On the surface, it would appear that it's happened: the largest and most complex semiconductor chip known to man has been turned to Bitcoin mining — all 850,000 cores of it. At least, that's the impression that the marketing department at NuMiner must've intended to give when they created their NuMiner NM440 press releases. The result? An impressive piece of mean, green machinery that claims a competitor-demolishing 440 TH/s in Bitcoin mining.
The only problem is that the new device is clearly Cerebras' CS-2 system with NuMiner's branding photoshopped on. However, the implication that NuMiner is using Cerebras' chips to power the company's NM440 Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) is clear: The largest and most complex semiconductor chip ever produced — 850,000 cores of human ingenuity — supposedly used for cryptocurrency mining.
But that actually isn't the case.
We reached out to Cerebras, and the company tells us that it doesn't have any connection to NuMiner or its NM440 systems. Cerebras also made clear that NuMiner's use of the CS-2 design (it even had Cerebras' logo still on the bottom of the image) was not approved. The company also has no affiliation with NuMiner. Cerebras provided us with the following statement:
"We are aware of a startup crypto mining company using a misappropriated, altered image of the Cerebras CS-2 product for their own business purposes. This image improperly passes off our CS-2 as their own product, as you can see by the Cerebras logo still visible at the bottom of the image. We are not working, or otherwise affiliated, with this company. We are taking steps to address the situation." - Cerebras spokesperson.
Interestingly, it appears that NuMiner does have actual new mining equipment available: The company's initial announcement was accompanied by another press release - one that mentioned the purchase of 60,000 of the company's record-breaking NM440 ASICs. This purchase announcement was made by Sphere 3D, a publicly listed company, at the cost of $1.7 billion. Sphere 3D's Twitter had been silent since 2019, but rose again just for the announcement - and its stocks simultaneously jumped 30%.
So why would NuMiner misappropriate Cerebras' image? Perhaps it wanted to tickle a hornet's nest; perhaps it searched for "biggest computer chip" on a search engine and ended up at Cerebras' renders and thought "it needs some Mountain Dew spirit on it" and decided to call it a day. Or perhaps it was a play for the credibility that working with Cerebras would give their new, supposedly outrageously efficient ASIC?
Perhaps so, as the NuMiner purportedly beats the competition by significant margins. At 20.2 J/T, it's also marketed as much more efficient than offerings from the current ASIC market maker, AntMiner, whose top-of-the-line "S19 Pro+ Hyd" miner only manages to deliver 198 TH/s. The supposed new product from NuMiner is more than twice the speed of one of the cryptocurrency ASIC manufacturers' leading players, all while purportedly allowing for 4.5 times greater returns due to their higher energy efficiency.
Not bad for a company whose online domain was only registered in March of last year.
Given Cerebras' statement, it's clear that the company's systems aren't being turned to cryptocurrency mining. We'll keep an eye out to see if NuMiner releases pictures of its actual products.
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Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.