Category Archives: ethereum

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Siberian Church Turns to the Power of Crypto In Mining Gaff

A church in Irkutsk, Siberia’s largest state, has been taken to court for draining too much power from the local grid through crypto mining.

Crypto mining in itself is not illegal and Russian law permits reduced power rates for non-government organizations. But, it seems that the church decided to go beyond covering essential heating and lighting and raised extra funds in their own way through crypto mining.

Most churches fundraise for essential repairs, but it seems as though someone in this parish had their own particular use for the extra generation of cash raised by their mining activities. It is not clear if members of the clergy or someone in the parish had locked into the church’s power supply, but the court found for the power company that no case of power theft was suggested, which does indicate that the irregular use of power may have been authorised by the church.

The result means that the church has a tab of $16,000 to pick up and faces their tariffs being raised by the electricity company. More importantly, the case may set a precedent in the courts for future such incidents when excess power is drawn without consultation with local electricity providers. Although not currently legislated for, extreme overuse of power through crypto mining may invite closer government scrutiny if it became a common occurrence.

The cold climate, particularly in locations such as Siberia with its sub-zero temperatures, has made the likes of Russia and Iceland the go-to destinations for industrial level crypto mining. The Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain (RACIB) claims that there are now over 400,000 people employed in the sector. 70,000 enterprises operate hundreds of thousands of mining rigs, with an increase in one-man operators working from their homes.

Because much of Russia’s mining proceeds go towards foreign investment, locally run mining pools are becoming popular as a way of cutting back on the amount of Russian money going towards overseas enterprises through crypto mining.

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McAfee Claims: If in 2020 Presidential Race, “I Will Tell the Truth”

British-American computer programmer and businessman John McAfee has begun making pledges in his run up to the 2020 US presidential elections.

The founder of McAfee Anti Virus software and vocal cryptocurrency advocate stated recently that he would seek a nomination to run in the next US presidential election. In doing so, has expressed a clear aim to advance the stature of cryptocurrency and blockchain on the world’s financial stage. McAfee recently suggested that blockchain and crypto have given new freedoms to the working community who he sees as ‘hired slaves,’ arguing:

“If you want to send Bitcoin, Ethereum or Monero, who do I have to ask? Only the peer… We are creating a permissionless society…We are not slaves for our jobs, we are not slaves to the government, we are slaves to the entire system.”

In his latest pledge as a potential POTUS runner, which would be his second attempt to get his name on the ballot, he has vowed to “tell the truth,” despite also explaining that he has no chance or indeed no intention of actually winning anything. He commented in his latest tweet:

“In truth: the crowd doesn’t want the truth. It is why politicians lie. They cannot win by telling the truth. I don’t want to win POTUS. I just want the stage.”

Running on “Truth” would be a campaign which would certainly get some support in the present political climate in the US. Although, it would be highly unlikely that McAfee, seen by some as a maverick would progress. The comparisons to the potential of Donald Trump to become US President, turning back the clock, are there to be made, however. When questioned back in June about his chances in 2020, McAfee said:

“Don’t think that I have a chance of winning. I do not. But what truly changes America is not the president, but the process of creating one. If my following is sufficient I get to stand the world’s largest stage and talk to everyone, as I did last time, to tell the truth.”

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Brooklyn Nets Basketball Player Regrets Missing Bitcoin Slam Dunk

The National Basketball League’s Spencer Dinwiddie says he regrets not holding on to his bitcoins in 2017, allowing him to benefit from the end of year price hike.

The Brooklyn Nets guard, who narrowly missed out on the Most Improved Player award in the NBA last season to Victor Oladipo, was in quite early on Bitcoin’s bull run last year. Dinwiddie bought in at $1,200 a coin with a Coinbase account, but then sold early at $5000 to $15,000 before Bitcoin went north, finally hitting the wall at just under $20,000 at the end of 2017.

Dinwiddie discovered Bitcoin as an NBA rookie and was pulled towards investment portfolios to take up the slack. Clearly not earning the huge salaries of seasoned well-established players, he saw Bitcoin as a great investment opportunity. He initially took family advice, at first investing in real estate, before cryptocurrency lured him in, first to Bitcoin, then to altcoins such as Tron.

His early sell-off has left him feeling short-changed, although if he sold at $15,000 he was not far behind Bitcoin’s big numbers at the end of last year. However, he still regrets selling early, claiming “If I woulda gone all-in, boy, I’d be loaded right now.”

Cryptocurrency endorsements by sporting celebrities and clubs are not uncommon, and basketball is no exception as many see this as the next step to investment. Next year, Bitmain Technologies-owned bitcoin mining company AntPool enters a sponsorship deal with the Houston Rockets, in time for the 2018-19 season. Add to this the Sacramento Kings sign up to the MiningForGood initiative which will see the team mining Ethereum in an arena-based centre. What is refreshing to see is that the cryptocurrency generated funds will go towards the Build Black Coalition which plans to help the Sacramento community’s black residents profit from education and workforce development.

