Category Archives: Coinshares

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Munich Researchers Call for Higher Renewables Impact on Bitcoin Mining

Munich Researchers Call for Higher Renewables Impact on Bitcoin Mining Copy

The crypto mining ecological debate is never too far from the news, and a German think tank at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has just added its own slant to the argument suggesting that renewables are the recommended way of lowering the Bitcoin footprint.

This in itself is not news as it has now been accepted in the industry that renewable energy will be the direction for existing and future mining enterprises to take moving forward, but the Munich group have added their own new statistics to the debate.

TUM concluded after their research that Bitcoin causes around 22 megatons in CO2 annually, comparable, the unit suggested, to cities such as Hamburg or Las Vegas. They founded their results on the IPO filings of hardware manufacturers and the IP addresses of Bitcoin miners. The research was arguably the most thorough of its kind with the team using a step by step process in order to gain conclusive data on what exactly the carbon footprint may be given current mining statistics.

Christian Stoll, who conducts research at both the TUM and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), maintained that, “To improve the ecological balance, one possibility might be to link more mining farms to additional renewable generating capacity.” He added:

“Naturally there are bigger factors contributing to climate change. However, the carbon footprint is big enough to make it worth discussing the possibility of regulating cryptocurrency mining in regions where power generation is especially carbon-intensive.”

A 2018 report released by UK based CoinShares detailing the origins of global energy resources used in Bitcoin mining proposed that 77.6% of worldwide Bitcoin mining is now conducted through the use of renewable energy resources.

The outcome is that companies mining Bitcoin are moving to “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.

 

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CoinShares: Bitcoin Simple, Elegant, Hard to Replicate

CoinShares: Bitcoin Simple, Elegant, Hard to Replicate

The chief strategy officer at CoinShares, Meltem Demirors, has told Ran Neuner on CNBC’s Crypto Trader that despite all the challenges and hurdles faced by Bitcoin in the beginning, its constant development and continued focus on finesse has meant that it remains a simple yet elegant technological innovation that will be difficult to replicate.

As AMBCrypto reports, Demirors said that Bitcoin fought off consensus issues and even the ICO boom in 2017, during which altcoins claimed to be superior to Bitcoin in many ways:

“USD 8.6 billion went into top 10 ICOs, the largest of which was EOS. Actually, for the last few years over USD 30 billion has gone into protocols. I think a lot of it is people talking about the issues of Bitcoin, like its too expensive, too slow…  and started designing all these protocols, that tend to solve these problems that Bitcoin has.”

She pointed out that many of those altcoins born in the boom era eventually faltered because they were not pragmatic and did not understand how to manage funds. Without actual product and development, they were nothing more than pump and dump schemes, losing investor money on the false premise of displacing Bitcoin.

Demirors reflected:

“I think a lot of these protocols raised on these premises ‘We’re going to kill Bitcoin because we have all these features that make us better than Bitcoin’ not realizing that it took Bitcoin ten years to get Bitcoin where it is. It is simple and very elegant and very hard to replicate Bitcoin.”

Demirors also dismissed the Bitcoin scalability issue, believing that the Lightning Network, Taproot implementation, and Schnorr signatures were all coming upgrades to ensure Bitcoin would scale, be more private and be more secure. But while the network value of Bitcoin mattered, she said it was the collective community of Bitcoin that would ensure its future was always bright and strong.

 

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Bitcoin ETF Approval Would Give EU Legislators More Confidence Over Crypto

In a change of stance on cryptocurrency adoption by EU legislators, who until now have been mainly fence-sitting on the subject, are indicating that ETF acceptances may create more positive interest towards easing regulation.

European legislators have recently stated that a Bitcoin ETF green light by the SEC could ease the current pressure felt by cryptocurrencies across Europe.

A recent report by the EU’s financial advisory group suggested that there was a continued threat to investors trading in cryptocurrencies arguing that, “These issues are not unique to crypto assets trading platforms; they may be exacerbated in the case of crypto-assets because of their high price volatility and often low liquidity.”

