Intel launches blockchain chip to tap crypto boom

Intel has launched a new chip for blockchain applications such as Bitcoin mining and minting NFTs to cash in on the rising usage of cryptocurrencies.
Intel technology for 5G
Intel said it will ship the chip later this year and the first customers include Block, the Jack Dorsey-led firm that recently changed its name from Square to highlight its growing focus on the blockchain.

Intel said its chip is an energy-efficient accelerator designed to speed up blockchain tasks that require huge amounts of computing power and thereby consume a lot of energy.

Chip designer Nvidia, whose graphics cards are used widely for mining activities, also has a separate chip meant for Ethereum mining.

Intel has also formed a new segment called Custom Compute Group within its Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business unit.

Intel rival Samsung Electronics took over the top spot in the semiconductor market by revenue in the third quarter of 2021 on the back of strong memory chip sales, industry tracker Omdia said.

Intel, which had been the top chipmaker for 11 quarters, slipped to number two behind Samsung as the memory segment, where Samsung is the number one DRAM and NAND supplier, was the largest growth area for semiconductor in the three months ending in September.

“Argo Blockchain, BLOCK (formerly known as Square) and GRIID Infrastructure are among our first customers for this upcoming product. This architecture is implemented on a tiny piece of silicon so that it has minimal impact to the supply of current products,” Raja M. Koduri,  senior vice president and general manager of the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group at Intel Corporation, said.

“We expect that our circuit innovations will deliver a blockchain accelerator that has over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining. You will be able to learn more about our circuit innovations at the International Solid State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) this month.”