Category Archives: mining

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Bitmain Selling Routers That Mine Cryptocurrency

Bitmain is about to launch a USD 18 billion initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong stock exchange and is becoming quite innovative and creative with the devices offered to mine cryptocurrency. Bitmain has released two different models of mining Wi-Fi routers, a router that can mine X11 cryptocurrencies like Dash and a router that can mine blake2b cryptocurrencies like Siacoin.

Once the Wi-Fi routers are connected to the internet, they automatically begin to mine on Bitmain’s Antpool, one of the biggest cryptocurrency mining pools in the world. The blake2b mining router mines Siacoin at 11.54 GH/s while consuming 22.6 W of energy, and the X11 mining router mines Dash, formerly DarkCoin, at 300 MH/s while consuming 24.37 W of energy. The router can be tinkered with to mine other blake2b coins but if users choose to do that then efficiency and performance are no longer guaranteed, likewise for the X11 router.

A Wi-Fi router mining cryptocurrency at all times is an interesting prospect. In places like college dorms and apartments where electricity is included in the rent these routers theoretically might be able to pay for the internet service, especially since they are being sold at the incredibly low rate of less than BTC 0.01 (USD 63 at time of writing) for each mining router.

The cryptocurrency mining router is not the first time a common piece of household technology has been turned into a cryptocurrency mining rig. Canaan, the second largest manufacturer of crypto mining equipment, has created a TV that mines cryptocurrency. A French company, Qarnot, has produced a cryptocurrency mining rig which acts as a heater. This might not really be anything new though, since all cryptocurrency mining equipment generates a lot of heat.

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From Coal to Crypto in Australia’s South-West as New Era of Mining Arrives

The buoyant Australian cryptocurrency market is in the news again with the construction of a new crypto mining facility in Australia’s south-west corner.

The target for this new facility is the Western Australian coal mining town of Collie just 200 kilometers south of the state capital Perth. Collie once referred to as a “dirty mining town” is mainly known as a coal-producing center but also offers industrial, agricultural and aquaculture tourism industries.

The center is a project devised by DC Two and its subsidiary crypto firm D Coin who have announced it as “the first behind the grid data center in Australia powered primarily from renewable energy sources”. The center will be powered by a solar farm built by Hadouken Pty.

DC Two’s aim is to host cryptocurrency mining and high redundancy zones for traditional IT workloads. A company statement said:

“By providing customized low-cost hosting options specifically engineered for cryptocurrency and Bitcoin mining at globally competitive rates, DC Two and D Coin have been able to attract the interest of both the local and international crypto mining community.”

The aim is to keep international cryptocurrency miners within the country rather than being lured overseas. This is the second of its kind that has been proposed in Australia this year after mining hardware distributor Royalti Blockchain Group (RBG) signed a contract to build a crypto mining complex in a decommissioned power station in Hunter Valley, New South Wales worth USD 142 million.

The South-West complex in Collie due to come online next year will draw an expected power supply of up to 4MW. The installations are expected to service 256 IT racks, with each rack delivering up to 30KW.

“In complete crypto mining configuration, using the initial 4MW power availability, the data center could mine about 650 Bitcoins per annum worth around USD 6 million based on current mining and exchange rates,” DC Two explained.


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Ukraine Election Trials Have Begun on NEM Blockchain

A Ukraine election official shared in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the commission’s experiments with the NEM blockchain voting trial for use in the country’s elections have gone live successfully.

The head of the country’s voter registry at the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, Oleksandr Stelmakh, commended the immutability of hosting elections on the blockchain, as well as the improved security benefits of the decentrally-hosted data. The social media post notes that the commission was continuing a series of trials that apply blockchain technology to electoral voting.

He noted that the test run utilized these properties in saving the responses to the ballots, as well as the voters’ personal information. The test vote used 28 nodes with the NEM blockchain.

A link to the timestamped NEM blockchain transactions was also shared in the post with a disclaimer that the pilot had been held in a test environment with trial coins that were donated by the NEM foundation in Ukraine.

To install blockchain voting in each Ukrainian police station, Stelmakh estimated it would cost USD 1,227 per unit, a price he sees as more than reasonable to assure the sanctity of elections is protected.

Crypto in Ukraine

Last month, the Ukraine National Securities and Stock Market Commission announced plans to further regulate the cryptocurrency industry. The commission responsible for minimizing risks in the financial sector has not endorsed legislation to legalize cryptocurrency in Ukraine, despite an increase of activity in the sector.

An internal legislative debate is reportedly taking place to codify laws around blockchain, and the storage and trade of cryptocurrencies.

