Flower Technology partners with EnSilica for the development of new ASIC mining solutions for scrypt-based cryptocurrencies

Orchid ASIC scrypt miner's performance is rated at 20 Mh/s per second with power consumption of only 4W/Mh

Brock Huxtable, CEO of Flower Technology (left) and Ian Lankshear, Managing Director of EnSilica shake hands on their partnership for the development of ASIC scrypt miners
Brock Huxtable, CEO of Flower Technology (left) and Ian Lankshear, Managing Director of EnSilica shake hands on their partnership for the development of ASIC scrypt miners

London (Ontario), Canada – Flower Technology, the Canadian start-up focused on the supply of ASIC mining solutions for scrypt-based cryptocurrencies, has partnered with EnSilica, a leading UK design house and provider of the eSi-RISC family of soft processor cores and associated encryption, communications and peripherals IP, for the development of the company’s rack-mounted, low power, high performance ASIC scrypt miners. Flower Technology’s first product, called Orchid, will provide a performance of 20Mh/s (megahashes per second) with a power consumption of just 4W/Mh (watts per megahash). The Orchid scrypt miner will be priced at US$1,900 with delivery expected to commence in Q3/Q4 2014.

“Drawing extensively on EnSilica’s design expertise and cryptographic knowledge, Orchid will set a new standard in hashing speed, energy efficiency and price/performance for ASIC scrypt miners,” said Brock Huxtable, CEO of Flower Technology. “EnSilica’s algorithm team has already completed work on a novel, clean-sheet architecture - dubbed a Massive Array of Scrypt Threads (MAST) – with parameterized RTL ready to be taken to the physical implementation phase of the design.”

The MAST architecture comprises a highly parallel and dedicated array of scrypt threads which enables the hardware to completely reconfigure itself every clock cycle according to the threads that are in progress. In this way every computational hardware element is kept busy doing useful work on every clock cycle enabling the architecture can have a deep pipeline without loss of performance. With over a 1,000 threads in partial computation at any one time and with a new hash starting every 64 clock cycles, a single chip achieves a hashing performance of 10M/hs at a worst case corner clock speed of 640MHz.

Dr David Wheeler, EnSilica’s Technical Director and a recognised authority on hardware-based cryptography, communications and DSPs, heads the EnSilica development team. Director of SoC Engineering, Andy Maund, who has taped out over 30 GPU and media processor design at leading-edge technology nodes, leads the ASIC physical implementation and software lead, James Wilkins, takes responsibility for the embedded software design, mining software ports and user interface.

EnSilica’s physical design team is currently engaged in the next phases of the IC development including a detailed analysis of the foundry, technology and physical IP required to meet the demands of the application. Exploration of the power, performance and area trade-offs involved with different technologies, cell libraries and memory compilers is also underway. This work will take the design through full place-and-route, giving power and performance figures that will correlate closely with the actual silicon.

“It is imperative to make key technology and IP decisions before pushing on with the detailed design,” said David Wheeler, EnSilica’s Technical Director. “A systematic approach reduces will reduce overall time-to-market and deliver a solution optimized for both low power and high performance. The architecture we have developed coupled with the use of a leading-edge submicron process will achieve the lowest power consumption per megahash of any ASIC in development.”

Cryptocurrency mining is an extremely compute-intensive operation and is a requirement for the creation of new cryptocoins. The creation of new coins and the records of how those coins are traded are logged in what is termed a block chain. Each block contains various pieces of data, including a record of recent transactions and a reference to the previous block. New blocks cannot be added to the block chain without first solving the puzzle of finding a message that results in a hash that has certain required properties. Successfully calculating the puzzle-solving hashes and providing proof-of-work results in new coins being created. With cryptocurrencies brought to general public prominence with the rapid rise in value of Bitcoin in 2013, a host of alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) have since emerged with most based on the scrypt hashing algorithm. The primary scrypt-based cryptocurrencies by market capitalization include Litecoin, Auroracoin, Dogecoin and Mastercoin.

About Flower Technology Inc.

Based in London (Ontario), Flower Technology is a Canadian start-up focused on the supply of ASIC mining solutions for cryptocurrencies (Litecoin, Auroracoin, Dogecoin, Mastercoin among others) based on the scrypt hashing algorithm. The company has partnered with EnSilica, a UK design house and IP company, for the development and implementation of its products. Product development is well underway with expected delivery in Q3/Q4 2014.