Intel Looks to Enter Bitcoin Mining Market
According to a report by Tom’s Hardware, Intel would unveil its new Bonanza Mine processor, an “ultra-low-voltage energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASIC” at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on February 23, 2022.
Application-Specific Integrated Circuit, otherwise known as ASIC, is a specialised processor used to mine digital currency. ASICs are more efficient and profitable, compared to more complex mining alternatives such as CPUs and GPUs. Meanwhile, Bitcoin mining is done using an ASIC miner.
Meanwhile, back in 2018, Intel was awarded a patent for a processing system that could deliver “energy-efficient high-performance Bitcoin mining.” The patent, called Optimized SHA-256 datapath, is said to reduce consumption power by 15%.
Later in December 2021, Raja Koduri, the Systems and Graphics Architect, Senior Vice President and GM for Intel, spoke about the upcoming launch of the company’s gaming GPUs. While GPUs are used for mining Ethereum and other altcoins, Koduri said that Intel preferred the GPUs to be used by gamers, instead of miners.
The Intel executive also said:
“But being able to do much more efficient blockchain validation at a much lower cost, much lower power, is a pretty solvable problem. And you know, we are working on that, and at some point in time, hopefully not too far into the future, we will kinda share some interesting hardware for that.”
While details of Intel’s Bitcoin mining chip reveal remain scanty, the company’s product would bring it into direct competition with ASIC mining giants such as Bitmain. The Chinese Bitcoin mining manufacturer in November 2021, released a new BTC miner called the Antminer S19XP, at the World Digital Mining Summit in Dubai.
The miner is said to be the most powerful mining equipment, surpassing Bitmain’s popular S19 Pro. The S19XP comes with a computing power of 150 terahashes per second (150 TH/s) and a 5-nanometer (5-nm) chip technology.
Bitcoin Mining Efficiency Race
With over 90% of all Bitcoin already mined, the competitive BTC mining arena is seeing an influx of investments from major participants. The race for more efficient miners continues to yield developments in the area of hardware innovations as mining companies seek to optimize their operations while coping with the reduced Bitcoin reward per block occasioned by every quadrennial halving event.
There is already talk of developing water-cooled Bitcoin mining machines while major manufacturers like Bitmain and MicroBT are looking to introduce even more efficient hardware.
Meanwhile, miners, especially those based in North America are electing to store significant BTC sums on their corporate treasuries with some outfits even taking out credit facilities to buy more Bitcoin.
North American-based miners have come into their own and gained a larger share of the market following China’s mining clampdown in 2021. Bitcoin miners in the United States and Canada now account for the greater share of the global hash rate distribution following the East—West hash power migration occasioned by Beijing’s crypto mining clampdown last year.