Businessman and investor Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks has already introduced cryptocurrency ticket purchasing in the NBA. He feels this needs to become the norm and was happy to make the first move, commenting:

“If crypto is going to have a chance of being a currency, then someone has to start accepting it for payment,”

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Ethereum Constantinople Hard Fork Fails On Testnet, Making Ethereum Fork Unlikely In 2018

The Ethereum Constantinople hard fork has been the focus of the Ethereum development community, and it is meant to bring a full suite of upgrades to Ethereum. Constantinople was deployed on the Ethereum Ropsten testnet at block 4.23 million on 13 October 2018, but it failed to work. Due to this failure, Ethereum developer Afri Schoedon thinks the Ethereum hard fork is unlikely in 2018.

no constantinople in 2018, we have to investigate

— 𝙰𝚏𝚛𝚒 𝚂𝚌𝚑𝚘𝚎𝚍𝚘𝚗 (@5chdn) October 13, 2018

After the Constantinople hard fork was implemented on the Ethereum Ropsten testnet it didn’t produce a block for 2 hours, and the first block it produced had zero transactions. At this time on 14 October, the Ropsten testnet is at block 4.236 million, but it is unclear if the testnet simply reverted back to original Ethereum after Constantinople failed.

A couple of different reasons have been given for the failure of the Constantinople hard fork on the testnet. Shoedon reports that there was a serious consensus issue, with a 3-way fork forming between Geth, Parity, and another Ethereum client.

Another reason given for the fork was that miners had simply not upgraded their nodes to Constantinople, so there was no one to mine blocks, explaining the stall at block 4.23 million. Ethereum developer Peter Szilagyi pleaded for other developers to start up a node running Constantinople to get the testnet blockchain moving.

Whether it is true or not that the lack of miners is the reason for this Constantinople testnet failure, it highlights how Constantinople has been very contentious for Ethereum miners. Constantinople lowers the block reward from 3 Ethereum to 2 Ethereum, which is catastrophic for many Ethereum miners that are already struggling. Ethereum’s price has declined from over USD 1,000 to less than USD 200 during 2018, making an intractable situation for most miners. Peer to peer pawning sites like LetGo and OfferUp are filled with Ethereum miners trying to liquidate their rigs since they are no longer profitable, even before this update.

On the other hand, Ethereum investors want Constantinople since it would lower Ethereum’s inflation rate. This creates a direct divide between miners and investors, making a community and blockchain split likely if the Constantinople hard fork included a block reward reduction. Ultimately, the miners get to decide which version of Ethereum is dominant, and in this case, the miners are not in agreement with developers, and there is nothing forcing them to implement this version of Constantinople.

There is a piece of code included in Ethereum which causes mining difficulty to exponentially increase at a point, this is called the difficulty bomb and leads to an Ethereum ice age where no more blocks are mined. This would be catastrophic for both miners and investors. This will force the Ethereum community to reach a consensus before the difficulty bomb goes off, or Ethereum will stop working. So if the Constantinople hard fork is not coming in 2018, certainly in 2019 some version of an Ethereum fork will be necessary to make sure the Ethereum ice age doesn’t happen.

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Closing Charities’ Accountability Gap Through Blockchain Technology

Humanitarian Blockchain

a BitcoinNews.com series

   Part 3: Closing Charities’ Accountability Gap Through Blockchain Technology

          Welcome to the third installment of the Bitcoin News Humanitarian Blockchain Series. Charity begins at home, but the growing question being asked over the past few years is, where does it actually go?  We try to highlight some of the current solutions being presented by blockchain technology to this essential industry

The track record of the charity industry has been, regrettably, far from exemplary, and in some instances, at worst, disgraceful. Well-publicized scandals over the past few years have seen a decline in the public donations to charitable organizations, with some of those intuitions being brought into disrepute by misappropriation of public funds or inappropriate behavior of field staff.

Even now, a US investigation is looking into fraudulent identity activity in Myanmar where refugees fingerprints from amongst the Chin minority are causing confusion as fraudsters purchase refugees’ identities for their own ends. Also, in Bangladesh many Rohingya refugees in safe-harbor there have been registered multiple times and records of family groups have been almost non-existent,

Using Blockchain to clean up the industry is possibly the only way that many charitable institutions can survive, and regain public trust by demonstrating a greater level of transparency and accountability.

The main barriers to success in the humanitarian field have been lowering the impact of administration, transportation and documentation cost on donated funds, and making every aspect of donations totally transparent from source to final delivery of the benefit to the recipient.

