Just Two ASIC Bitcoin Mining Rigs Remain Profitable in Current Markets

ASIC miners tailored for SHA-256-based cryptocurrencies, in order of profitability, Dec. 11


(Remember, we are looking at toy box miners here … not industrial-scale hardware)

Amid the cryptocurrency market crash, even the newest crypto mining machines are struggling to seal profits for their operators, according to real-time data published by mining profitability data site ASICMinerValue.com (AMV) today, Dec. 11.

AMV is a site that calculates real-time profitability rates for “ASIC” miners, hardware that uses Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips, tailored to efficiently mine cryptocurrency based on a specific hashing algorithm. Updated every minute, the site calculates profit yields for specific miners based on current power costs, network difficulty, block rewards, and cryptocurrency prices.

As of press time, the site indicates that among ASIC mining machines geared to mine coins that are based on cryptographic hash function “SHA-256” –– such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) –– only two are currently making any profit. Both models were released in October 2018, and show $0.58 and $0.21 in daily profits.

BTC stands currently at ~ $3,500





What if the military relied on digital twins?

What if the U.S. Department of Defense had a computer model so supremely detailed, it could reproduce exactly the operations of a complex military system? If the Pentagon ran the alongside real-world applications, leaders would know when systems were working properly, and when they were going awry.

Navy leaders say this notion of a “digital twin” is not just an interesting hypothesis, it’s an urgent imperative.

“The digital twin concept is critical,” Donald McCormack, executive director for the Naval Surface Warfare Center, said in recent Navy documents. “To pace the threat, we must have an agile testing methodology, which allows for the complexities presented by new automation and technologies. We need to understand how we test in the future with artificial intelligence.”

Military planners and technology leaders on the industry side agree that with the rise of big data, and the ready availability of massive compute power, digital twins could dramatically improve maintenance regimens and lead to more efficient introduction of new and emerging systems.

As the name suggests, a digital twin is a computer-based model of a mechanical or electrical system.

“You take a machine and make a computerized replica of that machine,” said Kelly Jones, a systems engineer at Cisco, which has been collaborating with the Navy on the development of such systems. “For the Navy it solves a lot of critical issues.”

Those issues primarily have to do with maintenance and, by extension, readiness.

Military leaders struggle to keep their legacy systems in working order. A recent report from the Navy for found that fewer than half the Navy’s 546 Super Hornets are mission capable. Digital twins could help, advocates say, by paring back routine maintenance in favor of as-needed repairs.

“Rather than saying a ship must come in at six months, you can maybe keep that ship out there longer, because you are working with known data as opposed to just guessing,” Jones said. “That gives us greater mission readiness and it gives us cost reduction. The less often you pull in a ship for maintenance, the less it costs.”

Digital twins also could help the Navy to rapidly prototype new systems, and to ensure those systems align with real-world needs.

“The idea is to take the lessons learned from working with digital models and use that information to improve designs of the future fleet,” said Dave Drazen, staff specialist to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. He spoke earlier this year at the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Managing the data

For this vision to come to fruition, however, industry and military leadership will need to lean heavily on big data processing techniques and emerging artificial intelligence capabilities.

“It’s the organization, structuring, contextualization and analysis of data to produce actionable information and to help us make decisions,” said Trisha Shields, lead of the aviation data analytics projects for Carderock’s Sea-Based Aviation and Aeromechanics Branch. She spoke at an earlier Naval Surface Warfare Center event. “Right now, we are at a point where the generation of data is so easy and so cheap that it would be foolish of us not to take advantage of it.”

While engineers can deliver detailed digital models of complex systems, it’s the artificial intelligence that brings those models to life, allowing them to mimic the operation of real-world counterparts. “It needs the ability to think like a human, to know when something is not working right,” Jones said.

Digital twinning already happens in the cyber world, where virtual computing allows engineers to easily replicate entire computer networks. If a system is compromised, they need only access the master copy to replace the corrupt version with a pristine iteration.

For the military to implement a mechanical version of this – to model in exact detail a jet engine, for instance, and then make maintenance decisions based on that model – a new mindset may be required.

“The technical framework is there for it. Now we need to expand people’s imagination and expand their comfort zone,” Jones said. “If we’re talking about key pieces of aircraft structure, people are going to have some reservations about that. Right now, it’s about gaining trust in the technology.”


from: https://www.c4isrnet.com/it-networks/2018/12/07/what-if-the-military-relied-on-digital-twins-what-if-the-military-relied-on-digital-twins/


The Digital Age is Transforming Military Logistics

By Gulu Gambhir

Many people don’t recognize how vital technology is to logistics and mission readiness.

Imagine being an astronaut almost 200,000 miles from Earth on the way to the moon, and there is a noise — and not a good noise. Something has gone wrong and both the mission and lives are at risk. This happened on Apollo 13 in 1970 and was the subject of a movie. It has been 40 years since the event and 23 years since the film was released, so there is little risk of a spoiler — the astronauts return safely to Earth.

Successful resolution of the mishap involved logistics. It is a gripping case study of operational sustainment under difficult and evolving mission conditions and one of the early examples of digital twin technology — i.e., the ground simulator.

In the movie, physical and digital models were used by Gary Sinise — as astronaut Ken Mattingly — to determine the right boot sequence for the command module, drawing power from the Grumman-built lunar module that had been serving as the crew’s lifeboat. In this case, the digital twin was a physical near-clone of the actual flight system and its use allowed the astronauts to return safely. More on digital twins later, but the story serves as some context for the role that technology plays in logistics and readiness.

Looking to the future — on both the platforms that Northrop Grumman develops and on those developed by other aerospace contractors — there is a continued focus on technology driven breakthroughs that we can bring to customers.

There are four big technology-driven trends that are impacting the logistics mission.

The first is sensors and analytics. At the heart of future trends in logistics, especially with sophisticated platforms like Global Hawk, is data. The military has been exploiting ubiquitous data to move up the value chain pyramid from data to information and ultimately knowledge and wisdom, that can be used to make decisions that drive outcomes.

Sensors are undoubtedly an enabler for this purpose because they are fundamentally changing how sustainment is viewed. Maintenance, for example, has been largely driven by schedule, like changing the oil in a car every 3,000 miles. Taking advantage of the internet-of-things era, there is greater use of instrumentation sensors for condition-based maintenance (CBM). With CBM, rather than changing engine oil on a set schedule, the maintenance interval is based on driving style, the oil’s viscosity and particulate level.

Data analytics research and development is focused on the forecasting of failure modes to enable predictive maintenance. By applying batch and real-time data analytics to “traditional” maintenance methods, the result is higher mission availability and mission effectiveness — at a reduced cost.

Another information-driven area that is trending within the industry is the digital twin. As the name suggests, it is a representation of an as-built physical system. Digital models have been used for a long time, but the level of detail in today’s twins is far greater than legacy digital models — the digital twin is a model plus sensor data. It’s a twin of a specific serial number. It recognizes that it’s not just a plane; it’s a specific tail number. From the time of manufacture, the as-built configuration is captured. The delivery of a new platform consists of both the physical platform as well as a digital copy of the platform. And the twin can be updated based on any modifications made to the physical system to account for repairs and upgrades.

The internet of things and greater computational power have made digital twin technology cost effective to implement. Applying digital twin lessons learned in the virtual world to the physical one results in a better prognosis — especially as it relates to logistics. Northrop Grumman has a lot of experience here — digital twins have been used in the space industry for a long time, for example Apollo 13, and continue through today.

An example is spacecraft command and control. Since one can’t typically touch or inspect the spacecraft after launch, a digital twin is maintained on the ground, keeping track of all aspects of the spacecraft like the state of charge of the batteries, remaining fuel and how well the mission is being performed.

The company is leveraging this experience and using model-based design on programs, collecting design parameters so that digital twins can be used during the long lifecycles. The technology is moving from one-of-a-kind spacecraft to aircraft and even the payloads that go onboard.

The next trend involves software. There is a continued growth in software-defined, hardware-enabled systems. Consider the standalone GPS unit in cars 10 years ago. It was purpose-built and did one thing. Map updates weren’t easy to get and traffic data was only on major roadways. What was bulky and cumbersome in the previous decade has moved rather simply and efficiently to smartphones in today’s environment.

