Smartphones may soon become Bitcoin mining machines

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It’s been a while since we hear anything big about Bitcoin, but that doesn’t mean people have forgotten about the digital currency. In fact, one of the world’s most well-funded Bitcoin startups is working on a way to bring Bitcoin ming, which is the process through which Bitcoin is created, to smartphones.

The world’s best-funded bitcoin startup has revealed plans to market a line of chips to embed in consumer devices, allowing smartphones and other Internet-connected gadgets to continuously earn digital currency through the process known as “mining.” The news from 21 Inc., which is also adding former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers to its advisory board and announcing that tech giant Cisco Systems Inc.CSCO +0.71% and former AMR Holdings PLC chief strategy officer Mark Templeton are investing in the company, ends 18 months of intense speculation within the bitcoin community. In March, the company said it had stealthily amassed $116 million in fundraising– a record for the sector, based on data compiled by bitcoin news service Coindesk – from a list of Silicon Valley investors that included venture-capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and RRE Venture, chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.QCOM -0.90%, and founders from companies such as eBay Inc.EBAY +0.08%, PayPal, Dropbox Inc., Expedia Inc.EXPE +0.04%, and Zynga Inc.ZNGA -2.62% It kept its product line secret, however.

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