Bitmain to Open New Data Center in Texas

Blockchain | Crypto News | Latest News

Bitmain, the world’s largest bitcoin mining firm, is preparing to open a new data center in Texas, external job postings show.

The China-based cryptocurrency company, which reportedly recorded $1.1 billion in profit during the first quarter, is currently looking for a project manager and data center site manager to staff a new plant in Rockdale, TX, a small town nestled an hour-and-a-half south of Waco.

The news was first reported by local media outlet KXAN, who said that residents are hopeful that the new bitcoin mining operation will bring hope to a region devastated by job cuts in the coal production and manufacturing industries.

In 2014, Aluminum manufacturer Alcoa shut down production at its Rockdale smelting plant, which had opened in 1952 and processed as much as 1.67 million pounds of aluminum per day.

Earlier this year, Dallas-based utility company Luminant shut down its coal-fired power plant in Rockdale, cutting approximately 450 jobs at the plant and a nearby coal mine.

Consequently, residents say that they are optimistic that Bitmain’s new data center will bring high-paying skilled jobs to the community.

“These are technical jobs, these are well-paid jobs,” said Rebecca Vasquez, chair of the local Chamber of Commerce, adding that she hopes the business will bring new homeowners to the area and increase its tax base.

However, as one unnamed cryptocurrency investment fund manager noted in the report, cryptocurrency mining industry operations tend to be “capital-heavy and human-light,” so it’s not clear how many long-term jobs the new data center will bring to the area.

Bitmain is also hiring staff in Chandler, AZ, as well as two cities in Washington — Malaga and Wenatchee — as it strengthens its growing foothold in the North American market.

Earlier this month, Bitmain opened a 20,000 sq. foot office in the heart of Silicon Valley, a move concurrent with its desire to follow up its recent $400 million funding round with another $1 billion in financing ahead of its planned initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

The firm has also established a major data center in Quebec, which has a large surplus of electricity but has nevertheless had a complicated relationship with the cryptocurrency mining industry.

2018 has been quite a year for cryptocurrencies trading. Prices have plummeted, dipped, and made all sorts of turns that were quite unexpected and have been relentless for the market that closed on a high at the end of 2017. Most notably, the crypto rush that had so many investors crop up and pump money into start-ups has fallen so badly that the general opinion is that they expect the prices to fall even further. Let us not forget that many crypto start-ups like Bitmain and ConsenSys have had to lay off a majority of their staff. The year has also seen blockchain technology go through adoption for one thing or the other and not forgetting scrutiny and regulatory attempts all over the crypto world.

The question of the recovery of the crypto market has been a looming black cloud for the most part of 2018, with the most notable shit show being the month of November. The month has seen the worst price drop in cryptocurrency price four-year course, where all altcoin prices plunged to never before seen lows. Earlier on, experts had said the drastic loss of value was beneficial to the digital currency world as a purge of sorts of coins that were less stable or useless. This came in the midst of many different expert analysis opinions on the future of cryptocurrencies, their stability, store of value, and the constant prediction that digital currency will eventually completely overrule fiat.

Let us have a look at the sunnier side of things though, on matters crypto traders in 2018. Very early in the year, a list had been compiled twenty-five of the best potential crypto traders to look out for and it was targeted at investors and novice players as well. Of course, the information provided to users was running on the steam of the close of 2017 prices which had hit the roof and everyone was looking to jump into the bandwagon and make some money. The traders in question no doubt did receive good traffic at the time.

One of the most popular Bitcoin sites came up with a more precise list today and interestingly enough, out of the initial 25, only two traders made it in this list. Let us have a brief look at these traders and their characteristics in general.

  • Cryptobull
  • 148,000 twitter followers (@cryptobull)
  • Very optimistic views on the current market situation
  • Uses market research and overall opinion regularly to engage his followers on their views
  • Loves crypto memes

  • Swing Trader
  • Swing trading – catching waves of repetitive trading patterns, low or high and using them to predict the market.
  • Real name is Eric Choe and has a following of 143,000 followers on twitter (@cryptochoe)
  • His trading applications in the market have been very successful
  • One of the youngest traders having graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a minor in Business

  • Xuan Haimmoer
  • Vietnamese and owner of the website tradingview
  • Addicted to trading and watching the markets. Does it all day.
  • Has a huge following and the website attracts a lot of traffic.
  • Avid content provider for crypto traders and digital currency users.

