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Recent Calculations Show Global Mining Energy Supply to Be Mostly Renewables Based

The UK based CoinShares has released a report detailing the origins of global energy resources used in Bitcoin mining.

The crypto assets research and investment firm, listed on Stockholm’s NASDAQ/OMX exchange, conducted the survey in answer to critics’ continued arguments that Bitcoin mining is essentially an environmentally harmful activity due to its extreme use of electricity. It was also conducted in response to an article published by University of Hawaii’s Department of Geography and Environment which called on its own research to determine that Bitcoin mining could cause the pollution limits to exceed those stipulated by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The article, written by Camila Mora, asserted that this carbon footprint calculation was achieved by multiplying Bitcoin’s 2017 estimated energy consumption and CO2 emission rates associated with countries from which mined blocks were thought to have been mined. According to Mora:

“By multiplying the electricity consumption of every block in 2017 by the electricity emissions in the country where the proof-of-work was likely to be resolved, we were able to estimate the total CO2 emissions for computing every block in 2017.”

The CoinShares news report has responded to this calculation by calling on industry insider knowledge and data available to the general public in order to put together an estimate of exactly where the energy used by the miners originate. The proposal is that 77.6% of worldwide Bitcoin mining is conducted through the use of renewable energy resources.

CoinShares accuses the University of Hawaii’s report of being inaccurate and oversimplified which lacked the regional economic and political considerations of the CoinShares analysis. The reality, according to the new report is that most of the world’s crypto mining has been conducted in China up until now, which is calculated to be about 60% of global mining, despite many countries being driven overseas due to climbing costs and the search for cooler climates.

China now has a major campaign which is aimed at drawing the country to supplying renewable energy such as solar. The Chinese program, entitled “curtailment” is largely conducted in regions where most Bitcoin mining takes place. Last year China became the world’s highest producer of solar energy. This has resulted in a glut of power which regional grids in these newly labeled areas are simply unable to deal with.

The outcome is that companies mining Bitcoin are moving to the “curtailment “ areas to lower their production costs resulting in extremely high renewable powered mining statistics: 95% of Chinese mining through renewable energy and 80% of total Chinese mining (or 48% of global mining) occurring in Sichuan.

Outside of China, Russia is at the other end of the scale with only 17% of its cryptocurrency mining conducted using renewable energy recourses. Iceland, Georgia, and the Northwestern US, on the other hand, are strong adherents to the use of renewable energy for Bitcoin mining.

Projects are currently underway in the Sahara using a 900-megawatt wind farm south of Marrakesh, and in Japan using solar power through the Kumamoto Electric Power Company

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Latest Report Shows US at Top of Most Favorable Countries for ICOs

The US has been ranked as the “most favorable” country for Initial Coin offerings (ICOs) according to a recent report linked to the Crypto Finance Conference, writes Cointelegraph.

According to the report, figures show that the US has seen 30 crypto start-ups launched, along with Switzerland and Singapore in the top three with 15 and 11 project launches respectively. The data was compiled by examining 100 ICO’s worldwide in terms of fundraising and designating their countries of origin.

The report also identified Russia, the UK, and Estonia as good locations for startup fundraising industry. Many crypto companies are now doing business in Estonia with Lithuania and Latvia, also experiencing an economic boom recently. Estonia’s widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies and fintech has become a breeding ground for new startups.

The start-up frenzy reached it hiatus in March of this year with $2.94 being raised in one month, although as many as 1000 cryptocurrencies have gone to the wall on the back of Bitcoin’s recent declining fortunes this year. The good news for the industry is the doubling of 2017’s start-ups in just the first half of 2018.

Second place Switzerland on the ICO report seems to be going from strength to strength with regulators attempts to support mainstream use, and startups in Crypto Valley are thriving as a result. Another step along that road has been the recent announcement that the country’s stock exchange, SIX, will open its doors to digital currencies.

Third place Singapore continues to deal with regulatory issues as it grows as an Asian start-up hub. Singapore, always at the forefront of technological advancement saw startup Tangem release its own version of a physical bitcoin banknote recently.

The US, in top place in the recent report in the ICO popularity stakes, continues to focus its attention on regulating the industry, particularly at State level. New major mining projects are making use of past defunct industry locations and making new homes in such installations, replacing steel for the cryptocurrency as the states attempt to integrate crypto into existing tax legislation.

Arizona is one of many states regulating ICO’s with a view to paving the way for regulatory framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the state, although earlier this year both New Hampshire and the state of Georgia failed to pass a bill that was to require the state to accept cryptocurrencies for payment of taxes and license fees.

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Five Small Countries Build Solid Foundations with Big Crypto Ambitions

Five small countries are becoming cryptocurrency beacons impacting on the space through growth and innovation, writes Benzinga.

Georgia with its population of 4 million, once a USSR member state, has minimal regulations regarding cryptocurrency with a booming mining community. Ranked at the end of 2017 as second by volume of countries mining crypto by Cambridge University research, much of the success is down to affordable electricity through hydropower.

The future looks bright for Georgian crypto enthusiasts. This affordability means that enthusiastic miners can make a living with low power overheads. Luka Kobeli, co-founder of blockchain company Blockmentor agrees, suggesting “everything about the way the economy functions is going to change” through blockchain and cryptocurrency in Georgia.

Thailand is another of Asia’s countries managing to launch itself into the region’s vibrant blockchain environment. Thailand Post made the announcement that it was to use blockchain in 2017 using a blockchain tracking system. At the beginning, of 2017 the country’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency pushed for legislation calling for the support and use of blockchain-powered smart contracts.

So popular is cryptocurrency in Thailand that education is becoming a priority. Recently, the Thai Fintech Association launched the Cryptoasset Revolution (CAR) course offering to provide participants a complete understanding and knowledge about investing in crypto assets and initial coin offerings in three months of courses running through the summer.

Malta has become increasingly appealing to Bitcoin companies conducting business, not only due to the island’s positive spin on blockchain technology and its open-minded approach to regulation, but also its strong economy.

The announcement that crypto exchange giant Binance has now made Malta home, followed by similar plans from rival exchange OKEX, German blockchain firm Neufundand and gaming platform The Abyss, have received recent media attention, causing over-regulated companies to consider their options.

“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation, and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy,” maintains Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat.

In Liechtenstein, an entrepreneur can start a company without a bank account, and BTC or ETH will fulfill government requirements. This liberal approach to cryptocurrency is rarely seen; even crypto-friendly Switzerland has its limitations, and banks there have been no friends to VCs.

Yanislav Malahov did exactly that, founding his Aeternity blockchain company using ETH to the tune of CHF 50,000. The capital Vaduz holds monthly blockchain meetings and a huge bonus for residents is the country’s membership of the European Economic Area, but not the EU, allowing crypto businesses to trade freely across Europe.

Nicosia in Cyprus is home to one of the first Universities offering programs in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The University of Nicosia, Cyprus, announced that it would offer the world’s first Masters program in digital currency back in 2013. The postgraduate course was aimed at financial services professionals claiming it was designed to:

“…help financial services and business professionals, entrepreneurs, government officials and public administrators better understand the technical underpinnings of digital currency…”

 

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