Intel – the world’s second-largest semiconductor chip manufacturer – appears to be planning a Bitcoin mining chip reveal. At this year’s ISSCC conference, the organization has a presentation scheduled under the “Highlighted Chip Releases” category to showcase a “Bonanza Mine” processor.
The Bonanza Mine Processor
As reported by Tom’s Hardware, Intel describes the chip as an “ultra-low-voltage energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASIC”.
An ASIC is an application-specific integrated circuit. Such machines are commonly used in the Bitcoin mining industry today in order to stay competitive. Unlike Ethereum, GPU processors are hardly optimal for the job.
Intel first displayed interest in entering the industry in 2018 after filing a patent for “energy-efficient high-performance Bitcoin mining”. In August, the company even took a relatively small stake in Coinbase.
More recently, the manufacturer’s GPU Chief Raja Koduri spoke with popular streamer Dr. Lupo, and revealed that the company was developing specialized Bitcoin mining hardware.
“Being able to do much more efficient blockchain validation at a much lower cost, much lower power, is a pretty solvable problem,” said Koduri. At some point in time, hopefully not too far into the future, we will kinda share some interesting hardware for that.”
Intel could prove a highly competitive entrant into the Bitcoin mining sphere, given that the company has its own silicon production capabilities. At the moment, Bitmain is one of the only sellers of Silicon, providing it to miners at high premiums.
It is currently unclear whether the Bonanza mining chip will be sold to the public, or remain a research project.
The More Miners, the Better
As new miners enter the space – especially silicon producers – the industry becomes more competitive and decentralized, which is critical to the integrity of the Bitcoin network. In 2017, a collection of just a few large mining pools nearly tore the network apart after conspiring to increase Bitcoin’s block size against the interest of nodes.
Jack Dorsey’s Block recently confirmed plans to build a new Bitcoin mining system. This system is intended to be better suited for at-home use, helping decentralize the industry apart from large-scale mining farms.