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Intel launches blockchain chip for energy-efficient crypto mining

Intel launches blockchain chip for energy-efficient crypto mining

New Products |
By Rich Pell


The new Blockscale application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) will provide users with energy-efficient hashing for proof-of-work consensus networks, says the company.

“Momentum around blockchain continues to build,” says Balaji Kanigicherla, Intel vice president and general manager of Custom Compute in the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group. “It is the enabler of decentralized and distributed computing, making way for innovative business models. To power this new era of computing, Intel is delivering solutions that can offer an optimal balance of hashing throughput and energy efficiency regardless of a customer’s operating environment. Intel’s decades of R&D in cryptography, hashing techniques and ultra-low voltage circuits make it possible for blockchain applications to scale their computing power without compromising on sustainability.”

Compute requirement for blockchains utilizing proof-of-work consensus mechanisms is growing at a rapid rate due to their resiliency and ability to scale without sacrificing decentralization. This growing pool of computing power requires an enormous amount of energy, necessitating new computing technologies that can provide the requisite power in a more energy-efficient manner while also being durable enough to mitigate long-term e-waste concerns, says the company.

For proof-of-work algorithms that are compatible with ASIC-based systems and SHA-256 hashing, the company’s Blockscale ASIC is designed to provide the energy efficiency and computing power needed to achieve scalability and sustainability. And given the nature of the silicon powering this technology, says the company, it will be able to supply it in volume without compromising the supply of new CPUs or GPUs.

“Intel is committed to advancing blockchain technology in a responsible way, and we’re proud to collaborate with and provide solutions to companies that are creating a more sustainable cryptocurrency ecosystem globally,” says Jose Rios, general manager of Blockchain and Business Solutions in the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group at Intel. “The Intel Blockscale ASIC is going to play a major role in helping bitcoin mining companies achieve both sustainability and hash rate scaling objectives in the years ahead.”

Key features for the Intel Blockscale ASIC include:

  • Dedicated Secure Hash Algorithm-256 (SHA-256) ASIC processor.
  • Up to 580 GH/s hash rate operating and up to 26 J/TH power efficiency.
  • On-chip temperature- and voltage-sensing capabilities.
  • Support for up to 256 integrated circuits per chain.
  • Reference hardware design and software stack to jump-start customers system development.

Shipments of the Blockscale ASIC to customers will begin in the third quarter of 2022. Argo Blockchain, Block Inc., Hive Blockchain Technologies and GRIID Infrastructure will be among the first companies to develop new systems based on the new ASIC.

Intel


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