Intel axes Blockscale mining ASICs it brought out just in time for crypto winter

Another one bytes the dust

Intel has quietly announced it will end sales of its cryptomining hardware chips, less than a year after entering the business.

Chipzilla's crypto-adjacent offering, announced in April 2022, is a Blockscale ASIC designed to accelerate SHA-256 processing for proof-of-work applications, with the chipmaker claiming hash rates of 580 giga-hashes per second.

Which is plenty fast. But the product's June 2022 debut came just as the crypto market began a precipitous decline and mere weeks before Ethereum, one of the most popular coins and therefore a source of demand for mining hardware, transitioned to a proof-of-stake model that has vastly smaller compute requirements.

On April 7, the chipmaker quietly released a product change notification stating that it would stop shipping its Blockscale 1000-series chips on April 20, 2024. But on the off chance you've been itching to get hold of some soon-to-be-defunct mining gear, Intel will continue taking orders for the chips through October 20.

"As we prioritize our investments in IDM 2.0, we have end-of-lifed the Intel Blockscale 1000 Series ASIC while we continue to support our Blockscale customers," an Intel spokesperson told The Register.

For what it's worth, Intel is not the only vendor displaying less enthusiasm for building crypto kit. Nvidia, launched dedicated mining CPUs under its Cmp Hx line in early 2021, but in March 2023 decided that cryptocurrencies don't "bring anything useful for society."

Of course, that was only after Nvidia — and AMD for that matter — had for years enjoyed massive profits as crypto miners paid premiums to get their hands on consumer-grade GPUs. Intel's entry to the mining space arrived too late even for that.

The fate of Intel's Blockscale ASICs continues CEO Pat Gelsinger's policy of cutting loose unprofitable or distracting businesses. Following a particularly bad Q3 last fall, Intel committed to cutting spending by $10 billion a year by 2025 and has since canceled projects, revised roadmaps, binned products, and trimmed its workforce signifcantly.

Just last week, the company confirmed it was selling a division responsible for designing and planning server-grade systems, to Taiwanese computer maker MiTAC. Earlier, Intel axed two research and development projects valued at roughly $1 billion, slashed investments in RISC-V development, terminated development of its Tofino switch, and rewrote its GPU roadmap.

The latest cuts come just weeks before Intel is due to report its first quarter earnings, which by its own admission could end up looking a whole lot like the crypto-market around the time of the Blockscale launch. The company previously forecast a 37-43 percent revenue drop for Q1, and it wouldn't surprise The Register in the least to Intel announce more cuts along with its financial data next week. ®

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