comment on who its main customers are for cryptocurrency mining chips.
Researching, developing and producing new computer chips requires massive amounts of money.
Samsung Electronic’s fourth quarter net profit totalled 12.3tn won ($11.5bn; £8.1bn), which was roughly in line with analysts’ expectations.
But its shares jumped nearly 9% after the company revealed that it was splitting its stock 50-to-1, which should encourage trade in the asset.