Category Archives: ASIC

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Great Barrier Reef Resort Looks to Crypto for Funding $216 Million Rebuild

Great Keppel Island on the Great Barrier Reef may once again begin to attract Australian tourists and others from all over the world, through cryptocurrency.

After ten years of sitting dormant, the island’s resort off Queensland’s central coast was recently demolished. It was last bought by Sydney-based company Tower Holdings in 2006 and was shut down by the developer two years later after becoming derelict.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. The reef itself is found between 15 km and 150 km offshore and around 65 km wide in some parts. It is a gathering of brilliant, vivid coral providing divers with spectacular underwater experiences.

It boasts more than 400 different kinds of coral, also coral sponges, mollusks, rays, dolphins, over 1,500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old. It is a major boon to Australia’s tourism industry, bringing in tourists from all over the world as one of the world’s must-see experiences.

New life is now being brought back to the resort, once famous for its “Get Wrecked on Keppel” tag claimed in the 1990s when it was a magnet for party-goers. A new project between the current owners Tower holdings and a Sydney cryptocurrency consortium now plans to offer Great Keppel Island tokens to private investors in a round of public share offerings for a AUD 300 million rebuild.

Cryptocurrency expert Dr Philippa Ryan, who is also a Standards Australia Blockchain Technical Committee member, thinks the new idea is “brilliant” with further endorsements and backing from Australian regulators such as ASIC and the ACCC. She commented:

“Security Token Offering is a clever new name for this particular type of fundraising model because it clearly indicates the type of crypto token to be issued; it is a security token… This is much easier for ASIC to regulate than initial coin offerings, which do not issue coins at all.”

Once the white paper is released this next week, Dr Ryan expects that the company will begin to target investors with a minimum buy-in of AUD 100,000. The company began its marketing campaign already advertising the project on social media sites.

“I think it’s the more sophisticated investors who probably have done their research into crypto and are ready to put it into something of bricks and mortar, but I would say the more likely will be the managed investment schemes,” she said.

1,000 luxury villas and apartments, a 250-berth marina, a golf course, and an airstrip will be the new look if the project is successful. The owners had expected Chinese investment prior to the current plan. This may well revitalize that idea given China’s current mainland cryptocurrency clampdown and Chinese investors interest in Australian tourism.

Tower Holdings chief executive Anthony Aiossa commented on the new Great Barrier Reef development:

“The crypto solution that was put to us essentially involves the raising of private equity to fund the project, using the technology of blockchain to raise finance from around the world. People from around the world will be able to go online, view the offering, and if they wish to participate, will be able to buy tokens and essentially own part of the project.”

GKI Tokens will be tradeable on cryptocurrency exchanges, with each GKI initially being worth AUD 1 (USD 0.72).

 

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Australian Cricket Ex-Captain Michael Clarke “Given Out” by Tweeters After ICO Endorsement

Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has put his name behind an ICO, causing a stir in the Twitter community.

Clarke has endorsed Brisbane-based crypto exchange Global Tech, who is looking to raise up to AUD 50 million (USD 36 million) in its upcoming ICO. Global Tech, which was founded a little over a year ago by Andrew Mclean and Marlon Donaire, describes itself as a platform which:

“…combines premium education, important industry updates and a social platform, which is sure to revolutionize the way we invest and live. Our mission is to develop, advance and modernize the industry, making it more accessible, transparent and forward-thinking.”

Exciting times ahead 👌🏻👍🏻https://t.co/kFey7jqCLF pic.twitter.com/iTW3NX28S0

— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) August 8, 2018

Australian cricket is very much under the microscope at the moment, so it is unsurprising that the announcement that Clarke was involved with the ICO launched the usual negative Tweeting. The comments were spurred on by the recent ball-tampering scandal which involved yet another ex-captain of the national cricket team, Steve Smith, after sandpapering a ball in a test match in South Africa this year.

One such detractor was Bronte Capital founder John Hempton (also known to some for his appearance in an episode of the Netflix series Dirty Money). Hempton commented that Clarke was “squandering his reputation on an initial coin offering” adding:

“Whether Michael Clarke is breaking Australian law regarding advertising investments with this Tweet I will leave for ASIC and their lawyers to decide.”

ffs, ex Australian cricket captain in an ICO.

