Canaan Creative, the world’s second biggest maker of bitcoin mining rigs, is betting there will be demand for what it bills as the world’s first bitcoin mining TV set.
Called AvalonMiner Inside, the TV set has a processing power of 2.8 trillion hashes per second. Its most powerful mining machine can process 11 trillion hashes per second.
The product launch comes after the company submitted an application for an initial public offering in Hong Kong in May, which is expected to raise as much as US$1 billion. Founded in 2013, Canaan is known for mass-producing chips designed for bitcoin mining. It competes with Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies in supplying hardware for bitcoin mining.
Canaan says the Avalon TV is powered by artificial intelligence and has a voice control feature. In addition, the device can calculate bitcoin mining profitability in real-time. The digital currency earned can be used to buy entertainment content or physical gifts through Canaan’s platform.
The creation of AvalonMiner Inside is to enable more home appliances and at the same time build a user base for the next era of blockchain and AI, according to the company.
Canaan will mainly distribute to businesses that will in turn sell to customers, and there are plans to introduce a range of blockchain-related home appliances.
“It looks more like hype,” said Xiao Lei, a Beijing-based bitcoin analyst. “It will be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”
Canaan took in 1.3 billion yuan (about US$205 million) in revenue in 2017, a 27-fold increase from the year earlier. Its profit in 2017 was 361 million yuan, up more than 230-fold from 2015, according to its filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Last year, Canaan sold almost 300,000 Avalon mining machines, tripling the number from a year ago. The US and Sweden were among its biggest overseas markets, which accounted for 8.5 per cent of its sales for the year.
In 2017, Avalon miners accounted for 19.5 per cent of the world’s processing power for mining bitcoin, the filing said, citing data from consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
Canaan included having a single product line as a major risk in its filing. “If we cannot maintain the scale and profitability of our single line of system products and, at the same time, offer new products, our ability to continue to grow will suffer,” it said.
The company had previously sought to go public on the mainland exchanges, but put off the plan amid the government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges and mining facilities. The company also noted the uncertainty of China’s regulatory stance as a risk factor.
Canaan’s much bigger rival Bitmain was also reportedly seeking a listing in Hong Kong, with a US$12 billion value at a pre-initial public offering funding round. Beijing-based Bitmain previously declined to comment on the issue.