Intel to unveil Bitcoin mining ASIC – how it can solve the energy use challenge

Intel

The bitcoin mining arena hasn’t exactly grabbed the headlines in recent years as major players like Bitmain and Canaan focus on producing ever-improving ASICs rather than crypto politics. However, Intel, the world’s largest chip maker by revenue, could now be making waves in this sector as reports say Intel is close to launching its own mining ASIC.

However, observant journalists from the tech outlet Tom’s Hardware noticed that Intel will present a new chip called “Bonanza Mine” at the forthcoming ISSCC chip conference.

When asked for details about its entry into territory that has been disputed for years, Intel neither denied nor confirmed the new mining chip, instead stating:

“Intel has been working on developing ASICs optimized for SHA 256 for several years. We will announce more details in the future.”

Intel could solve the problem of Bitcoin’s high energy consumption

The California-based chip manufacturer has been giving miners hope for some time. In December last year, the company’s GPU chief Raja Koduri stated in a live stream that Intel was working on mining products. Intel has also filed patents for a processing system based on SHA-256, the cryptographic hash function that Bitcoin is built on.

In an appearance on the Intel Gaming podcast, Koduri stated :

“I think blockchain is a transactional thing that happens much more efficiently than current hardware cycle burning. That’s something we’re working on.”

According to Koduri, Intel is confident that it can reduce the cost of mining Bitcoin, which has been rising steadily for years. Miners currently have to rely on expensive ASIC mining rigs to remain competitive, and even then, there’s no guarantee that multinationals with large mining farms won’t all still get nearly all block rewards.

But it’s not just the cost that Intel could get a grip on. If the Bonanza Mine chips are indeed extremely economical and efficient, they could solve the biggest problem – high power consumption. Bitcoin mining has a very bad reputation due to its exorbitant energy consumption and was ultimately the reason China threw the entire mining industry out of the country.

In Iran and Kosovo, the government denies the miners access to electricity in winter, as otherwise there would be more bottlenecks. Even in the US, there have been protests and congressional hearings due to mining energy consumption.

Koduri believes Intel can solve these problems:

“But the problem of doing much more efficient blockchain validation at much lower cost and with much less energy is solvable. And we’re working on that, and at some point, hopefully not too far in the future, we’ll introduce some interesting hardware for that.”

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