Norway Pulls Switch on Bitcoin Mining Tax Subsidies

Norway’s government is putting more pressure on cryptocurrency mining by following through with the threat that it was considering removing electricity tax subsidies on Bitcoin mining.

Mining has been under stress recently as miners from around the world look for the next opportunity to tap into economical resources and ideal mining conditions. Norway not only has shown the world an innovative approach to mining but also offers the ideal climate.

Northern Bitcoin, a German listed company, recently began an underground mining project in a former metal mine slashing the price and energy costs of mining. The mine is located next to a deep fjord, which provides all the cooling the mining operation needs, as opposed to typical mining operations which require expensive air conditioning.

Conventional Bitcoin mining has taken a hit though, as from 2019 miners will be subject to the same tariff as other users who currently pay the standard non-subsidized energy tax. It is a revelation which has not gone down well with Norway’s crypto-mining community who feel that the government should be supportive rather than bringing in punitive changes to the industry. Roger Schjerva, chief economist of tech industry body ICT Norway reflected the feeling of the industry at the latest news:

“This is shocking… Budgets have changed framework conditions without discussion, consultation or dialogue with the industry. Norway scores high on rankings of political stability and predictable framework conditions but now the government is gambling with this credibility.”

The recent crash in the value of Bitcoin has hit the mining industry in Norway. German Bitcoin, using the fjord-based cooling system at the Lefdal mine in Sandane, is cited by the government as the way to move forward, using clean and economically viable alternatives. It has little sympathy for the plight of companies hit by Bitcoin’s instability and the removal of Norway’s electricity tax incentives.

“Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the most dirty form of cryptographic output as Bitcoin,” argues Norwegian parliamentary representative Lars Haltbrekken. “It requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally.”

Jon Ramvi, chief executive of Oslo-based blockchain advisory group Blockchangers, agrees, suggesting that it will be the Norwegian community who will be the beneficiaries of the subsidies being removed:

“This is a win for the Norwegian people and our natural resources… Less mining in Norway will reduce the prices of electricity for companies and people residing in Norway meaning that we reap the benefits of these resources locally instead of giving it away to Bitcoin miners.”

Currently, Norwegian Bitcoin data centers are discounted in the same ways as other industries with high energy costs paying NOK 0.48 (USD 0.056) per kilowatt. This will now rise to NOK 16.58 (USD 1.94) per kilowatt from January 2019.

Author: Harold Vandelay
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Bitcoin Mining No Longer Profitable for Some as Bitcoin Price Hits 13-Month Low

The crypto market took a massive nosedive in the past week partly due to the Bitcoin Cash fork wars, and this has left many miners stranded as Bitcoin mining is no longer profitable.

Bitcoin miners learned the hard way that Bitcoin mining is still a Wild West after Bitcoin’s price tanked to a new 13-month low last week. According to data from CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin’s price is now below $4,300, a far cry from its peak value of almost $20,000 in December last year.
The entire crypto market has shed off more than $600 billion from its January peak of over $800 billion. As the crypto market continues to tumble, some Bitcoin miners are forced to shut down their businesses as Bitcoin mining becomes no longer profitable for them.

Bitcoin’s Plummeting Price and Its Effect on Miners

Bitcoin has been in correction mode since the beginning of the year but had managed to hold the $6,000 resistance level until its price fell by almost 30 percent and sank below $4,500.
The latest developments in prices have left crypto miners – entities who use massive computing power to solve very difficult mathematical puzzles to mint new coins – in a dangerous position. The miners are rewarded with coins which they sell for profit.
It has become unprofitable for mining entities to use at least four models of Bitcoin mining rigs if they use power at a rate of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), reported the South China Morning Post on Nov. 22nd.
Cryptocurrency mining has shifted from being a one-man job to a massive industry with big companies who are prepared to invest millions of dollars before they can see any return on their capital. To overcome this problem, miners combine their computing power in order to stand a better chance of solving the mathematical puzzle and get Bitcoins in return. This has given birth to the so-called Bitcoin mining pools.

Bitmain, Canaan, and Ebang International are all major Chinese players in the crypto mining sector. Each of them had separate plans to file for an IPO (Initial Public Offering) at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, their prospects no longer look so bright. Canaan allowed its six-month IPO application to expire last week.

The South China Morning Post reported that a group of anonymous Chinese Bitcoin miners has already shut down 20,000 mining rigs. However, this downturn could become an opportunity for other mining players operating in countries such as Russia and Venezuela where electricity is cheaper.