Charities have been slow to take up the obvious benefits that can be offered to the industry. In fact, it is no exaggeration to suggest that there could be no more obvious and beneficial use case for DLT than its solution to the accountability problems that charities are currently suffering.

Luckily some organizations are on board, but far too few. The World Food Programme (WFP) has been quick to realise the potential of blockchain solutions. As Bitcoin News reported in the first of its humanitarian series, the uses in Jordan’s refugee camps has been essential, in not only feeding and providing work for Syrian refugees but also creating a renewed feeling of self-worth, particularly against female escapees from the war in Syria.

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, as far back as 2011, was trying to deal with how to get donated funds from a source. At the time, a massive $40 billion was failing to reach its intended recipients, the money was diverted to corrupt officials and middlemen. Seven years on, the blockchain is now being used by the WFP to tackle this problem. Gustav Stromfelt, one of the project managers working on the WFP’s program commented:

“We have this rapid ability to understand where our money is throughout the process…It improves transparency, accountability, and communication across the board.”

This UN-supported programme in Jordan uses dollars at this stage, not cryptocurrency, but through DLT every cent is accounted for right up to the purchase and delivery of physical goods.

Charities accepting cryptocurrencies, and there have been many, were badly hit by the drop in the value of Bitcoin at the end of 2017 and much of the funds were seriously diminished before funds could be dispersed. Silicon Valley Community Foundation revealed in its 2017 audit 45% of its investment assets were unable to be turned into cash in 2018 due to government restrictions.

Many of these problems are now being overcome through online mining schemes which benefit charities and straight crypto donations fund by such organisations as Children in Need and others.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by 24-hour trading volume, has recently tried to address some of these issues with the announcement of a Blockchain Charity Foundation which aims to plug the transparency gap for multiple organisations with its planned donation tracking system: Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao explains:

“Lack of transparency has been a problem for charities today. Some estimate up to 80% of donations does not reach the intended beneficiaries. With the ability to track every single transaction, blockchain technology seems tailor-made to solve this problem.”

Although the Blockchain Charity Foundation is still at concept stage, Binance suggest that the system will allow donors to give to one or as many chosen charities as they want whilst retaining anonymity if they wish: The company commented:

“Each BCF program will have its unique receiving address(es). BCF may choose to donate directly to the ultimate beneficiaries or work with other charity partners who then distributes the funds to the ultimate beneficiaries. Either way, the funds will be tracked in a transparent manner.”

Solutions to past problems are slowly being presented through new technology, but clearly, more urgency is required to reshape the face of the charity industry and restore public face so that charity can transit from home to its needy target and arrive at its destination intact, as was intended from the source.

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Miami is Fast Becoming a US Crypto Trendsetter

Florida staked its claim as a significant name in crypto as two pizzas delivered by Papa John’s in Jacksonville once cost the crypto equivalent of $65 million in today’s money, and now with Miami staking its claim as Bitcoin capital of the US, the dream lives on.

Miami is on a charge and has seen a surge of blockchain and crypto conferences setting up their annual venues there over the years. It’s unsurprising, given that there’s also a history there too, as it was not only the home of the first North American Bitcoin Conference but also witnessed the birth of Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum experiment.

This year’s North American Bitcoin Conference heralded in even more startups, some 30 in number, raising millions, and now gives way to the next conference in the queue, Blockchain Shift to be held in late October bringing IBM, Tesla, KPMG, Bloomberg into its orbit. It promises to be another extravaganza with late-night dancing and yacht parties scheduled, living up to the current festival mode employed by crypto conference organizers.

Miami started the crypto ATM revolution, with machine provider BitStop out of Palmetto Bay now providing services for client all over the state and in California with a network of 50 transaction points.

One of Florida’s movers and shakers, George Levy, award-winning Lecturer and Senior Instructor on the blockchain, had a hand in starting Miami’s Blockchain Institute of Technology (BIT), an online training academy which teaches people more about cryptocurrency and its technological foundations. Levy now has students in 166 countries around the globe and follows up his online training with personal appearances in many of those. Lately, he’s taken the leap to South America, where Bitcoin raised early interest. He now works alongside the engineering department at the University of Curaçao.

“We’re seeing innovation coming out of Latin America, as well strong developers based in Argentina,” he says, adding that, “The fact that I’m here in Miami gives me a very close spot to be able to engage that. It’s a great hub.”

South Americans have viewed cryptocurrency as an escape from financial oppression for years, as exemplified by Bitcoin’s huge following in Venezuela where the fiat economy is a total burnout. Because of its Latin American connection, Miami has a renewed spark of life as a potential crypto hub for South America as a result of political unrest there, geographic proximity and Spanish speaking population.

With such a vibrant cryptocurrency ecosystem comes regulatory concerns, one of the motivations by State government’s June decision to appoint a “Cryptocurrency Chief” to oversee the industry, according to Florida’s chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis, an “…active, comprehensive and balanced approach” providing an “appropriate level of scrutiny for emerging digital asset technologies.”