Similarly, across the platforms and mission equipment, there are opportunities to continually innovate through the creation and introduction of new software on the systems developed, maintained and modernized. One aircraft Northrop Grumman is supporting today has 5 million lines of code in 15 distinct computer languages.

The software suite must also accommodate legacy hardware upgrades that have occurred. The original equipment manufacturers may not be around to consult. The code almost certainly was written by people other than those doing the support.

In spite of such hurdles, proprietary tools enable the company to do this effectively and efficiently, accommodating new mission requirements along the way. As mission needs evolve, software updates are used to expand functionality and extend the useful lifetime of systems.

Advanced manufacturing is another important trend in logistics. It is having and will continue to have an impact on the aerospace industry. A key dimension of advanced manufacturing is 3D printing.

Three-D printed plastic objects are common. One use is for stand-ins of conventional parts. Northrop Grumman uses printed objects as full-scale models to do fit checks and is now working to integrate these into operational assets. It is also placing printers closer to the point of need rather than keeping them only in the factory, which reduces production and storage requirements and shortens supply lines. This has a substantive impact on mission performance. This logistical approach is being piloted today with a military customer via a cooperative R&D agreement.

Computational power is being harnessed in a way not achievable in the past to create optimized designs. For decades, engineers have developed symmetric designs that could be created using conventional, subtractive manufacturing methods. Today, when optimizing designs for the freedom of advanced manufacturing, the outputs are often surprising, taking on unexpected shapes. They are functionally equivalent to human-designed parts but sometimes weigh 50 percent less and occupy less volume. Work continues on methods for multi-functional structural parts with features like embedded electronics such as sensors for condition-based maintenance, or embedded energy harvesting.

Advanced manufacturing also has a role in the global supply chain. For example, two parts can be manufactured that can be visually identical. They have the same volume and the same mass. Only one difference — the file used to print one has been manipulated to print the part with modified internal scaffolding. This flawed part won’t have the same structural performance as the genuine part.

In a supply chain, it would be difficult to distinguish between these two parts using conventional methods because of part complexity and limitations in non-destructive inspection techniques available to identify defects. Recognizing the importance of the complete supply chain, including digital elements vulnerable to cyber exploitation, is vital and Northrop Grumman is working with a university partner on how to cost-effectively distinguish between these two kinds of parts.

The final trend is robotics. In today’s environment, industrial robots are commonly used in high-volume, low-mix industries like automobile manufacturing, which involves millions of production units that don’t vary all that much from one another. Robots largely operate in a segregated, structured space in a fixed manner. Experts are required for programming and the actual tasks performed are relatively simple and repetitive.

Going forward, however, robots are expected to be economically useful in low-volume, high-mix arenas like the aerospace industry. Robots will become increasingly mobile and “human safe,” sharing space with workers doing the manufacturing or repair. Consider a robot used for aircraft maintenance that can fit in a fuel tank for inspection and repair.

Instead of constant programming, robots will rely on deep reinforcement learning, whereby they learn from watching a task being performed or even a simulation of a task being performed. The tasks themselves will also get more complex and variable in the future, including repairing or “hand finishing,” which will take advantage of new sensors, advanced control algorithms and multi-arm manipulation. Robots will be able to collect data on how a part was built or repaired including how much material was used and how much force was applied. The data all become part of a digital twin and feed into predictive maintenance routines.

The value of logistics obviously goes beyond managing manpower and spare parts. Logistics in the digital age allows for more condition-based, predictive maintenance that will ensure mission readiness. This readiness posture is especially pertinent since this digital age also brings new threats to the table, including those in the cyber arena. Maintaining a technological edge to support customers is paramount. By focusing on innovation, one can anticipate tomorrow’s challenges in today’s environment.

Gulu Gambhir is vice president and chief technology officer at Northrop Grumman’s Technology Services Sector.


from: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2018/3/1/the-digital-age-is-transforming-military-logistics



Over One Third of German Big Business Find Blockchain Tech as Impactful as Internet

According to a recent survey, over one third of big businesses in Germany consider blockchain technology as revolutionary as the Internet, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported, Dec. 4.

In addition to artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of things (IoT), blockchain technology is one of the current three areas of development with “tremendous potential,” the survey reports.

Conducted by the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (Bitkom), the survey revealed that overall, 15 percent of German companies think blockchain will “change society and the economy as much as the Internet.” Larger companies, with 500 or more employees, were more than twice as likely to hold that opinion, at 36 percent.

At the same time, about 46 percent of the surveyed companies classified Germany a “latecomer” in blockchain adoption, lagging behind other nations. A large swathe of respondents, 40 percent, said they see the country not as a leader, but somewhere in the middle, in terms of blockchain development.

Bitkom has conducted extensive polls of businesses and the German public in regard to cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and how they are perceived. In late November, a Bitkom survey revealed that about 60 percent of local companies are hesitant about approaching the topic of blockchain, mainly due to a perceived lack of practical applications.

In February 2018, another Bitkom survey found that 64 percent of Germans were aware of Bitcoin (BTC). Per the report, awareness had doubled since 2016. 4 percent of respondents actually held Bitcoin coin, while 19 percent they have an idea of how to purchase the seminal cryptocurrency and 72 percent stated that they had no interest in digital currency.

Regarding the economic significance of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain, Bitkom CEO Bernhard Rohleder said:

“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a good example of how the digital age is able to change the financial world. This is not so much about the individual currency itself as it is about the underlying blockchain technology. It will have an impact on the whole economy.”

from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/over-one-third-of-german-big-business-finds-blockchain-tech-as-impactful-as-internet

Can DARPA Crack Blockchain?

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
is looking into an implementation of the blockchain
that could fundamentally alter how sensitive military systems are secured.

06 DEC 2018

DARPA wants to know if it can do anything with blockchain

DARPA is known for seeing futures first, and then making them real. The Pentagon’s blue sky projects agency laid the groundwork for everything from the internet to driverless cars, and continues to explore the edges of technologies such as battlefield autonomy and paradigm-shifting cheap space launches. All of which makes a recent DARPA request for information on blockchain almost an indictment of the technology itself. If DARPA can’t figure out a responsible, value-generating use for blockchain, who can?

People or organizations with ideas about how the national security community can use blockchain (or, as DARPA puts it, “permissionless distributed consensus protocols”) are invited to respond to the request until Dec. 20, and if selected, may present their ideas at a workshop in February.

So what, exactly, is DARPA looking for? The most common use case for a blockchain is in cryptocurrency, like bitcoin. The cryptographic protocol creates a ledger, which tracks the full record of transactions and makes it extremely difficult to falsify improperly generated inputs. (I find this explainer in comic form helpful). In the coin iteration, these units are then exchanged as a kind of currency, though the variability of price at a moment makes it something more like an unstable commodity than a reliable store of value.

But DARPA is steering clear of currency-like uses. Currency has been a natural outgrowth of blockchain technologies because it provides the clearest incentive for many people to maintain a distributed ledger: keep running the computers doing the math to track cryptocurrency exchanges, and the exchange will periodically reward one ledger maintainer with new units of currency. (Commonly, this is what “mining for bitcoin” means, and it uses enough computing power to have its own trackable environmental impact).

Stay with me.

Rather than wade into the world of cyrptocoins, DARPA is side-stepping it, which means one of the big challenges for any blockchain application they might find value in is encouraging people to use it. The request specifies that “ all means of rewarding participants (e.g., giving them access to computing resources) also constitute a transfer of value; such transfers are within scope of this topic as long as rewards do not consist of money.” So one possible way to distribute the ledger may literally be distributing the ledger, giving people computers to use and maintain on the condition that they keep the ledger program running.

The second topic for DARPA’s blockchain workshop is no less ambitious than the first. DARPA’s looking for methods that can combine economic notions of utility with the computer science world’s understanding of protocol participants as “honest” or “malicious.” If someone has an idea about how people seeking to maximize their benefit from the use of an open ledger can be kept from acting maliciously in that space, DARPA is all ears.

Finally, DARPA is also looking for analysis of the way that distributed protocols tend to centralize, and the vulnerabilities that this centralization can bring. In the case of existing blockchain cryptocurrencies, for example, it is third-party services that manage the cryptocoins of others through password-gated systems that are often hacked and stolen from. Ways to anticipate centralization and mitigate the risks could help keep a blockchain system as secure as the individual pieces in it.

