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Intel Announces Mining Chips’ First Clients: BLOCK, Argo Blockchain, and GRIID

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Photo by Fabian Irsara

Intel ’s play to get into the bitcoin mining market might end up being the story of the year. In a post titled “Blockchain and the New Custom Compute Group,” Raja Koduri reveals a little of the company’s playbook. At Intel, he’s the senior vice president and general manager of the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group. 

Related Reading | Jack Dorsey’s Block To Democratize Bitcoin Mining With Open Source Mining System

In the article, Koduri says, “we are focusing our efforts on realizing the full potential of blockchain by developing the most energy-efficient computing technologies at scale.” Intel’s play is deeper and harder than previously thought. They’re going all-in in the blockchain business. With a twist that every corporation is claiming for.  

“Today, we at Intel are declaring our intent to contribute to the development of blockchain technologies, with a roadmap of energy-efficient accelerators. Intel will engage and promote an open and secure blockchain ecosystem and will help advance this technology in a responsible and sustainable way.”

That’s right, they’re tackling the problem “in a responsible and sustainable way.” And they’re calling the mining chips “accelerators” for some reason. Will the name catch on?

“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.”

This new line of Intel products responds directly to the ESG crowd. The bitcoin-consumes-too-much-energy FUD people. Soon enough, they’ll have to face Intel ’s PR machine.  How can bitcoin consume too much energy if Intel’s product “has over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining”?

BTC price chart for 02/14/2022 on Kraken | Source: BTC/USD on
Who Are Intel ’s First Clients?

We can’t prove it, but, all of these companies probably knew years ago about Intel’s plans to release a bitcoin mining chip. Again, Raja Koduri:

“Our blockchain accelerator will ship later this year. We are engaged directly with customers that share our sustainability goals. Argo Blockchain, BLOCK (formerly known as Square) and GRIID Infrastructure are among our first customers for this upcoming product. This architecture is implemented on a tiny piece of silicon so that it has minimal impact to the supply of current products.” 

When NewsBTC analyzed Intel’s chip announcement, we summarized the situation as:

“This could be huge. Intel plans to enter the Bitcoin mining space with a cleverly marketed “ultra-low-voltage energy-efficient” ASIC chip. Considering that the chip shortage severely delayed the next generation of ASIC miners, this is tremendous. And, more importantly, it opens up the door for Bitcoin miners manufacturing in the USA. And in the rest of the Western world, even. ”

After that, we analyzed the situation’s implications:

“Now, the open-source Bitcoin miner that Jack Dorsey’s Block is working on makes a lot more sense. Theoretically, the silicon chip is the only part of an ASIC machine that can’t be bought in a hardware store. With that problem solved, by no less than an industry leader with immense manufacturing power, the sky’s the limit. If this whole thing materializes, expect a huge leap forward in the further decentralization of Bitcoin mining.”

Notice how Block is one of the first clients. And how Intel had the energy-efficient ASIC chip marketing ready from the get-go. And how Koduri even addressed the chip shortage in the last line there.

Intel’s Bonanza Chip’s Future

Reading between the lines, it’s clear that this is not a secondary project for Intel. They have high hopes for this low-energy chips play. Here, Koduri discusses the Custom Compute Group:

“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.

Onward, we aspire to leverage technologies from our zetta-scale computing initiative to deliver energy-efficient solutions.”

Related Reading | Green Energy: In NY, Bitcoin Mining Saved The Oldest Working Hydroelectric Plant

You read it here first, Intel ’s play to get into the bitcoin mining market might end up being the story of the year.

This is not financial advice, though.

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