Bitmain Announces Energy-Efficient ASIC Chip for Mining Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

Bitmain Announces Energy-Efficient ASIC Chip for Mining Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash

Chinese mining giant and ASIC hardware producer Bitmain has announced its next generation 7nm (nanometer) ASIC mining chip, according to a press release published on Monday, Feb. 18. The new mining hardware, BM1397, is designed for mining cryptocurrencies that use the SHA256 algorithm for their proof-of-work (PoW), such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). BM1397 requires less power for mining cryptocurrencies, representing a 28.6 percent improvement in power efficiency in comparison with the company’s previous 7nm chip, BM1391. The new chip will be used in new Antminer models — S17 and T17 — which will be revealed later this year. As Cointelegraph previously reported, Bitmain has recently faced difficulties due to the prolonged bear market and at least two class action lawsuits filed against the company. The Chinese giant reportedly shut down a blockchain development center in Israel, suspended its operations in Texas, and also reduced its operations in the Netherlands in the past few months. Other major mining companies are also facing challenges due to the crypto market decline. For instance, Japanese internet giant GMO Internet Group revealed it was leaving the Bitcoin mining hardware sector in December 2018, citing the significant Q4 losses. At the same time, United States gaming and computer hardware manufacturer Nvidia, which was one of the companies most affected by the market downturn and associated lack of demand for mining components, has recently reported full-year revenue gains despite Q4 losses and a “crypto hangover.”

Crypto Crime Trends Evolving as Users Wise Up: Exchange Hacks, Darknet and Money Laundering

Crypto Crime Trends Evolving as Users Wise Up: Exchange Hacks, Darknet and Money Laundering

Two prominent research papers have shed light on the latest crime trends affecting the cryptocurrency community over the past two years. Crypto analytics companies Chainalysis and CipherTrace released reports at the end of January that unpack some interesting data on the methods that criminals have used to steal and defraud users within the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. These reports paint an interest picture of the ever-changing cryptocurrency landscape and provides some food for thought about the use of crypto in criminal activity around the world. Exchange hacks and darknet trading still a threat As Chainalysis outlines in its January 2019 report, cryptocurrency-related crime has actually decreased over the past few years, only accounting for 1 percent of all Bitcoin transactions in 2018. With that being said, the report shines a spotlight on exchange hacks that have seen billions of dollars siphoned off by criminals, darknet market activities generating millions of dollars in revenue for criminals, and elaborate scams that have fleeced unsuspecting investors. Chainalysis examines the trends of exchange hacks by tracing the movements of hacked funds from exchanges to their exit points, providing new data on the patterns of transaction activity in the weeks and months after a hack has taken place. The information could become pivotal in helping recover stolen funds in future. The report notes the resilience of darknet markets amid a global crackdown, identifying the trends in the way new platforms are created and run in the aftermath of previous operations being shut down. Exchange hacks Exchange hacks have been the most lucrative modus operandi for cyber criminals in 2018, having generated close to $1 billion in revenue. Chainalysis identified two major hacking groups that are responsible for the majority of these crimes in 2018. Hackers waste no time cashing out stolen cryptocurrency, usually within three months after the initial attack. Taking a deeper dive into data, these two prominent hacking groups stole an average of $90 million per hack. Following the initial hack, stolen funds are then moved to a plethora of wallets and exchanges to cover the tracks from the initial theft. These efforts are elaborate, as hackers will move funds up to 5,000 times. Hackers then lay low, leaving funds untouched for six weeks or more until interest…

In the Daily: Shapeshift Beta, Coinsquare Acquisition, Grayscale Investment Report

In the Daily: Shapeshift Beta, Coinsquare Acquisition, Grayscale Investment Report

In this edition of The Daily we cover the beta launch of a new platform from Shapeshift, an acquisition by one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada – Coinsquare – and the latest Grayscale digital asset investment report. Also Read: Startups-Focused Law Firm Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash Payments Shapeshift Unveils Beta Noncustodial crypto changing service Shapeshift is opening signups for a beta trial of its new combined user interface which incorporates a number of services. CEO Erik Voorhees tweeted: “The new ShapeShift is at beta.shapeshift.com. We built it to give the world a true non-custodial crypto platform in an easy and beautiful package. This is the foundation for financial self-sovereignty.” The new platform is part of an overall update to Shapeshift’s brand and user interface. The company updated its logo, typeface, color palette and imagery earlier this month. Its new visual style is said to be influenced by the art deco, futurism and constructivist art movements. In a blog post the team explained that “These 20th Century art movements also had a significant influence on literature. In particular, futurists such as George Orwell, Ayn Rand, and Aldous Huxley (all of which believed in a decentralized future). We feel this is a nice subconscious tie to Shapeshift.” Coinsquare Acquisition One of the leading digital asset exchanges in Canada, Coinsquare, recently announced it has acquired Stellarx, a trading app and decentralized exchange. The move comes on the heels of Coinsquare’s December 2018 acquisition of Blockeq, which will be rebranded to become the anchor wallet for the decentralized platform. Stellarx will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Coinsquare, based in Bermuda, and will look to apply with regulators there to become licensed to operate and scale its offering under Coinsquare’s compliance guidance. Megha Bambra, Blockeq cofounder, will now lead Stellarx and her new team of Toronto-based developers will continue to build the service according to the product roadmap announced last fall. It is said that in time they will also add features that weren’t possible under Stellarx’s previous leadership such as new fiat tethers and securities tokens. In their last blog post, the Stellarx team commented that: “Coinsquare is the perfect fit. They are already the leading Canadian cryptocurrency platform. They have very close relationships with regulators…