With so much uncertainty, vulnerability, and weirdness baked into the concept, it’s hard to imagine the exact utility DARPA wants to get from blockchain. And that’s partly the purpose of the workshop. Acknowledging that this technology has undergone real refinement and development thanks to blockchains and cryptocurrency, the agency is keeping an open mind about what, if any, function the military can glean from this work.

“These technologies have dramatic implications for the security and resilience of critical data storage and computation tasks, including for the Department of Defense ” read the request. “At the same time, the concrete applications and security of these technologies for the DoD is unclear.”

from: https://www.c4isrnet.com/c2-comms/2018/12/06/darpa-wants-to-know-if-it-can-do-anything-with-blockchain/


Even the US military is looking at blockchain technology—to secure nuclear weapons

By Joon Ian Wong


Blockchain technology has been slow to gain adoption in non-financial contexts, but it could turn out to have invaluable military applications. DARPA, the storied research unit of the US Department of Defense, is currently funding efforts to find out if blockchains could help secure highly sensitive data, with potential applications for everything from nuclear weapons to military satellites.

The case for using a blockchain boils down to a concept in computer security known as “information integrity.” That’s basically being able to track when a system or piece of data has been viewed or modified. DARPA’s program manager behind the blockchain effort, Timothy Booher, offers this analogy: Instead of trying to make the walls of a castle as tall as possible to prevent an intruder from getting in, it’s more important to know if anyone has been inside the castle, and what they’re doing there.

A blockchain is a decentralized, immutable ledger. Blockchains can permanently log modifications to a network or database, preventing intruders from covering their tracks. In DARPA’s case, blockchain tech could offer crucial intelligence on whether a hacker has modified something in a database, or whether they’re surveilling a particular military system.

“Whenever weapons are employed … it tends to be a place where data integrity in general is incredibly important,” Booher says. “So nuclear command and control, satellite command and control, command and control in general, [information integrity] is very important.”

This September, DARPA, which stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (the agency helped create the internet, among other things), awarded a $1.8 million contract to a computer security firm called Galois. The firm’s assignment is to formally verify—a sort of computer-code audit, using mathematics—a particular type of blockchain tech supplied by a company called Guardtime. Formal verification is one way to build nearly unhackable code, and it’s a big part of DARPA’s approach to security.

If the verification goes well, it would inch DARPA closer to using some form of blockchain technology for the military, Booher says. “We’re certainly thinking through a lot of applications,” he says. “As Galois does its verification work and we understand at a deep level the security properties of this [technology] then I would start to set up a series of meetings [with the rest of the agency] to start that dialog.”

The prospect of the US military using a blockchain to secure critical data could spark a boom in uses of the technology outside finance. Investors poured $134 million into blockchain startups in the first quarter of 2016, according to research by trade publication CoinDesk. These firms have focused overwhelmingly on financial applications to date. But information security represents a huge new market for blockchain tech vendors, accounting for $75 billion in spending last year, and projected to hit $108 billion in 2019, according to forecasts by market research firm Gartner.

In an age of mega-hacks on corporations and political organizations, an indelible record that detects tampering has its attractions. “We want to provide an extremely high level of trust … what this work is after is the highest level possible,” Booher says, “If someone is driving a combat vehicle, flying an aircraft, commanding a satellite, we want to make sure their focus is 100% on that mission.”


from: https://qz.com/801640/darpa-blockchain-a-blockchain-from-guardtime-is-being-verified-by-galois-under-a-government-contract/




DARPA may borrow blockchain tech from Bitcoin to secure military networks

You’ve probably heard about blockchain technology most often in the context of digital cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but the blockchain can be much more than that. In fact, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking into an implementation of the blockchain that could fundamentally alter how sensitive military systems are secured. Blockchain technology could even help keep nuclear weapons safe and sound.

With Bitcoin, the blockchain is the universal record of all the transactions that take place. Although there are some ways to game the system in Bitcoin’s case, the blockchain is supposed to make sure bitcoins sent from one wallet to another are tracked and accounted for. That’s really all a blockchain is — a decentralized timeline of activity. Because of its distributed nature, it’s exceedingly difficult to modify data to hide activity, and that’s what makes blockchains so interesting in security. A centralized or distributed ledger is easier to hack.

Timothy Booher, who leads the DARPA blockchain efforts, describes the use of blockchains with the analogy of defending a castle. You can build walls higher and higher (i.e. network security measures), but people might still be able to find a way in no matter how well you think you sealed up all the cracks. It’s actually more important to know who has been inside the castle and what they did while inside the walls. A blockchain could log that sort of information, making it considerably harder to steal or modify files in a system.

In September 2016, DARPA awarded a $1.8 million contract to a computer security firm to perform testing on a blockchain implementation provided by another contractor. This process is called “formal verification,” which means using mathematical processes to ensure code operates only in the intended fashion. It’s the closest thing to unhackable code, basically.



If the verification process goes well, DARPA could move to implement blockchain information integrity monitoring in high-security military systems, like those that control surveillance satellites or even nuclear weapons. This immutable record would be able to show if any files are changed or accessed with none of the guesswork that goes on now. Agencies and companies are often not even aware they’ve been hacked until their private data shows up for sale online.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have had their problems over the years, and none of the implementations are simple enough for average consumers to use in place of regular money. It’s still mostly used in illegal transactions and niche online purchases. So, maybe Bitcoin itself isn’t going to change the world, but the blockchain technology behind it could make it a lot safer.


from: https://www.extremetech.com/computing/237461-darpa-may-borrow-blockchain-tech-from-bitcoin-to-secure-military-networks




“URSA”: Hyperledger Announces New ‘Cryptography Library’ for DLT Development

The Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee has approved the Ursa project, a modular cryptography software library, according to an official announcement Dec. 4.

According to the statement, as Hyperledger has matured, projects “have started to find a need for sophisticated cryptographic implementations.” The post describes Ursa as a shift from having each project implementing its own protocols to collaborating on a shared library.

Ursa is meant to avoid wasted work on duplicate projects, enhancing security by simplifying analysis and making it “less likely for less experienced people to create their own less secure implementations.”

Furthermore, the project is supposed to grant “the ability to enforce expert review of all cryptographic code” and simplify cross-platform interoperability since multiple projects would use the same libraries.

Hyperledger states that with the new library “blockchain developers can choose and modify their cryptographic schemes with a simple configuration file.” Also, Ursa will purportedly have “implementations of newer, fancier cryptography.”

The library is divided into two, smaller libraries. The first contains simple, standardized, modular cryptographic algorithms and the second one “more exotic cryptography.” Advanced cryptographic algorithms like pairing-based signatures, SNARKs, aggregate signatures, and threshold signatures are cited as examples.

Software will be primarily written in Rust, but will have “interfaces in all of the different languages that are commonly used throughout Hyperledger.”

Hyperledger expects that Ursa will ease development since “it is easier for new projects to get off the ground if they have easy access to well-implemented, modular cryptographic abstractions.”

Hyperledger is increasingly popular for institutional and commercial use. As Cointelegraph previously reported, major Russian bank Sberbank recently concluded an over-the-counter OTC foreign exchange repurchase agreement by employing smart contracts on the Hyperledger Fabric Platform.

In November, French retail giant Carrefour deployed a food tracking platform based on Hyperledger in its Spanish network. The system will be used to track free-range chickens raised without antibiotics.


from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/hyperledger-announces-new-cryptography-library-for-dlt-development




Swiss Fintech License Allows Blockchain, Crypto Firms to Accept $100 Mln in Public Funds

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has released guidelines for their new “FinTech” license, according to a FINMA official press release released Dec. 3

The Swiss financial regulator revealed that license pursuants, which can be blockchain-related and crypto-related firms, will be able to apply for the fintech license with the state authority starting from 2019.

The license, which FINMA notes has “relaxed requirements” under the country’s banking ordinance, allows fintech companies to accept public deposits of up to 100 million Swiss francs (CHF), or around $100 million. Within the terms of the license, companies are neither allowed to invest the public deposits nor pay interest on them.

In order to receive the license, an applicant must provide a number of details about their fintech project, including a business description, business financial plan, assets storage method, risk management, anti-money laundering (AML) policies, and others.

The license document, entitled “Guidelines for FinTech licence applications pursuant to Article 1b of the Banking Act,” has been in development since February this year, and is planned to be adopted on Jan. 1.

