Intel Patents Hardware Accelerator


On March 29, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application in the name of Intel Corporation, which puts the famous microprocessor company back in the spotlight of crypto mining.

“BITCOIN MINING HARDWARE ACCELERATOR WITH OPTIMIZED MESSAGE DIGEST AND MESSAGE SCHEDULER DATAPATH” is the name of the promising patent. A technology with an exciting approach, especially in these times when energy costs have prompted some governments to ban or suspend mining activity:

“[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.“

Bitcoin is a PoW currency that requires the use of high computing power and electrical energy to validate transactions. As a result of this substantial investment, once a block has been verified, the network assigns a specific number of crypto coins to the person responsible for mining the block. The energy consumption required in this process is so high that there are even countries where the costs of mining exceed the rewards received.

The Bitcoin energy consumption, according to data from Digiconomist exceeds 58.4 TWh with an approximate expenditure of at least $2,921,575,913. With that energy consumption, at least 5,410,326 US houses could be powered. This, according to the page, means that with each 1-bitcoin transaction, 30 American homes could be energized for one day. The concern for energy consumption and the carbon footprint of PoW currencies has led to many innovations in hardware (such as the creation of ASICS) and software (such as the creation of the PoS algorithm).

The advances proposed by  Intel both in hardware and software could boost Bitcoin mining and its image of a profitable industry among new adopters potentially increasing the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Previously, in January 2018 Intel had announced that the Sawtooth project was ready for business use, which implies a reorientation of DLT to the business world, an implementation that would have already begun to be adopted by giants such as Amazon, Huawei, and T-Mobile.

Featured Image: Depositphotos/© wolterke

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