In a nutshell: Block isn't the only mainstream tech company interested in creating an efficient Bitcoin mining solution. Intel at the upcoming International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) has a presentation scheduled under the Highlighted Chip Releases category titled Bonanza Mine: An Ultra-Low-Voltage Energy-Efficient Bitcoin Mining ASIC. Nine Intel employees are on the docket for the presentation from offices in Hillsborough, Santa Clara and San Diego, California.
Unlike a complex general purpose CPU or GPU, an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) is a type of chip designed for a specific type of task - in this case, Bitcoin mining. They do only one job, but they're very good at it.
Raja Koduri, SVP and GM of the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) Group at Intel, said in an interview last month that being able to do much more efficient blockchain validation at a much lower cost with much less power is a pretty solvable problem.
"And that's not a GPU thing, so don't try to confuse that as a GPU thing. GPUs will do graphics, gaming, and all those wonderful things," Koduri added.
Some 18.93 million Bitcoins, or more than 90 percent of the total supply that will ever be created, have already been mined. That leaves only a couple million more Bitcoin left to mine, and the last ones won't be minted until 2140 by design.
The biggest variable here is simply the unknown. If Bitcoin continues its mainstream push, those last couple million coins could be extremely valuable over the long haul. If not, well there could be a lot more useless hardware rolling off the assembly lines soon.
The 2022 ISSCC runs from February 20-26, 2022, and will be a virtual only event with no in-person element. Intel's Bonanza Mine presentation is scheduled under the Highlighted Chip Releases segment set for February 23 at 7 a.m. Pacific.
Image credit: Alesia Kozik