  • Excavo
  • Trading analyst on trading view with over 70,000 followers on that platform.
  • Has attracted over eight million views on his cumulative posts online in the last three years
  • Most popular analyst on trading view with over 1000 articles to his name.

  • Nick Core
  • Twitter handle (@crypto_core) with over 34,000 followers
  • Very vocal on social media platforms and offers reviews on youtube, twitter and tradingview
  • Author on issues cryptocurrency

Looking at just these few traders, I encourage you to look at their trading strategies, some of their posts and analysis reports. Granted, not all of them use the same methods of trading but they are few of the notable traders in the cryptomarket with a sizeable audience that they command. The one thing that you will find common among the above-mentioned traders is that their success is based on the fact that they do not advocate for panic trades.

They also use a wide range of platforms to reach the wider crypto community and have diverse portfolios. Let us not also forget to mention that they are educated and have a lot of experience with the market at large. Kindly have a look and give them all a follow.

 

Bitcoin SV’s enhanced Capacity means it will in future be capable of hosting billions of people on a daily basis according to project’s lead engineer Daniel Connolly.

As a member of the SV development team, Daniel told Cryptocoinjunky that billions of people will be able to use the payments protocol. As the block size slowly increases, hopefully to 2 GB by Q4 2019, more people will be able to use Bitcoin SV without putting too much strain on the network.

“We aim to have 5 billion people [using BSV] on a daily basis”, said Connolly, at a CoinGeek conference in London. “We still have a long way to go, but it will become possible so far as we scale.”He added.

Bitcoin SV (‘Satoshi Vision’) was a proposed protocol implementation for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH)network upgrade, which took place Mid –last Month. BSV doubled the block size from 64 MB to 128 MB. Supporters of the  Upgrade included Calvin Ayre, the founder of CoinGeek, and Craig Wright from nChain.

Initially a proposal for BCH(Bitcoin Cash), not everyone agreed with Satoshi Vision. Most notably, Roger Ver(Bitcoin.com) and Jihan Wu (Bitmain) who proposed their own implementation, known as Bitcoin ABC.

Within a week, a majority of the Crypto exchanges and data aggregators had accepted ABC as Bitcoin Cash. But followers of Satoshi Vision stayed on their own network. Bitcoin SV  blockchain network is currently valued at over $1.7bn.

Will there be Bitcoin SV users?

The main priority for Bitcoin SV is scalability. Connolly says that the plan is currently for the block size to increase to 512 MB in May and then to 2 GB by next November. Within 18 months they want to remove a limit on block sizes and allow miners to decide for themselves the size of blocks they wish to mine.

Scalability is the main aim.  Satoshi Vision was able to handle  1.6million  transactions during a four-hour stress test, conducted in early November. But as the name – Satoshi Vision – implies, the project wants to remain truthful to what they see as the only fully decentralized and viable blockchain. This is encapsulated by Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper according to them.

Simit Naik, nChain’s Director of Business Services, explained that SV was a way to restore Bitcoin back to what was originally imagined. Bitcoin SV  wants to be a decentralized alternative to Visa or Mastercard but it needs to convince its target market according to Simit Naik.

He further stated that enhancing the network capacity, one with smaller transaction fees and faster payments is the answer. Also Targeting parts of the world that still lack access to modern financial services will improve mass-adoption.

This week, Bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer and blockchain software firm Bitfury secured a valuation of $1 billion from billionaire investor Mike Novogratz and Korelya Capital’s $80 million investment in the firm.

The multi-million dollar funding round comes after the release of Bitfury Clarke, the firm’s new Bitcoin ASIC miner, designed to compete against Bitmain’s new equipment, the 7nm Antminer.

Valery Vavilov, the CEO of Bitfury, stated that the demand for the blockchain and crypto in general from companies and institutions had increased significantly over the past 11 months.

“We see a lot of demand from companies and public institutions to put their services or products in the blockchain — especially in emerging markets, where administrative systems can be very inefficient.”

Rising Activity in Mining and Blockchain

Throughout the past four months, despite the sideways market of Bitcoin (BTC) and the 70 percent correction experienced by the cryptocurrency market since January, the hash rate of the Bitcoin blockchain network has increased substantially from 15 million TH/s to over 50 million TH/s.

The increase in the hash rate of the Bitcoin network, which represents the strength of the blockchain’s computing power, led to a surge in the breakeven cost of crypto mining.

