Big news, ancient miners! Proof of work isn’t going out of work—anytime soon. With Intel teasing the new ASIC chipset for Bitcoin mining, the PoW vs. PoS debate might just take a backseat for now.
For the unversed, Intel’s foray into the Blockchain realm is a testament to the more eco-friendly approach towards achieving Blockchain consensus—and that too without showing doors to the ‘Problem Solvers.’
Termed the ‘Blockscale,’ Intel’s new
Yet, there is a lot more to this announcement than just eco-friendly mining solutions. Buckle up as I help you sail through every bit of it.
Here is a bit of backstory.
Bitcoin has always been an energy-intensive cryptocurrency. In 2021, the entire process of mining BTCs by solving complex mathematical problems had an energy liability of over 110 Terawatt hours. At that time, the figure roughly translated to 0.55% of the entire global energy value—which was still exorbitant.
Bitcoin has come a long way since then. With China banning BTC across capacities (psst, citing energy concerns), evangelists have started moving towards eco-friendly solutions. And mining-friendly chipsets were pretty good starts.
To understand this better, you must first understand the hash rate better. The total of all the computational power required to validate transactions within the Bitcoin ecosystem is termed hashing power. And as Bitcoin follows the
How complex are the problems, you ask? Well, Bitcoin keeps changing the ‘Network Difficulty’ bi-weekly depending on the state of mining within the ecosystem. Therefore, massive hashing power is needed to solve certain ‘Mineable’ problems in some cases.
Difficult Problems = Beefed up Machines = More Power Requirements
Pretty straightforward, right! Not exactly
First, we cannot go ‘All-Renewable’ on the machines. Instead, we can simply target getting hold of clean energy reserves to handle the carbon footprint.
Mind it; Carbon Footprint isn’t the same as Energy Consumption.
Despite the hypothesis, Mining bitcoin would still require insanely powerful computers—preferably the most advanced gaming rigs. And based on the ‘Changeability’ of the network difficulty, higher hash power and energy will still be required.
And that is why we need processors that do more by consuming less.
No one is arguing with Bitcoin’s adherence to the SG-part of
My concern has always been the ‘E’ or the ‘Environmental’ aspects of Bitcoin mining. And even though stats reveal almost 100% of the global Bitcoin mining setup is capable of using renewable sources, it is still a massive energy expenditure at the end of the day.
The Hash-Power conundrum and inevitability of energy expenditure are the reasons why Intel bright the ‘Blockscale’ among us.
The new breed of ESG-friendly chip from Intel—the Blockscale ASIC—aims to help miners scale the hash rate (hashing power) objectives while keeping an eye on sustainability. Each ASIC chipset would be able to reach hash rate values of up to 580GH/s whilst keeping energy requirements restricted to 26J/TH.
GH/s- Giga HASHes per second
J/TH- joules per terahash
Touted as the second-gen mining chipsets, mining rigs made out of these consume less power than the Antminer S19J from Bitmain—rated at 34.5J/TH. However, the Blockscale ASIC comes with several other nifty enhancements like integrated voltage sensing and on-SoC temperature sensing capabilities to make life easier for the miners**.**
If you know a thing or two about Blockchain scalability, you would know that in the end, it is all about three key areas—Decentralization, Security, and Scalability. And even though Proof-of-Stake and the diverse formats of the same, including (DPoS, EPoS, and more) are good for scaling the blockchain, Proof-of-Work keeps an ecosystem decentralized in the truest sense—which then adds to the transparency.
Therefore, even with
And Ethereum, as of now, is still Proof-of-Work. The change in consensus will ensure that a large chunk of energy expenditure gets taken down—making the entire energy-intensive space less frowned upon.
As of now, Intel is putting the word out for Blockscale as a Bitcoin-specific mining chip. And even though it breaks the hegemony of MicroBT and Bitmain, I believe the Blockscale ASIC might be a handful for the likes of other PoW crypto ecosystems in NameCoin, Litecoin, and ZCash.
Yes, Intel’s Blockscale ASIC solves quite a few problems regarding energy consumption. And the best part is that Intel users will be able to use this ultra-efficient SoC by the end of 2022. With leading mining firms like Argo and Hive already queuing up, Blockscale is certainly going to do a lot of good for the proof-of-work consensus.
Yet, there are some pressing issues to keep in mind. Once ETH adopts Proof-of-Stake, there will be a lot of unused hashing power around. And then, while GPU setups or ASIC-resistant rigs might need to be resold, the likes of Blockscale, courtesy of their low energy requirements, will continue to be quite a handful for miners with their eyes on the budget and cost justification.
Therefore, Proof-of-Stake ecosystems will not impair Proof-of-Work blockchains. They will coexist, and the future will have both playing highly specific roles in crypto adoption. And from a more commercial point of view, ETH 2.0 and PoS adoption might see Bitcoin and other ASIC-relevant cryptos bump up the price to attract additional hash power. That’s a win-win for everyone.