Intel leaves Bitcoin
Just one year after its debut, Intel is ending its production of ASICs dedicated to bitcoin mining.
Came too late, gone too soon
It’s already over for the Blockscale ASICs which had an efficiency of 26 joules per Terahash. That is to say, a little less than the flagship of its Chinese competitor Bitmain, the Antminer XP and its 21 J/Th.
Unfortunately, Intel only supplied its customers with the ASIC chips themselves, without providing a complete ASIC system, as Bitmain, MicroBT, etc. have always done.
So, despite customers like Block, Hive, and GRIID, the demand probably wasn’t there. Especially since Intel’s ASICs came on the market in the midst of the bitcoin crash.
In addition, Intel is in the midst of a restructuring. “The next phase of our IDM 2.0 strategy requires a fundamental shift in mindset. We need to adopt a foundry model,” Intel CEO Par Gelsinger said last October.
A foundry is a factory that specializes in manufacturing semiconductors (or electronic chips) for other companies that specialize in designing them.
This explains why Blockscale’s ASICs, which specifically require design efforts to handle the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, are no longer being produced.
Intel wants to adopt the same strategy as the world leader TSMC by refocusing on its core business. The goal is to catch up with its technological backlog. The Taiwanese company is producing 90% of the latest generation of computer chips, particularly in 5 and 3 nm.
As part of its IDM 2.0 strategy, Intel plans to invest heavily in semiconductor manufacturing on American territory. In January, the company pledged more than $20 billion to build two new foundry facilities in Ohio, in addition to the $20 billion already announced for two more “fabs” in Arizona.
Intel told Tom’s Hardware that it has ended production of Intel Blockscale ASICs to “prioritize our investments in IDM 2.0.”
Asked if the semiconductor giant is leaving bitcoin mining definitively, the company said it will continue to “monitor market opportunities.”
Said another way, Intel could change its mind if bitcoin continues to rise.
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