In July, cryptocurrency analyst Barclay James reported that the breakeven cost of mining Bitcoin is around $6,900, based on the hash rate of the Bitcoin network at the time which was 35 million TH/s.

According to Blockchain, the most popular cryptocurrency wallet platform in the sector, the hash rate of Bitcoin currently remains above 50 million TH/s, up 42 percent since July. Since the $6,900 breakeven cost of Bitcoin mining was calculated based on 35 million TH/s,  the breakeven cost of mining has well surpassed $7,500 even in regions with naturally cold climates and cheap electricity like China that reduces operational costs.

“China has some of the world’s cheapest electricity rates as well as average temperatures consistent with temperate regions. This is important as cooling is one of the largest overheads in mining. In addition, the country’s generally low operating costs also give it a competitive advantage,” James wrote.

Due to the rise in the breakeven cost of mining, miners are generating BTC at a fairly large loss. Until BTC breaks out of the $7,000 resistance level and to the high region of $7,800 to $8,000, miners will continue to mine BTC with a loss of around 20 to 30 percent.

Still, the hash rate of BitcoinEthereum, and other major cryptocurrencies continues to surge, as does the demand for mining-focused ventures like Bitfury, Bitmain, and Samsung’s new foundry.

Lucrative Business Models of Mining Companies

Bitmain is finalizing a $15 billion IPO, and, earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that if Bitfury IPOs, it will target a valuation of $3 to $5 billion.

Mining companies and mining equipment manufacturers like TSMC and Samsung remain confident in the long-term development of the industry, and the investment of a major venture capital firm in Korelya is considered a confirmation of strength of the industry in a period of uncertainty and doubt.

Korelya is an investment firm financed by Naver, the largest search engine operator in South Korea that is more widely utilized than Google in the region. Bitfury is the first indirect investment in crypto from Naver.

Bulletproofs Explained

The improved protocol allows for stronger privacy, cheaper and faster transactions, and greater ASIC miner resistance.

Bulletproofs is a unique feature among digital assets, at least among large-cap networks. It gives users more privacy by hiding the number of coins that they send in transactions. The technology implements new logarithmic math in order to verify transactions (if you’re into heavy math, take a look at the academic paper that was the guidepost for the tech).

The upgraded protocol also brings much cheaper transactions fees and quicker transactions. As the team’s blog update states:

“With our current range proofs, the transaction is around 13.2 kB in size. If I used single-output bulletproofs, the transaction reduces in size to only around 2.5 kB! This is, approximately, an 80% reduction in transaction size, which then translates to an 80% reduction in fees as well. The space savings are even better with multiple-output proofs. This represents a significant decrease in transaction sizes. Further, our initial testing shows that the time to verify a bulletproof is lower than for the existing range proofs, meaning speedier blockchain validation.”

Another side-effect is occurring as well: XMR miners are reporting that mining difficulty has dropped steeply since the fork. The blockchain’s ledger will now also require much less hard disk space. Overall, the version is a massive upgrade that helps Monero remain a top privacy coin.

Monero developers strongly recommend that everyone upgrade their wallets and nodes if they haven’t done so already, as running the old version could lose transactions.

ASIC Resistance: The War Continues

The team behind Monero publicly declared war against ASIC mining equipment. This came after Bitmain released specialist equipment that would have crowded out CPU and GPU miners had the cryptocurrency not “bricked” Bitmain’s ASICs by altering its mining algorithm.

Monero’s long-held goal is for all users to mine the coin, not only manufacturers or mining farms that have the resources to throw around immense hashing power, as has happened on the Bitcoin network. This way, average users can stay profitable with GPU and CPU chips. Monero developers agreed on semi-annual network upgrades and tweaks to the Proof-of-Work (PoW) function in order to stay one step ahead of ASIC manufacturers. Today’s fork continues that warfare.

There is no question that the entire cryptocurrency sector is in a bear market, with many cryptocurrencies losing over 50% of their value.  However, this certainly hasn’t prevented individuals from becoming very wealthy through cryptocurrency-related ventures.

Specifically, despite the decrease in market capitalization of various cryptocurrencies, several Chinese businessmen have landed onto a list of China’s wealthiest individuals thanks to companies associated with cryptocurrency.

Notable Figures

The Hurun report is released annually, and 13 cryptocurrency-related businessmen have made the list, which includes individuals with at least a net worth of 2 billion yuan, or $289 million USD.

