back to article Intel ships crypto-mining ASIC at the worst possible time

Intel has begun shipping its cryptocurrency-mining "Blockscale" ASIC slightly ahead of schedule, and the timing could not be more unfortunate as digital currency values continue to plummet. Raja Koduri, the head of Intel's Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics group, tweeted Wednesday the company has started initial …

  1. gerryg

    Almost California Gold Rush redux

    It is said that the only people that made any money were those selling jeans and shovels. This time not even the jeans and shovels sellers

    You'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Almost California Gold Rush redux

      ROFLMAO

      I hope no Government subsidies used for the fab making this shit.

  2. mark l 2 Silver badge

    [Intel has painted itself as somewhat of an environmental savior for the crypto-mining market. This is because the company claims its Blockscale ASIC is much more energy efficient than GPUs for proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining.]

    Apart from the fact that a GPU can still be used for other things other than crypto mining, where as these ASICs are going to become e-waste rather quickly if the crypto market carries on dropping as they serve no other purpose than to create made up fun bucks.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: more energy efficient

      If other things had remained equal, increasing the power efficiency of hash calculation would only have increased the number of hashes that need to be calculated to mine bit coins. As it is, the lower value of bit coins reduces the number of required hash calculations and this will result in a coincidental correlation between reduced kWH/bitcoins and the release Intel's ASIC that is not based on causation.

  3. GBE

    The sooner, the better

    The sooner the cryptocurrency pyramid collapses, the better.

    It's doing nothing but wasting energy and transferring yet more money to the top 1%.

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: The sooner, the better

      I don't consider myself to be much on an environmentalist, but they need to be hung out to dry for selling a chip that's only purpose is to waste vast amounts of energy and ultimately facilitate criminal activity.

      1. Clausewitz4.0
        Devil

        Re: The sooner, the better

        If Swiss Banks facilitate criminal activity can we close them also?

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Re: The sooner, the better

          How about Londongrad estate agents now you are at it?

        2. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: The sooner, the better

          Money laundering HSBC too ??

          https://www.investopedia.com/stock-analysis/2013/investing-news-for-jan-29-hsbcs-money-laundering-scandal-hbc-scbff-ing-cs-rbs0129.aspx

        3. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: The sooner, the better

          Right after we close down the preferred form of currency for criminals. No, not Bitcoin, the USD.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The sooner, the better

        > I don't consider myself to be much on an environmentalist, but they need to be hung out to dry for selling a chip that's only purpose is to waste vast amounts of energy and ultimately facilitate criminal activity.

        I am sure that it is totally dwarfed by the energy wasted globally on Digital Restriction Management, for the benefit of a handful of media cartels. Intel’s daughter-company is called "Digital Content Protection" LLC, owns a very large chunk of that patent space.

      3. DeKrow

        Re: The sooner, the better

        Shutdown "The Laundromat" before shutting down cryptocurrency. The Laundromat has been facilitating criminal activity for decades and has been ignored by the powers that be for just as long.

        For those who don't know, London is referred to as The Laundromat because of it's friendliness in facilitating money laundering for any and all with resources enough to need to conduct it.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: The sooner, the better

      Wasting energy, sure, but "transferring yet more money to the top 1%."??

      Globally top 1% is the richest 70 million people. Pretty much everyone in the top 10% of a 'western' country is a global 1percenter. And given that (based on my years reading comments here) the majority of Register readers have been working in the rather lucrative IT area in a western nation for many years, I'd hazard a guess that a pretty good %age of Register readers fall in the global 1%.

      Surely crypto mining has more likely gotten people from outside the 1% to within it.

      If you're thinking the ultra-rich (many-multi-millionaires) , that's more like top 0.01%, that's still 700,000 people. And what's been making them ever richer has been unfettered and globalised crony capitalism as introduced by Reagan /Thatcher and accelerated by Clinton/Blair and kept going by everyone in between and since. Crypto is a drop in a bucket to them (total crypto market cap is less than net worth of the world's richest 8 people)

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: The sooner, the better

        > as introduced by Reagan /Thatcher

        Hey, I lived through the Reagan / Thatcher years and I can assure you they did not invent crony capitalism - that long predated them.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: The sooner, the better

          True. Crony capitalism is likely roughly contemporaneous with the invention of the second capitalist.

