Samsung Q4 earnings close out 2017 at record high profit

Cryptocurrency illustration

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd announced on Wednesday its first stock split and said it expects demand for semiconductors to remain strong in 2018, as it posted record annual profit driven by a so-called memory chip "super-cycle".

Samsung is making sure it doesn't miss out on the cryptocurrency craze.

Mining computers like this one use specialized chips to run complex equations used to authenticate cryptocurrency transactions. Those computers increasingly require more efficient chips to power them.

This year, processors, which are designed for bitcoin mining, were put on the market. This created a trend on the market where miners started to move from normal integrated graphics cards to using GPUs designed for gaming.

As well as becoming the world's most prolific chip manufacturer, Samsung is forecasting high demand for its upcoming Galaxy S9 flagship smartphone, due to be unveiled at the end of February. Bitcoin is now trading near $10,000, almost 10 times its price this time a year ago.

A stock split is a decision by a company's board of directors to increase the number of shares that are outstanding by issuing more shares to current shareholders.

Semiconductors were the main driver of growth, as Samsung said that its memory business that manufactures DRAM and NAND, as orders for high-performance memory products for servers and mobile storage, witnessed strong demand.

Right now, it's unclear how exactly Samsung will be going about this, but reports from Korean media suggests that the company will be working with Taiwanese firm TSMC.

The company's involvement in mining can lead up to serious competition for the existing industry leaders.

Samsung recently surged ahead of Intel as the world's largest chipmaker by revenue, despite the latter's record revenue posting for 2017.

Given how useful specific GPUs are when it comes to cryptocurrency mining, many high-end PC graphics cards are hard to hunt down right now, or have skyrocketed in cost.

Reports indicate that in December 2017, Samsung inked a deal with Russian based bitcoin miner, Baikal, to supply ASICs.

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