The highest entry belongs to Micree Zhan Ketuan, the founder of Bitmain Technologies, and the only cryptocurrency-related businessman to penetrate the list of the 100 wealthiest people in China, with an estimated net worth of 29.5 billion yuan.  This is not surprising, considering Bitmain – the largest bitcoin mining company in the world – is on track to reach $10 billion in revenue by the end of this year, and is valued at over $10 billion already.  Another high entry belongs to the other co-founder of the same company, Bitmain, Wu Jihan, who comes in at #204, with an estimated worth of 16.5 billion yuan.

China has been known to dominate the bitcoin mining sector.  In fact, Bitmain, and its two main competitors, Canaan Creative and Ebang International Holdings, have all applied to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).  Nine of the thirteen entries on the Hurun report come from these three companies alone.

China Crackdown

This is even more interesting considering the fact that China has been cracking down on the cryptocurrency sector in general.  The Chinese Central Bank has repeatedly warned bitcoin exchanges about their activity, and went on to ban initial coin offerings, which led to the iconic cryptocurrency exchange BTCC closing, which many in the cryptocurrency community felt was a symbolic end to an era where China seemed to tolerate cryptocurrency – and that the tides were shifting.

Ironically, it was this crackdown that actually helped Binance, the world’s largest exchange by daily volume, adapt and expand to countries such as Japan and Singapore, rather than keep China as headquarters.  Zhao Chenpeng, 41, also makes the list, at #230, with an impressive 15 billion yuan.

It is clear that despite the crackdowns on cryptocurrency in China, and the volatility of the markets – the leaders in the cryptocurrency market have certainly been able to accrue substantial wealth in 2018.

Opera, the fifth most widely utilized browser behind Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari, has added built-in Ethereum support to its desktop app, enabling Web 3.0, an ecosystem that allows users can seamlessly interact with decentralized applications (dApps) and peer-to-peer systems on the blockchain.

To utilize Ethereum-based dApps, users are required to have non-custodial wallets like MetaMask to securely send transactions on the mainnet. But, for most casual users, relying on external applications as an additional step towards using dApps could restrict accessibility.

As mainstream browsers move towards adding support for Ethereum and various blockchain standards, the accessibility and user activity of dApps is expected to increase massively.

Importance of Opera Integration

Opera only accounts 3.7 percent of the market share of the browser industry. But, that is because Chrome and Safari have absolute dominance over the browser industry with a combined market share of 71 percent.

The integration of Ethereum and the ERC20 standard by Opera marks an important step towards mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies and dApps. While its market share and user base are  relatively small in comparison to its competitors, Opera is a widely recognized browser with an active and loyal user base.

Currently, on Google Chrome, most Ethereum and dApp users rely on MetaMask, a non-custodial Ethereum wallet operated by ConsenSys, a blockchain software studio created and run by Ethereum co-creator Joseph Lubin.

opera browser ethereum wallet
Source: Opera

To access MetaMask, users have to download and install the plugin on Google’s browser store, which requires users to undergo additional steps to install the wallet. On Opera, because the wallet is already integrated into the browser, users can seamlessly utilized its built-in infrastructure to access dApps.

Still, the Ethereum wallet of Opera needs significant improvement. It lacks the sophistication and execution of popular apps like MetaMask particularly in fee estimation and testnet support.

But, the cryptocurrency sector has already taken a major step towards gaining mainstream recognition by major browsers.

One Ethereum user who tested the ETH integration on Opera said:

“I tried it out today – its incredible to think that mainstream browsers are integrating Web 3.0. I love the split between mobile and desktop – security of mobile with convenience of desktop. and yes, mobile phones are still way more secure than desktops. They need some work on supporting ropsten – i ran into numerous issues that were not a problem on mainnet.”

Crypto-Focused Opera

In July, it was reported that Bitmain, the world’s largest crypto mining equipment manufacturer, is set to acquire 43 percent of stake in Opera. Although it remains unclear whether Bitmain has invested in the browser, the two corporations reportedly held discussions prior to the release of the reports in regarding a potential acquisition.

With the successful deployment of built-in cryptocurrency wallet and Ethereum integration, Opera is expected to move forward with its cryptocurrency-focused development roadmap.

Considering that Opera is more popular amongst mobile users than desktop users and the various security benefits of using mobile-based systems over desktop and web-based platforms, it is likely that Opera will continue to show improvements in its mobile cryptocurrency infrastructure.

