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Intel Launches Blockchain Accelerator – First Custom Chip for Mining

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Intel Launches Blockchain Accelerator – First Custom Chip for Mining
Image credits: Intel

Intel Blockchain Accelerator is the company’s first purpose-built processor developed for cryptocurrency mining. On workloads such as SHA-256 mining, Intel claims its single chip can deliver 1000 times the performance per watt of conventional GPUs.

Intel Blockchain Accelerator Chipset

At the upcoming Semiconductor Circuit Conference, Intel will reveal more details about the Intel Blockchain Accelerator Processor (ISSCC).

It should be noted that SHA-256 mining is not done on consumer GPUs, but rather on ASICs (custom chips) specifically designed to mine a certain cryptocurrency.

Different mining techniques are used by cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. This implies that the upcoming Intel Blockchain Accelerator chip may not be able to mine some of the most popular coins.

One of the biggest problems with current ASICs is that they waste a lot of power when mining and Intel seems to be solving this problem with their future processor tailored for blockchain-specific applications. Customers for their future blockchain acceleration chip will include Argo Blockchain, BLOCK (formerly known as Square), and GRIID Infrastructure.

The Intel Blockchain Accelerator chip will be available later this year, and Intel will sell them directly to partner companies that appear to have similar sustainability goals to Intel.

According to Intel, these chips are intended to reduce mining power consumption, and customers have asked Intel for “scalable and durable solutions” to replace standard mining GPUs with bespoke blockchain-accelerated processors.

Within Intel’s Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics division, a new internal organization called the Custom Computer Group was created. This group will be tasked with designing and creating bespoke chips capable of handling workloads such as blockchains and other accelerated supercomputing potential.

Intel also stated that the Blockchain Acceleration Chip is implemented on a tiny piece of silicon that has no impact on the performance of mainstream computer processors such as CPU and GPU.

The company is believed to have spent more than a decade building the proprietary Blockchain Accelerator Chip, which uses “trustworthy cryptography, hashing algorithms and ultra-low voltage circuitry”.

Conclusion: Will it be worth buying?

The Intel Blockchain Accelerator chip appears to be a supercomputer designed for large-scale crypto mining while using as little power as possible. This implies that the chip will not be able to be offered to retail customers and will instead be delivered to partners.

As companies like Intel embrace crypto mining and develop specialized hardware, cryptocurrency seems to be the future, with several real-world applications such as Web 3.0.

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