Intel’s Groundbreaking Cryptocurrency Mining Chip
The International Solid-State Circuits Conference organized an event on February 20, 2022. The tech conference unveiled several innovations that would dramatically transform the blockchain world.
One of the key highlights of the show was Intel’s launching of a brand-new chip designed explicitly for various use cases like minting non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and mining cryptocurrency – particularly Bitcoin. Intel dubbed their most recent product release the Blockscale ASIC or the blockchain accelerator chip.
Some prominent innovations of Intel’s Blockscale ASIC are a dedicated Secure Hash Algorithm 256 (SHA-256) ASIC processor, power efficiency of up to 26 Joules per terahash, a hash rate of up to 580 gigahash per second, on-chip temperature, and voltage sensing features.
For blockchain starters, SHA-256 is a hash function and a mining algorithm for generating Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies.
Intel senior vice president Raja Koduri stated that Intel Labs spent decades researching hashing techniques, ultra-low voltage circuits, and well-engineered cryptography.
He also emphasized that the company’s circuit innovations will involve a blockchain accelerator with more than 1,000 times improved performance per watt compared to mainstream graphics processing units (GPUs) for SHA-256-based mining.
Given the heavy energy usage that crypto mining requires, Intel aims to develop the blockchain accelerator chip as its most energy-saving computing technology. This latest creation from Intel will be a game-changer in energy-efficient blockchain hashing, specifically Bitcoin mining.
Intel expects Blockscale ASIC shipments to commence sometime within the third quarter of 2022. Among the first companies that pre-ordered the breakthrough chip and were about to develop whole new systems based on ASIC were Jack Dorsey’s financial technology company Block Inc. (previously Square), Argo Blockchain, GRIID Infrastructures, and Hive Blockchain Technologies.
In addition, Intel established a Custom Compute Group in its Accelerated Computing Systems & Graphics Business Unit. This newly formed team will focus on customized silicon platforms streamlined for customer workloads, such as blockchain and other applicable supercomputing opportunities.