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Bitmain to Open New Data Center in Texas

Blockchain | Crypto News | Latest News

Bitmain, the world’s largest bitcoin mining firm, is preparing to open a new data center in Texas, external job postings show.

The China-based cryptocurrency company, which reportedly recorded $1.1 billion in profit during the first quarter, is currently looking for a project manager and data center site manager to staff a new plant in Rockdale, TX, a small town nestled an hour-and-a-half south of Waco.

The news was first reported by local media outlet KXAN, who said that residents are hopeful that the new bitcoin mining operation will bring hope to a region devastated by job cuts in the coal production and manufacturing industries.

In 2014, Aluminum manufacturer Alcoa shut down production at its Rockdale smelting plant, which had opened in 1952 and processed as much as 1.67 million pounds of aluminum per day.

Earlier this year, Dallas-based utility company Luminant shut down its coal-fired power plant in Rockdale, cutting approximately 450 jobs at the plant and a nearby coal mine.

Consequently, residents say that they are optimistic that Bitmain’s new data center will bring high-paying skilled jobs to the community.

“These are technical jobs, these are well-paid jobs,” said Rebecca Vasquez, chair of the local Chamber of Commerce, adding that she hopes the business will bring new homeowners to the area and increase its tax base.

However, as one unnamed cryptocurrency investment fund manager noted in the report, cryptocurrency mining industry operations tend to be “capital-heavy and human-light,” so it’s not clear how many long-term jobs the new data center will bring to the area.

Bitmain is also hiring staff in Chandler, AZ, as well as two cities in Washington — Malaga and Wenatchee — as it strengthens its growing foothold in the North American market.

Earlier this month, Bitmain opened a 20,000 sq. foot office in the heart of Silicon Valley, a move concurrent with its desire to follow up its recent $400 million funding round with another $1 billion in financing ahead of its planned initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

The firm has also established a major data center in Quebec, which has a large surplus of electricity but has nevertheless had a complicated relationship with the cryptocurrency mining industry.

2018 has been quite a year for cryptocurrencies trading. Prices have plummeted, dipped, and made all sorts of turns that were quite unexpected and have been relentless for the market that closed on a high at the end of 2017. Most notably, the crypto rush that had so many investors crop up and pump money into start-ups has fallen so badly that the general opinion is that they expect the prices to fall even further. Let us not forget that many crypto start-ups like Bitmain and ConsenSys have had to lay off a majority of their staff. The year has also seen blockchain technology go through adoption for one thing or the other and not forgetting scrutiny and regulatory attempts all over the crypto world.

The question of the recovery of the crypto market has been a looming black cloud for the most part of 2018, with the most notable shit show being the month of November. The month has seen the worst price drop in cryptocurrency price four-year course, where all altcoin prices plunged to never before seen lows. Earlier on, experts had said the drastic loss of value was beneficial to the digital currency world as a purge of sorts of coins that were less stable or useless. This came in the midst of many different expert analysis opinions on the future of cryptocurrencies, their stability, store of value, and the constant prediction that digital currency will eventually completely overrule fiat.

Let us have a look at the sunnier side of things though, on matters crypto traders in 2018. Very early in the year, a list had been compiled twenty-five of the best potential crypto traders to look out for and it was targeted at investors and novice players as well. Of course, the information provided to users was running on the steam of the close of 2017 prices which had hit the roof and everyone was looking to jump into the bandwagon and make some money. The traders in question no doubt did receive good traffic at the time.

One of the most popular Bitcoin sites came up with a more precise list today and interestingly enough, out of the initial 25, only two traders made it in this list. Let us have a brief look at these traders and their characteristics in general.

  • Cryptobull
  • 148,000 twitter followers (@cryptobull)
  • Very optimistic views on the current market situation
  • Uses market research and overall opinion regularly to engage his followers on their views
  • Loves crypto memes

  • Swing Trader
  • Swing trading – catching waves of repetitive trading patterns, low or high and using them to predict the market.
  • Real name is Eric Choe and has a following of 143,000 followers on twitter (@cryptochoe)
  • His trading applications in the market have been very successful
  • One of the youngest traders having graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a minor in Business

  • Xuan Haimmoer
  • Vietnamese and owner of the website tradingview
  • Addicted to trading and watching the markets. Does it all day.
  • Has a huge following and the website attracts a lot of traffic.
  • Avid content provider for crypto traders and digital currency users.