Suggest Mr Clarke you just buy sandpaper.

It will do less damage to your reputation… https://t.co/lyoHNxm1aS

— John_Hempton (@John_Hempton) August 8, 2018

The Global Tech founders admit that the sector does include scams and illegitimate companies but wants to address this issue with its own ICO arguing that there are still many “fantastic blockchain and cryptocurrency companies” in the industry. The company declares that:

“Andrew and Marlon propose to bring legitimacy back to the industry with a community and education-based trading and exchange platform. With their revolutionary vision and entrepreneurial ethos, they spent months tracking down the right people to create the perfect team, and make their vision a reality.”

Business crowdfunding has been an issue this year in Australia’s burgeoning crypto community. The corporate regulator, ASIC, has introduced measures to protect investors, along with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, sending some ICO plans back to the drawing board.

 

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Cycle Your Way to Bitcoin With the Latest TOBA Crypto Mining Pushbike

UK company specializing in the manufacture of electric bicycles has come up with the novel idea of creating the world’s first e-bike that mines cryptocurrency, writes Cycling Industry News

The company 50cycles has come up with the TOBA series cryptocurrency mining electric bicycle which will earn users cryptocurrency as they ride, generating ‘LoyalCoin’ at a rate of around £20 worth to every 1,000 miles ridden.

After furious pedalling users will be able to cash in coins in a number of outlets and trade for major digital tokens, many of which are accepted on the manufacturers website, Founder, and CEO of 50cycles, Scott Snaith claimed, “This is not only the first electric bike of its kind, but it will also be the first product ever to be tokenised and which issues reward for use.”

Snaith said that he was inspired by electric bikes being popularised in Japan and has basically adapted that idea to new technologies such as blockchain. He added, “we have always been a company that moves ahead of the times by embracing the latest technology.”

“Just like we saw the potential in electric bikes in Tokyo 15 years ago, we now see the promise and future in blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and product tokenization.”

He sees the project as an environmentally friendly concept as well as a crypto generating social environment rewarding those devoted to green transportation. By allowing discounts to those buying a TOBA using cryptocurrency, everyone wins.

Customer will be able to monitor their pedal power through a mobile app, monitoring their LoyalCoin token count as they go, and each bike will have its own owner’s digital key

There have been a few reports of both companies and individuals finding ingenious ways to cut through the enormous use of power needed for crypto mining, such as the QC 1-Crypto heater which at a glance with its minimalist looks and shiny walnut top looks every bit like a home appliance, but actually it’s heating the users room using processors that are churning out Bitcoin whilst one sleeps, writes Co.design.

Alabama IT worker Lee, gave up his graphics card that he was using for Bitcoin mining for his bathtub, reports Motherboard. This turned out to be a much better tool for the job. By using ambient air pulled into a system to cool his ASICs and heated air pushed through a water-to-air intercooler pumped through from his bathtub, he generated enough computer heated water to keep his mining habits up to par.

The only problem was, he generated bathwater of 122F/50C, so fearing for the life of his pets he decided to halt his bathtub mining activities.

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ASIC: Resistance Is Futile! Crypto’s Battle a Losing War?

At Consensus 2018, many blockchain software developers viewed Bitmain’s recent launch of their newest Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners as proof of the impending future for all cryptocurrencies. ASIC hardware will soon hit the markets for previously deemed ASIC-resistant cryptocurrencies such as EthereumMonero, and Zcash.

David Vorick, a founder of ASIC manufacturer Obelisk stated:

“I think any GPU-mined coin is going to become an ASIC-mined coin at some point. Bitmain has been pretty methodical about demonstrating this.”

Bitmain is one of the main manufacturers of ASIC miners. Looking at Blockchain.info, Bitmain’s BTC.com and Antpool mining pools also make up an excess of 40% of the hashing power on the network.

Cryptocurrencies to remain completely ASIC-resistant for how long?

Crypto developers believe the advancement in technology surrounding mining will continue to increase at a similar rate as to which the resistant code is developed to combat them.

Most ASIC-resistant algorithms were produced by software engineers with a pre-conceived idea of what custom hardware is capable of, mainly due to their limited understanding of the functionalities of the hardware.