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Research: Bitcoin as Stable as “Dollar and Oil”, Cites Cubic Law

New research published in a respected Journal of Nonlinear Science, suggests that cryptocurrencies could soon be as reliable as fiat currency.

Chaos has released a research report titled “Bitcoin market route to maturity?” which maintains that due to the maturing of digital assets over time, many commentators view that Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies are volatile, and therefore too unstable to be used as a currency, are largely unfounded.

The basis of many of these commentaries about Bitcoin’s instability stems from the massive price fluctuations of the past year, seeing the flagship cryptocurrency reach a high of almost $20K in December of 2017 only to drop to $6000 in June of 2018.

The report cites influences, not unlike those which effect regular fiat markets, as instrumental in some of the fluctuating fortunes of digital currencies, such as temporal correlations as multi-scaling effects. The authors of the study commented on the Bitcoin movement over time after studying a number of graphic representations:

“Initially, the graphs we got were a bit crooked, which did not augur anything promising … but when we took a closer look at the data, suddenly it turned out that this crookedness originated from the first two years of the analysed period, that is, from the time when the market was just starting to shape itself.” Adding, “Later on, the rates of return fluctuated according to the inverse cubic law.”

Cubic law is a system of judging a market’s maturity where financial analysts plot price changes in one-minute sequences and compare how they match up.

They added that Bitcoin’s maturity was “particularly evident in the last six months of the examined period,” suggesting that the digital currency’s fluctuations corresponded in the same way as rates of return as regular, mature markets, such as the stock, dollar, oil or bond markets; all good news for Bitcoin enthusiasts and cryptocurrency investors in general.

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Heat Your House Whilst Earning Using French Crypto-Heater

A French-based startup has come up with a unique idea which enables users to heat their homes whilst using the same energy to mine cryptocurrency.

Startup Qarnot has manufactured the QC 1 crypto-heater, one of two products using both heating and computer energy, which uses the heat generated by home computers to heat the surrounding area via a system of graphic plates.

The crypto-heater is advertised as the only one in the market to be perfectly noiseless with no embedded mobile parts (no fans, no hard drives) and IP-protected. Taking only 10 mins to set up, the heat of the QC-1 is generated by 2 graphics cards embedded in the device enabling the mining of cryptocurrencies or blockchain transactions, while it heats.

At 2,900 euros plus shipping, this heater doesn’t come cheap though. The unit is advertised as configured to mine Ethereum and has extra controls which allow the user to follow the crypto market, either through an LED readout on the heater or via a downloadable app. Heater owners are able to mine other cryptocurrencies through a GitHub link which will give them the necessary codes.

As for dual-usage household products, this time not designed on a commercial level, but more as a bi-product, Alabama IT worker Lee, gave up his graphics card that he was using for Bitcoin mining for his bathtub. 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.

“Imagine a crypto heated swimming pool or anything else you could heat with the output from a small, medium, or large-scale mining operation,” gta3uzi wrote on Reddit.

Some suggestions arising from his post included using the hot water to create a sauna, heating his home, drying one’s hair, and even cooking a steak sous vide.

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President of World Bank: DLT Has “Huge Potential” in Fighting Poverty

Jim Yong Kim, Korean president of the World Bank, has publicly come out in favor of blockchain technology as a tool for fighting poverty in a speech on the Indonesian Island of Bali.

Kim made the comments at the IMF and the World Bank Annual Meeting on October 11, suggesting that DLT had “huge potential” and as a result, the World Bank must keep abreast of emerging technologies.

The World Bank, part of the World Bank Group, is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. It is comprised of two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association.

At the forefront of all World Bank projects is the need to fight poverty, particularly in underdeveloped or developing nations. Kim referred to the need to combat corruption, often a barrier to successfully supporting developing nations, suggesting that this is a particular area where blockchain could make a significant impact. He commented:

“…we think distributed ledger has huge potential and we issued the first blockchain bond in August, where we created, allocated, transferred and managed the entire bond through blockchain technology.”

He went on to point out that the goal of the bank is to develop universal access to financial services by 2020 which he felt would be unlikely to occur without embracing available technologies and taking advantage of some of the “great things that are coming out,” referring to blockchain and AI.

As Bitcoin News reported recently, the World Bank and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia combined to create an Ethereum-based Australian dollar blockchain bond earlier this year. As for selecting both the CBA and Ethereum for the project, World Bank treasurer Arunma Oteh said that it had worked with the Australian bank for a year before it could launch the project. Ethereum was top of its list as it had “the largest and most active development community globally”.

Oteh continued on a positive note stating that the bank “will continue to seek ways to leverage emerging technologies to make capital markets more secure and efficient.”

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