In an attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies and provide more safeguards, EU legislators are increasingly looking to organizations such as Gemini who have taken to ETF, despite their own problems in getting them recognized by the SEC, due to the body’s continual reluctance to endorse cryptocurrencies. Gemini’s joint CEO Cameron Winklevoss commented about their own problems with regulation:

“We understand the commission’s concerns. We’ve heard them loud and clear and they are basically calling for more market surveillance and protections in the marketplace to avoid, prevent against manipulative behaviour and stuff like that. So, Gemini has built a market surveillance team.”

CSO of CoinShares, Meltem Demirors, has a more negative approach to the prospect of Bitcoin ETFs being accepted by the SEC due to the current political stalemate in Washington, arguing:

“….in this current sort of stalemate where you have the Democratic House, and the Republican Senate, you see some clashing, there are very different views on financial innovation and what should happen, but I think right now there is no upside to approving an ETF.”

The Winklevoss Brothers have called for the introduction of a Virtual Commodity Association, a self-regulatory organization for the cryptocurrency industry in the United States, similar to the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA).

The JVCEA was founded on April 2018 when 16 crypto exchanges joined hands with the ultimate aim of providing self-regulatory standards for the industry-wide investors. Later in October, it was officially given self-regulatory status by Japan’s financial regulator to supervise the crypto sector.

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Cambridge: Crypto Users Double in 2018 Despite Price Plunge

Cambridge: Crypto Users Double in 2018 Despite Price Plunge

The latest 2nd Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study conducted by Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance has revealed that 2018 saw the number of cryptocurrency users nearly double in number.

The Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study is an in-depth study carried out by the Judge Business School, a subsidiary of Cambridge University in the UK.

The report revealed that the numbers of verified users rose from 18 million in January 2018 to 35 million in December. Individual accounts at the time of the release of the report had risen to a record 150 million, although indications are that only 38% of these accounts are considered active according to some exchanges’ definitions and criteria.

More users, more multi-coin support, more market integration

The increase is significant and does offer the industry some Christmas cheer given Bitcoin’s tumultuous annus horribilus, seeing it lose 80% of its value since last December. The report also indicates that multi-coin support is expanding which, at the end of 2017, was the staple of 47% of all service providers.

This has also seen a significant rise in numbers in 2018 as some 84% of providers are now supporting a range of cryptocurrencies. The development of common trading standards introduced largely through the development of Ethereum’s ERC-20 has been cited as having a pivotal role in the increase of these altcoin numbers, including forks and airdrops.

The cross-segment expansion observed in 2017 has continued: 57% of crypto asset service providers are now operating across at least two market segments to provide integrated services for their customers, compared to 31% in early 2017.

Miners embrace sustainable energy

An encouraging revelation from the report is that mining companies are listening to calls from governmental environment agencies to embrace renewable energy resources. Coinshares, crypto assets research and investment firm, listed on Stockholm’s NASDAQ/OMX exchange, conducted a survey recently in answer to critics’ continued arguments that Bitcoin mining is essentially an environmentally harmful activity due to its extreme use of electricity.

That report targeted China’s influence, as representing 60% of the world’s Bitcoin mining activity, and that measures where being taken to reduce impact by moving to renewables such as solar. The Chinese program of “curtailment”, largely conducted in regions where most Bitcoin mining takes place, was drawing companies to areas where renewable energy such as solar was being utilized.

The Cambridge report indicated that the majority of identified mining facilities use some share of renewable energy sources and that mining is less concentrated that some critics are maintaining, a fact which conflicts somewhat with the aforementioned Coinshares report. The new report indicates a more global distribution with operations now expanding to the USA and Canada.

The report indicated that exchanges were increasingly self-regulating in line with state regulators guidelines, demonstrating the degree to which the industry had matured over the past 12 months.

 

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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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