We’ve been hopeful on how long the ASIC resistance will last. Samsung, IBM, and Intel are among the giants who are looking to develop dedicated mining hardware, while established companies such as Bitmain and Bitfury already dominate the market. General purpose technology like CPUs, GPUs, and even DRAM all make sacrifices in efficiency for particular tasks in order to facilitate a wider deployment. To make a comparison, most mobile phones are capable of taking pictures but won’t compare to a standalone camera’s quality as it sacrifices that for portability and other functionalities. For that reason, general purpose hardware will always be limited and will often be superseded by dedicated machinery.

With ASICs being developed so rapidly, they can often slip under the radar in secret mining operations. Several months ago, an ASIC Monero mining operation was exposed which was rumored to have been running since early 2017. It was estimated that the secret ASICs accounted for more than 50% of the hash rate. This kind of network dominance could have led to a 51% attack at any time.

Vorick continues to explain how preventative measures taken by developers only delay the inevitable:

“The strategy of hardforking ASICs off of a network is going to lose potency the more it happens, because chip designers do have the ability to make chips that are flexible, anywhere from slightly flexible to highly flexible, with each piece of flexibility costing only a bit of performance. The Monero devs have committed to keeping the same general structure for the PoW algorithm, and because of that commitment, we believe that you could make a Monero miner capable of surviving hard forks with less than a 5x hit to performance.”

ASIC vs ASIC

ASICs have already got a strong foothold in the network with the future of management rather than mitigation an inevitable reality. Although we have to ask was there ever really a war against ASICs? Nvidia, Intel, and other companies identify their technology as ASICs internally but us as customers are familiar with these products for their more generic use. The main controversial topic surrounding ASICs is more of centralization and network control.

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Bitmain Accused of Selling “Seriously Inadequate” Hardware

The world’s largest cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain has been accused of providing ”seriously inadequate” hardware reportedly caked with dust, leading to speculation that second-hand units are being sold as new.

The accusation

Cryptocurrency miners reached out to Zooko Wilcox, the founder, and CEO of Zerocoin Electric Coin Company, explaining the ongoing dispute with Bitmain over the hardware they received.

“Someone privately sent me these allegations [in Chinese]…along with Bitmain’s response,” Wilcox said. Adding, ”The communication gap between the West and China makes it hard to disentangle.”

As reported, one of the miners that shared their accusation with Wilcox wrote on the predominant Chinese social media platform QQ that the B3 Miner of Bitmain they had received provided “seriously inadequate” computing power compared to previous batches.

A photograph was also provided by the group, showing a B3 Miner coated in dust, leading them to believe the unit they received had been previously used.

Bitmain’s response

Bitmain responded by confirming that they had verified with their internal department that indeed, 100 ASIC mining units were found to have what was described as minor issues. In context, of 10,000 units per batch, only 1 percent of these were impacted.

The statement from Bitmain can be translated loosely from Chinese to: “Among the right defenders, some are refunded and after an investigation, it was revealed that some are still underpowered and some are repaired. Some media outlets claimed that a few hundred people have received mining equipment that is poorly functioning. This is not the case.”

The team from Bitmain noted that just as in every major manufacturing operation, it is not possible to guarantee every ASIC miner corresponds perfectly to its functionality brief.

Emphasizing that any inadequate hardware would be compensated, Bitmain stated: “Any product can be imperfect, and there will be shortcomings in the process of enterprise development. We have also compensated the miners who have received mining equipment with inadequate computing power and the mining equipment are now being run properly.”

The company clarified that should any further issues arise, any customer issues a sub-standard mining unit would receive full compensation.

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Zcash Responds to ASIC Threat

Bitmain is set to launch its new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), the Antminer Z9 mini in June, which will be used for mining cryptocurrencies using the Equihash proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm. The Zcash Foundation was quick to respond, labeling the task of maintaining ASIC resistance an “immediate technical priority”.