          On the other hand, much of the crony capitalism of yore now looks rather cheap and cheerful. Remember when Teapot Dome led to a US cabinet member going to prison? You don't get that sort of backlash these days.

      2. Persona Silver badge

        Re: The sooner, the better

        top 0.01%, that's still 700,000

        It doesn't really matter about them. They have lots of money. So what. It's how poor the other 99.99% are or the 99% if you want to talk about the global top 1% (which as you point out includes us). Yes some people are very poor and struggle to survive, but even so most of us are much richer than people 100 years ago. If you go back 200 years death by starvation was rife in the UK. Things are slowly improving for the people that matter i.e. the poor.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: The sooner, the better

          Things were slowly improving for the people that matter.

  4. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Aw Shucks It's Crashed!

    Can you pay Intel for them in Shitcoins?

    The more funny money these chips churn out, the less it'll be worth, so they'll also reduce their value the more they're used. It's a self-obsoleting technology.

  5. vtcodger Silver badge

    Crypto is toast?

    "showing that digital currencies are aligned with the stock market's downswing. "

    More accurately, showing that cryptocurrency "value" is negatively aligned with interest rates and thus is aligned to the availability of oodles of pretty much free money to speculators. In simpler terms, if folks have to pay meaningful interest to borrow money, crypto is toast..

    BTW, crypto is not the same thing as "digital currency". Government backed digital currencies may well become a real thing if the security issues can be tamed.

    I have to admit that I can't really come up with much of a use case for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). What benefit does society gain from government issued debit cards which is what CBDCs would seem to amount to? It's not like folks can't buy prepaid debit cards from variety of sources. At least they can in developed countries.

    On the other hand, I sure could be wrong about CBCDs. Maybe they're the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Crypto is toast?

      crypto is not the same thing as "digital currency"

      For one thing, most of cryptography has nothing to do with money.

      But if we're talking specifically about cryptocurrency – then, yes, you can have purely virtual currencies that don't use any of the distinguishing features of cryptocurrencies, such as (half-assed versions of) Merkle-graph ledgers or proof-of-X consensus mechanisms. Indeed, we pretty much already have those, except for the relatively small amount of exchange still conducted with cash.

      I sure could be wrong about CBCDs. Maybe they're the greatest thing since sliced bread.

      They're easier to trace than cash is. That makes them pretty great for surveillance. I don't believe I've seen any other argument supporting them.

    2. DeKrow

      Re: Crypto is toast?

      "What benefit does society gain from government issued debit cards"

      You're looking at this the wrong way. Society isn't creating CBDCs, the CBs are creating them, therefore you need to look at what they will gain: Control. Censorship, limitations, restrictions, seizure. Society loses when viewing CBDCs from all angles.

      The potential benefit of Bitcoin (specifically not most other cryptocurrencies) is the lack of centralised control; the lack of censorship and restriction.

      Feel free to make other arguments against Bitcoin - all of which I've heard before, some with which I disagree and some with which I agree - but I won't be wasting my time re-reading them.

  6. Brad Ackerman
    Devil

    Are they at least usable (and economical) for password cracking?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Probably not. Most users choose passwords that are too easy to crack, so even for salted cryptographic hashes the pre-image can be found for relatively small numbers of accounts quickly enough that it's not worth using specialized hardware. Just hashcat running on a vanilla PC is often plenty fast.

      Good password verifiers use Argon2 (probably the best choice, when used with appropriate parameters), bcrypt, scrypt, or PBKDF2. An ASIC designed for Bitcoin-blockchain-hashing won't support any of those, and Argon2 in particular is memory-hard and so not amenable to compute-based hardware acceleration.

      So the password-cracking use cases where a generic SHA1 or SHA2 hardware engine is useful are limited.

  7. John Klos

    Poor Intel can't get it right

    When I see stories like this about Intel, I can't help but think of this fortune(6):

    The United States is like the guy at the party who gives cocaine to everybody and still nobody likes him.

    -- Jim Samuels

    Except, of course, Intel instead of the United States.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022