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CRN Exclusive: Intel's Michael Reed On The Company's Big Blockchain Bet And How Partners Could Benefit

Michael Reed, director of Intel's Blockchain Program Office, sheds some light on the company's recently revealed patent application for a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator and details efforts with the blockchain decentralized ledger technology.

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Intel Making Big Bet On Blockchain

Intel turned heads in the cryptocurrency world when the company's patent application for specialty Bitcoin mining hardware was revealed in March.

While it was the biggest sign yet of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's interest in cryptocurrency, it is far from Intel's first step into the world of blockchain, the decentralized ledger technology that makes cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin possible. The company has partnered with Chinese firm Tencent for an Internet of Things blockchain solution and introduced an open-source blockchain framework called Hyperledger Sawtooth. Intel has also been working with the R3 consortium and Microsoft on enterprise blockchain deployments.

So where does Intel stand on cryptocurrency and blockchain? Michael Reed, director of Intel's Blockchain Program office, recently spoke with CRN about the company's ambitions in the fledgling space. He even gave more details about Intel's Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator patent application, which Reed worked on with the Intel Labs team behind the technology for implementation, though he couldn't divulge any details on Intel's future product road map.

"Blockchain is sort of a revolutionary new technology that offers enterprises in general an opportunity to change the way they work," Reed said. "The sort of magic in blockchain -- it started with Bitcoin back in 2008 – is that it can settle transactions without the use of an intermediary."

What follows is an edited excerpt of Reed's conversation with CRN.

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