Pleased to announce the Antminer Z9 mini, an ASIC miner to mine #Equihash-based cryptocurrencies. To prevent hoarding and to let more individuals worldwide get one, we’ve set a limit of one miner per user. Order here (https://t.co/LdIbpRrbgI) now while stock lasts!#AntminerZ9 pic.twitter.com/xJD58SKUfy

— BITMAIN (@BITMAINtech) May 3, 2018

Zcash (ZEC) prides itself on being a decentralized cryptocurrency with optional privacy for transactions. Many developers and members of the cryptocurrency community are opposed to ASICs as they feel they are a step towards centralization, which could lead to similar problems of traditional systems. ASICs are highly efficient compared with their GPU counterparts, and there is speculation that Bitmain mines privately in order to gain market dominance.

Effects of ASICs and centralization

If an entity of miners are allowed to establish a majority on the network, it leaves the system more vulnerable to manipulation. Disrupting the flow of hashing power to the network can affect transaction times, leading to higher fees. Centralization can also lead to a concentration of tokens held by a single group, which can then be used for so-called “pump and dump” schemes, further consolidating their share of the market.

Bitmain is already cornering the market with USD 4 billion of profit from its dedicated hardware. This can be re-invested into future ASIC technologies and token holdings, further increasing their edge over competitors and control of the market.

There are growing concerns about centralization and the effect it could have on the industry.

“Bitmain is in a position where the Chinese government can take over their equipment at any time; something they will no doubt do if Bitcoin grows enough to allow them to use their control of the hashrate to push a Chinese geopolitical agenda,” said Cobra, the anonymous owner of bitcoin.org and bitcointalk.org.

Others view the attempt to resist ASIC hardware as delaying the inevitable.

“Even if we manage to neuter a wave of Equihash ASICs, this will not be the end of the discussion. Inevitably, some new ASIC will arise, and we may have to go through this process again,” wrote Josh Cincinnati, executive director of Zcash Foundation.

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/120586634@N05/14673305874/ – Gareth Halfacree

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Fundstrat Analysis Indicates Mining May Push Bitcoin to $36K by 2019

Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors research institute, revealed on Thursday via Twitter new data provided by the group that predicts the price of Bitcoin will reach USD 36,000 by the end of 2019. The anticipated price inflation has been attributed to Bitcoin mining.

Fundstrat’s Quantamental Strategist Sam Doctor provided a breakdown of the correlation between the costs of Bitcoin mining, and the price of the cryptocurrency itself. The conclusive results from the study indicate that Bitcoin’s value will progress to somewhere between USD 20,000 and USD 64,000 by the end of 2019.

CRYPTO: Our quant/data scientist @fundstratQuant publishing #bitcoin mining white paper. Crypto mining economics lead/explain $BTC price—suggests $39,000 per bitcoin by YE19. key takeaways below… pic.twitter.com/f5ZQ4py3jS

— Thomas Lee (@fundstrat) May 10, 2018

Doctor’s calculations are predominantly focused on Bitcoin Price to Mining Breakeven Cost Metric, or P/BE, which is described in the executive summary posted by Lee above, as having a ”proven and reliable long-term support level”.’

Part of Doctor’s analysis focuses on the increasing energy efficiency of the mining network, and an escalation of large-scale operations over individual setups. The summary notes that in order stay competitive, it is becoming necessary for individual miners to join mining ”pools”, with the aggregate mining economy expected to grow.

However, it is possible that a material shift in the predicted route of hash power could alter the P/BE support level of Bitcoin’s value. This is noted as the main risks to Fundstrat’s thesis.

The trajectory outlined in the summary above falls in line will Lee’s personal prediction of Bitcoin’s year-end target reaching USD 25,000. Earlier this week, he elaborated on this by anticipating a Bitcoin price rise concurrent with the blockchain and digital currency Consensus Conference in Manhattan that begins Monday.

Last month the 17 millionth Bitcoin was mined, meaning there is less than 20% left to uncover. Bitcoin’s scarcity is a valuable asset in increasing the value of the cryptocurrency. With 21 million Bitcoins in total, the exact year suggested for the final to be mined is 2140.

 

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Ethereum ASIC Miners Set To Reach Market This July

Cryptocurrency mining hardware firm Bitmain confirmed the release of its rumored Ethereum ASIC miners on Monday. The technology is priced at USD 800 per unit and is scheduled to reach the market in July this year.

In a statement released by Bitmain on Twitter, the company noted that the Antminer E3 would have an ”ordering limit of one miner per user and [is] not available in China”, although the Bitmain website appears to state each buyer can now purchase up to five units during this round of pre-orders. Miners are only available to purchase via BCH (Bitcoin Cash) or USD.