In June, a government agency announced that it had no plans to regulate crypto mining. Miners, however, have been said to be keeping a low profile on their operations due to the unpredictability of the government’s reaction to cryptocurrency, with some speculating they may become subject to fines or confiscation of their mining equipment.


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Bitmain’s New Texas Mining Facility to Begin US Expansion

China-based cryptocurrency mining hardware company Bitmain has confirmed Rockdale, Texas as its next location to spearhead the way for its takeover of the US.

Texas operations

Rockdale will benefit from Bitmain’s investments totaling over USD 500 million in the following seven years, with plans to launch mining operations in early 2019. The location will employ 400 individuals for the new Texas blockchain data center, offering educational services and training programs for aspiring employees.

The location was described by Bitmain as a ”strategic investment” for the company, putting them in a prime spot to begin expansion plans across the US. The firm confirmed the plans Monday after speculation began circling last month when Dallas News reported Bitmain had purchased an unused smelting facility.

Despite the positive local press acknowledging the benefits of such an investment in a town recently hit by difficult economic times due to the closure of the coal mines, Bitmain and public officials declined to comment until this week. The article hinted however, it was an open secret shared among Rockdale residents.

Job openings for the new site have already reached online listings for those looking to join the firm as it begins its US expansion.

Bitmain’s recent moves

The Texas location follows Bitmain’s approved land lease in Washington State received in April, with the firm planning to set out a large-scale mining operation in the area. The state has, however, received several complaints from residents regarding the sustainability of cryptocurrency mining.

The cheap electricity tariffs have attracted many mining operations to the area, with locals reportedly concerned about the amount of energy being consumed. Some have suggested that an increase in the use of renewable energy resources in the mining process would stem the complaints.

Brazil is also supposedly on the agenda for Bitmain, with one article suggesting the firm is looking to open offices in the country.

Bitmain has already international footholds in Switzerland and Israel where it carries out its mining operations.


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Canaan Crypto Mining TV Launched to Catch Bitmain’s Market

The so-called world’s first ever crypto mining TV has just been born, courtesy of the one of the largest makers of Bitcoin mining equipment, Canaan Creative.

South China Morning Post has reported the launch, which the company has stated is a step towards creating a new generation of devices which are linked to blockchain and IoT.

The device is marketed as a smart TV with a difference, enabling the user to tap into a processing output of 2.8 trillion hashes per second. Given that a made-for-purpose rig manufactured by the company can process 11 trillion hashes per second, this is still pretty significant for a TV.

The device is marketed as “AvalonMiner Inside”, although how the company connects their new device to the mystical isle associated with Glastonbury is anyone’s guess. Miners though, if not impressed by the name, will certainly have much to marvel at, according to Canaan. Such features as voice control, real-time Bitcoin mining profitability display and a digital tether to Canaan’s platform allowing users to pay for extras using mined coins.

The project has received some scorn, notably from Bitcoin analyst Xiao Lei who said: “It looks more like hype. It will be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”

There is absolutely nothing to say that this may be the way the future takes media hardware.

Canaan applied for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) earlier this year in Hong Kong with the hope of raining in a significant starter fund. At present, Canaan needs to keep one eye on its competitor Bitmain which at present has a huge 70% of the global Bitcoin mining device market. When the company applied for the IPO it stated:

“If we cannot maintain the scale and profitability of our single line of system products and, at the same time, offer new products, our ability to continue to grow will suffer.”

To this end, the company has expressed that it intends to follow up AvalonMiner Inside with further innovations, and break away from simply manufacturing mining chips.


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Crypto Mining Still Possible on Home PC with Honeyminer, Minergate

One aspect of Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin is that they can be generated via mining. Mining is a process where a computer solves cryptographic hashes to group transactions into blocks and add them to the blockchain. When a block is found, the miner or miners who worked together to find it receive a block reward. Mining secures the cryptocurrency network and the rewards are distributed to miners to give them an incentive to keep maintaining the network.

With powerful enough processors, some people can make a living from mining, although most individuals today usually do it for side income or as a hobby. Bitcoin has an extremely high mining difficulty and requires equipment that costs thousands of dollars to mine profitably, and even then you would only get fractions of a Bitcoin unless you have an entire farm of powerful equipment.

However, with cheaper cryptocurrencies with lower difficulties, it is possible to mine on your personal computer with a CPU or GPU and get a stream of coins flowing in every day. While the coins might not be worth much, for some, it is a fun way to earn cryptocurrency without having to do anything but leave their computer on. In the long run, these coins can add up. And if crypto appreciates over the long term, or if the market rallies like it has in the past, these mined coins could gain significant value.

