Category Archives: Bitmain

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China State Planner Targets Crypto Mining on Clean Up List

China State Planner Targets Crypto Mining on Clean Up List

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is looking to siphon off a number of industries which include cryptocurrency mining as part of a state cleanup.

The NDRC of the People’s Republic of China, formerly State Planning Commission and State Development Planning Commission, is a macroeconomic management agency under the Chinese State Council, which has broad administrative and planning control over the Chinese economy. The commission is therefore responsible for rubber stamping or even eliminating industry in the country.

It appears that Bitcoin mining may fall into the latter scenario as the activity has been added to a cull list of over 450 activities under scrutiny due to what it sees as a violation of relevant regulations. The public has been given a month to make their own views felt on the commission’s latest draft, after which, more formal decisions will be taken regarding the future of the named activities.

Such a move has been anticipated within the Chinese cryptocurrency community after ICOs were banned and many exchanges driven overseas after an official shutdown. Although Chinese companies list among the world’s major manufacturers of mining gear and the country remains home to major crypto mining firms, the pressure is on to follow the government line, which remains vehemently anti cryptocurrency, despite top-down official expressions of interest in the burgeoning blockchain industry.

A local state-owned paper the Security Times said that the announcement “distinctly reflects the attitude of the country’s industrial policy”.

A plan by mining giant Bitmain which suggests it is preparing to roll out 20,000 of its own mining units in China to capitalize on the country’s cheap hydroelectric power later this year may well have to be revised dependant on the outcome of the NDRC decision.

 

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Japanese Crypto Unicorn Tops $1 Billion Valuation

Japanese Crypto Unicorn Tops  Billion Valuation

Unicorns — the term given to a startup which achieves a valuation of over a USD 1 billion — are rare in Japan but this week has seen the birth of another as Liquid Group Inc joined the exclusive club.

The Tokyo-based crypto startup made the announcement on Wednesday that it had reached the magic USD 1 billion valuation, securing funds from investors including venture fund IDG Capital and crypto mining giant Bitmain Technologies Ltd.

How it has achieved this aggressive valuation is not totally clear, and as yet Liquid hasn’t indicated how much money it has raised to date, but indications are it may have commitments of about USD 50 million in its ongoing C round. Initially, co-founders Mike Kayamori and Mario Gomez Lozada raised over USD 20 million in prior rounds from investors including Jafco Co and also raised a further USD 100 million through an ICO in 2017.

However, Liquid has got history with teeth, having been able to successfully hook a crypto exchange license from Japan’s regulator, the Financial Services Agency. It also handles over a USD 50 billion cumulative trading volume and has also received anchor investment from IDG a Chinese-owned, American-based media, data and marketing services and venture capital organization — a company which has also funded Coinbase and Bitmain. Jihan Wu, the co-founder of Bitmain sees the new funds as enabling Liquid to be more competitive at an international level:

“Japan is one of the leading nations in putting [the] crypto industry under proper regulations, and Liquid Group has proven itself to be the exemplary player within such compliant rules. This is a very important and unique moat amid global competition.”

Past aggressive valuations at startup include Coinbase which raised USD 100 million in 2017 at a valuation of USD 1.6 billion and mobile payments and crypto trading platform Circle which raised USD 110 million with a massive valuation of USD 3 billion. As of January of this year, Japan was home to just one unicorn, Preferred Networks Inc, compared to 165 in the US.

 

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Bitmain Reveals Next-Gen Antminer S17 Launch Date

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Major cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain has revealed the launch date for its latest technology, the Antminer S17 series.

Comprised of three different models: the Antminer S17 Pro, Antminer S17, and Antminer T17, the series will go on sale internationally on 9 April. Bitmain claims the second-generation 7nm ASIC chips will save 28.6% energy consumption during the mining process. While the company says the S17 series will operate at a higher hash rate, they did not reveal further details regarding numbers.

The company noted that with heavy electricity costs in relation to Bitcoin’s current prices, the ”improved energy efficiency” of the new models will lead to a ”significant drop in costs,” improving the profit margin.

It was recently revealed that Bitmain would deploy 200,00 of its own mining devices to Southwestern China after an executive decision was made that it would be more profitable to do so than to sell them.

A poorly performing cryptocurrency market has influenced fiscally conservative policies for the company. Bitmain closed its Israel center in December and reduced its Netherland operations earlier this year in January.

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Bitmain to Install 200,000 Mining Units in China

Bitmain to Install 200,000 Mining Units in China

Major cryptocurrency mining company Bitmain is reportedly preparing to roll out 20,000 of its own mining units in China to capitalize on the country’s cheap hydroelectric power this summer.

The estimated USD 80 million in equipment may actually provide the company higher profits if it chooses to mine cryptocurrency in China rather than sell the equipment on, a source familiar with the matter shared with CoinDesk.

Bitmain is allegedly already in conversation with local mining farms over a deal to host its equipment, which are cited to be in this case the AntMiner S11 and S15, alongside some older models like the AntMiner S9i/j.

