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ASIC Revolution: Inside the Breakthroughs with Haris Basit

ASIC Revolution: Inside the Breakthroughs with Haris Basit

Mar 12, 2024
Bitcoin Mining

ASIC Revolution: Inside the Breakthroughs with Haris Basit

Key Takeaways

The podcast episode featured Harris Basset, Chief Strategy Officer for Bitdeer, a global bitcoin mining company. Basset, with a deep background in semiconductor physics and engineering, detailed his journey from academia to spearheading technological advances in bitcoin ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) design. The episode explored the parallels and distinctions between AI chips and bitcoin ASICs, emphasizing the significance of custom design in achieving superior performance and efficiency.

Basset explained semiconductor physics as the study of transistor operation, primarily dealing with quantum effects and material science. He shared insights into his past projects, such as developing ultra-bright LEDs and low-noise timing circuits critical for high-speed communication. His work on a bitcoin ASIC architecture in 2014, still widely used today, underscores his pivotal role in the industry.

The conversation pivoted to the intricacies of ASIC design and manufacturing, highlighting the collaboration with TSMC and the challenges of simulating chip performance across various conditions. Basset also articulated the strategic vision behind Bitdeer's efforts to leverage technology as a competitive edge, aiming to create the most efficient bitcoin ASICs and dominate the market.

Basset's insights suggested significant potential for further improvements in ASIC efficiency, dismissing the notion of having reached a plateau. He anticipated breakthroughs in architecture and design techniques, asserting that we have yet to encounter the limits of ASIC advancement.

Reflecting on the industry's future, Basset predicted that large-scale bitcoin mining operations would persist due to the economies of scale and operational efficiencies. He also touched on the upcoming bitcoin halving, which he believes will further drive the industry's efficiency by weeding out less profitable mining operations.

Best Quotes

  1. "I think bitcoin lends itself to some more creativity in semiconductor design than other types of circuits do." - Harris Basset explaining the unique opportunities in bitcoin ASIC design.
  2. "The goal isn't to be the number two or the number three. The goal is to be the clear market leader, the technology leader, and that's our goal." - Basset on Bitdeer's ambition to surpass competitors with superior ASIC technology.
  3. "It's very hard to grow total megawatts in use... So let's call that fixed... What can grow much faster is the ASICs that you buy to supplement [it]." - Basset discussing the dynamics between power availability and ASIC deployment in bitcoin mining.
  4. "Unless the management is adding some strategic value, figuring out how to make their company have some benefit beyond just buying machines, installing them in mass volume, it's going to be difficult on their profit margins over the long term." - Basset on the importance of strategic innovation in the bitcoin mining industry.
  5. "I wouldn't be here and working on this if I didn't think we could dramatically improve what the state of the art is today." - Basset expressing his belief in the untapped potential for ASIC efficiency improvements.
  6. "It's probably one of the hardest manufacturing things that mankind has ever done." - Basset on the challenges of semiconductor fabrication at the leading edge.
  7. "It continuously improves the efficiency of the global mining fleet." - Basset on the side effect of bitcoin's halving mechanism in driving mining efficiency.


The podcast episode with Harris Basset was a deep dive into the complex and rapidly evolving world of bitcoin ASIC design and manufacturing. Basset provided a detailed narrative of his professional journey, Bitdeer's strategic focus on technology, and the broader implications of semiconductor advancements in the bitcoin mining industry. His insights revealed a strong belief in the continuous improvement of ASIC efficiency and the critical importance of innovation for sustaining profitable mining operations.

The upcoming bitcoin halving was highlighted as a crucial event that will test the resilience of mining operations and possibly catalyze further innovations. Basset's comments underscored the importance of staying ahead in a competitive landscape where technological prowess can significantly influence market leadership.

Overall, the episode conveyed a message of optimism for the future of bitcoin ASIC technology, with the anticipation of breakthroughs that could redefine the efficiency standards of the industry. It also reflected on the need for strategic thinking and the adoption of advanced technologies to maintain a competitive edge in the ever-changing world of bitcoin mining.


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