Intel was born by being on the cutting edge of technology, so it’s no surprise that the tech giant would continue to ensure that it is able to be an influencer. The company already has a number of patents related to cryptocurrencies and blockchains, but just added another to its growing binder. The latest could go a long way to countering all of those obtuse individuals who believe that cryptocurrency mining is bad for the environment.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded Intel a patent for a crypto mining processor that allows for “energy-efficient high performance bitcoin mining.” The patent filing specifically refers to the SHA-256 algorithm, which is the most common algorithm used by Bitcoin Core (BTC).
According to the patent, “Dedicated Bitcoin mining ASICs [application-specific integrated circuits] 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.”
By hardwiring the parameters, the number of computations needed would be reduced. This would allow the mining system to also rely on a decreased amount of power, possibly as much as 15%. The chip could also be made smaller than current chips, which would result in a smaller footprint for the mining equipment that doesn’t have to incorporate a significant amount of cooling devices.
The processor would include additional characteristics that could even further lower the power needs. The patent discusses that, by changing the amount of 32-bit nonce that is used to verify validity, there could be a further reduction in power usage. Intel states in the patent, “Instead of comparing the final hashing result with the target value, [the] bitcoin mining application may determine whether the hash out has a minimum number of leading zeros.”
Intel obviously has a strong history - and a great deal of expertise - with computer processors. In addition to crypto patents the company already holds, it was also the chip manufacturer for 21 Inc., a crypto mining operation. 21 Inc. was later renamed Earn.com and subsequently purchased by Coinbase.