Intel Corporation is interested in developing specialty hardware for the mining of Bitcoin, which may help small-time miners once again turn profits.
Intel to the Rescue
According to a United States Patent Application released on March 29th, technology giant Intel is interested in creating specialized hardware for Bitcoin mining. The patent application was filed on September 23rd, 2016, and describes a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator.
According to the filing’s abstract, the patent is for “A System on Chip implementing a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator [which] may include a processor core and a hardware accelerator coupled to the processor core.” The hardware accelerator is intended to “mine digital currency,” and “may include a first computational block, including a message digest datapath,” as well as “a second computational block.”
In laymen’s terms, Intel’s new hardware would theoretically make Bitcoin mining less energy intensive, and thus more profitable.
Big Bad Bitmain
Bitcoin mining is currently dominated by Bitmain Technologies Ltd., a privately owned company headquartered in Beijing, China. In addition to operating several of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining pools, Bitmain manufactures ASIC chips and the mining hardware that uses those chips. In 2017, the company raked in somewhere between $3 and $4 billion in profits.
Intel, however, is set to add some competition for Bitmain’s centralized monopoly.
According to the patent filing, the Santa Clara, California-based company has apparently developed a method to reduce “the space utilized and power consumed by Bitcoin mining hardware.”
Bitcoin mining is currently incredibly energy-inefficient and has proven to be less profitable the more the price of Bitcoin decreases. This, in turn, has forced out many small-time miners while increasing the stranglehold on the sector by large-scale operations, such as Bitmain.
However, Intel’s new technology could make small-time mining profitable once again and, in doing so, help wrest control from the hands of mining giants. Randy Copeland, president of Velocity Micro — a Richmond, Virginia-based systems builder and Intel partner — told CRN:
Once this new Intel technology comes to market, ultimately more people will mine again because it’s profitable again, driving down the market value of the coins, and finding a new market balance that will again put locations with lower electricity costs back at the advantage.
Intel has previously shown an interest in cryptocurrency. Last year, the semiconductor-producing giant partnered with Chinese firm Tencent for an Internet of Things blockchain solution.
What do you think about the cost of Bitcoin mining? Would you be interested in more energy-efficient mining solutions from Intel? Let us know in the comments below!
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