The mining company has been fiscally conservative over the last year, closing its Israel center in December and reducing its Netherland operations earlier this year in January. Bitmain said both moves were part of a long-term, cost-saving road map as it struggles against a poorly performing cryptocurrency market.

Gadi Glikberg, head of the Israeli branch and Bitmain vice president of international sales, said at the time of his branch’s closure: “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”

 

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Bitmain IPO Dream Sinks Further After 2018 Q3 Earning Reports

Bitmain IPO Dream Sinks Further After 2018 Q3 Earning Reports

According to Coindesk, cryptocurrency mining rig manufacturer Bitmain lost USD 500 million during its Q3 financials due to a prolonged bear market, citing a recent update on its financial results to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx).

According to a source, the company fell short of its quarterly earnings by as much as USD 500 million. In a previous report it submitted to the exchange, it reported earnings for the first half of the year as having USD 1 billion as profits.

The company’s portfolio had reportedly dropped in valuation by as much as USD 100 million at the end of the third quarter compared to the beginning of the quarter. Being a major stakeholder in the Bitcoin Cash fork, it held a lot of stake in the asset, however, the market downturn had severely traumatized the price of the asset to as much as a 70% loss. Its other major assets holdings like Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and Dash had lost 39%, 67%, 42.68%, and 64.31% respectively.

Bitmain had filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with HKEx in August 2018 to allow it list its shares with the exchange which may possibly improve its financials. However, the company has experienced many constraints on all sides. On the part of the exchange, it had claimed that the industry is still immature for such a leap, and the resulting earnings report for Bitmain further buttresses its point.

For months, many crypto-related ventures have been up against an uphill battle of weathering the storm stirred by the bearish market of 2018. For the most part of the year, aspirations to return to the all-time high seasons gradually waned, instead, many companies began to adjust. For Bitmain, it had to deal with the internal restructuring that saw a reshuffling of management staff, office closures of subsidiaries, and layoffs of its staff.

The chances of Bitmain’s IPO to gain approval from HKEX gets slimmer with the numerous challenges besetting the mining hardware giant.

 

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Chip Makers Blame Slow Profits on Mining Slump, Phone Sales Also Down

Chip Manufacturers Blame Mining Slump But Phone Sales Also Down

Taiwanese chip manufacturer United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) has blamed its 10% drop in revenue for the last quarter of 2018 on a downturn in mining.

Mining hardware sales are always affected when the demand for cryptocurrency is slow, due to reduced levels of mining activity, but there are some who feel mining is too often the scapegoat for a drop in chip sales. TSMC, the manufacturer responsible for supplying chips to Bitmain, were also quick to attribute their losses to a downturn in the crypto market. The company’s co-president Jason Wang commented:

“Looking into the first quarter of 2019, we anticipate further deceleration in customers’ wafer demand, due to a softer than expected outlook in entry-level and mid-end smartphones as well as falling cryptocurrency valuations.”

Some observers have commented that this drop in smartphones sales is more significant than some companies like to indicate as profits from mining hardware have recently outperformed smartphone sales. For example, as mining demand drove up profits significantly in 2017, new smartphone shipments only increased by 2%.

The argument is, given that smartphones are the greatest driver of chip sales, a declining market in mobiles has more impact on chip sales than a decline in the crypto mining sector. Some argue that the makers of cellphones need to address this and develop new markets, particularly in developing areas such as Africa and South America where smartphone ownership is still relatively low.

Companies manufacturing hardware need to diversify, given that cryptocurrency is still in its youth, in order to ride out lean periods. The cryptocurrency market will fluctuate, as clearly illustrated by the last two years. The crypto winter “blame game” will run out of steam very quickly when cryptocurrencies become a fact of life and demand for hardware will be overtaken by demand.

 

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Bitmain Targets Development in Revamped 2019 Business Model

Bitmain Targets Development in Revamped 2019 Business Model

Bitmain appears to be in the process of repositioning itself towards development to make 2019 a far more successful year after the disappointments and layoffs of 2018 as cryptocurrency mining came under pressure.

The Beijing mining giant recently referred to last year’s negatives and positives in its latest roundup, but now seems more focused on how to turn things around after rationalizing its business model, not only through the already much hinted administrative changes at the head of the company but also by targeting development. A company blog has recently clarified its direction in 2019, suggesting that:

“Our mission is to produce hardware and software, as part of our commitment to contribute towards the security and stability of a multitude of cryptocurrencies. We look forward to continuing this effort this year, and contributing to a distributed, decentralized world that empowers everyone.”

Bitmain’s recent blog post sees the cryptocurrency industry stabilizing this year, echoing many analysts’ suggestions that institutional investors will revitalize the markets, and clearly envisages a role for ASICs, simplifying cryptocurrencies in a way that encourages their adoption as both a useful and a usable asset.

The company is not alone in hoping that sensible regulation will lead to greater adoption of crypto finance, although such moves will clearly have to wait in the US, where the SEC is running a skeleton staff due to the prolonged government shutdown.

According to the blog, now that the company has undergone significant staff cuts, there is a feeling at the top that a new leaner operation will support Bitmain’s aim to build a more sustainable and scalable business, and suggests that “part of that is having to really focus on things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary”.