One problem with mining is that it is somewhat difficult for inexperienced users. It requires fairly in-depth computer and programming knowledge to successfully mine using specialized software such as cgminer. This is where desktop mining apps like Honeyminer and MinerGate come in, which are easy ways to mine cryptocurrency without any experience. These can be installed and used to start mining with a few clicks. These programs show you which parts of your computer are mining, how fast they are mining, your earnings so far, and projected earnings. All of this information is contained in a streamlined GUI.

The ease of use comes with several downsides. These sort of miners take a cut from user earnings so miners are earning less than they should be. Also, mining can damage a personal computer via overheating, although these mining programs show a temperature gauge which makes monitoring easy. Additionally, mining on a personal computer can use so much processing power that the entire computer slows down. Finally, mining with a personal computer usually uses more electricity than the money it produces.

Regardless, mining on a personal computer can be worth it despite these downsides due to the fun aspect of learning and the possibility of future cryptocurrency price increases. Apps like Honeyminer and Minergate might be the fastest way to start mining; someone who decides to start mining can have it running within a minute even with zero experience.


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Bitcoin Mining Hash Rate Exceeds 50 Exahash/s for First Time

According to data from Bitcoin’s mining hash rate has exceeded 50 exahash/s for the first time as of 28 July 2018. The precise average hash rate for 28 July was 50.277 exahash/s, which is the new record. Considering the exponential growth of Bitcoin’s hash rate long term, this record will probably be surpassed soon.

The current jump in Bitcoin’s hash rate is likely due to the rally in Bitcoin’s price from USD 6,000 to USD 8,500, although as of this writing on 30 July 2018 the price has leveled out a bit and now sits near USD 8,000. Increasing Bitcoin price makes mining more profitable, allowing older rigs that had become unprofitable during the bear market to be re-connected to the network, and swelling the treasuries of Bitcoin mining companies allowing them to buy more mining equipment.

The Bitcoin mining difficulty has jumped to 5.95 trillion as of 29 July, which is the new record. This represents an increase of 771 billion since the last 2,016 block difficulty adjustment on 17 July, which is the record for the magnitude of a difficulty adjustment increase. It’s supposed to take two weeks for 2,016 blocks to be mined, but Bitcoin’s hash rate increased so quickly during the 2,016 blocks that it only took 12 days. This is why difficulty adjustments are required, otherwise Bitcoin block times would get so small that all of the mineable Bitcoins would be mined all at once.

Increasing difficulty is another factor that pushes the mining hash rate higher, since miners need more equipment to maintain profits as difficulty increases.

Bitcoin’s mining hash rate has been increasing exponentially. It was 15 exahash/s at the beginning of 2018, 2.5 exahash/s at the beginning of 2017, 0.7 exahash/s at the beginning of 2016, 0.3 exahash/s at the beginning of 2015, and 0.01 exahash/s at the beginning of 2014. At the beginning of 2013, Bitcoin’s hash rate was only 25 TH/s, where a terahash is a hundred thousandth of an exahash. Of course, Bitcoin had to start somewhere, and there was a time when its mining hash rate was less than 1 gigahash/s and even less than 1 megahash/s after launching in 2009.


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Vietnamese Crypto Mining Farm Found Abandoned, Investors Missing $35M

The CEO of Vietnam-based cryptocurrency mining farm Sky Mining has reportedly absconded, leaving investors USD 35 million short.

Investors found an abandoned premises

The Sky Mining business structure offered people the chance to buy shares in the cryptocurrency mining hardware and collect a percentage of the profits. It advertised these profits at 300% in one year for a one-time payment between USD 100 and USD 5,000, as well as private use of a mining device for 15 to 18 months.

When the investors were told they may pick up their mining equipment from the business’s registered location, they instead found empty, closed premises. Upon further investigation, Sky Mining’s Phu Nhuan District office was also found abandoned.

CEO, Le Minh Tam, has been AWOL since Thursday; 5,000 investors are faced with losing an estimated total of USD 35 million.

No good news for investors

Local media outlet Thanh Nien published a letter reportedly from Tam who claimed his mining venture was no longer profitable and he was forced to sell the equipment to cover his losses, then run in fear for his life. In a new addition to the saga, Saturday he posted a Telegram chat video where he claimed he would return and restore the business to profitability.

Deputy chairman of Sky Mining Le Minh Hieu attempted to control the chaos by forming a board of 16 participants but was forced to disperse the group when he and his family became subject to death threats from angry investors. Hieu said that he too was a victim of Tam’s scam and has reported the threats to the police.

