Technology giant Intel has won a patent in the field of Bitcoin mining. This new Intel blockchain patent intends to make Bitcoin mining more efficient, and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded the patent in late 2018.
The patent addresses the computation and electricity-intensive nature of the current Bitcoin mining operations. Intel plans to use hardware accelerators to improve the mining process.
Bitcoin mining is a competitive process, where many Bitcoin miners take part in. Bitcoin uses a computation-intensive consensus algorithm for transaction validation, and we call it “Proof of Work” (POW).
Miners compete to solve a cryptographic puzzle. The puzzle is moderately hard to solve, however, it’s very easy to verify the solution. This is why cryptographic experts also call it an “asymmetric puzzle”.
Bitcoin miners don’t need skills to solve the puzzle, however, they need plenty of computing power. Their computers keep trying one number after another, and the first one to find the answer “solves” a “Bitcoin block”. The winner gets rewards in the form of a fraction of the new Bitcoin mined.
Miners use powerful hardware accelerators like ASICs and run their computers for long periods of time. These computers use up a high amount of electricity, which also increases the energy bill.
As a matter of fact, there are concerns about whether Bitcoin mining is environmentally sustainable in the long run. Bitcoin mining uses up more electricity than many countries!
Can Bitcoin mining become more efficient?
ASICs and similar hardware accelerators were not designed for operations like Bitcoin mining. As Bitcoin and crypto mining emerged, miners started using them, however, these aren’t efficient for crypto mining.
The new Intel blockchain patent addresses this area, as it seeks to make the hardware cater specifically to Bitcoin mining. This patent looks into the parameters of the SHA-256 algorithm used in Bitcoin mining, and integrates these in the hardware.
This essentially makes the new hardware better suitable to Bitcoin mining. Intel estimates a 15% savings in the energy cost, as a result of their new hardware accelerator.
Intel is investing significantly on blockchain-related innovation, e.g., the company plans to use blockchain in genetic sequencing. They also plan to use the technology to track the addictive medicine supply chain.
The potentials of the new Intel blockchain patent
Bitcoin mining is costly, moreover, the environmental concerns are giving it a negative media coverage. Crypto miners need to address this, and the proposed solution could just be the right one.