  • Excavo
  • Trading analyst on trading view with over 70,000 followers on that platform.
  • Has attracted over eight million views on his cumulative posts online in the last three years
  • Most popular analyst on trading view with over 1000 articles to his name.

  • Nick Core
  • Twitter handle (@crypto_core) with over 34,000 followers
  • Very vocal on social media platforms and offers reviews on youtube, twitter and tradingview
  • Author on issues cryptocurrency

Looking at just these few traders, I encourage you to look at their trading strategies, some of their posts and analysis reports. Granted, not all of them use the same methods of trading but they are few of the notable traders in the cryptomarket with a sizeable audience that they command. The one thing that you will find common among the above-mentioned traders is that their success is based on the fact that they do not advocate for panic trades.

They also use a wide range of platforms to reach the wider crypto community and have diverse portfolios. Let us not also forget to mention that they are educated and have a lot of experience with the market at large. Kindly have a look and give them all a follow.

 

Bitcoin SV’s enhanced Capacity means it will in future be capable of hosting billions of people on a daily basis according to project’s lead engineer Daniel Connolly.

As a member of the SV development team, Daniel told Cryptocoinjunky that billions of people will be able to use the payments protocol. As the block size slowly increases, hopefully to 2 GB by Q4 2019, more people will be able to use Bitcoin SV without putting too much strain on the network.

“We aim to have 5 billion people [using BSV] on a daily basis”, said Connolly, at a CoinGeek conference in London. “We still have a long way to go, but it will become possible so far as we scale.”He added.

Bitcoin SV (‘Satoshi Vision’) was a proposed protocol implementation for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH)network upgrade, which took place Mid –last Month. BSV doubled the block size from 64 MB to 128 MB. Supporters of the  Upgrade included Calvin Ayre, the founder of CoinGeek, and Craig Wright from nChain.

Initially a proposal for BCH(Bitcoin Cash), not everyone agreed with Satoshi Vision. Most notably, Roger Ver(Bitcoin.com) and Jihan Wu (Bitmain) who proposed their own implementation, known as Bitcoin ABC.

Within a week, a majority of the Crypto exchanges and data aggregators had accepted ABC as Bitcoin Cash. But followers of Satoshi Vision stayed on their own network. Bitcoin SV  blockchain network is currently valued at over $1.7bn.

Will there be Bitcoin SV users?

The main priority for Bitcoin SV is scalability. Connolly says that the plan is currently for the block size to increase to 512 MB in May and then to 2 GB by next November. Within 18 months they want to remove a limit on block sizes and allow miners to decide for themselves the size of blocks they wish to mine.

Scalability is the main aim.  Satoshi Vision was able to handle  1.6million  transactions during a four-hour stress test, conducted in early November. But as the name – Satoshi Vision – implies, the project wants to remain truthful to what they see as the only fully decentralized and viable blockchain. This is encapsulated by Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper according to them.

Simit Naik, nChain’s Director of Business Services, explained that SV was a way to restore Bitcoin back to what was originally imagined. Bitcoin SV  wants to be a decentralized alternative to Visa or Mastercard but it needs to convince its target market according to Simit Naik.

He further stated that enhancing the network capacity, one with smaller transaction fees and faster payments is the answer. Also Targeting parts of the world that still lack access to modern financial services will improve mass-adoption.

This week, Bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer and blockchain software firm Bitfury secured a valuation of $1 billion from billionaire investor Mike Novogratz and Korelya Capital’s $80 million investment in the firm.

The multi-million dollar funding round comes after the release of Bitfury Clarke, the firm’s new Bitcoin ASIC miner, designed to compete against Bitmain’s new equipment, the 7nm Antminer.

Valery Vavilov, the CEO of Bitfury, stated that the demand for the blockchain and crypto in general from companies and institutions had increased significantly over the past 11 months.

“We see a lot of demand from companies and public institutions to put their services or products in the blockchain — especially in emerging markets, where administrative systems can be very inefficient.”

Rising Activity in Mining and Blockchain

Throughout the past four months, despite the sideways market of Bitcoin (BTC) and the 70 percent correction experienced by the cryptocurrency market since January, the hash rate of the Bitcoin blockchain network has increased substantially from 15 million TH/s to over 50 million TH/s.

The increase in the hash rate of the Bitcoin network, which represents the strength of the blockchain’s computing power, led to a surge in the breakeven cost of crypto mining.