Did Bitcoin Cash Fork Crash the Market?

Bitcoin’s price is moving in a different direction to what analysts had predicted at the beginning of the year, with many of them claiming at the time that Bitcoin’s price would reach $25,000 or more. Some have gone on to adjust their predictions according to the situation on the ground.

Bitcoin showed a sign of maturity when it remained relatively stable as the stock markets tumbled amid massive sell-offs.

It seems that the current round of price drops was triggered by the Bitcoin Cash fork wars between Roger Ver, who has the support of Bitmain, Coinbase, and Binance among others and Craig Wright, who previously claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto and has the backing of a few crypto news outlets.

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What Bear Market? Major Bitcoin Mining Farm Goes Live in Canada

The bitcoin mining facility that DMG Blockchain Solutions announced it was building in British Columbia, Canada in July is now operational.

Though the full capacity of the facility is 85 megawatts, initially only 60 megawatts will be made available at the operation that occupies 27,000 sq. ft. The power that the Mining as a Service (MaaS) operation will be using if generated purely from hydroelectricity. Besides installing a power substation purely for its needs, DMG has also had to build a road to the facility.

Unlike other crypto mining facilities which have been accused of impacting the power needs of the local communities in the places where they set up shop, DMG’s facility in British Columbia will not disenfranchise the local community — at least according to its operators.

“The power that DMG is bringing to its new facility is enough to power a city of 50,000 homes, but is independent from the local community grid,” said a press release from DMG Blockchain Solutions.

Timeline Extended

The project is a few weeks late as it had been anticipated to be operational by September, CCN reported in July. At the time, the diversified crypto and blockchain firm had said that the 85MW Canadian facility would increase its capacity by over 20 times.

Due to the abundance of cheap hydropower, Canada has become one of the most preferred locations for bitcoin mining. The low temperatures also enable miners to reduce their cooling costs.

Earlier in the year, it was reported that crypto miners were leaving China over fears of a regulatory crackdown and heading to the North American country. Some of the Chinese cryptocurrency miners that were said to be preparing to move to Canada at the time included Bitmain, ZQMiner, and BTC.Top.

Bitcoin mining firms have, however, not been embraced wholeheartedly in all regions in Canada. Earlier this year, Quebec placed a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining after a deluge of firms in the sector flooded into the region.

Fears of Excessive Demand

At the time, the concern was that the province would not be able to meet the needs of households and businesses in the region while serving the energy-hungry needs of miners. Over 100 crypto mining firms had reportedly sought licenses to start operations in the region, and their estimated combined electricity consumption was around 10TWh. This would have meant that they would have nearly exhausted the province’s surplus energy capacity, which is estimated to be 13TWh.

The moratorium was later lifted with new electricity rates set for cryptocurrency miners. The province’s power utility, Hydro-Quebec, also announced that it would disconnect power to cryptocurrency miners whenever the grid was at maximum capacity.

Author: Mark Emem
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Bitmain Releases Antminer S15: How it Stacks Up Against Competitors

Bitmain has released (and already sold out of) its Antminer S15 model traditional ASIC Bitcoin miner. At a price of $1,475 per unit and a per-customer limit of two, it is comparably one of the better bargains as mining hardware goes.

It clocks up to 23 terahash per second, meaning that 3-4 units would be required to match the performance of Bitfury’s Tardis, which goes up to 80TH/s. The Tardis, however, is much more expensive on a per unit basis, with resellers getting almost $7,000 per unit. BitFury themselves do not publish the price of a single unit. Presumably their pricing varies based on the buyer’s requirements in terms of quantity.

However, for just $50 more than the Antminer S15, miners will soon be able to acquire Ebang’s Ebit 11+, which touts 37TH/s, for $1517 — far and away the best deal of the major mining hardware providers mentioned here. At the same time, one cannot simply purchase a single E11+ – you must buy at least 50, for a minimum investment of $75,850. Further, the E11+ won’t be available until January, whereas S15’s will begin appearing on the web before long. It has long been a profitable business model in the mining industry to simply reserve some upcoming hardware and resell it as soon as the manufacturer sells out – which is normally.

