The world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer Intel has unveiled its new BTC mining chip ‘Blockscale’. The bitcoin mining chip seeks to increase the energy efficiency of the Proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism, as per a press release. According to Intel, the ASIC hardware is designed using SHA-256 encryption.
Intel stresses Blockscale’s capability of computing up to 580 Gigahash per second and consuming 4.8 to 22.7 watts of power. Hash rate is a measure to generate answers to Bitcoin’s next block as fast as possible. Also, the new chip will result in decreased energy consumption to a significant amount of up to 26 joules per Terahash (J/TH). Thus, each Blockscale chip can be merged with a single mining unit resulting in a maximum output of 256 integrated circuits per chain.
Intel vice president and general manager of Custom Compute in the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group, Balaji Kanigicherla explains that Blockscale is a result of years of research in R&D, cryptography, hashing techniques, and ultra-low voltage circuit designs that now makes bitcoin mining sustainable and scalable at the same time. He also states that,
“To power this new era of computing, Intel is delivering solutions that can offer an optimal balance of hashing throughput and energy efficiency regardless of a customer’s operating environment.”Balaji Kanigicherla, Vice President, Intel COrporation
Intel will start the shipment with Agro Blockchain, Block Inc., Hive Blockchain, and GRIID Infrastructure first who reserved their orders a long time back. The shipment will also consist of a reference hardware design and software stack to start the customer system development program sooner.
Bitcoin and Ethereum to reduce power intake
Equally important to note that the chip is built to focus more on energy sustainability for environmental, social, and governmental concerns that hover in the industry. Ripple’s co-founder is participating in campaigns to protect the environment from Bitcoin mining. Currently, bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus mechanism consumes about 136 terawatt-hours which is devastatingly more than Norway or Ukraine. In the last five years, Bitcoin mining cumulative power consumption has increased from 18.35 terawatts-hours (TW/H) to 331.67 TW/H which is 95% high from 2017.
As per Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Bitcoin will consume more energy than Japan in the next five years. Even Ethereum, which also works on the PoW mechanism is on its halfway to switching to the Proof-of-Stake mechanism soon. Consequently, this could result in a substantial reduction of energy consumption by the Ethereum blockchain to 99.95%.