Earlier in November, FINMA issued Switzerland’s first crypto license, which targeted crypto asset investment funds. The license allows crypto-related firms to legally provide a number of collective investment services, as well as tracking Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets, including domestic funds.

The financial watchdog has previously released guidelines for the regulation of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), considering those guidelines as a way of helping blockchain technology.

from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/swiss-fintech-license-allows-blockchain-crypto-firms-to-accept-100-mln-in-public-funds

Amazon Announces Two Blockchain-Related Products: Quantum Ledger and Managed Blockchain

E-commerce giant Amazon announced the debut of two new services, Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) and Amazon Managed Blockchain, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Nov. 28.

QLDB is a ledger database designed to provide transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable log of transactions, which is overseen by a central trusted authority. All changes are purportedly recorded on chain, while the new product is also able to automatically scale and execute two to three times more transactions than already existing products.

Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), reportedly said that the product “will be really scalable, you’ll have a much more flexible and robust set of APIs [application program interfaces] for you to make any kind of changes or adjustments to the ledger database.” On the product’s website, Amazon gives a broader description of the new service:

“With QLDB, your data’s change history is immutable — it cannot be altered or deleted — and using cryptography, you can easily verify that there have been no unintended modifications to your application’s data.”

Apart from QLDB, Amazon also announced AWS Managed Blockchain product, which can operate with QLDB, allowing users to adjust and manage a scalable blockchain network. The product reportedly automatically scales depending on the needs of specific applications, and is deployed in managing certificates, inviting new users to the network, and tracing metrics like memory and storage resources and usage of computer.

Earlier this month, Amazon won two patents related to methods for protecting the integrity of digital signatures and improving distributed data storage. The first patent outlines a “signature delegation” method for “protecting the integrity of digital signatures and encrypted communications.” The second filing proposes a “grid encoding technique” for distributed data storage by using groups of collected “shards,” where each shard represents a logical distribution of data items stored in a given grid.

Also this month, AWS and ConsenSys’ blockchain startup Kaleido launched a full-stack platform dubbed Kaleido Marketplace, that helps enterprises implement blockchain solutions. The platform “eliminates 80 percent of the custom code” needed to build a given blockchain project by providing an array of full-stack tools and protocols that are “plug-and-play,” spanning needs from back-end development to front-end app user interfaces.


from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/amazon-announces-two-blockchain-related-products-quantum-ledger-and-managed-blockchain



Ohio Becomes First US State to Allow Taxes to Be Paid in Bitcoin

Ohio has become the first U.S. state to allow taxes to be paid in bitcoin.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, starting this week, companies in the state will be able to pay a variety of taxes, from tobacco sales tax to employee withholding tax to public utilities tax with the cryptocurrency.

The filing process involves three steps:

  • First, businesses will have to register with the Office of the Ohio Treasurer through a dedicated portal called OhioCrypto.com.
  • They then need to enter tax details such as payment amount and tax period, and,
  • finally, the due amount is paid in bitcoin using a “compatible” crypto wallet, according to the portal.

Compatible wallets include the Bitcoin Core client, Mycelium and breadwallet, and others that are compatible with the Bitcoin Payment Protocol.

All tax payments will be processed by Atlanta-based bitcoin payments processor BitPay, which will convert bitcoins to dollars for the Treasurer’s office.

While, for now, the facility is available only for businesses, it is reportedly expected to be made available to individuals in the future.

Lawmakers in other U.S. states have also considered allowing crypto tax payments in the past. Back in March, Illinois and  Arizona were both weighing proposals to allow residents to pay their tax bills in bitcoin. Georgia was also considering the option in February.

However, Arizona’s lawmakers scrapped the plan two months later due to insufficient votes for the proposal. Similarly, Georgia’s proposal also stalled in April, due to a “lack of understanding” about cryptocurrency, said Senator Mike Williams at the time.

Ohio has also been working to bring other aspects of blockchain technology into law. Over the summer, the state legally recognized data stored and transacted on a blockchain, meaning electronic signatures secured through blockchain technology have the same legal standing as any other electronic signatures.

In the same month, Ohio lawmakers also pitched their state as a future hub for blockchain, hoping to both attract companies in the space and blockchain talent to the jurisdiction.


from: https://www.coindesk.com/ohio-becomes-first-us-state-to-allow-taxes-to-be-paid-in-bitcoin



DARPA to Host Permissionless Blockchain Workshop On 14-15 FEB 2019

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will host a two-day blockchain workshop in February, according to an official request for information (RFI) posted Nov. 19.

DARPA, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, is looking to investigate technologies for distributed consensus during a workshop “tentatively scheduled for February 14 and 15, 2019, in Arlington, VA.”

As stated in the five-page RFI released by the agency’s Information Innovation Office (I2O), “of particular interest to DARPA are so-called ‘permissionless’ distributed consensus protocols.” Permissionless systems are described in the paper as protocols “where any individual may join in the computation.”

The report further indicates that while there is a “substantial amount” of research in the field, the federal agency is interested in “several, less-explored avenues of permissionless distributed consensus protocols.”

I20’s request for  information covers three different topics – each of which is set to constitute a session at the agency’s workshop – the first of which is incentivizing distributed consensus protocols without the use of money. The document explains that “permissionless distributed protocols must incentivize various aspects of participation in the protocol,” noting Bitcoin (BTC) mining as an example system.

The first topic thus focuses on creating large-scale permissionless distributed consensus protocols without paying participants.

The second subject covered in the RFI is economic-driven security models for distributed computation protocols, asking for information about “methods that leverage rigorous economic notions to advance theories of security for distributed, permissionless computation protocols.”

The third, and last topic on which the agency requested information covers the “centralities of distributed consensus protocols.” Responses for this category are “novel analyses, methods to analyze and/or address the centralization of a distributed consensus protocol,” but also “unintended centralities and/or associated mitigations.”

The RFI also recognizes the potential of blockchain technology for data security and storage “resilience” for the government department, stating:

“Technologies for distributed consensus protocols have been revolutionized by their prominent role in cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. These technologies have dramatic implications for the security and resilience of critical data storage and computation tasks, including for the Department of Defense.”

The agency’s announcement fits a broader trend of ever-increasing interest towards blockchain shown by government agencies globally. On Nov. 22, a German news outlet reported that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is planning to use blockchain to fight tax evasion.

In May 2017, DARPA awarded a grant to messaging app Crypto-Chat developer ITAMCO to develop an encrypted, blockchain-based messaging and transaction platform for the U.S. military.

from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/us-dept-of-defense-research-arm-to-host-permissionless-blockchain-workshop

German Federal Economic Ministry (BMWi) Wants to Combat Tax Fraud with Blockchain

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is planning to fight tax evasion schemes by using blockchain, German business news outlet WirtschaftsWoche reported Nov. 22.

Following the major European tax fraud scheme CumEx-Files, the BMWi has suggested that distributed ledger technology (DLT) is capable of making the tax system more efficient in terms of fraud prevention.

Discovered in 2017, the CumEx-Files was a tax fraud scheme that reportedly was used by a network of banks, stock traders and top lawyers to obtain billions from European treasuries through speculation with dividend tax. As a result of the CumEx scheme, the German economy has reportedly suffered the most, with at least around $63 billion in reported losses.

The Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMWi Christian Hirte stated that blockchain technology deployment “could ensure” that tax shares are “certainly traceable” at “any time.”

According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, over $5 billion was washed through the German tax regulation loophole alone before 2012.

Earlier in November, the Thai Revenue Department revealed plans to track tax payments using DLT and machine learning, specifically intending to verify tax payments validity and to accelerate the tax refund process.

Previously, Cointelegraph reported on tax software firm Vertex suggesting that governments implement blockchain to improve tax systems.


from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/german-federal-economic-ministry-wants-to-combat-tax-fraud-with-blockchain




Does Not Compute: Japan Cyber Security Minister Admits Shunning PCs

A Japanese minister in charge of cyber security has provoked astonishment by admitting he has never used a computer in his professional life, and appearing confused by the concept of a USB drive.



Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, is the deputy chief of the government’s cyber security strategy office and also the minister in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that Tokyo will host in 2020.

In parliament on Wednesday however, he admitted he doesn’t use computers.

“Since the age of 25, I have instructed my employees and secretaries, so I don’t use computers myself,” he said in a response to an opposition question in a lower house session, local media reported.

He also appeared confused by the question when asked about whether USB drives were in use at Japanese nuclear facilities.

