Block, a financial services and technology business founded by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has announced the completion of the prototype design of its new five-nanometer (5nm) Bitcoin $28,628 mining chip, which it believes is critical to decentralizing Bitcoin mining rig supply.
Block said in a blog post published on April 28 that constructing Bitcoin mining ASIC machines is both financially and technically difficult. As a consequence, “the excessive concentration of custom bitcoin mining silicon” in the hands of a few businesses has occurred. This concentration, according to Block, is bad to both miners and the Bitcoin network as a whole.
Notably, the San Francisco-based business said that it intends to make Bitcoin mining technology “open source” to the greatest extent feasible by selling standalone ASICs and other hardware components in order to “optimize innovation and maximize the size of the Bitcoin mining hardware ecosystem.”
The actions taken in recent months, according to the article, will enable the company to experiment with new designs and help them deliver more efficient and inexpensive Bitcoin mining chips to market. Block also said that it has ordered a huge batch of ASIC processors from Intel in order to expedite this development drive.
As part of cost-cutting initiatives, Intel said on April 18 that it will stop accepting new orders for its Blockscale 1000 Series ASICs by October 20 and finish deliveries in April 2024. Block argues that Intel’s enormous intake of ASICs will assist hasten the development of its own 3nm device, which it claims will be the most advanced chip to date when released.
“We can now exclusively focus our design team on cutting-edge three nanometer ASIC development.”
One nanometer (1nm) is about similar to the width of two silicon atoms. As chip components become smaller, more transistors can fit into a silicon die of the same size. The electric current travels less distance in the circuit to complete a calculation when the overall size is reduced, which implies that overall efficiency is enhanced and the quantity of heat generated is reduced.
It’s worth mentioning that 5nm ASIC processors have been available for a while, with Canaan, a Chinese mining outfit, releasing the first 5nm ASIC in 2021. Most Bitcoin mining ASICs now operate on 5nm processors, however, no manufacturer has released their ASIC chip designs open source.
ASIC is an abbreviation for “application-specific integrated circuit” (ASIC), which refers to a computerized device tailored to perform a single computational function and is often used for mining Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.