US technology company Intel has filed a patent for a Bitcoin (BTC) mining hardware accelerator that would reduce the amount of electricity used in crypto mining by “reducing the space utilized and power consumed by Bitcoin mining hardware,” according to a US Patent and Trademark Office patent application released yesterday, March 29.
The patent, originally filed on Sept. 23 of last year, seeks to solve the “challenge for miners” of “search[ing] through the entire nonce space in a brute force manner while minimizing energy consumption per hash and maximizing performance per watt.”
According to Intel, this can be done by “optimizing the critical paths in the computation intensive message digest and scheduler datapaths,” resulting in “extra time” that can “reduce switching capacitance or scale the supply voltage” to create a “35% combinational power improvement in the message digest logic.”
The mining of Bitcoin, which Intel refers to as the “most popular type of (e.g., unit of) digital currency used in the digital currency eco-system,” needs large amounts of electricity to solve algorithms to mine for the coin. Bitcoin mining energy has been called by some as as an “environmental disaster,” while the other side argues that the possibility of using leftover electricity and renewable energy makes mining a “non-issue” for the environment.
The patent application writes that “because of the large amount of power utilized, and the relatively high cost of that power, mining Bitcoins can be a very costly endeavor. In some embodiments, the cost to mine a single Bitcoin may exceed the value of the mined Bitcoin.”
This negative mining cost ratio, which occurs temporarily during market dips, was pointed out by Fundstrat’s Tom Lee in a report earlier this month.
Intel’s patent application notes that it refers to ASIC implementations for “convenience,” although their system could apply to “any other logic device […] including, but not limited to Processors, SoCs, and FPGA platforms.”
This patent application is not Intel’s first foray into the crypto sphere. In May of last year, Intel partnered with healthcare transaction service provider and software development firm PokitDok in order to utilize Blockchain technology in the healthcare industry.
In September 2017, Intel announced a collaboration with Chinese media and technology firm Tencent for working on an Internet of Things (IoT) Blockchain solution, and in October, Intel partnered with virtual currency hardware startup firm Ledger in order to use their Blockchain platform for storing crypto holdings.