Ebang Likely the Best Deal

The best deal on mining hardware is always dependent on the miner’s goals and budget. The minimum investment at Ebang would give one a starting hashpower of 1,850 TH/s. This is a sizable mining operation from the get-go and certainly a foothold in Bitcoin mining. According to CoinWarz, it would take just over 6 months to begin earning a profit, with all factors considered. Solo mining would not be an option, despite the conceivable size of the operation, with this few machines. You would need approximately ten fold the minimum order to have a prayer against the massive pools of mining out there.

Bitcoin mining in general has fallen off as an extremely profitable way to make money. It requires a large up front investment and the profit margins can be slim for those who must convert their coins right away. However, miners who are able to hold on to some or all of their Bitcoin have historically made millions.

Author: P. H. Madore
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Crypto Mining Giant Bitmain Acquires Bitcoin Cash Wallet

Open source browser-based cryptocurrency wallet Telescope has officially announced its acquisition by Bitmain Technologies Inc., the world’s largest crypto mining rig manufacturer, which also runs one of the world’s most extensive cryptocurrency mining pools. The move comes at an important time for Bitmain, which is increasing its involvement in the bitcoin cash space as it continues to reinvent itself as more than just an ASIC maker ahead of its planned mega-IPO in Hong Kong.

Telescope is a browser-embedded cryptocurrency wallet that currently allows users of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to send and receive BCH through a browser extension. Set up earlier in 2018 by former IBM software engineer Aaron Angert, Telescope also offers support for BitPay and MoneyButton. While it is currently optimized for Chrome and Firefox, the plan is for the application to eventually offer full support for other leading browsers as the project grows.

Telescope transaction keys are saved in the application’s browser extension, and then transactions are signed by the user’s browser directly and sent to a BCH block explorer. Cross-browser private keys are encrypted via the blockchain, guaranteeing safe storage of user funds, just like standalone cryptocurrency wallets.

Speaking about Bitmain’s acquisition of Telescope, the company’s Lead Developer Aaron Angert said:

“I am extremely proud of what Telescope has been able to achieve so far and am excited for its future with the additional help and support of Bitmain. We are honored to be a part of the bitcoin cash community, as a vibrant collection of individuals contributing towards the development of blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency industry.”

Also reacting, Nishant Sharma, Head of International PR and Communications at Bitmain said:

“We are extremely proud of Telescope wallet and the simple but key innovation that the project brings to the bitcoin cash eco-system. Browser-embedded cryptocurrency wallets are a promising technology. The Telescope development team is doing some very interesting work and we look forward to working together with them on the Telescope project and future bitcoin cash projects.”

In August, CCN reported that Bitmain is sitting on bitcoin cash reserves worth nearly $600 million, or more than 5 percent of all the 17.3 million BCH in existence. The acquisition of Telescope comes as Bitmain’s latest bet on bitcoin cash after the company threw its weight behind the faction that turned into BCH during the bitterly-contested bitcoin fork in 2017.

Author: David Hundeyin
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One of the First Bitcoin Miners is Quietly Cashing Out: Blockchain Researcher

As of Thursday, Sept. 25, the bitcoin price has climbed about 3 percent, briefly crossing the $6,700 level and extending toward $6,750 at one point in the early evening.

While this movement has made plenty of cryptocurrency  traders and investors happy in the short-term, a recent analysis of spending patterns relating to some of the earliest blocks of bitcoin has revealed that a very early miner has been taking advantage of the last several years’ long-term upward trajectory to slowly cash out tens of thousands of coins since Dec. 2016.

A recent tweet from a cryptocurrency expert, Blockchain data analyst Antoine Le Calvez, has revealed that a mysterious bitcoin miner has managed to send approximately 30,000 BTC cryptocurrency exchanges between Dec. 2016, and Jan. 2018, potentially cashing them out for a mammoth payday.

Mystery Miner Cashes In

According to Le Calvez, the mysterious bitcoin miner has been smart enough to cash in on their youngest blocks of bitcoin to not reveal the full extent of their mining period.

It would seem that, at the latest, the mining started somewhere around Dec. 2009, back when the value of BTC wasn’t much above $0, still wasn’t anywhere near reaching dollar parity, and the flagship cryptocurrency could be profitably mined with a standard-issue CPU. The first Bitcoin Pizza Day, you will remember, did not occur until 2010.

Furthermore, the researcher believes that the mystery miner had mined for at least seven months. Through this time, he managed to acquire more than 30,000 BTC since block rewards were high and miners were few.