Time will indeed tell if consolidated focus and renewed energy in a scaled down company does make 2019 Bitmain’s year of development.

 

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Anonymous Bitcoin Miners Fill Void as Bitmain Sizes Down

Anonymous Bitcoin Miners Fill Void as Bitmain Sizes Down

Blockchain research unit Diar has published new data which illustrates the degree to which anonymous Bitcoin miners are now validating more blocks than any other pool.

This research follows recent announcements that Bitmain, the world’s largest maker of cryptocurrency mining chips, is reported to be laying off up to 50% of its staff in 2019 following huge staff cuts in 2018 in its 11 mining farms operating in China. This forced the company to lay off 3,000 of its staff in December having initially grown from 1,000 employees.

With larger producers such as Antpool, BTC.com, and ViaBTC now validating fewer blocks than this time last year and Bitmain pulling back from mining, it appears that “unknown” miners are becoming a dominant factor of the space. Diar reported:

“[Unknown] miners closed December having solved a whopping 22 [percent] of the total blocks, up from 6 [percent] at the start of last year… The Bitcoin network is currently less likely to experience an attack given the fact the BTC.com controlled pools have lost dominance over the network.”

At the beginning of 2018, Bitmain’s mining pools represented 53% of Bitcoin’s hash power, but with the recent reduction of the company’s influence on the crypto mining industry, those wary of 51 percent attacks are now expressing relief that such attacks will now be far less likely in the future. This means that the world’s flagship cryptocurrency is becoming more decentralized due to Bitmain’s diminishing influence along with the return of anonymous miners.

However, Diar has warned that the growth in hash rate observed over January may be unstainable, especially if Bitcoin returns on its 2018 bearish trend. Bitmain will be watching the market and significant changes could see a return to the former giant’s mining dominance.

 

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Mongolian Mining Takes a Leap Forward with Japanese Investment

Mongolian Mining Takes a Leap Forward with Japanese Investment

With the announcement that Japanese company Ginco is expanding its mining capacity, Mongolia is set to experience a surge in crypto mining in 2019, despite the downturn in Chinese mining activity.

The company best known for its Japanese crypto wallet is tripling its output this year from 600 to 1600 miners in the Chinese province.

The news was unexpected given recent developments within the Chinese mining sector. Bitmain, who as of 2018 had 11 mining farms operating in China was forced to lay off 3000 of its staff in December having grown from 1000 employees. A recent statement from the world’s largest maker of cryptocurrency mining chips suggested it would be laying off up to 50 percent of its staff this year.

Ginco’s news comes just a day after Bitmain released more bad news for investors in China that it was stopping the development of their mega mining project in Texas due to the sustained bear market which dragged on through most of 2018.

The news from the Japanese company is certainly good news for Mongolia but not without its difficulties, suggests CEO Yuma Furubayashi who doesn’t necessarily see an easy ride ahead. He claimed that: “The business environment is increasingly harsh, but we can still produce a profit.”

The CEO also suggested that the company had other projects in the pipeline apart from the Mongolian mining expansion; such projects include providing a repair service for existing mining devices.

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Bitmain CEOs to Make Way for New Faces

Crypto Mining Rig Giant Bitmain May Appoint New CEO Soon

Top cryptocurrency mining rig maker Bitmain may be in for some administrative changes soon, with Wang Haichao, currently head of product engineering, tipped to be the new CEO in place of co-CEOs Wu Jihan and Zhan Ketuan, as reported by South China Morning Post.

Currently, no public announcement has been made by the company or any of the parties involved about this major managerial shift. However, the source said people familiar with the matter revealed that this change will reportedly have co-founders Wu Jihan and Zhan Ketuan step aside from managing daily affairs of the company. More so, while they remain as members of the board, they will still be involved in calling the shots on big decisions as “Wu and Zhan, who founded Bitmain in 2013, hold 21% and 37% of the company respectively, according to the IPO prospectus”. Wang is said to have assumed the new role in preparation for the transition since December last year.

Changes happening in the company, including the layoff of about 50% of its staff that occurred last month, are likely due to the bear market conditions that lasted throughout 2018. More so, it was reported that the incumbent decision makers had trouble agreeing with each other and that at one time, Wu was allegedly expelled from the board, though this was later dismissed as a false claim.

With the ongoing reshuffling of administrative chairs, operations may look green for the company once more, as currently, Bitmain has been through a few setbacks and may need to make some strategic changes to make headways in 2019. It is in the process of being listed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), though it hasn’t been favorable so far, probably due to the volatile conditions of the cryptocurrency market and “essentially the lack of regulation”, according to HKEX.

Wang has compelling hands-on experience in software programming and product engineering. Having graduated from Beijing’s Tsinghua University – the MIT analog in China – he worked as an engineer with Availink, from 2010 to 2017. He seems to be an excellent candidate, being familiar with the operations of the company with respect to product management. It would be of public interest to both shareholders and consumers to see what changes the company will experience during Wang’s tenure. BitcoinNews will track the changes as they unfold.

 

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