Less than 2 months after revealing its 1st generation "Bonanza Mine energy efficient" Bitcoin miner, Intel has released plans to rollout its 2nd generation miner "Blockscale". The new miners are expected to ship by July 2022. Argo Blockchain, Hive Blockchain, Griid Infrastructure, and Block (formerly Square) will be among the first customers for this new product.
The new miner seeks to improve energy efficiency, with each chip boasting 26 joules/terahash (J/TH) and 580 gigahash/second (GH/S). For comparisons sake, the S19 Pro from Bitmain has a total of 110 TH/s and uses 29.5 J/TH. With 342 chips per machine (S19 Pro), each chip would produce 322 GH/S. “Intel’s decades of R&D in cryptography, hashing techniques and ultra-low voltage circuits make it possible for blockchain applications to scale their computing power without compromising on sustainability” said Balaji Kanigicherla, Intel's VP of Blockchain, regarding this improvement in energy efficiency. Intel will be supplying the customer with the chips only for integration as the customer sees fit. This is ancillary to the current market standards where mining products are shipped fully integrated.
Intel's foray into the Bitcoin mining industry brings a $200 billion dollar technology company with decades of experience into the Bitcoin space. This will not only help abate the current supply constraints of Bitcoin mining hardware, but also aid in the decentralization of mining hardware production. With the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) producing ~53% of the world's semiconductors as of 2021, production is highly centralized, and is a potential point of failure/pressure in the Bitcoin ecosystem. With Intel investing 33 Billion Euros across Europe and $20 Billion into 2 sites in Ohio to build out chip foundries, the supply chain and geopolitical uncertainties associated with highly concentrated semiconductor manufacturing can be quelled.
Not only has Bitcoin mining become an energy buyer of last resort, monetizing stranded energy, and supporting the build out of energy infrastructure, it has incentivized (however minor) a major technology company to invest in strengthening the supply chain of a crucial piece of infrastructure for the world (semiconductors).