Intel, the world’s second-largest semiconductor company behind Samsung, has procured a U.S. patent for an energy efficient Bitcoin miner. Intel is one of the largest chip manufacturers in the world, bringing in $62.76 billion in revenue in 2017.
The patent explains the entire mining process, then details how Intel plans to fix the high energy costs of mining Bitcoin. They recognize that “the power consumption [of the needed] hardware accelerators is the recurring cost for the bitcoin mining,” and it seems they’re trying to use this patent to help save miners energy (and costs). The patent details intel’s energy improvements, and makes bold claims as to how much power consumption they could save:
Dedicated Bitcoin mining ASICs 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 W. Embodiments of the present disclosure employ micro-architectural optimizations including selective hardwiring certain parameters in Bitcoin mining computation. The hardwiring of these parameters eliminate the need for recursive rounds of computations of these parameters and reduce the overall circuit area and power consumption by about 15%.
The full text can be found in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database.
Intel Missing the Point
Many commenters have pointed out that more efficient hardware will not impact bitcoin energy useage. If the mining farms can afford $100,000 in energy, they’ll use it all if they will increase their hashrate and make more money, whether that’s on 100 miners or 150 “efficient” miners. Hasu on Twitter explains:
“Excessive power consumption for bitcoin mining has long been a criticism”
You can't reduce the power consumption of the $BTC network by making better ASICs. Total money spent on energy stays the same, because hashrate follows price – no matter how easy it is to produce a hash. https://t.co/icEBOfLY9c
— Hasu (@hasufl) November 30, 2018
He follows up this tweet by saying, “If Intel succeeds in making a $BTC miner that “reduces power consumption by 15%” the result is simply that 15% more mining rigs come online, spending the exact same amount of energy as before.”