His comments were met with incredulity by opposition lawmakers.

“It’s unbelievable that someone who has not touched computers is responsible for cyber security policies,” said opposition lawmaker Masato Imai.

And his comments provoked a firestorm online.

“Doesn’t he feel ashamed?” wrote one Twitter user.

“Today any company president uses a PC. He doesn’t even know what a USB is. Holy cow.”

Another joked that perhaps Sakurada was simply engaged in his own kind of cyber security.

“If a hacker targets this Minister Sakurada, they wouldn’t be able to steal any information. Indeed it might be the strongest kind of security!”

Sakurada has been in office just over a month, after being appointed in a cabinet reshuffle following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reelection as head of his political party.

But he has already come fire for other gaffes in parliament including garbling an opposition lawmaker’s name and repeatedly stating “I don’t know the details” when questioned about his new Olympic brief.


from: https://www.securityweek.com/does-not-compute-japan-cyber-security-minister-admits-shunning-pcs




At Least Twelve $50 Million+ ICOs Still Haven’t Launched Tokens

BitMEX research indicates frosty reception for the ICOs
still yet to launch their tokens after raising over $50 million each


At least twelve Initial Coin Offering (ICO) projects that raised over $50 million in their token sales have yet to launch, new data by cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX revealed Nov. 21.

In a mailing list circular, CEO Arthur Hayes identified well-known projects such as Telegram, Filecoin and Overstock’s tZero among the twelve big ticket ICOs still yet to determine when exactly their native token will go live.

“These deals have massive valuations, and many of the most venerated token funds took down large chunks. It is unclear when, if ever, these deals will ever list on the secondary market,” he commented, continuing:

“Given the large amount of token supply out there, who will buy this s**t?”

“2019 is going to be the year of reckoning for many funds,” Hayes meanwhile concluded:

“If these things come to market, there will be no accounting tricks to hide the gargantuan losses that these funds will post.”

Hayes’ strong words summarize the troubles faced by the ICO market this year. Following almost twelve months of bear markets in cryptocurrency, many projects have hemorrhaged money, with previous research by Diar noting around 70 percent are now worth less than what they raised during their ICO funding.

Estimated in September when Bitcoin prices were around 30 percent higher than at press time, the figure is now likely to be higher still.

Other ICOs have since fallen foul of the law, with both Paragon and Airfox receiving orders to repay millions of dollars to investors by U.S. regulators, who found both guilty of selling unregistered securities in the country.


from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/at-least-12-50-million-icos-still-havent-launched-tokens-says-bitmex-research




China: Crypto Miners F2Pool Sell off Mining Devices ‘by Kilo’ Amidst Market Decline

Cryptocurrency mining operations in China are reportedly selling mining machines by weight, as opposed to price per unit. This selloff was reported by local Chinese crypto outlet 8BTC Wednesday, Nov. 21, with reference to the cryptocurrency mining pool F2Pool.

Cryptocurrency markets experienced widespread decline throughout last week, with Bitcoin (BTC) declining to as low as $4,300 per coin.

The decline has resulted in a similar drop in mining profitability and forced Chinese operators to sell their mining devices at a loss, according to 8BTC. The news outlet has reported that the miners are being sold “by kilo,” citing a post made by the founder of F2Pool on the Weibo microblogging platform.

Crypto miners are reportedly especially eager to sell the older models, including Antminer S7, Antminer T9, and Avalon A741, as these have reached their “shutdown price.” According to local Chinese outlet Tencent News, the earnings from mining are no longer enough to cover electric power and other associated costs.

The market slump has reportedly affected mostly small and medium-sized mining operations in the Chinese regions of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. There, 8BTC reports, some mining machines are being sold on the second-hand market for merely 5 percent of their original value. A mining machine bought at a price of up to 20,000 yuan ($2,885) a year ago is reportedly currently sold for just 1,000 yuan ($144).

Bitcoin’s price has kept falling, along with the rest of the crypto market, since the hard fork network upgrade of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) that took place Nov. 15. The update has led cryptocurrency exchanges around the world to suspend BCH trading and withdrawals.

Earlier this month, Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain announced plans to reach out to local mining farms in the coal-rich province of Xinjiang, and deploy around 90,000 Antminer S9 devices in the region. Bitmain’s move is reported to be a strategic one in the computing “power war” associated with the BCH hard fork.

At press time, the crypto markets have calmed down, with most of the top ten cryptocurrencies seeing only mild losses. BTC has today hovered between $4,450 and $4,630.

In September, the CEO of F2Pool published an infographic that indicated that if Bitcoin price would reach lower than 36,792 Chinese yuan (about $5,376), mining the cryptocurrency with an Antminer T9 would become unprofitable. In the case of an S7 model miner, the break-even point amounted to a significantly higher Bitcoin price point of about 79,258 yuan (about $11,581).


from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/china-crypto-miners-sell-off-mining-devices-by-kilo-amidst-market-decline



in similar context:

23 NOV 2018

Giga Watt Drastically Revises Assets in Updated Bankruptcy Filing


Bankrupt U.S.-based bitcoin mining firm Giga Watt just hiked the value of its assets in a revised filing.

The firm lodged an amended voluntary petition at the bankruptcy court in the Eastern District of Washington on Thursday, stating the value of its assets as being between $10 million and $50 million, far higher than the previously stated $0–$50,000 range.

The admin of Giga Watt’s official customer support channel on Telegram, “Andrey,” said Friday, “50k is an error. Amendment done. Process of filing was in rush. Mistakes in that case happens.”

The firm’s estimated liabilities and number of creditors remain the same as in the previous petition, at $10 million–$50 million and 1–49, respectively.

Giga Watt filed for bankruptcy on Monday with millions of dollars still owed to creditors, including hundreds of thousands to two electricity providers. Its biggest 20 unsecured creditors have claims worth nearly $7 million, according to the firm.

The firm was launched by veteran bitcoin miner Dave Carlson in May 2017 and held an initial coin offering (ICO) the same month that raised about $22 million-worth of cryptocurrency at the time.

This January, however, a group of plaintiffs sued Giga Watt claiming it conducted an unregistered securities offering and seeking the return of their investments.

Carlson left the firm quietly in August, after a number of job layoffs, according to reports.

The company’s collapse comes as times are increasingly hard for miners. The price of bitcoin, for example, hit a 14-month low near $4,000 earlier this week, having peaked at almost $20,000 last December. And the market capitalization of the wider crypto markets fell to $136 billion earlier today, its lowest since Sept. 26, 2017, according to data from CoinMarketCap.


from: https://www.coindesk.com/giga-watt-drastically-revises-assets-in-updated-bankruptcy-filing





Bitcoin Smart Contract Startup RSK Unveils New PoW Infrastructure Project: Root Infrastructure Framework (RIF)

RSK Labs, the startup working on smart contract functionality for bitcoin by way of sidechains, is operating under a new banner as part of a wider reimagining of its development ecosystem.

The newly-dubbed Root Infrastructure Framework (RIF) Labs is headed by many of the same individuals that created the highly-anticipated platform in January of this year. It’s a continuation of the work RSK Labs has been doing to date, with a specific focus on building “easy-to-use interfaces and language libraries that simplify the use of blockchain infrastructure,” according to RIF Labs head of marketing Gloria Vailati.

Unveiled this week, the company outlined the creation of five different code implementations or protocols to be integrated into the RSK smart contract platform. Collectively referred to the RIF Open Standard or RIF OS, each protocol is intended to simplify and streamline the development of decentralized applications, or dapps, and encourage broader adoption of blockchain tech as a programming tool.

Vailati told CoinDesk:

“RIF Lab’s focus is on building technology that facilitates access to decentralized infrastructure enabling traditional developers, organizations, and innovators to bring to life the next generation of distributed applications.”

Open-source push

While traditionally focused on tools that operate alongside bitcoin – think of it as porting ethereum’s functionality to the world’s largest blockchain by market cap – Valiati added that “all the software and intellectual property produced will be contributed to the community” as free, open-source code.

The idea, she indicated, is to advance the use of the RIF OS protocols to other cryptocurrency platforms as well.

As it stands, one of the five RIF OS protocols has been released – with the four other protocols to do with varying blockchain operations including payments, data feeds, storage and communication channels – to follow shortly.