He speculates that the miner could have even commenced mining operations earlier than Dec. 2009 since, recognizing that spending older coins is more likely to attract attention, he desires to conceal his sell-off. For some, this may raise questions, such as whether the mystery wallet owner is not Satoshi Nakamoto himself, although the researcher seems to think otherwise.

Author: Mauro Sacramento
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Bitcoin Core Vulnerability Would Have Allowed Miners to Inflate the BTC Supply

A newly-patched vulnerability in Bitcoin Core was far more severe than initially revealed, developers disclosed in an updated statement on Thursday.

Bitcoin Vulnerability More Serious Than Earlier Announced

The statement, posted on the website for the open source project, revealed that Bitcoin Core versions 0.16.3 and 0.170rc4 not only patch a denial-of-service (DoS) bug but also address a serious vulnerability that would have allowed malicious miners to artificially inflate the supply of bitcoin through a specific type of double spend transaction.

The developers explain:

“Thus, in Bitcoin Core 0.15.X, 0.16.0, 0.16.1, and 0.16.2, any attempts to double-spend a transaction output within a single transaction inside of a block where the output being spent was created in the same block, the same assertion failure will occur (as exists in the test case which was included in the 0.16.3 patch). However, if the output being double-spent was created in a previous block, an entry will still remain in the CCoin map with the DIRTY flag set and having been marked as spent, resulting in no such assertion. This could allow a miner to inflate the supply of Bitcoin as they would be then able to claim the value being spent twice.”

Initially, developers had disclosed a lesser but still serious DoS bug that would have allowed miners to crash nodes and disrupt the Bitcoin network. However, doing so would cause them to forfeit their block reward, which is currently 12.5 BTC (~$83,500 as of Friday).

According to the statement, this bug had been present in the Bitcoin Core software since version 0.14, though it had not been discovered until this week. Version 0.15 introduced the inflation vulnerability.

Core Waited for Upgrade to Reach Critical Mass

Developers said that they waited to disclose the full extent of the bug to prevent malicious miners from exploiting it prior to the upgraded client reaching critical mass.

From the statement:

“In order to encourage rapid upgrades, the decision was made to immediately patch and disclose the less serious Denial of Service vulnerability, concurrently with reaching out to miners, businesses, and other affected systems while delaying publication of the full issue to give times for systems to upgrade.”

However, Core developers decided to disclose the full extent of the vulnerability — which they do not believe was ever exploited — after a majority of the BTC hashrate upgraded to the patched software. Nevertheless, full node operators who have not yet upgraded to the latest version of Core should do so as soon as possible.

“At this time we believe over half of the Bitcoin hashrate has upgraded to patched nodes. We are unaware of any attempts to exploit this vulnerability,” the statement said. “However, it still remains critical that affected users upgrade and apply the latest patches to ensure no possibility of large reorganizations, mining of invalid blocks, or acceptance of invalid transactions occurs.”

Author: Josiah Wilmoth
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Inside Bitewei: The New Bitcoin Miner Being Hailed as a Serious Bitmain Rival

Things haven’t been easy of late for Bitmain.

After CoinDesk revealed the China-based crypto mining giant was planning an initial public offering (IPO) for September, the company has faced a wave of perhaps unprecedented scrutiny. On social media, allegations emerged Bitmain was everything from insolvent to presenting a rosy outlook for its financials, all the while investors linked to the funding effort backed away from the deal.

Now it appears Bitmain is facing a new and well-capitalized competitor.

Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, Bitewei, a Shenzhen-based mining chip manufacturer led by Yang Zuoxing, the former director of design at Bitmain, has raised 140 million yuan (around $20 million) to bring to market mining chips that long-time mining industry insiders believe could lead it to rival at least one area of Bitmain’s business.

Tyler Xiong, COO of the bitcoin mining pool operator Bixin, which joined Bitewei’s initial investment, told CoinDesk that it believes the company’s Whatsminer line of mining chips to be “a game changer.”

Founded in Shenzhen in July 2016, Bitewei is now considered by some to be the most efficient hardware manufacturer on the market.

According to test results published by Bitewei, the upcoming WhatsMiner M10 is roughly 30 percent more efficient, in terms of electricity consumption than Bitmain’s most recent flagship product the AntMiner S9 Hydro.

Yang told CoinDesk Bitewei has so far received pre-orders of over 1,000 units of Whatsminer M10, a product scheduled to officially launch on September 19, but that started its pre-sale in mid August. With an average price around $1,600 depending on the shipping batch, the new product could already be generating a revenue beyond $1.6 million.

