Intel launches new blockchain accelerator chip for crypto mining

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Intel has launched a new chip designed specifically for blockchain use cases such as Bitcoin mining and minting NFTs.

The crypto-specialised chip, which Intel calls its “blockchain accelerator”, will ship later this year. Jack Dorsey’s fintech firm Block – formerly Square – has already preordered the technology, along with Bitcoin mining company GRIID Infrastructures.

Considering crypto mining’s immense energy usage, Intel has said it is focused on “developing the most energy-efficient computing technologies at scale”.

Raja Koduri, senior vice president at Intel, said: “Intel Labs has dedicated decades of research into reliable cryptography, hashing techniques and ultra-low voltage circuits. We expect that our circuit innovations will deliver a blockchain accelerator that has over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining.”

Secure Hashing Algorithm (SHA) -256 refers to the hash function and mining algorithm used to generate Bitcoin and a number of other cryptocurrencies.

More information surrounding the chip will be unveiled at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, beginning February 20.

Intel has also formed a new custom compute group within Intel’s accelerated computing systems and graphics business unit.

The team will be working on custom silicon platforms optimised for customer workloads, including blockchain and other custom accelerated supercomputing opportunities at the edge.

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