Global tech giant Intel, known for its widely-used computer processors, has won a patent connected to its work in the area of cryptocurrency mining.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the company a patent outlining a processor which claims to be able to conduct "energy-efficient high performance bitcoin mining," specifically naming the SHA-256 algorithm used by the world's largest cryptocurrency by market cap.
Per the patent, bitcoin miners may be rewarded for their efforts by receiving a block reward and transaction fees. However, mining machines for the bitcoin network generally require hardware accelerators, such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and therefore require a large amount of energy.
Hardware accelerators are needed in particular for processing 32-bit nonces, strings of bits used once during a transaction. Current ASICs process these transactions in multiple stages with redundancies.
As the patent explains:
Hardwiring these parameters would lower the number of computations required, it says, estimating that such a system would reduce the amount of power needed for a chip by 15 percent. The resulting chip would also be smaller than those used for bitcoin miners at present.
The patent also hints that changing how much of the 32-bit nonce is compared for validity could further lower power requirements.
"Instead of comparing the final hashing result with the target value, [the] bitcoin mining application may determine whether the hash out has a minimum number of leading zeros," the patent states.
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