That said, Bitewei admittedly has a long way to go, as IPO materials suggest Bitmain controls 85 percent of the global cryptocurrency mining hardware market. Further, it has a well-developed software-based business, with its and Antpool mining pools providing mining tools to 30 percent of the network’s miners.

This large market share is viewed with skepticism by cryptocurrency developers, who believe it conflicts with efforts to open access to cryptocurrency protocols and the digital monetary rewards they create.

As such, the fact that hardware distributors are already selling Whatsminer products has created excitement among those who believe the rise of additional, competitive mining chip providers could benefit the industry while better ensuring its ethos.

David Vorick, CEO of Obelisk, a company that set out to challenge Bitmain with an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner for the Siacoin cryptocurrency, said he believes Bitewei proves that competition is possible, if difficult to achieve.

Vorick told CoinDesk:

“There should be a lot more players in the bitcoin mining space and a lot more manufacturers, especially if we can figure out everything that Whatsminer is doing to get the efficiency gains that they’ve been getting.”

Others, however, say efficiency isn’t everything, and that Bitewei must still prove it can execute, avoiding the pitfalls that have seen other mining firms go bankrupt despite competitive products.

“It takes a lot, luck included, for a company to grow to that size and influence,” Xiong said, comparing Bitewei to Bitmain. “It’s hard for a new hardware company to get that influence now. Besides, there are only 4 million bitcoins left to mine.”

Cutting-edge products

Still, Bitewei’s test results suggest its product far exceeds the current norm.

Ahead of the Whatsminer M10’s formal launch, Bitewei kicked off the pre-sale by publishing two rounds of testing results on August 10 and 25, respectively. In both cases, Bitewei claimed the machine was performing at a level that consumed 66 watts to 68 watts of electricity per 1 trillion hashes (66W/TH).

In comparison, according to the official specifics published by Bitmain about its latest AntMiner S9 Hydro, the mining giant’s flagship product has a power consumption that’s around 96 W/TH.

Speaking of growing competition from other bitcoin miners that recently launched products featuring 7nm chips, including Canaan Creative and GMO Internet, Yang said his next step is also to roll out a 7nm-chip bitcoin miner in 2019.

Yet, Vorick said he believes Bitewei now has a considerable edge compared to both other startups and incumbent competitors, as Yang’s 50-people team combines experience with cutting-edge chip designs.

“It seems like the majority of the design talent at Bitmain is now at Whatsminer [Bitewei],” Vorick said.

Perhaps that’s why Yang doesn’t appear deterred by fierce competition during the summer’s overall bearish crypto market, with bitcoin’s price sliding below $7,000. “The market always has ups and downs and 2018 is somewhat like 2014, during which the bitcoin price kept declining for a year,” Yang told CoinDesk.

He added:

“Nothing can stop the enthusiasm for people inside the industry. Outsiders may hesitate, like Intel or NVIDIA, but not us.”

The chipmaker

Bolstering the enthusiasm for the company is that this isn’t Yang’s first industry effort, as his experience with bitcoin mining started long before he joined Bitmain.

After earning a Ph.D. in engineering physics from China’s Tsinghua University, Yang started in 2014 as a chip designer at ASICMiner, a bitcoin miner maker founded in 2012 by Jiang Xinyu – a.k.a Friedcat on – whose unexplained disappearance in January 2015 is still one of the bitcoin industry’s unsolved mysteries.

Promptly after Friedcat’s disappearance, Yang presented his full-custom chip design to Micree Zhan, co-founder and chairman of the Beijing-based Bitmain. It was the design that would soon become Bitmain’s Antminer S7, as Yang joined Bitmain’s team in the spring of 2015.

The full-custom methodology adopted by Yang, in layman’s terms, allows a designer working with integrated circuits to completely customize the layout of each transistor and how they connect to each other.

The benefit is that, as opposed to other methods such as semi-custom which uses pre-designed layout to some extent, the full-custom method allows a designer with the right skill-set to maximize the chip’s output at the lowest point of power consumption.

But, as Yang told CoinDesk, this method is also highly costly and time-consuming. That’s why it is best suited to large-scale production, like Bitmain’s factories.

It could have been a perfect match. However, Yang said he decided to move from Bitmain’s Beijing’s office back to Shanghai after just two weeks because he didn’t fit in with Bitmain’s “working environment,” adding he “didn’t feel respected.”  So he continued working part-time on designing the Antminer S7, balancing that remote job with a new side project of his own.

