Intel Files for Patent: Reduce Energy Consumption for Bitcoin Mining

Intel Files for Patent: Reduce Energy Consumption for Bitcoin Mining

 In 2016, Intel filed a patent to improve the efficiency of Bitcoin mining rigs. That patent info has not been released, and we're excited to see if their efforts will come to fruition. 

In 2016, Intel filed a patent to improve the efficiency of Bitcoin mining rigs. That patent info has not been released, and we're excited to see if their efforts will come to fruition. 

Energy consumption is one of the biggest concerns regarding cryptocurrency mining, world-wide. Cryptocurrency miners have gone as far as to relocate across the world for cheaper electricity in their mining operations; and some cities have responded by enforcing stiff tariffs, or banning mining altogether. Recently released, was a patent filed by Intel, in which the company proposes an improvement in the energy efficiency of mining capabilities. As Bitcoin (specifically) can end up costing more to mine than the value of the actual rewarded Bitcoin (during dip periods in the value of Bitcoin) Intel claims to be able to offer improvements to the efficiency in various areas in the mining process. 

[0027] The embodiments described herein may address computationally expensive Bitcoin mining limitations by describing a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator with optimized SHA-256 message digest and message scheduler datapaths. The message digest datapath optimizations may include (i) WH-Look Ahead and (ii) Pre-addition of `D`, each resulting in a possible 18% improvement in the critical path of new `E` computation, and (iii) 2-cycle Deferred `A` possibly resulting in 31.5% improvement in the critical path of new `A` computations. These optimizations may result in a 15% combinational area and 35% combinational power improvement in the message digest logic. The optimizations in message scheduler datapath may include 3-cycle and 6-cycle distributed message expansion techniques possibly resulting in 37% and 43% improvement in critical paths, respectively.

In addition to the advancements being proposed to streamline mining efficiency, Intel confidently mentions Bitcoin as "the most popular digital currency used in the digital currency eco-system", as well as plainly outlining the process by which the digital currency operates and is mined. While this patent was filed in September 2016, it has only been released March 29, 2018 and to this point, the patent is still pending. If this patent and product prove successful, Intel will certainly gain ground in the competitive mining hardware market. 

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