Intel Entering Blockchain Mining Market with New GPUs
Intel announced on Friday that it is kicking off a new initiative to develop technologies for the blockchain ecosystem.
In a released statement, Raja M. Koduri, Intel senior vice president and general manager for the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group, said the new initiative aims to help accelerate growth in the blockchain to "democratize access to this enormous pool of processing power."
"Blockchain is a technology that has the potential to enable everyone to own much of the digital content and services they create," said Koduri. "Some even call it an inflection point in computing, fundamentally disrupting the way we store, process and transact our digital assets as we usher in the era of metaverse and Web 3.0."
Kicking off the blockchain initiative will be energy-efficient accelerators aimed at the crypto mining community. Koduri said that Intel is mindful of the huge amounts of energy used to mine popular crypto coins, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and promises to counter with "scalable and sustainable" hardware solutions.
Intel is planning to release the first wave of graphics processing units (GPUs) aimed at mining later this year, and Koduri said the devices will have a thousand times better performance per watt than the current GPUs on the market for SHA-256-based mining. SHA-256 is a hash algorithm used for encryption that is used in many applications, including the blockchain.
In support of the new initiative, Intel is also creating a Custom Compute Group within the company's Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business unit to build custom hardware for workloads in emerging tech areas, like the blockchain and supercomputing.
The company has also lined up its first customers for the Custom Compute Group. Per Koduri:
We are engaged directly with customers that share our sustainability goals. 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.
Block is the maker of popular payment platforms, like Square and Cash App. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey announced in January plans to create an open bitcoin mining system, but gave no details. Friday's announcement has shed some light on how Block will go about creating this new system.
Intel said it will share more details on the initiative, including its "roadmap of energy efficient accelerators" later this month at the virtual International Solid-State Circuits Conference.