After Bitmain officially rolled out Antminer S7 in August 2015, Yang said he had five rounds of negotiations with Bitmain about equity, all while keeping control of his designs for the Antminer S9 for the company, soon to be Bitmain’s flagship product (revealed in May 2016).

Yang said while Jihan Wu – also co-founder of Bitmain – agreed to offer him 2 percent of Bitmain’s equity, Zhan did not go along with that plan and made an alternative offer of 0.5 percent.

When negotiations went sour, Yang ended his Bitmain contract in June 2016 and launched Bitewei one month later.

Beyond Yang himself, Bitewei attracted several other bitcoin industry veterans.

The startup’s list of early investors included notable figures in the Chinese bitcoin mining community, such as co-founders of the F2POOL Wang Chun and Mao Shixing, as well as Wu Ying, chairman of an investment firm called China Capital Group. Based on a Chinese business registration database, both Mao and Wang are now Bitewei board members.

Bad blood

Bitewei’s rivalry with Bitmain intensified during the past two years as they battled over the intellectual property Yang designed.

Last year, Yang told CoinDesk Bitmain filed a patent infringement lawsuit against him over Bitewei’s adoption of the so-called “serial power circuit design” for Whatsminer – a technology that Bitmain secured a patent for in March 2016.

In retaliation, Yang filed a claim to revoke Bitmain’s patent on the grounds that serial power supply circuit designs were widely used and documented.

China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) invalidated Bitmain’s patent on April 8. The SIPO’s statement about revoking Bitmain’s authorized patent, for lack of unique creativity in the Antminer’s design, said:

“If a technological solution sought by a patent has different characteristics than existing technologies, but such difference is public knowledge, then it is obvious the solution would incorporate this public knowledge.”

The Urumqi Intermediate Court in China’s Xinjiang province, where the legal complaint was initially filed by Bitmain, then followed the SIPO’s lead and dismissed the case on August 31, according to a court document Yang shared with CoinDesk.

Bitmain declined to comment.

By this point, Xiong noted that the animosity between these manufacturing teams was common knowledge in bitcoin mining circles. But the controversy surrounded Bitmain has gone far beyond this patent fight and its ongoing hardware and mining pool dominance.

Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu has long been an outspoken supporter of the cryptocurrency bitcoin cash, created by a disagreement over the technical direction of the bitcoin software, a fact which has made him a persona non grata among bitcoin’s developers.

Yet as argued by the research firm Alliance Bernstein, Bitmain’s strong belief in bitcoin cash may have caused it an issue of declining cash flow, and may put it in a further position to be challenged by a competitor. Analysts wrote in a recent report that Bitmain now holds about 5.7 percent of the total supply of bitcoin cash, which they said was “likely” purchased using its operating cash and bitcoin holdings.

“These BCH holdings, valued at $890 million as of [Q1 2018], pose another major risk as BCH is illiquid and has depreciated nearly 20 percent since [Q1 2018],” the report noted at the time.

Bitmain’s controversy could turn out to be a boon for Bitewei, which has avoided entanglements with blockchain industry rumors and conflicts.

If Wu and Bitmain are bitcoin cash believers in their core, then Yang is simply the chip guy.

“Full-custom methodology can be applied to literally every type of chip,” Yang said of his vision for Bitewei, which is to become the greatest chip maker, hinting in the long-term, the firm is not limited to just making crypto miners.

He concluded:

“Our miners’ market share may go above 50 percent. But our own hashing power will never go above 50 percent, in fact, 10 percent will be already good enough.”

Author: Wolfie Zhao and Leigh Cuen
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Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitfury Trims Cooling Demands by 95% with ‘Magic’ Liquid

With cryptocurrency markets struggling, Bitfury Group has immersed its mining equipment in a non-conducive liquid to reduce costs at its 40-megawatt mining plant in Tbilisi, Georgia, as it races to mine the remaining 21 million mineable bitcoins.

The company’s investment in cooling technology signals the extent cryptocurrency miners are going to chill their energy-intensive computers, according to Bloomberg. Some have moved operations to Siberia and submerged them in oil, while one went as far as burying its rigs beneath the Eurasian steppe.

At a July visit to Bitfury’s Tbilisi site with a view of the Caucasus Mountains, Bloomberg witnessed 160 mining cooling tanks with extensively engineered fluid.  The company is using a liquid from 3M Co. called Novec, which has been used to draw water from the desert and contain auto racing fires.