The one available now on the smart contract platform enables developers to do away with “complex blockchain address sharing,” as explained by Vailati, and replaces addresses with plain, user-friendly aliases for cryptocurrency and token accounts.

Not disclosing any major funders to the launch of RIF OS protocols just yet, CEO of RIF Labs Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar told CoinDesk:

“I would say we are well funded to move forward … We don’t share the actual details but I would say we have funding for the next five to seven years of operations.”


from: https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-smart-contract-startup-rsk-unveils-new-infrastructure-project




Why Would A Blockchain Company (Consensys) Buy A Satellite Company (Planetary Resources)?


by Gedalyah Reback

It’s been two weeks since ConsenSys entered the satellite business. It befuddled the company’s observers to see a blockchain company, tasked with promoting Ethereum’s use, lay down what was likely hundreds of millions of dollars to buy one of the world’s premiere space startups. But the answer might lie in what ConsenSys can do for data and information, not just blockchain technology or Ethereum.

However, this purchase by ConsenSys does something far more revolutionary. Should blockchain see mass adoption in government, industry, and by the public, then which blockchain (or blockchains) will be the most accepted? Which blockchain will hold the most immutable and trusted data about land registrations, car ownership, supply chains, birth records and professional certificates, etc.? Considering the wealth of data the company just absorbed, ConsenSys might have just established Ethereum as the inevitable blockchain of record.

I suggested at the time that ConsenSys was piggybacking off the idea of another blockchain startup — SpaceChain — hoping to make blockchain a foundational element of commercial space infrastructure. I would not take that suggestion back, but there is something more immediate ConsenSys might be doing.

There is an axiom the industry needs to instill that applies here:

Blockchain doesn’t necessarily need cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency doesn’t necessarily need blockchain.

Blockchain has a tremendous number of potential use cases beyond finance, precisely because it’s a new kind of more efficient database.

Satellites Hold Critical Data for New Services

The nanosatellite boom — led by companies like Planetary Resources, Terra Bella (formerly Skybox), Planet (formerly Planet Labs), and private launch services from SpaceX — produces direct-to-market satellite imaging and communication. Consider that Google actually bought Terra Bella in 2014 for $500 million, before flipping it to Planet for about $500 million in February 2017. As part of that latter agreement, Google got equity in Planet and agreed to be a customer for Planet’s satellite services for the next five years. To give you an idea, a Terra Bella investor once said the company’s satellites were processing “one terabyte of data daily.”

Google made the original deal and maintained its relationship with Terra Bella for one reason: Data. Specifically, Consensys’ target might be Planetary Resources’ data-processing power. Ellen Huet speculated something similar in the weeks after Google’s buyout of Terra Bella back in 2014.

At a conference in 2017, Planet’s CRO Andrew Wild said they were taking raw data from their satellites, then converting it into something actionable as part of the “insights economy” and were already having “deep conversations with all sorts of customers on all sorts of verticals.” In fact, that 2017 panel even predicted the inevitable “vertical integration” of satellite firms with big data outfits.

Layers Upon Layers

“It’s like a lasagna. Layer, layer, layer. Depending on where you are, you may have different tastes,” Frank Salzgeber, director of the European Space Agency’s Business Incubator Centres (BIC) told me in 2016 at the Slush tech conference in Finland. “The future will be putting that in the cloud, SAP Hana, then making a cool logic store out of it, and make micropayments” to access it.

In 2013, Google began collecting imagery from the Landsat 8 satellite for use in Google Earth and Google Maps. That sort of data has also been critical in helping Google’s self-driving car prototypes navigate the roads, among other advanced uses by company projects. Google’s 2015 launch of Project Sunroof used these photos to take a census of the number of homes using private solar panels, estimating minutieae such as the best location for installation in as part of urban development and community planning.

Immediate Use Cases: Land Registries and Data Depositories

Google’s data could be critically used to help the expansion of microgrids, which are a potential use case for recording energy trades on blockchain. There are already a few pilots focused on this.

But there are some cases observers are even more certain about. Several countries — including the Netherlands, India, and Sweden — are looking to blockchain to keep better land records. Records can be kept up to date on the condition of land and record changes from orbit. This spatial data can be combined with other records and registration properly on a single blockchain. Arup Dasgupta covers this pretty well in a write-up from late 2017, where he highlights the geospatial implications of blockchain incorporation, highlighting the Swedish and Indian cases pretty well. He brings attention to one protocol, FOAM, that boasts it will be ‘the future of proof of location.’

Co-founder Kristoffer Josefsson calls his project a “mash-up between a Bloomberg terminal and Google Maps,” and yet he isn’t the only game in town. GeoUnderground, which developed its platform using none other than the Google Maps API, is already inking deals with the likes of Geospatial Corporation for “underground and above-ground asset management and location needs.”

ConsenSys Can Automatically Fill Blockchains with Authoritative Data

With all things considered, ConsenSys is positioned well to convert all this raw data into actionable and certifiable insights. Through Ethereum smart contracts, geospatial information can be recorded and confirmed on the Ethereum blockchain — or any number of second layers or sidechains — then relied upon for public record or private business. Registrations, land assessments, geolocation, timestamped satellite imagery and photographic maps of on-the-ground or underground assets are suddenly a matter of chained public record. And which chain will people turn to for that authority? Ethereum.

Google and other data giants are not exactly about to be outflanked, but a move like this bodes well to put blockchain at the center of new and refurbished forms of informational and technological infrastructure in the very near future. Add to this ConsenSys now controls a treasury of data it can sell, and it has expanded its portfolio of products and services pretty nicely — a smart move for any company, blockchain or not.

Going further, as we continue analyzing this unexpected move and perhaps read other surprising headlines, we will likely have a more mature view of the direction blockchain is going. Beyond a long period of hype over this technology and its accompanying cryptocurrencies or tokens, blockchain is ultimately a newer kind of database that might replace or complement traditional databases, depending on suitability.

And who knows. Those micropayments that Mr. Salzgeber mentioned? Perhaps they will be in crypto.


from: https://hackernoon.com/why-would-a-blockchain-company-buy-a-satellite-company-well-consensys-is-also-a-data-company-3a253c8ab323



October 31, 2018

ConsenSys Acquires Planetary Resources

Blockchain venture production studio ConsenSys, Inc. has acquired the pioneering space company Planetary Resources, Inc. through an asset-purchase transaction. Planetary Resources’ President & CEO Chris Lewicki and General Counsel Brian Israel have joined ConsenSys in connection with the acquisition.

Previously, Chris Lewicki worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as Flight Director of the Spirit & Opportunity Mars rovers and Phoenix Mars lander before co-founding and leading Planetary Resources. “Over the course of nearly a decade, Planetary Resources has simultaneously pioneered technology, business, law and policy, and brought the promise of space resources irreversibly closer to humankind’s grasp,” said Lewicki. “I am proud of our team’s extraordinary accomplishments, grateful to our visionary supporters, and delighted to join ConsenSys in building atop our work to expand humanity’s economic sphere of influence into the Solar System.”

From 2009 until joining Planetary Resources in 2017, Brian Israel served in the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, where he was responsible for the international legal dimensions of outer space, oceans and international environmental governance matters, and served as U.S. Representative to the United Nations space law body. “Ethereum smart contract functionality is a natural solution for private-ordering and commerce in space—the only domain of human activity not ordered around territorial sovereignty—in which a diverse range of actors from a growing number of countries must coordinate and transact,” said Israel.

Ethereum Co-founder and ConsenSys Founder Joe Lubin said, “I admire Planetary Resources for its world class talent, its record of innovation, and for inspiring people across our planet in support of its bold vision for the future. Bringing deep space capabilities into the ConsenSys ecosystem reflects our belief in the potential for Ethereum to help humanity craft new societal rule systems through automated trust and guaranteed execution. And it reflects our belief in democratizing and decentralizing space endeavors to unite our species and unlock untapped human potential. We look forward to sharing our plans and how to join us on this journey in the months ahead.”

ConsenSys will operate its space initiatives out of Planetary Resources’ former facility in Redmond, WA.


from: https://www.planetaryresources.com/2018/10/consensys-acquires-planetary-resources/






BitMEX Analysts: Both Camps in BCH ‘Hash War’ Are Mining at Major Loss – Solid Profits With Bitcoin BTC

In the aftermath from yesterday‘s Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork, both opposing camps in the so-called “hash war” are mining at a hefty loss, according to a tweet from the research arm of Hong Kong-based crypto derivatives platform BitMEX today, Nov. 16.

