Exclusive : Intel's Bitcoin chips will use TSMC's 5nm, 35J/T, produced by mid-year
Author: Colin Wu
Industry sources told us that Intel’s newly disclosed Bitcoin ASIC chip will be made using TSMC 5nm chip. It has completed MPW, and samples will be delivered to customers successively. The chip is expected to be tape-out in February. As early as June or July this year, major customers will complete and ship Bitcoin miners based on Intel chips.
But the timing is highly uncertain. Industry insiders explained to WuBlockchain the fact that the quality of Intel samples is critical, and performance of the current chip should be around 35J/T (data of miner should be increased by at least 10%). On the other hand, the input intensity of Intel will also determine whether this measure can challenge the status of Bitmain and WhatsMiner. It can be expected that Intel's shipments of this chip will be small this year, but if it goes well, it may pose a challenge to the current Bitcoin mining chip pattern in 2023.
On January 18, a piece of news shook up the bitcoin mining industry. Intel's conference agenda revealed that a demo is planned for February 23 in the category of "Highlight Chip Launch" so as to outline the new processor "Bonanza Mine", which is called the "Ultra-Low-voltage And Energy-efficient Bitcoin Mining ASIC." Intel says it has been designing around SHA256-optimized ASIC for years.
On January 19, according to The Block, Bitcoin mining company GRIID quietly disclosed a major information last month: On September 8, 2021, GRIID signed a supply agreement (the "Intel Supply Agreement") . Under the agreement, GRIID can purchase Intel-designed BZM2 ASIC. In addition, under some certain conditions, GRIID will have the right to purchase at least 25% of all eligible Intel-designed ASIC from Intel by around May 2025.
Back in September 2016, Intel filed a patent application for a bitcoin mining chip that it said could significantly reduce power consumption while mining. The patent, described as "a system combined with a specific chip and bitcoin mining hardware accelerator," includes a compute block and a message digest data link, and possibly a second compute block.
WuBlockchain learned from industry sources that Intel's newly disclosed Bitcoin ASIC chip will use TSMC 5nm chip. MPW has been completed and samples will be delivered one after another, which is expected to be tape out in February. In the middle of the year, major manufacturers will complete bitcoin miners, based on Intel's chips, and ship them. As early as 2018-2019, Intel was entrusted by SoftBank to jointly complete 8000 JIC 7nm miners, but due to poor performance, it did not follow up a large number of shipments. The ASIC project is now under the responsibility of Raja Koduri, Intel's senior vice president and head of the AXG division, who was promoted by the new CEO and has a higher voice within the company.
However, from a business perspective, it may not be a good time for Intel to join the fray. Industry experts judge that 1.5-2 million bitcoin miners will be shipped this year, plus Chinese idle miners continue to go to sea, the hashrate will reach a minimum of 300-350EH/s and a maximum of over 400EH/s. In terms of bitcoin prices, the market is currently leaning towards wait-and-see and slightly bearish due to Fed's rate hike expectations.