The Global tech giant Intel, known for its widely-used computer processors has been awarded a patent connected to its work in the area of cryptocurrency mining by the Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday.
The Patent outlines a processor which is claimed to be able to conduct “energy-efficient high-performance bitcoin mining,” specifically naming the SHA-256 algorithm used by BTC. Intel has sought patents related to its work in the area of crypto mining in the past as well.
Notably, the chips for the mining operation run by 21 Inc was initially produced by Intel’s foundry, it was later rebranded asand was ultimately acquired by Coinbase. According to the patent, Bitcoin miners may get rewarded heir efforts by receiving a block reward and transaction fees.
Usually, mining machines for the bitcoin network require hardware accelerators such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). These accelerators tend to consume a large amount of energy. Hardware accelerators are needed in particular for processing 32-bit nonces, strings of bits used once during a transaction. Current ASICs process these transactions in multiple stages with redundancies.
As the patent explains:
“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 [watts]. Embodiments of the present disclosure employ micro-architectural optimizations including selective hardwiring certain parameters in Bitcoin mining computation.”
It is observed that hardwiring these parameters would lower the number of computations required. The patent estimates that such a system would reduce the amount of power needed for a chip by 15%. The new chip will be smaller in comparison with the currently used by bitcoin miners.
The patent goes on to hint at a possibility of changing how much of the 32-bit nonce is compared for validity could further lower power requirements. The patent states:
“Instead of comparing the final hashing result with the target value, [the]bitcoin mining application may determine whether the hash out has a minimum number of leading zeros.”