On Nov. 5, BitMEX Research announced it would be launching a network monitoring tool for both Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), specifically in preparation for the widely-anticipated BCH hard fork Nov. 15.

As previously reported, disagreements over a proposed network upgrade have split the BTH community into opposing factions, resulting in an intense “hash war” between miners.

The two most vehemently opposed camps are

  • Bitcoin ABC — favored by “Bitcoin Jesus” Roger Ver
  • Bitcoin SV (“Satoshi’s Vision”), led by self-proclaimed Bitcoin (BTC) inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, Craig Wright
  • Bitcoin Unlimited, a third, more “neutral camp,” is being led by programmer Andrew Clifford and has been pitched as a “compromise solution” between ABC and SV.
  • [all these have nothing to do with the standard Bitcoin BTC Blockchain – shown below as a reference in mining profits / losses]

Citing their fork monitoring tool, BitMEX researchers have tweeted that “although the ABC SV split is entertaining, we estimate that SV miners are burning $280,000 per day mining the SV chain.”

BitMEX Research says these assumptions are based on SV miners using Bitmain’s Antminer S9 machines, their ability to sell SV coins at the current spot market price ($100 at the time of the tweet), and energy consumption costs of 5 cents per/kWh.

Not only are the SV miners losing major capital to win the battle, but in fact, according to an earlier tweet today from BitMEX Research, BCH ABC miners are estimated to be making even larger losses than the SV camp.


BitMEX Research estimations of mining costs in the BCH “hash war”, tweeted Nov. 16.

At press time, Bitcoin ABC is currently 28 blocks ahead, according to data from Coin.Dance.

Notably, the largest global crypto trading platform Binance, major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase, Bitcoin.com, and mining giant Bitmain have all endorsed the Bitcoin ABC camp.

Earlier this month, reports from China revealed that Bitmain was rushing to deploy around 90,000 of its Antminer S9 machines to the western Chinese region of Xinjiang ahead of the anticipated “hash war.”

from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitmex-analysts-both-camps-in-bch-hash-war-are-mining-at-major-loss


Here is a funny addition on the topic:

How to Watch the Bitcoin Cash Fork As It Happens: Bitcoin ABC vs Bitcoin SV at 16:40 UTC on NOV 15

The most contentious hard fork in bitcoin cash’s one-year history is happening Thursday.

So contentious, in fact, that this one holds the potential to split the blockchain into two separate iterations of the bitcoin cash protocol – one led by developer group Bitcoin ABC and the other, Bitcoin SV, led by blockchain research company nChain.

The process itself is expected to begin at 16:40 UTC on November 15 – though whether one dominant chain will emerge will be determined in the hours that follow.

As such, cryptocurrency observers and stakeholders worldwide are lining up to watch the looming bitcoin cash hard fork, a process that will play out as miners aim their hashing power at one chain or another, as node operators update their software, and as investors and traders decide which coins to hold (and which to potentially sell).

Still, there’s a lot up in the air at this point – which implementation the majority of users will support, which implementation the majority of miners will support and whether or not the main proponents of Bitcoin SV will act on threats to attack the opposing chain

With the situation still very much in flux, here’s a guide for how to watch the action unfold.

Twitter chatter

In all likelihood, a good portion of the cryptocurrency community will be watching and live-tweeting how events unfold in the coming days.

If commentary leading up to the bitcoin cash hard fork is any indication, the following individuals are likely to continue offering their insights as the situation unravels:

Team ABC

  • Roger Ver (@rogerkver) – bitcoin angel investor since 2012 and early bitcoin cash proponent
  • Amaury Séchet (@deadalnix) – lead developer for Bitcoin ABC
  • Ryan X Charles (@ryanxcharles) – CEO of online payments tool Money Button
  • Chris Pacia (@ChrisPacia) – lead developer for e-commerce platform OpenBazaar
  • Jihan Wu (@JihanWu) – co-founder of crypto mining giant Bitmain

Team SV

  • Craig Wright (@ProfFaustus) – chief scientist of blockchain research and development firm nChain
  • Jimmy Nguyen (@JimmyWinMedia) – nChain CEO
  • Calvin Ayre (@CalvinAyre) – founder of cryptocurrency media publication and mining pool CoinGeek
  • Cobra (@CobraBitcoin) – co-owner of bitcoin information site bitcoin.org and discussion forum bitcointalk.org
  • Eli Afram (@justicemate) – writer for crypto news publication CoinGeek and founder of Bitcoin Cash Australia


  • Marcel Pechman (@noshitcoins) – founder of RadarBTC, a Brazilian site that provides cryptocurrency analysis and commentary for traders in Portuguese
  • Peter Rizun (@PeterRizun) – chief scientist for Bitcoin Unlimited
  • Alistair Milne (@alistairmilne) – co-founder of cryptocurrency investment firm Altan Digital Currency Fund

In addition, it’s worth highlighting the equally popular social media platform, Reddit. The main channel to watch for bitcoin cash-related developments is /r/btc.

Fork execution

Onlookers will also need some way of affirming that the hard fork has actually been executed.

One platform, Fork Monitor, will alert users once the hard fork goes live on the bitcoin cash blockchain.

Once the hard fork is executed, Fork Monitor’s sponsor, BitMex, stated that the exchange will feature settled prices for the Bitcoin ABC compatible blockchain and exclude “the value of Bitcoin SV.”

Other exchanges haven’t been so quick to take sides, especially given the ongoing threats of chain sabotage that may result in a prolonged struggle between the two bitcoin cash networks.

Yet, many are hoping that a clear winner will be undeniable.

“If there’s a split with an ambiguous, unclear winner where one side is slightly ahead of the other, that’s a really bad situation because … it creates tremendous confusion for people,” Ryan X. Charles, CEO of Money Button, told CoinDesk, adding:

“Bitcoin cash is already difficult enough to understand. The split would be a problem.”

Who’s got the nodes?

Finally, the progression of the hard fork once implemented can be gauged by watching the numerical estimates of node distribution.

CashNode indicates the proportional and geographical spread of computer servers running Bitcoin ABC software and Bitcoin SV software, among other compatible bitcoin cash implementations such as Bitcoin Unlimited.

Similarly, data tracking site Coin Dance also relays information about what nodes are operating on the blockchain. Among other details, the site displays which implementations are being used both at present and historically.

All of these platforms will provide useful insight into the bitcoin cash debate both before, during and after, which according to some, such as Bitcoin Unlimited chief scientist Peter Rizun, isn’t just a technical debate but a “political battle.”

“I see this fork more as a social or political battle playing out but it’s disguised as a technical debate,” he told CoinDesk.


from: https://www.coindesk.com/fork-watch-how-to-follow-tomorrows-high-stakes-bitcoin-cash-update




Hours After Bitcoin Cash Network Update Begins, Bitcoin ABC Over 10 Blocks Ahead

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network update, which many predicted would lead to a hard fork, began as scheduled today, Nov. 15.

At press time, Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin Unlimited are currently leading Bitcoin SV in terms of both hash rate and number of nodes, according to Coin.Dance. Under the new consensus rules, 41 blocks have been already mined, wherein Bitcoin ABC is 12 blocks ahead.

The update has led cryptocurrency exchanges around the world to suspend BCH trading and withdrawals.

The news about the protocol upgrade has divided the BCH community in two camps as there are two dominating proposals for the implementation of the BCH network in the form of Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision).

Bitcoin ABC stands for “Adjustable Blocksize Cap”, and its proponents argue that the basic structure of BCH is “sound,” and “does not need any radical change”. Proposed changes include “removing software bottlenecks” and enabling node operators to change their block size limit.

Bitcoin ABC is supported by crypto evangelist Roger Ver, while Bitcoin SV supporters are led by Craig Wright, who has previously declared himself to be the mysterious Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto. The SV camp promotes radically changing the current BCH structure, where its split is designed to entirely overwrite the network scripts of Bitcoin ABC and increase the BCH block size from 32MB to a maximum of 128MB.

The issue of a BCH upgrade caused a heated dispute in the community; Wright engaged in verbal battles with Bitmain’s co-founder Jihan Wu, who accused Wright of being a Blockstream spy. Wright’s messages to ABC, Roger Ver, and Bitmain have turned into bankruptcy threats and accusations of being engaged in Silicon Road machinations and child pornography.

