In November 2020, Intel released a statement that in the future everything will be encrypted. On February 11, 2022, Intel informed the world of its plans to launch a blockchain accelerator. The crypto-focused Intel chip is scheduled to ship later this year.
Bitcoin mining: Advocacy And Opposition
Bitcoin mining was initially done using desktop computers. In countries, where electricity is produced using fossil fuels, this is considered extremely harmful for the environment. Due to high electricity costs, miners have either shifted operations to places with cheap electricity or found places that rely on renewable sources of energy. “
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in an interview with Bloomberg stated that bitcoin is a climate crisis and that, “A single ledger in bitcoin consumes enough energy to power your house for almost a day.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has always advocated for bitcoin and had started investing heavily way back in 2017. In December 2021, in response to a question by singer Cardi B he mentioned that eventually bitcoin will replace the dollar.
In March 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had announced that his company will accept Bitcoin as payment for electric vehicles. However, he later rescinded the offer as bitcoin mining is harmful for the environment. He promised to reevaluate his stance if companies find a way to meet bitcoin mining costs using sustainable energies.
Lawmakers in the US have been torn up against supporting bitcoin due to its high energy costs. Although they have started introducing legislative proposals, Congress remains wary of supporting crypto.
Intel’s Crypto and Sustainability Plans
Intel has continuously worked on enhancing cryptographic performance.
In an official statement, Raja M. Koduri, senior vice president of accelerated computing systems and graphics group at Intel, mentioned that the tech giant came up with this product as customers have been demanding energy-efficient technologies. He also stated that the company will work on optimizing the full potential of blockchain for the future.
Mr Koduri confirmed that the upcoming product is built on a tiny piece of silicone so that it will not impact the supply of current products. He also clarified that the “blockchain accelerator that has over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining.”
urther information about the crypto chip and other upcoming products will be provided at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) which is scheduled to be held between February 20-24.
He clarified that as blockchains consume enormous amounts of energy, to the detriment of the environment, Intel will work towards building and enhancing sustainable technologies. To make this possible, Intel has developed a new Custom Compute Group within Intel’s Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business unit. The team will work towards building “silicone platforms optimized for customers’ workloads, including blockchain and other custom accelerated supercomputing opportunities at the edge.”
Companies that have already placed an order for the chip include GRIID Infrastructures, a bitcoin mining start-up, Argo Blockchain, a London-based cryptocurrency mining company, and BLOCK, the company founded by Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey.
Intel’s foray into cryptocurrency can also have a significant impact on its stocks. Upcoming bitcoin miners and investors have been skeptical about investing heavily in the cryptocurrency due to its large environmental cost. Intel’s chip could be the solution to their dilemmas. If the Intel chip becomes popular, it can boost the chip-maker’s revenues, which have been facing trouble due to global supply chain issues.
The world’s largest chip maker has time and again reiterated its commitment to sustainability and plans to continue working on developing technologies that meet environmental, social and computing goals.