Bitmain Announces New, More Efficient 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chip

Bitmain Announces New, More Efficient 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chip

Bitmain Technologies has announced a new 7-nanometer bitcoin mining processor that it says offers new levels of energy efficiency. The new ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit), called the BM1397, is said to provide improvements in performance, chip size and energy efficiency for mining proof-of-work cryptocurrencies based on the SHA256 algorithm, such as bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH). Made using a 7nm FinFET process from Bitmain chip supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the BM1397 will gobble up less electricity than previous Bitmain offerings, offering an energy consumption to computing ratio “as low as 30J/TH,” according to an announcement Monday. Bitmain says: “This is a 28.6 percent improvement in power efficiency in comparison with Bitmain’s previous 7nm chip, the BM1391. To achieve this, Bitmain’s engineering team has thoroughly customized the chip design to optimize its architecture, circuit and economics. The new ASIC will feature in new Antminer mining devices – the S17 and T17 – that Bitmain said it will detail at a later date. The announcement comes soon after the mining giant revealed its most recent Antminers – the S15 and T15 – in November, both powered by the BM1391 ASIC. Bitmain also launched ASIC miners for the cryptocurrencies zcash and ethereum last year. The development prompted ethereum’s open-source development community to tentatively agree in January to implement a new algorithm that would restrict ASIC mining on the network, pending further testing of the required code, ProgPoW. ProgPoW was delayed earlier this month, however, in favor of conducting audits to gauge the effectiveness of the method. Miners image via Shutterstock

Indonesia Passes Rules for Trading of Cryptocurrency Futures

Indonesia Passes Rules for Trading of Cryptocurrency Futures

An Indonesian financial watchdog has set out new regulations for the trading of crypto assets on futures exchanges in the country. The Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (Bappebti), an agency under Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, announced the new rules Monday, stating that cryptocurrency futures exchanges must be registered and approved before operating. The agency has also confirmed that crypto assets are officially recognized as commodities that can be traded on the country’s futures exchange – a decision first reported last June. The agency’s chief Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana said in Monday’s statement that the regulations have been put in place to provide legal certainty to the crypto futures sector, as well to protect consumers and investors. In a document detailing the full rules and registration requirements, Bappebti said that futures exchanges and clearing houses dealing in crypto assets must have paid-up capital of at least 1.5 trillion Indonesian rupiahs ($106 million) and must maintain a closing capital balance of at least 1.2 trillion Indonesian rupiahs ($85 million). They are also required to have “good level of system security” and a minimum of three employees who are Certified Information System Security Professionals (CISSP). They must also undergo a risk assessment process, the agency said, including confirming anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) compliance. Bappebti has also set out rules for futures traders and storage services providers of crypto assets, stating that both must also be approved before operating and both must maintain minimum paid-up capital of 1 trillion Indonesian rupiahs ($71 million) and a minimum closing balance of 800 billion Indonesian rupiahs ($57 million). The agency clarified that the new rules do not apply to initial coin offerings (ICOs). Using cryptocurrencies as a means of payment is reportedly still barred in the country. According to Reuters, the country’s crypto traders are unhappy that the watchdog has set the minimum capital so high, arguing it will hold back development of the nascent market. The CEO of digital asset trader Indodax, Oscar Darmawan, told the news source that the “very large” capital requirement is above what is required for launching a rural bank and far higher than the 2.5 billion rupiah ($177,000) minimum paid-up capital for futures traders of more traditional commodities. Indonesia Parliament image via Shutterstock 

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies Bullish Following Possible Higher Lows

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies Bullish Following Possible Higher Lows

