Announced on Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded global tech giant Intel a patent for a Bitcoin (BTC) mining algorithm, and namely for outlining a processor which claims to be able to conduct energy-efficient and high performance mining.
Previously, Intel has sought patents related to its work in the area of crypto mining. It was the chips from Intel that helped crypto mining operation which was run by 21 Inc. Later it was re-branded as Earn.com which is now part of Coinbase.
Usually Bitcoin miners get rewarded for their contribution by receiving transaction fees and block reward. Generally, mining machines for the BTC network need hardware accelerations such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and thus they require a huge amount of energy.
It is known that the most expensive operation in Bitcoin mining is verifying the validity of a 32-bit nonce, which translates to verifying a number or strings of bits which are used only once in a transaction. Therefore, these hardware accelerators are requisite for processing 32-bit nonces. However, the current ASICs process these transactions in several stages with some redundancies.
The 32-bit nonce may be the part of a 1024-bit input message including the Merkle root, which is essentially the hash of the last block and other parameters. The 1024-bit message may be hashed by using three stages of a secure and safe hash algorithm that is SHA-256 to produce a 256-bit hash value.
The current patent is related to hardware accelerators and specifically to a processing system that includes hardware accelerator implementing SHA-256 hashing utilizing optimized data paths.
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.
The patent further notes that instead of differentiating the final hashing result with the target value, the Bitcoin mining application may possibly decide whether the hash out has a minimal number of leading zeros.