Intel launches blockchain chip to tap crypto boom

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The Intel Corporation logo is seen on a display in a store in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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Feb 11 (Reuters) - Intel Corp on Friday launched a new chip for blockchain applications such as Bitcoin mining and minting NFTs to cash in on the rising usage of cryptocurrencies.

The chip will ship later this year and the first customers include Block Inc (SQ.N), the Jack Dorsey-led firm that recently changed its name from Square Inc to highlight its growing focus on the blockchain.

Blockchains serve as public ledgers that keep records of transactions on a network of computers and have grown in prominence in recent years. Their rise has also triggered a buzz around words like "Web.3" and "NFTs" that tout the decentralization of technologies.

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Intel said its chip is an energy-efficient "accelerator" designed to speed up blockchain tasks that require huge amounts of computing power and thereby consume a lot of energy.

Chip designer Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O), whose graphics cards are used widely for mining activities, also has a separate chip meant for Ethereum mining.

As a part of furthering its footprint in the space, Intel has also formed a new segment called Custom Compute Group within its Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business unit.

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Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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