Reports indicate that chipmaker Intel recently filed an application for a patent with the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office for a technology describing hardware that would be used to increase the speed of bitcoin (BTC) mining as well as reduce the power that is consumed when mining the digital currency. The hardware that is described in the patent application is thus optimized to reduce the energy and space utilized during bitcoin mining.
The huge amounts of electricity consumed during the process of mining bitcoins was initially highlighted following news reports last year after the price of the biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization reached record highs. The consensus system based on proof of work that bitcoin employs consumes a lot of power and this especially the nodes that form the network.
Complex mathematical problems
This energy goes primarily to solving complex mathematical problems and the miners are then rewarded with coins. When the number of bitcoins was few and the inflation of the cryptocurrency was low this was not a problem. But as the supply schedule of the digital currency has increased in recent times the energy consumed by the systems in its network has also risen dramatically. So much so that it is estimated that among the top 50 countries in the world ranked in terms of electricity consumption the entire bitcoin mining operation when ramped together would be in position 42.
The system that has been proposed by Intel consists of multiple elements and this includes an integrated circuit, a logic device and a processor farm. With Intel’s system the search space that is needed to determine the next hash header in order to solve a problem is reduced. In the event that a solution is not found the chip Intel has proposed changes the order of the transactions which have not been processed and then begins with another hash header search. To solve a problem the current systems expend brute force instead.
Intel is not alone among the mainstream tech firms which are developing bitcoin mining chips. South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics is also building mining chips for bitcoin and has already formed a partnership with a distributor in China.
Earlier analysts had set higher targets for chip makers such as AMD and NVIDIA as they were expecting higher demand for the graphic processing units which the two make and which are used in mining bitcoin. However those targets were slashed when the biggest miner of bitcoins in the world, Bitmain, developed a new ASIC chip that offers superior performance compared to GPUs.