The cryptocurrency markets have enjoyed a day of significant bullish action, with only four of the top 80 crypto assets by capitalization posting a 24-hour loss as of this writing. ETH was the strongest performing leading market, comprising the only cryptocurrency in the top 25 by market cap to post a double-digit gain for the day. Also Read: Regulators Explain Why Bitcoin Futures Are Easier to Approve Than Bitcoin ETFs BCH and BTC Hold Above 2018 Lows After six weeks of sideways consolidation, many leading cryptocurrencies are testing local resistance areas after avoiding a retest of December’s lows. When measuring from December’s low to the peak of the immediately ensuing bounce play, bitcoin cash is currently testing resistance at the 0.618% Fibonacci retracement area (approximately $130) after establishing support at the 0.786% retracement zone (roughly $100). BCH/USD – Kraken – 1DBCH/BTC price is also testing resistance at the local 0.618% Fibonacci area after establishing support at 0.786%, with BCH currently trading for nearly 0.035 BTC. Bitcoin cash is the sixth largest cryptocurrency market with a capitalization of $2.31 billion and a dominance of 1.83%. BCH/BTC – Bittrex – 1DBTC has also posted a potential higher low after establishing support at the 0.786% retracement area. The bounce off the $3,400 area has seen BTC oscillate between the 0.618% and 0.5% retracement zones, with 1 BTC currently trading for roughly $3,700 on Bitstamp and $3,800 on Bitfinex. BTC/USD – Bitstamp – 1DBitcoin core currently has a market cap of $65.8 billion and a dominance of 52.1%. ETH Gains More Than 10% in 24 Hours After starting 2019 with a test of resistance at the $160 area, ETH produced approximately four weeks of bearish momentum, before bouncing off resistance just above the 0.786% area at $100. Since then, ETH has gained almost 35% over the dollar, with the price of ethereum currently hovering just below the 0.236% retracement area at nearly $140. ETH/USD – Bitstamp – 1DWhen measured against BTC, ETH is testing resistance at the 0.236% retracement area of 0.037 BTC after having established support between the 0.786% and 0.618% Fibonacci area above 0.03 BTC at the start of the month. ETH/BTC – Poloniex – 1DEthereum is currently the second largest crypto asset with a market cap of…

Report: Coinbase-Supported Bitcoin Debit Card to Shut Operations in April

Report: Coinbase-Supported Bitcoin Debit Card to Shut Operations in April

The Shift Bitcoin (BTC) debit card, which allows United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase users to spend BTC using a Visa debit card, is reportedly shutting down its operations. The development was posted to Reddit on Feb. 18, with the upload of an email purportedly from the Shift team. Shift, which launched in November 2015, was one of a steadily-increasing cohort of cryptocurrency debit cards, with multiple providers now issuing them in various countries. According to a screenshot of an email uploaded to Reddit and attributed to the Shift team, the BTC debit card program will be deactivated on April 11, 2019. Shift did not state the reason for the withdrawal of its own product, and cards will continue to function as normal up until the cut-off date. Shift faced skepticism from the moment of its launch, with Cointelegraph reporting at the time on how industry commentators found it difficult to divine a suitably large target market for the card. To obtain it, users have to already hold Bitcoin in order to pay the $20 issuance fee. On social media, responses similarly highlighted a likely lack of demand as fuelling Coinbase’s decision. The exchange continues to expand its business in other areas, last week unveiling a controversial feature allowing users to store the private keys to their cryptocurrency wallets in the cloud.

Bitcoin Price Passes $3,700 to Hit One-Month High

Bitcoin Price Passes $3,700 to Hit One-Month High

View Bitcoin jumped to one-month highs earlier today, validating the falling wedge breakout seen in the 4-hour chart on Friday. The outlook as per the daily chart remains neutral, as the cryptocurrency is still trapped in a symmetrical triangle. That said, a break above the upper edge of the triangle, currently located at $3,760, looks likely as an inverse head-and-shoulders breakout on the 4-hour chart has opened up upside toward $4,030 (target as per the measured height method). More importantly, the rally to one-month highs is backed by strong volumes and a rise in long positions. A symmetrical triangle breakout, if confirmed, would imply a bearish-to-bullish trend change on the daily chart. A failure to cross the triangle resistance at $3,760 would weaken the bullish case. The focus would again shift to the recent lows near $3,300 if the support at $3,530 (low of the left shoulder) is breached. Bitcoin’s high-volume move to one-month highs could be the start of a stronger rally to above key resistance near $3,760. The leading cryptocurrency by market capitalization rose to $3,727 at 07:00 UTC, the highest level since Jan. 19, according to Bitstamp data, validating Friday’s falling wedge breakout. With a move to levels above $3,700, bitcoin has also witnessed an inverse head-and-shoulders breakout on the 4-hour chart – indicating a bearish-to-bullish trend change – and has opened up upside toward $4,000. On the way higher, however, BTC could encounter stiff resistance near $3,760 – the upper edge of a contracting triangle (higher lows and lower highs) carved out over the last eight weeks. A failure to take out that hurdle would weaken the short-term bullish case. That said, BTC is likely to cross that resistance this week, as the rally to one-month highs is backed by a pickup in both trading volumes and long positions (bullish bets). Bitcoin’s 24-hour trading volume has jumped to highs above $8 billion for the first time since Dec. 20, according to CoinMarketCap data. Further, BTC/USD longs on Bitfinex rose to 38,237 BTC earlier today – the highest level since March 30, 2018. Notably, long positions are still down at least 7 percent from record highs above 40,000 BTC witnessed in March last year. Therefore, the probability of a “long-squeeze” – a…

