MinED & BlockED
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MinED & BlockED

The Ecosystem is Calling: They Want Their Power Back

Bitmain May Have Lost Their Power over Mining Amid Intel & Samsung’s drive to lower energy consumption as consumer sentiment against the excessive amount of power increases. According to the article, published on Intel Set to Revolutionize Bitcoin Mining Waits Patent Approval, Intel is getting in on the Mining industry in a serious way.

They are seeking to disrupt the power that Bitmain retains in the ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) industry, in the same spirit as the disruptive technology revolution. Intel offers a solution awaiting patent approval to decrease the power needed to remain profitable in Mining, which addressing the elephant in the Mine, the difficulty problem in a unique way, as cited from the US Patent & Trademark Office,

A Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator is described. A System on Chip implementing a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator may include a processor core and a hardware accelerator coupled to the processor core, the hardware accelerator to mine digital currency. The hardware accelerator may include a first computational block, including a message digest datapath, wherein the first computational block is to: precompute a first summation of a 32-bit message (W.sub.i), a 32-bit round constant (K.sub.i), and a content of a first shifted state register (G.sub.i-1), and store a result of the first summation in a state register (H.sub.i). The Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator may further include a second computational block comprising a message scheduler datapath.

Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 Algorithm, meaning when a block is mined and subsequently validated there is a code or set of 4 zeros, which appear. This event signals the proof of work, or proof in fact that the Miner invested in the the electricity needed to create the block through a consensus protocol. In other words the data is valid because it is this system that creates the integrity of the data. Bad actors attempting to change the block of data, are punitively rewarded losing their proof of work, because they are not in consensus. The Miner that solves the algorithm the fastest is rewarded. Therefore, a Miner must both be in consensus and the fastest, in order for the Miner to be rewarded in Bitcoin. In more scientific terms, taken from the patent, BITCOIN MINING HARDWARE ACCELERATOR WITH OPTIMIZED MESSAGE DIGEST AND MESSAGE SCHEDULER DATAPATH.

The most expensive operation in mining may involve the computationally intensive task of finding the 32-bit nonce (e.g., a 32-bit (4-byte) field whose value is set so that the hash of the block will contain a run of zeros), which when appended to the Merkle root (e.g., a hash of the transaction hashes in the blockchain), previous hash and other headers, produces a 256-bit hash value, which is less than a pre-defined threshold value. A typical SHA-256 datapath consists of two major computational blocks — a message digest and a message scheduler with SHA-256 specific functions that combine multiple 32-bit words followed by 32-bit additions. The performance of the fully unrolled datapath is limited by these two datapaths. This hashing operation may be the largest recurring cost a miner incurs in the process of creating a Bitcoin and therefore there is a strong motivation to reduce the energy consumption of this process.

The embodiments described herein may address computationally expensive Bitcoin mining limitations by describing a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator with optimized SHA-256 message digest and message scheduler datapaths. The message digest datapath optimizations may include (i) WH-Look Ahead and (ii) Pre-addition of `D`, each resulting in a possible 18% improvement in the critical path of new `E` computation, and (iii) 2-cycle Deferred `A` possibly resulting in 31.5% improvement in the critical path of new `A` computations. These optimizations may result in a 15% combinational area and 35% combinational power improvement in the message digest logic. The optimizations in message scheduler datapath may include 3-cycle and 6-cycle distributed message expansion techniques possibly resulting in 37% and 43% improvement in critical paths, respectively.

Intel is not stopping there as further described in the article, Intel Set to Revolutionize Bitcoin Mining Waits Patent Approval, it appears that they are looking to take on a more dominant role within Mining as a whole given their reorganization of the Merkle tree.

Since one of the main criticisms of Cryptocurrency is power consumption, and crypto has steadily overcome multiple other objections, could this be the final frontier before crypto is considered mainstream?

According to reports, the proposed system will come with an array of elements including a processor farm, logic device, and an integrated circuit. If all goes as planned, the system will function by limiting the search space needed to determine the next nonce required to solve the mining-related equation. However, if the problem persists then the highly functional chip will reshuffle the Merkle tree or the arrangement of unprocessed transactions. The above process is quite cumbersome for quite many systems currently being utilized by crypto miners. In essence, if the patent is approved, it will bring smiles to the faces of many.

In a volatile Crypto market, Ansel Lindner cites that it will increase Bitcoin’s value and scarcity thereof, resulting in a win all around.

“It’s an event that makes the market more aware of the scarcity of bitcoin. It will eventually turn into higher prices,” Ansel Lindner, host of the Bitcoin & Markets podcast, remarked back in April.

Is Intel Walking on Broken ANTS?

The famed producer of the ANTMINER, Bitmain retains the largest marketshare of ASIC and rumors have surfaced that they may have the capacity to stop all of their Miners with an inherent kill switch. This is only a rumor, but the nature of such a central control in a decentralized industry raises concern since,

The world leading ASIC manufacturer, Bitmain, currently controls 70 percent of the market for bitcoin mining rigs. The company has also taken steps to establish its dominance on other blockchains that have proven difficult for ASIC mining in the past.

Intel is not alone, as cited in the article, Samsung Reportedly Developing ASIC Chips for Halong’s Bitcoin Miners, who is next?

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Jenny Balliet

Jenny Balliet

Frmr. Dir. of Presentations, Athena.Trade | E Media Group | Educator|ADD/ADHD Coach |M.Ed. |Writer | MLAW |Founder of MinED & Lula & CO|Mom (14yo Gmer./Writer)

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