In July, cryptocurrency analyst Barclay James reported that the breakeven cost of mining Bitcoin is around $6,900, based on the hash rate of the Bitcoin network at the time which was 35 million TH/s.

According to Blockchain, the most popular cryptocurrency wallet platform in the sector, the hash rate of Bitcoin currently remains above 50 million TH/s, up 42 percent since July. Since the $6,900 breakeven cost of Bitcoin mining was calculated based on 35 million TH/s,  the breakeven cost of mining has well surpassed $7,500 even in regions with naturally cold climates and cheap electricity like China that reduces operational costs.

“China has some of the world’s cheapest electricity rates as well as average temperatures consistent with temperate regions. This is important as cooling is one of the largest overheads in mining. In addition, the country’s generally low operating costs also give it a competitive advantage,” James wrote.

Due to the rise in the breakeven cost of mining, miners are generating BTC at a fairly large loss. Until BTC breaks out of the $7,000 resistance level and to the high region of $7,800 to $8,000, miners will continue to mine BTC with a loss of around 20 to 30 percent.

Still, the hash rate of BitcoinEthereum, and other major cryptocurrencies continues to surge, as does the demand for mining-focused ventures like Bitfury, Bitmain, and Samsung’s new foundry.

Lucrative Business Models of Mining Companies

Bitmain is finalizing a $15 billion IPO, and, earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that if Bitfury IPOs, it will target a valuation of $3 to $5 billion.

Mining companies and mining equipment manufacturers like TSMC and Samsung remain confident in the long-term development of the industry, and the investment of a major venture capital firm in Korelya is considered a confirmation of strength of the industry in a period of uncertainty and doubt.

Korelya is an investment firm financed by Naver, the largest search engine operator in South Korea that is more widely utilized than Google in the region. Bitfury is the first indirect investment in crypto from Naver.

Bulletproofs Explained

The improved protocol allows for stronger privacy, cheaper and faster transactions, and greater ASIC miner resistance.

Bulletproofs is a unique feature among digital assets, at least among large-cap networks. It gives users more privacy by hiding the number of coins that they send in transactions. The technology implements new logarithmic math in order to verify transactions (if you’re into heavy math, take a look at the academic paper that was the guidepost for the tech).

The upgraded protocol also brings much cheaper transactions fees and quicker transactions. As the team’s blog update states:

“With our current range proofs, the transaction is around 13.2 kB in size. If I used single-output bulletproofs, the transaction reduces in size to only around 2.5 kB! This is, approximately, an 80% reduction in transaction size, which then translates to an 80% reduction in fees as well. The space savings are even better with multiple-output proofs. This represents a significant decrease in transaction sizes. Further, our initial testing shows that the time to verify a bulletproof is lower than for the existing range proofs, meaning speedier blockchain validation.”

Another side-effect is occurring as well: XMR miners are reporting that mining difficulty has dropped steeply since the fork. The blockchain’s ledger will now also require much less hard disk space. Overall, the version is a massive upgrade that helps Monero remain a top privacy coin.

Monero developers strongly recommend that everyone upgrade their wallets and nodes if they haven’t done so already, as running the old version could lose transactions.

ASIC Resistance: The War Continues

The team behind Monero publicly declared war against ASIC mining equipment. This came after Bitmain released specialist equipment that would have crowded out CPU and GPU miners had the cryptocurrency not “bricked” Bitmain’s ASICs by altering its mining algorithm.

Monero’s long-held goal is for all users to mine the coin, not only manufacturers or mining farms that have the resources to throw around immense hashing power, as has happened on the Bitcoin network. This way, average users can stay profitable with GPU and CPU chips. Monero developers agreed on semi-annual network upgrades and tweaks to the Proof-of-Work (PoW) function in order to stay one step ahead of ASIC manufacturers. Today’s fork continues that warfare.

There is no question that the entire cryptocurrency sector is in a bear market, with many cryptocurrencies losing over 50% of their value.  However, this certainly hasn’t prevented individuals from becoming very wealthy through cryptocurrency-related ventures.

Specifically, despite the decrease in market capitalization of various cryptocurrencies, several Chinese businessmen have landed onto a list of China’s wealthiest individuals thanks to companies associated with cryptocurrency.

Notable Figures

The Hurun report is released annually, and 13 cryptocurrency-related businessmen have made the list, which includes individuals with at least a net worth of 2 billion yuan, or $289 million USD.

