Intel lowers Kyrgyzstan’s electric bill with mining ASIC

Bitman cries foul, protests to UN fair trade commission

Posted: By Jon Peddie 02.15.22
One of the underground crypto mining farms in Kyrgyzstan. (Source: Press Service of GKNB)


Intel has declared its intent to contribute to the development of blockchain technologies, with a roadmap of energy-efficient accelerators. Intel will engage and promote an open and secure blockchain ecosystem and will help advance this technology in a responsible and sustainable way. 

 Not welcomed in Kyrgyzstan or China?

Intel says it is mindful that some blockchains require an enormous amount of computing power, which unfortunately translates to an immense amount of energy. The company says its customers are asking for scalable and sustainable solutions, which is why Intel is focusing its efforts on realizing the full potential of blockchain by developing the most energy-efficient computing technologies at scale.

Intel’s blockchain accelerator will ship later this year. The company is engaged directly with customers that share Intel’s sustainability goals. Argo Blockchain, BLOCK (formerly known as Square), and GRIID Infrastructure are among Intel’s first customers for this upcoming product. This architecture is implemented on a tiny piece of silicon so that it has minimal impact on the supply of current [Intel] products. 

Intel Labs has dedicated decades of research into reliable cryptography, hashing techniques, and ultra-low voltage circuits. The company expects that its circuit innovations will deliver a blockchain accelerator that has over 1000× better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining. You will be able to learn more about our circuit innovations at the International Solid-State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) this month. 

To support this, and additional emerging technology, Intel has formed the new Custom Compute Group within Intel's Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business unit. The objective of this team is to build custom silicon platforms optimized for customers' workloads, including blockchain and other custom accelerated supercomputing opportunities at the edge.

What do we think?

Intel said on Jan 21 when news of the GRIID customer deal became public: The SHA-256 ASIC referred to in the paper being presented at ISSCC next month was our first-generation product exploration from 2018. The supply agreement released as part of required SEC disclosures from our customer concerns the second-generation ASIC for which we will provide more details soon.

So….it’s early and Intel is not sharing the other details/specs that we asked for yet .. only that they are shipping to customers this year.