Intel has recently been awarded a patent for a better way to handle the cryptographic math behind bitcoin, which will lead towards improvement of energy efficiency of Bitcoin miners.
While you may need to be a hardware engineer to completely understand the what’s being laid out on the patent, the most relevant of the information providing is the following quote,
certain portions of the input message, state data, and input values to multi-stage SHA-256 engines 110, 112, 114 may be fixed to constant data values during SHA-256 hashes or during certain rounds of computation in the SHA-256 hash. Rather than providing these constants using registers, embodiments of the present disclosure hardwire these constant data values to the circuits performing SHA-256 hash, thus reducing the energy consumption compared to providing these constants using registers that may be enabled by clock signals.
Researchers at Intel seem to have discovered that there are n optimizations that can be made at “stage 0” of SHA-256 calculations, although the other two stages, as they’ve come to call them, have ample opportunity to be optimized.
Since stage-0 SHA-256 hash involves only part of the header information but not the nonce itself, the calculation of stage-0 SHA-256 does not present an opportunity for Bitcoin specific optimization. By comparison, both stage-1 and stage-2 SHA-256 hash calculations receive input messages relating to the nonce 212 and hence present opportunities for Bitcoin mining optimizations.
In simple terms, certain constants in the Bitcoin mining process can be embedded into the hardware itself, so the need for software or computing will not be necessary to gain the same information repeatedly. Intel further claims that this will lead towards a reduction of electricity usage required to mine Bitcoins.
If Intel does succeed in fully developing hardware the requires less energy than hardware developed by firms such as Bitmain, then the mining scene will definitely see a positive boost. Cost of energy has always been a primary issues when it comes to reaching return-on-investments for Bitcoin miners.
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