Intel, one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, has filed a patent for a new Bitcoin mining chip accelerator. Entitled “Bitcoin Mining Hardware Accelerator with Optimized Message Digest and Message Scheduler Datapath,” the patent was originally submitted in September of 2016, but is now being released for the first time.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining has long been under scrutiny for the excessive energy it allegedly uses. Countries like Iceland, for example, admit that more energy is used to mine Bitcoin than to power its residences, while cities like Plattsburgh, New York — a once-popular haven for commercial Bitcoin mining — have imposed strict moratoriums to lessen miners’ growing needs and the surging costs of electricity.

Intel claims to have found a more reasonable and cost-effective way to mine bitcoins. The patent says the product can decrease energy use by up to 35 percent while lowering financial requirements and mining more bitcoins in the process.

Intel explains that one of the most expensive and rigorous steps involved in any mining venture is finding the 32-bit field. The value is set so that the block hash contains a nonce, or a solid set of zeros.

After computation is complete, these zeros are attached to the “hash of the transaction hashes in the blockchain” and other headers.   The traditional 256-bit hash that the document discusses is less than a “pre-defined threshold value.” There are two primary computational blocks involved: a message scheduler and a message digest. Read more from…

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