Craig Wright Claims to Be Satoshi in Critical Response to CFTC on Ethereum

Craig Wright Claims to Be Satoshi in Critical Response to CFTC on Ethereum

NChain chief scientist Craig Wright has criticized ethereum to a top U.S. regulator, while again claiming to be bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto. In a response to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) request for input on crypto asset mechanics and markets, the Australian entrepreneur briefly set out his case that he is Nakamoto on Friday, saying: “My name is Dr. Craig Wright and under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto I completed a project I started in 1997 that was filed with the Australian government in part under an AusIndustry project registered with the Dept. of Innovation as BlackNet.” Wright first put forward the case that he was bitcoin’s creator in late December 2015, offering up documentation to back up the claim. Initial support from some quarters soon gave way to skepticism however, and he later said he would provide further evidence by moving bitcoin mined by Satoshi in the earliest days of the cryptocurrency. Days later he said he would not do so. His claim remains controversial and is yet to be proven to the satisfaction of many in the crypto industry. In his reply to the CFTC, Wright went on to make a strident critique of the technology and governance of blockchain and smart contract platform ethereum. He said: “Ethereum is a poorly designed copy of bitcoin designed with the purpose of completing the promise of smart contracts and scripting that were delivered within bitcoin but which were hobbled by the core developers of bitcoin who sought to enable anonymous transactions to exist within the system.” Wright’s response follows a request for input from the CFTC in December, in which the agency is seeking public feedback on different questions about ethereum, ranging from its technology to how it’s used. Wright further said that the ethereum network cannot scale and it has “already reached its computational limits,” adding: “[It] is effectively only being used to raise capital using illegal bucket shops that are designed in such a way that they can deceive nontechnical parties.” Bitcoin network, on the other hand, he said, can be set up in a way that allows “infinite scaling.” Bitcoin can “leave simple verifications on chain allowing a system that scales globally and delivering a distributed computational method,” he wrote. The only…

Regulators Explain Why Bitcoin Futures Are Easier to Approve Than Bitcoin ETFs

Regulators Explain Why Bitcoin Futures Are Easier to Approve Than Bitcoin ETFs

Commissioners of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have come together to discuss their regulatory approaches to bitcoin futures contracts and bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The two regulators are also open to collaborating on their oversight of crypto investment products. Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations CFTC Regulating Bitcoin Futures At a Bipartisan Policy Center event entitled “The Year Ahead for Capital Markets” last week, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce and CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz discussed their agencies’ approaches to regulating crypto investment products. Explaining his agency’s oversight of bitcoin futures contracts listed by Cboe Futures Exchange and CME Group, Quintenz stated: We have a process in the Commodity Exchange Act that allows the exchanges to self-certify a contract if they believe it meets the requirements of the Act. He elaborated that the CFTC has a “review period in which we can say no we disagree with you and here’s why, but if we don’t disagree, [then] they have the opportunity to go ahead and self-certify that contract.” He noted that both of the above “exchanges pursue that self-certification [route] so these contracts get listed without our approval but also without our disapproval.” The commissioner also revealed, “Our jurisdiction over those contracts requires that they not be readily susceptible to manipulation … in any capacity,” adding that there is also the “question of how easily can we discover it and usually it’s very easily.” SEC Reluctant to Approve Bitcoin ETF SEC Commissioner Peirce, sometimes known as “crypto mom” within the Bitcoin community, said that “At the SEC we’ve been unwilling to … sign off on a bitcoin ETF, an exchange-traded product based on bitcoin,” voicing: My concern about our approach in that area is it looks a little bit like a merit-based approach judging the underlying bitcoin markets. Contradicting her agency’s view that bitcoin markets are not regulated enough, Peirce argued that “there are lots of markets that aren’t regulated but we nevertheless build products on top of them.” She concluded, “I think we have to be very careful with that kind of reasoning.” Her statement echoes a similar one she made in August last year when she explained that the SEC “looked through to…