He said that he assumed Tam had retreated to the US with the investors’ money, noting that Tam most likely succeeded in his endeavor because he was responsible for directly managing the goings on of the mining equipment.

As of Monday, 20 investors have signed a joint complaint with the police department, with one investor taking her complaint to court after allegedly loosing approximately USD 269,000. Unfortunately, Vo Do Thang, Director of the Athena Network Security Training Center told VNexpress they had next to no chance of seeing their money returned.


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Liquid Immersion Latest Cooling Technique to Reduce Mining Energy Consumption

TMGcore has developed 2-phase liquid immersion cooling to cool cryptocurrency mining equipment, finding that it reduces the cost of cooling cryptocurrency mining equipment by 90% versus air cooling. This drastically reduces overall cryptocurrency mining energy consumption and, therefore, makes mining more profitable.

The mining equipment developed by TMGcore is submerged in a special liquid, and as it heats up, some of this liquid evaporates. As liquid evaporates, it cools its environment since it absorbs heat to transform from a liquid into a gas. This is the same principle that cools the body down when it sweats.

The gas then travels through some pipes to a location where it condenses. When a liquid condenses, it releases latent heat, which in this case is the heat produced from the mining rigs. However, this can be designed in a way that the heat is released to the outside, so there are minimal air conditioning costs needed to keep the room with the mining rigs cool. The condensed liquid then travels back down some pipes and goes back into the tank with the submerged mining equipment, so the liquid is preserved and doesn’t have to be refilled.

This is far more energy efficient than using air to cool mining equipment, which requires powerful fans round the clock. This is mostly because air has a much lower capacity to store heat than liquid, so it takes a lot of air flowing across mining equipment to remove the same amount of heat as a small amount of liquid. Also, liquid doesn’t require any mechanism to propel it across the mining equipment, since evaporation creates its own propulsion and re-distributes the liquid naturally.

This is somewhat similar to the cooling process used in nuclear reactors. Liquid immersion cooling might become a necessity in the future for cryptocurrency miners due to the accelerating Bitcoin network hash rate, which requires bigger mining rigs to stay profitable. The bigger the mining rig the more heat it generates, and air cooling with a fan will reach a point where it is no longer sufficient.

Additionally, air cooling allows parts of the cryptocurrency mining rig to get hot and stay hot, which damages the equipment over time. Liquid immersion evenly removes heat from the entire mining rig.

The 2-phase liquid cooling is being implemented by TMGcore in a Plano, Texas cryptocurrency mining facility, which is a relatively hot climate. This shows another advantage of using liquid cooling for mining, it makes energy costs 100% independent of the climate, whereas with air cooling a colder climate is preferred to reduce energy consumption.


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One of North America’s Largest Crypto Mining Facilities is Underway

A new 85 MW capacity transfer and electrical substation are currently being constructed in Canada by DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc, making its crypto mining installation one of the largest in North America.

DMG describes itself as a diversified blockchain and cryptocurrency company that works on end-to-end solutions to monetize blockchain’s ecosystem.

The substation, when complete, will come online in September and be connected to the power grid providing 60 MW for energizing mining rigs. The facility is said to be the company’s flagship Canadian crypto mining operation expanding its hosting capability more than 20 times.

Steven Eliscu, executive vice president for Corporate Development, said that such “leading-edge mining equipment and access to low-cost power” augers well for the company’s further development and gives him great optimism for DMG’s future.

As part of this optimism, the company is planning to branch out by building a platform which will ensure “complete provenance of controlled products” through the supply chain, also hoping to become “domain experts” in fields such as agriculture, energy, precious metals, financial services, and manufacturing, as illustrated on the company’s website.

The new facility will be used for in-house operations and for DMG clients engaged in Mining-as-a-Service (MaaS), using faster scaling than a pure mining model with the new installation under construction.

Also, in North America during a subcommittee for the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, California Democrat Brad Sherman boldly declared his belief that all cryptocurrency mining and trades should be banned across the US. The views were clearly not those of the majority of the subcommittee hearing, however.

A current issue in parts of the US and Canada with the increase in mining is the fear of rising electricity rates in areas that were attractive to miners because of the low energy costs. Worries are that rates are being pushed up for local residents causing jurisdictions to increasingly need to deal with some of these community concerns.

Regulators in New York State, for example, have given approval to a new electricity rate scheme for cryptocurrency miners. In response to the permission given earlier by New York state to 36 municipal power authorities to charge higher rates to crypto miners, the Massena municipal utility has come up with its own plan. A new rate structure will allow crypto miners operating there to negotiate their own contracts to pay a “fair price”, thereby protecting other consumers from inflated rates being enforced because of crypto mining.


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