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Author Topic: [2018-03-29] Intel Wants to Patent a Bitcoin Mining Hardware 'Accelerator'  (Read 39 times)
Terraformer
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March 30, 2018, 10:07:33 AM
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Tech giant Intel is seeking to patent a hardware "accelerator" for bitcoin mining chips, a newly-published filing reveals.

The application for a "Bitcoin Mining Hardware Accelerator With Optimized Message Digest and Message Scheduler Datapath" was published on Thursday, though it was originally submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in September 2016. In the filing, Intel outlines a method by which it could augment the existing bitcoin mining process, consuming less electricity - thereby spending less money - in the process.

As Intel writes in the filing:

"Because the software and hardware utilized in Bitcoin mining uses brute force to repeatedly and endlessly perform SHA-256 functions, the process of Bitcoin mining can be very power-intensive and utilize large amounts of hardware space. The embodiments described herein optimize Bitcoin mining operations by reducing the space utilized and power consumed by Bitcoin mining hardware."

Intel's application goes on to note that its "accelerator" approach could reduce power use by as much as 35 percent, compared to general-purpose processors.

It's a notable filing from a firm once connected to the mining operation of Silicon Valley startup 21 Inc., which soon offered its eponymous bitcoin computer and later pivoted to a social network offering called Earn.com. As CoinDesk reported in 2015, Intel built chips for 21 at its foundry, though a hinted plan to integrate the chips into other Intel products never materialized.

Notably, Intel suggested that the concept isn't limited to application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), but "processors, [systems on chip], and [field-programmable gate array] platforms" as well. Put more simply, the "accelerator" could be applied to an array of mining set-ups.

Though not explicitly focused on cryptocurrency mining, a previous patent application from Intel published in December suggested that the tech giant sees a role for the energy-intensive process in genetic sequencing.

https://www.coindesk.com/intel-wants-patent-bitcoin-mining-hardware-accelerator/


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March 30, 2018, 10:32:16 AM
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It's mostly me that says the mining cartel should be broken up with a PoW hardfork (on bitcointalk.org, at least).

I'm going to say it again in this case: if 1 powerful company have protected intellectual property related to significant performance gains for mining chips (i.e. SHA256 ASICs), then that company essentially owns the mining market.

That is terrible news for Bitcoin's security model, as Intel could control the whole mining market and in turn control Bitcoin software development. Bitcoin's market value would be seriously impacted, and unless a similar 35% could be found in an unpatented method (its unclear whether Intel's technique could be used with the overt form of ASIC Boost), a PoW hard fork would be inevitable.

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March 31, 2018, 05:28:36 AM
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It's mostly me that says the mining cartel should be broken up with a PoW hardfork (on bitcointalk.org, at least).

I'm going to say it again in this case: if 1 powerful company have protected intellectual property related to significant performance gains for mining chips (i.e. SHA256 ASICs), then that company essentially owns the mining market.

That is terrible news for Bitcoin's security model, as Intel could control the whole mining market and in turn control Bitcoin software development. Bitcoin's market value would be seriously impacted, and unless a similar 35% could be found in an unpatented method (its unclear whether Intel's technique could be used with the overt form of ASIC Boost), a PoW hard fork would be inevitable.

I'm beyond my depth ...tech wise on this..but would not this be the 'straw that broke the camel's back' and bitcoin core would even 'hard fork' under these circumstances...(much like the

cryptonight miners etc of moreno etc ..all them coins saying they are forking ...making for example the bitmain x3 a doorstop out of the box?

It certainly would be seen as justified by even the most hard core bitcoin core developer in my view..might not be a bad thing...as long as the bitcoin core devs had

consensus by the masses on such a fork...they could also use the same fork to tweak other things...

again, I likely don't know what I'm talking about...but could be 'interesting' as they say...in the middle of a gunfight kinda way Smiley















 

 

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Karartma1
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March 31, 2018, 06:07:09 AM
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This is the dark side of the open source history: think about how Linux got a suit and tie from Red Hat. This is no difference to me and I personally I share Carlton's view on the matter.
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March 31, 2018, 10:22:54 AM
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It's mostly me that says the mining cartel should be broken up with a PoW hardfork (on bitcointalk.org, at least).

I'm going to say it again in this case: if 1 powerful company have protected intellectual property related to significant performance gains for mining chips (i.e. SHA256 ASICs), then that company essentially owns the mining market.

That is terrible news for Bitcoin's security model, as Intel could control the whole mining market and in turn control Bitcoin software development. Bitcoin's market value would be seriously impacted, and unless a similar 35% could be found in an unpatented method (its unclear whether Intel's technique could be used with the overt form of ASIC Boost), a PoW hard fork would be inevitable.

I think this situation is pretty complicated. Bitcoin's mining has been heavily centralized for years, with Bitmain producing almost all hardware and most mining power being concentrated in China (some even say that it's controlled by just a few people). And yet we don't see any blatant attempts to takeover the network via hashpower - most of the recent attacks were social - Bcash and other forks, spam transactions, FUD, sockpuppets, etc. I feel like Bitcoin is already very robust, and potential security gains from hardforks might not be as big as they sound.  So, I'd gladly support a PoW change if it was proposed by Bitcoin Core, but I don't think that we'll see it in the near future.

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