Intel just shipped its first Bitcoin-mining chip last June, the Blockscale 100 ASIC, but it’s already dead — the company has discontinued it less than a year later, reports Tom’s Hardware, without announcing a new chip to succeed it.
Does that mean Intel’s already done with crypto chips after pumping the idea last February? Perhaps: Intel dodged a question from Tom’s Hardware about whether it’d exit the Bitcoin ASIC business, saying only, “We continue to monitor market opportunities.”
Intel’s timing seems to have been… unfortunate. Between the time Intel announced the chip and the time it shipped, Bitcoin had fallen by more than half — from a high of over $47,000 per coin to under $19,000 each. That said, Bitcoin is back over $30,000 just today after a five-month climb from November lows.
But a resurgent Bitcoin might not be enough. We live in a very different tech industry than we did in mid-2022: the larger crypto winter has shaken a lot of faith in blockchain tech, AI has become the hot new investment instead, and it seems like practically every tech company is tightening its belts and shaking off less-than-core businesses — including Intel.
Intel’s CEO has been public that he plans to prune to the tune of $8–10 billion in cuts by 2025. The company exited the prebuilt server business just last week and confirmed it would exit its cellular modem business — yes, no more 5G or LTE from Intel — in March.
Raja Koduri, the graphics architect who also led this crypto chip initiative, left Intel in March.