Intel gets awarded patent for bitcoin mining processor that saves energy

Tech giant Intel was seeking to patent a hardware accelerator for bitcoin mining chips for the past year. They had reached in the application in September 2016. On the 27th of November, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the company the patent for a processor which claims to be able to conduct “energy-efficient high-performance bitcoin mining,”.

In the application for the patent, Intel wrote:

“Because the software and hardware utilized in Bitcoin mining use brute force to repeatedly and endlessly perform SHA-256 functions, the process of Bitcoin mining can be very power-intensive and utilize large amounts of hardware space. The embodiments described herein optimize Bitcoin mining operations by reducing the space utilized and power consumed by Bitcoin mining hardware.”

According to the patent, bitcoin miners might be receiving a block reward and transaction fees as a reward for their efforts. Mining machines generally require hardware accelerators, such as application-specific integrated circuits and therefore require a large amount of energy.

Hardware accelerators are needed in particular for processing 32-bit nonces, strings of bits used once during a transaction. Current ASICs process these transactions in multiple stages with redundancies.

The patent explains:

“Dedicated Bitcoin mining ASICs are used to implement multiple SHA-256 engines that may deliver a performance of thousands of hashes per second while consuming power of greater than 200 [watts]. Embodiments of the present disclosure employ micro-architectural optimizations including selective hardwiring certain parameters in Bitcoin mining computation.”

Through this, the resulting chip would lower the number of computations required and it would also be smaller than the ones used for bitcoin mining machines at the moment.

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