The Bitcoin mining hardware business appears to have a brand new competitor. Intel is scheduled to present their new "ultra-low-voltage energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASIC", called the “Bonanza Mine” chip, at the ISSCC conference. According to the ISSCC, those who are interested can attend the virtual conference and learn about Intel's Bonanza Mine chip on Wednesday, February 23rd at 7:00am PST.
Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are specialized processors that are designed to do one job with extreme efficiency. Users in the early days of Bitcoin (2009) were capable of mining Bitcoin using CPUs and GPUs. Over the last 13 years, Bitcoin has become exponentially more difficult to mine because of the network’s difficulty adjustment which increases the difficulty of mining as more hashrate joins the network.
Intel is an American multinational corporation and the world's largest semiconductor chip manufacturer by revenue. The company has expressed interest in mining hardware since 2018 in the form of a patent for a processing system that uses an “optimized SHA-256 datapath for energy-efficient high-performance Bitcoin mining”.
Intel alluded to an “ultra-low-voltage energy-efficient ASIC”. This is significant because the cost of obtaining Bitcoin as a miner is dependent on the amount of Bitcoin that can be mined at the cost of an electricity bill. By launching a more energy efficient ASIC, Intel aims to compete with existing ASIC manufacturers such as Bitmain and MicroBT.
Intel has already secured its first customer in bitcoin mining company Griid which is due to list on the NYSE via a $3.3bn SPAC deal. According to a S-4 filing released by Griid, the company has signed a Supply Agreement with Intel. However, no pricing or ASIC hardware performance information is included in the agreement at this time as Intel has yet to officially unveil its ASIC.