Mining is essentially a process where a computer solves complex algorithms to generate new coins and verify transactions on the blockchain. Until now, the most common circuits being used to do so are CPUs and graphics processing units. For instance, Nvidia's graphics cards are very popular among crypto miners. But these chips are not purpose oriented in nature - they can be used to perform multiple tasks. To solve this problem, Intel is coming up with an efficient and effective cryptocurrency mining chipset, which is an application-specific circuit, which means it specializes in mining and is better at it than general processors.
Intel's Senior Vice President, Raja M Koduri says in an official press release that "blockchain is a technology that has the potential to enable everyone to own much of the digital content and services they create." Adding to it, Koduri says that "some even call it an inflexion point in computing, fundamentally disrupting the way we store, process and transact our digital assets as we usher in the era of metaverse and Web 3.0." Launching the new blockchain accelerator, Kudra said that "we at Intel are declaring our intent to contribute to the development of blockchain technologies, with a roadmap of energy-efficient accelerators."
The main idea behind the blockchain accelerator by Intel is to develop scalable and sustainable solutions for those who deal with blockchain technology on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, some blockchains require a large amount of computing power which in turn requires energy. Hence, Intel's blockchain accelerators will be energy-efficient computing solutions, which could be used by miners as an alternative to the chips that are being used currently.
Intel also mentions that it will ship the blockchain accelerator later this year. The first customers to the new product are Argo Blockchain, BLOCK and GRIID Infrastructure. Intel expects that its circuit innovation will deliver a product with over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining. The company will also be explaining more details about its block accelerator technology at the International Solid-State Circuit Conference, which will be conducted later this month.
Intel has also created a new Custom Computer Group with the company's Accelerated Computing Systems. "The objective of this team is to build custom silicon platforms optimized for customers' workloads, including blockchain and other custom accelerated supercomputing opportunities at the edge." As and when the product is launched and hits the market, it will be interesting to see how the mining enthusiasts react to it. Additionally, the Intel bitcoin mining chip price is not announced at the moment.