We are pleased to announce the Antminer E3, world’s most powerful and efficient EtHash ASIC miner.
Ordering limit of one miner per user and not available in China.
Limited stock, order here now: https://t.co/Zfw3afjJHs#antminerE3 pic.twitter.com/SjHu2eUThp

— BITMAIN (@BITMAINtech) April 3, 2018

The miners are the first of their kind to integrate Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips into their design, reportedly significantly increasing the efficiency of the mining process compared to general purpose GPU chips that are currently used in similar products.

Bitmain is advertising the Antminer E3 as generating a minimum of 180 MH/s. Although they have not yet reached the market, Ethereum’s notably increased hash rate in recent months could be a result of Bitmain’s private usage of the mining technology.

Despite Ethereum formerly being resistant to ASIC chips, rumors of the mining hardware have been circulating since Wall Street research firm Susquehanna revealed to clients they could confirm Bitmain’s product during a trip to Asia.

For the benefit of Ethereum?

Speculations over the direction this will take Ethereum have been mixed. For one, its technical roadmap schedules a shift away from proof-of-work, the system that allows for mining to take place at all.

As well as this, there are skeptics in the Ethereum community that doubt the ASIC chip will be capable of having a significant impact on the mining process at all, and if it does, they assume it would not inspire widespread adoption as in the case of Bitcoin ASICs.

While there are some that argue the development is a net positive for the industry, it is problematic if ASIC does indeed have an enormous impact on the efficiency of Ethereum mining, as this centralizes hash power to a small number of corporations. Right now, Bitmain’s monopoly is unrivalled.

It is likely that if the Antminer E3 does work highly efficiently, calls for Ethereum to execute a hard fork in restoring ASIC resistance will be pursued. This was the case for Monero who protested the release of Bitmain’s Cryptonight ASIC miner.

Despite the controversy surrounding the mining software, many have predicted the limited number Antminer E3s will sell out prior to their official market release in July.

 

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Ethereum Markets React to Rumored ASIC Miners

Rumors surrounding a new Ethereum mining rig from leading mining hardware provider Bitmain have resulted inEthereum prices dropping below a one-week high of USD 585. Ethereum isn’t the only blockchain network wary of new Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) mining tech, with Monero already set to resist ASIC mining earlier this week.

Rumors with substance

The stories sparked up when CNBC reported a statement Susquehanna analyst Christopher Rolland had written to clients:

“During our travels through Asia last week, we confirmed that Bitmain has already developed an ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for mining Ethereum, and is readying the supply chain for shipments in 2Q18. While Bitmain is likely to be the largest ASIC vendor (currently 70-80% of Bitcoin mining ASICs) and the first to market with this product, we have learned of at least three other companies working on Ethereum ASICs, all at various stages of development.”

Traditionally, Ethereum has been mined using GPUs, but the new ASIC from Bitmain would result in even higher entry barriers for the casual miner. The most devoted of crypto enthusiasts see this as an antithesis to the blockchain ideology; ASIC mining rigs are often at the centre of controversies and are far more expensive than the GPUs used primarily by gamers, outclassing them in mining power.

Cause for controversy

While ASIC chips have been Bitmain’s powerhouses for mining Bitcoin and Bitmain’s mining pools account for significant portions of all the processing power on the global Bitcoin network, they are still finding themselves coming up against a great deal of resistance.

The shakeup comes down to the technology creating such high barriers that lead down a road of centralization. On top of that, GPU mining competition could be threatened by the new hardware, potentially causing GPUs to become obsolete, forcing miners to move to other newer cryptocurrencies despite the fact that GPU mining has proven profitable for Ethereum miners so far.

Even Monero appears to be taking on Bitmain. Earlier in the month, Bitmain announced the latest rollout of purpose-built Monero mining rigs, the Antminer X3. This, according to a post made by Monero, opens plenty of issues for the network and does not fit with its network ethos.

It is not clear what the ASIC boom will bring to the competition of the global mining arena, but the contentious tech could spell an end for GPU cryptocurrency mining and perhaps the majority Ethereum GPU mining.

 

 

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