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Intel gets patent for power-friendly bitcoin mining

A better way to handle the cryptographic math behind bitcoin is the heart of a new patent recently granted to Intel. The chip-making giant notes that while rewards are granted for mining bitcoin on specialized machines, "the power consumption [of the needed] hardware accelerators is the recurring cost for the bitcoin mining." These application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs, can consume upwards of 200 watts, Intel said. The patent describes a way to perform the SHA-256 algorithm -- used in bitcoin's "proof of work" -- more efficiently. If implemented in future ASICs, Intel said, the improvements could "reduce the overall circuit area and power consumption by about 15%." (Source: USPTO)