Bitcoin and The Age of Bespoke Silicon

Michael Bedford Taylor
University of California, San Diego
International Conference on Compilers, Architecture and Synthesis for Embedded Systems (CASES), 2013


   title={Bitcoin and The Age of Bespoke Silicon},

   author={Taylor, Michael Bedford},



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Recently, the Bitcoin cryptocurrency has been an international sensation. This paper tells the story of Bitcoin hardware: how a group of early-adopters self-organized and financed the creation of an entire new industry, leading to the development of machines, including ASICs, that had orders of magnitude better performance than what Dell, Intel, NVidia, AMD or Xilinx could provide. We examine this story for clues as to how we can foster greater innovation in the semiconductor industry and enable this phenomenon to occur more broadly for more application areas, spawning a new age of hardware innovation tailored to emerging application domains – an Age of Bespoke Silicon.
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