Intel Wins Bitcoin Mining Patent After 2 Year Wait, But is it Already Too Late?

The US Patent Office has awarded computing giant Intel a patent for a processing system that optimizes Bitcoin mining.

This week Intel’s “Optimized SHA-256 datapath for energy-efficient high-performance Bitcoin mining” patent, which was originally filed for on June 29, 2016, has finally been granted.
According to the patent’s technical description, the proposed processing system involves ‘micro-architectural optimizations’ that increase the efficiency of Bitcoin mining computations and reduce overall power consumption by as much as 15%.

“The hardwiring of these parameters eliminate the need for recursive rounds of computations of these parameters and reduce the overall circuit area and power consumption by about 15%.”

In the wake of Bitcoin’s price plummeting by more than 80% over the course of this year, crypto mining profitability has also suffered a marked decline while hashing difficulty remains up at all-time highs. As a result of this, countless crypto mining giants have reported record losses, many have filed for bankruptcy and some have even resorted to selling mining equipment by the kilo in a bid to recuperate losses. By increasing the efficiency of ASIC-based SHA-256 miners - SHA-256 being the hashing algorithm used to mine Bitcoin - Intel is helping to tackle the current mining deficit by minimizing mining company electrical costs which in turn should increase their profit margins.

“The clusters of SHA engines may consume a lot of powers (e.g., at a rate of greater than 200 W). Embodiments of the present disclosure include energy-efficient ASIC-based SHA engines that consume less power for Bitcoin mining operations.”

While many will welcome this new technology as a much-needed solution to the highly contentious issue of crypto mining energy consumption, there will undoubtedly be those who argue that this new patent approval has arrived too late to make any significant impact to the already crippled crypto mining industry.

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