The highest entry belongs to Micree Zhan Ketuan, the founder of Bitmain Technologies, and the only cryptocurrency-related businessman to penetrate the list of the 100 wealthiest people in China, with an estimated net worth of 29.5 billion yuan.  This is not surprising, considering Bitmain – the largest bitcoin mining company in the world – is on track to reach $10 billion in revenue by the end of this year, and is valued at over $10 billion already.  Another high entry belongs to the other co-founder of the same company, Bitmain, Wu Jihan, who comes in at #204, with an estimated worth of 16.5 billion yuan.

China has been known to dominate the bitcoin mining sector.  In fact, Bitmain, and its two main competitors, Canaan Creative and Ebang International Holdings, have all applied to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).  Nine of the thirteen entries on the Hurun report come from these three companies alone.

China Crackdown

This is even more interesting considering the fact that China has been cracking down on the cryptocurrency sector in general.  The Chinese Central Bank has repeatedly warned bitcoin exchanges about their activity, and went on to ban initial coin offerings, which led to the iconic cryptocurrency exchange BTCC closing, which many in the cryptocurrency community felt was a symbolic end to an era where China seemed to tolerate cryptocurrency – and that the tides were shifting.

Ironically, it was this crackdown that actually helped Binance, the world’s largest exchange by daily volume, adapt and expand to countries such as Japan and Singapore, rather than keep China as headquarters.  Zhao Chenpeng, 41, also makes the list, at #230, with an impressive 15 billion yuan.

It is clear that despite the crackdowns on cryptocurrency in China, and the volatility of the markets – the leaders in the cryptocurrency market have certainly been able to accrue substantial wealth in 2018.

Opera, the fifth most widely utilized browser behind Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari, has added built-in Ethereum support to its desktop app, enabling Web 3.0, an ecosystem that allows users can seamlessly interact with decentralized applications (dApps) and peer-to-peer systems on the blockchain.

To utilize Ethereum-based dApps, users are required to have non-custodial wallets like MetaMask to securely send transactions on the mainnet. But, for most casual users, relying on external applications as an additional step towards using dApps could restrict accessibility.

As mainstream browsers move towards adding support for Ethereum and various blockchain standards, the accessibility and user activity of dApps is expected to increase massively.

Importance of Opera Integration

Opera only accounts 3.7 percent of the market share of the browser industry. But, that is because Chrome and Safari have absolute dominance over the browser industry with a combined market share of 71 percent.

The integration of Ethereum and the ERC20 standard by Opera marks an important step towards mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies and dApps. While its market share and user base are  relatively small in comparison to its competitors, Opera is a widely recognized browser with an active and loyal user base.

Currently, on Google Chrome, most Ethereum and dApp users rely on MetaMask, a non-custodial Ethereum wallet operated by ConsenSys, a blockchain software studio created and run by Ethereum co-creator Joseph Lubin.

opera browser ethereum wallet
Source: Opera

To access MetaMask, users have to download and install the plugin on Google’s browser store, which requires users to undergo additional steps to install the wallet. On Opera, because the wallet is already integrated into the browser, users can seamlessly utilized its built-in infrastructure to access dApps.

Still, the Ethereum wallet of Opera needs significant improvement. It lacks the sophistication and execution of popular apps like MetaMask particularly in fee estimation and testnet support.

But, the cryptocurrency sector has already taken a major step towards gaining mainstream recognition by major browsers.

One Ethereum user who tested the ETH integration on Opera said:

“I tried it out today – its incredible to think that mainstream browsers are integrating Web 3.0. I love the split between mobile and desktop – security of mobile with convenience of desktop. and yes, mobile phones are still way more secure than desktops. They need some work on supporting ropsten – i ran into numerous issues that were not a problem on mainnet.”

Crypto-Focused Opera

In July, it was reported that Bitmain, the world’s largest crypto mining equipment manufacturer, is set to acquire 43 percent of stake in Opera. Although it remains unclear whether Bitmain has invested in the browser, the two corporations reportedly held discussions prior to the release of the reports in regarding a potential acquisition.

With the successful deployment of built-in cryptocurrency wallet and Ethereum integration, Opera is expected to move forward with its cryptocurrency-focused development roadmap.

Considering that Opera is more popular amongst mobile users than desktop users and the various security benefits of using mobile-based systems over desktop and web-based platforms, it is likely that Opera will continue to show improvements in its mobile cryptocurrency infrastructure.

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