CEO Claims Mining Remains Profitable

Valery Vavilov, Bitfury CEO, noted that the cooling technology reduces both space requirements and energy consumption. He said the mining activity remains profitable and the company is upbeat about bitcoin’s long-term prospects.

The cooling system reduces the amount of space required for mining by a third, according to Kar-Wing Lau, founder of Allied Control, a cooling system provider Bitfury acquired. Bitfury also believes there will be demand for the technology from urban cloud computing providers.

Giving Georgia New Prominence

Bitfury has made the Republic of Georgia, located between Europe and Asia, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency mining region after China, driven by cheap energy, inexpensive land and government tax incentives.

In enhancing the region’s cryptocurrency prominence, Bitfury has become a player in Georgia’s politics. The company owns the property housing its expanding data center, and it has used its leverage to secure agreements for certain blockchain services, including facilitating Ukrainian elections.

Remi Urumashvili, Bitfury’s Georgia representative, noted that he was instrumental in advising the company it would have zero taxation when Vavilov visited the country in 2013. Two weeks later, the company announced plans to open a data center.

Also read: Bitfury inks ‘biggest blockchain government deal ever with Ukraine

Activity Draws Political Scrutiny

When Bitfury sold its mining facility before repurchasing it at a discount, some claimed that one of the company’s backers, Georgia ex-Prime Minster and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, profited from the sale and stuck taxpayers with the cost of the incentives. Ivanishvili’s political opponents examined the facility’s energy costs.

Legislators have also sought an investigation of Ivanishvili’s connection to a Georgia politician’s son who was indicted in a hack in the U.S. that involved an unlawful bitcoin exchange. The fund’s CEO, George Bachiashvili, said he did not know of an investigation, while the prosecutor did not respond to a comment request.

Bachiashvili said politics played no role in the decision to sell the facility. He said the company was looking to profit from high cryptocurrency prices at the time.

Bitfury noted in February it signed an agreement on Richard Branson’s private resort in the Caribbean to sell the facility to a Hong Kong fintech firm before repurchasing it. Yew Kiat Phang, CEO of Chong Sing Holdings in Hong Kong, said he met George Kikvadze, Bitfury’s deputy chairman, and Vavilov at Branson’s British Virgin Island’s resort in 2015. He later sold the facility as he sought to mitigate his risks.

Author: Lester Coleman
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Bitcoin Mining Apps Still Live on Google Play Despite Ban

Google is reportedly hosting cryptocurrency mining applications in Play Store, despite a ban imposed last month.


Google’s revised terms of service states that, “We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices.” However, the search engine giant mentioned last month that apps that remotely manage cryptocurrency mining are permitted. Despite the ban, few digital currency mining apps have either updated to abide with the new terms nor have removed their apps from the store.

Mining apps such as Bitcoin Mining, BTC Miner Pool, and Pickaxe Miner are found to be still live on Google Play, while Cloud Bitcoin Miner app is said to have revised its services in accordance with the new Google terms. “Mining is not performed on the user’s phone,” the app’s description clarifies.

Earlier this month, UK-based blockchain startup JSEcoin, which facilitates cryptocurrency mining, announced the launch of Android mobile mining app on Google Play. “We have additionally reached out to the Google Support team to confirm if we are allowed to allow our users to mine our tokens via our official app – as we are aware of their restriction policy,” JSEcoin co-founder and CTO John Sim, told HardFork during its launch. Later, the JSEcoin app disappeared from the Play Store.


Another mining app, MinerGate, announced last week in a tweet that a new version has been designed for “monitoring and managing” the user’s mining process in a move to abide by the new Google terms. With the update, MinerGate told Hard Fork:

“Mining on your phone directly was among the core features of the MinerGate app before the last changes in Google Play Development policies. With the last update, we are removing this functionality to meet the updated requirements.”

Earlier this year, Google outlawed cryptocurrency mining extensions from the Chrome Web Store. The search engine outlined the reason for the ban in its official release stating that, “90% of all extensions with mining scripts that developers have attempted to upload to Chrome Web Store have failed to comply with their new mining policies.”

Google had already banned malicious cryptojacking apps after an Android app was found cryptojacking devices in January, while also mining monero. Following this, Google also imposed a ban on ICO advertisements from June.

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Author: Sujha Sundararajan
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