One of the biggest concerns in today’s crypto market is the mining process. It is quite problematic in different ways. For instance, the cost of mining gear not to mention the cost of operations has stopped small-time miners from operating in their basement. Today, the majority of Bitcoin’s hash rate is found in China.
For environmentalists, Bitcoin mining is a concern. Aside from the fact that it is energy intensive enough to power an entire country, it is said that it can increase the temperature of the earth by 2 degrees if things don’t change.
For this reason, global tech giant Intel seems to have an answer to this problem. It has won a patent that is connected to crypto mining tech. On Tuesday, the US Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Intel a patent for a processor that aims to provide “energy-efficient high-performance Bitcoin mining”. This is specifically made for the SHA-256 algorithm that is being used by Bitcoin.
This isn’t exactly a surprising move byIntel. In fact, Intel already sought patents in the crypto mining niche in the past. In addition to this, it was also behind the chips for the mining operation of 21Inc which was later rebranded as Earn.com and obtained by Coinbase.
Mining Requiring a Large Amount of Energy
According to the patent, “Dedicated Bitcoin mining ASICs are used to implement multiple SHA-256 engines that may deliver a performance of thousands of hashes per second while consuming power of greater than 200 (watts). Embodiments of the present disclosure employ micro-architectural optimizations including selective hardwiring certain parameters in Bitcoin mining computation”.
If the patent is then implemented, this can help in lowering the computations that are needed by miners. According to estimates, this would mean that power needed to mine Bitcoin is going to decrease by 15%. And also, the design of the chip will also be smaller than what the current technology has. The patent also mentioned that “Instead of comparing the final hashing results with the target value, (the) bitcoin mining application may determine whether the hash out has a minimum of leading zeros”.
Countries Hesitant to Accept Miners
Mining has been a concern for different countries. In fact, miners are asked a higher rate compared to other consumers considering the energy-intensive activity involved in mining. When Quebec opened its doors to miners, it received a number of applications from Chinese miners with an interest to operate in the province. However, the province decided to limit the number of miners that can operate in their area and ask for a higher rate.
Today, the majority of Bitcoin miners are located in China because of cheap electricity. The problem is that Chinese authorities have been working its way towards banning crypto-related activities in the country. Will authorities target crypto miners in the country soon? This isn’t far from possibility.
Bitcoin in 2017 reached near $20,000 level that caught the attention of mainstream media and even miners. However, as 2018 entered, things went south from there. This month, miners lost their interest to mine Bitcoin simply because of the operational cost. And because of this, the Bitcoin network experienced a dwindling hash rate.