A continued feud between the crypto communities would have a significant impact on the crypto market in general, while a split caused by a hard fork will affect the entire network.

from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/hours-after-bitcoin-cash-network-update-begins-bitcoin-abc-over-10-blocks-ahead




Germany: Bitcoin.de Now Has Bank License Through Tremmel Bank Acquisition

Germany: Bitcoin.de Crypto Exchange Operator to Acquire 100% of Investment Bank Tremmel

German holding company Bitcoin Group SE has acquired a 100 percent stake in investment bank Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH, “Cointelegraph auf Deutsch” reports today, Nov. 13.

Bitcoin Group SE, based in Herford, Germany, operates what is reportedly the country’s only regulated crypto exchange, Bitcoin Deutschland AG, also referred to by its domain, Bitcoin.de. Upon acquisition of the banking institution, which according to its website focuses on securities trading, the crypto holding will in turn obtain the use of Tremmel’s banking license.

As a press release from Bitcoin Group SE states, the banking license will allow the holding to “significantly expand” its crypto-related offerings and operate ATMs for cryptocurrencies in Germany, stating it would be able to:

“[…]issue its own cryptocurrency products, carry out proprietary trading in cryptocurrencies, and operate cryptocurrency ATMs is now available under the securities service provider’s banking license.”

Tremmel’s managing director, Rainer Bergmann, will continue to be responsible for the bank and expand it into a custodian bank together with Bitcoin Group SE, the release notes.

According to the press release, the purchase price for Tremmel is “in the lower seven-digit euro range.” The release notes that the closing is set to be completed in the first half of 2019, pending relevant regulatory approval.

At the end of October, Germany saw the establishment of its first Bitcoin ATM, set up in a Munich gambling hall.

Today, Cointelegraph reported that publicly-traded Canadian holding firm GoverMedia Plus Canada is set to acquire U.K.-based crypto exchange EXMO, both parties having recently signed a Letter of Intent (LOI).


from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/germany-bitcoinde-crypto-exchange-operator-to-acquire-100-of-investment-bank-tremmel


Deutschland: Bitcoin Group erwirbt alle Anteile an der Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank

Die Bitcoin Group SE mit Sitz in der deutschen Stadt Herford hat 100 Prozent der Anteile an der Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH erworben, wie die Krypto-Holding in ihrer Pressemitteilung vom 12. November bekannt gab.

Darüber hinaus wird die Bitcoin Group SE, Beitreiber von bitcoin.de, Deutschlands einzigen regulierten Handelsplatz für digitale Währungen, ihr Dienstleistungsangebot weiter aufstocken und Geldutomaten für Kryptowährungen betreiben, die bisher Mangelware in der Bundesrepublik sind.

Weiter heißt es in der Pressemitteilung, für die Bitcoin Group SE bestehe

„aufgrund der Banklizenz des Wertpapierdienstleisters fortan die Möglichkeit, eigene Produkte in Verbindung mit Kryptowährungen zu emittieren, Eigenhandel mit Kryptowährungen durchzuführen […] Orderbuch zu führen und selbst Kurse zu stellen, was gleichzeitig einen liquideren Handel gewährleistet.“

Der Geschäftsführer der Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH, Rainer Bergmann, wird weiter für die Bank zuständig bleiben und sie zusammen mit der Bitcoin Group SE zu einer Depotbank ausbauen.

Marco Bodewein, Geschäftsführender Direktor der Bitcoin Group SE, sagte laut der Pressemitteilung:

„Wir freuen uns sehr, dass wir mit der Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH […] einen bestens positionierten Partner mit tiefer Marktkenntnis gewinnen konnten. So wird es uns gelingen, die Unternehmensentwicklung der Bitcoin Group SE auf ein neues Level zu heben“.

Laut der Pressemitteilung liege der Kaufpreis “im unteren siebenstelligen Euro-Bereich”. Der Abschluss des Geschäftes solle im ersten Halbjahr 2019 erfolgen. Dieser muss zunächst noch von den Aufsichtsbehörden genehmigt werden.

Wann die Bitcoin Group SE Bitcoin-Automaten aufstellen wird, ging aus der Pressemitteilung nicht hervor.

Weltweit steigt die Anzahl der Bitcoin-Automaten weiter an. Laut Coin ATM Radar sind derzeit 3960 Geldautomaten in Betrieb. Im Europäischen Wirtschaftsraum (EWR) war Deutschland bis vor kurzem noch eines der letzten Länder ohne Bitcoin-Automaten. Erst Ende Oktober ist in der Münchner Spielhalle “monte24” der erste deutsche Bitcoin-Geldautomat in Betrieb genommen worden.


from: https://de.cointelegraph.com/news/deutschland-bitcoin-group-erwirbt-alle-anteile-an-der-tremmel-wertpapierhandelsbank


GPU-Mining Ethereum (ETH) Is No Longer Profitable

Mining Ethereum (ETH) using a graphics processing unit (GPU) is no longer profitable, according to an analysis from U.S.-based global trading and technology firm Susquehanna. CNBC reported Nov. 13 on Susquehanna’s findings, which point to the protracted slump in crypto markets and declining network hashrates as reasons for the profit decrease.

In Susquehanna’s analysis, profit per month for ETH miners using GPU-based setups hit a round $0 as of Nov. 1 this year, down from almost $150 in July 2017. Susquehanna notes the decline in Ethereum’s price as a major factor, with the altcoin currently trading at $204, down almost 85 percent from its record-high of around $1,350 in mid-January 2018.

Notably, however, on July 17, 2017, when Susquehanna’s figures indicate a $147 profit for GPU-reliant miners, the asset was trading at around $175, just slightly lower than today’s valuation.

To explain this pattern, Susquehanna analyzed a second factor: the Ethereum network’s hashrate, which fell substantially in 2018. A higher hashrate is more advantageous for miners, as it increases their opportunity of computing the next block and being remunerated in ETH.


Susquehanna’s graph showing decline in ETH mining profits. Source: CNBC


Susquehanna semiconductor analyst Christopher Rolland told CNBC that in this context, using chipmaker Nvidia’s flagship GPU card “is no longer profitable,” noting that the company’s crypto-derived revenue is down around $100 million quarter over quarter. He forecast this revenue would likely be “close to zero” in the forthcoming Nvidia 3Q report, set to be released this week:

“We estimate very little revenue from crypto-related GPU sales in the quarter, consistent with management’s prior commentary that they were including no contribution from crypto in their C3Q18 outlook.”

As reported just yesterday, experts from analytics firm Trefis have in fact forecast that Nvidia’s overall Q3 revenue will rise, yet like Susquehanna, they projected that sales from cryptocurrency-related activities will remain in a downtrend.

In August, Nvidia stocks fell amidst a decrease in digital currency mining as the crypto markets saw a downturn.


from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bear-market-and-declining-hashrates-mean-mining-eth-no-longer-profitable-analysis-finds




“B.S. Bingo”: Hilarious ‘Investor’ Promo Video of McAfee’s MGT Bitcoin Mining Operations

I have rarely laughed that hard!

[UPDATED 12 NOV 2018 with GMO Data – scroll down]

7,000 Bitmain Antminers makes it “one of the largest” Bitcoin Mining facilities?
That makes it at best 98 PetaHash/sec total — in a global network averaging 50 ExaHash/sec = less than 1/500th of the global network capacity.



Operating at a cost of over $5,000 per mined Bitcoin also makes these AntMiners older versions (14nm-based). Even Bitmain now sells 7nm Antminers (as of this week, the last major player to offer the technology) – which will make the global hashrate expand further, and cause mining facilities operating on older equipment to shut down, or replace their miners at high cost (which you need to earn back first). The hashrate has already peaked at over 60 EH/s.

So would you only invest in “MGTI” for the “exposure” to Bitcoin and Blockchain, when they are barely operating at break-even point now, and likely well above it in the near future? Or to mine other coins in the future (which trade at a lot less than Bitcoins $6,300 today), while operating at the same cost? Nothing the (unshaven) CEO explains in this video makes any sense. But then, Mr McAfee, who is behind this operation, is known for all kinds of entertaining actions …

The sad part is, so many people unfamiliar with the details of Blockchain and Bitcoin mining will be fooled by some blinking lights in a facility, which does not even qualify to be called “data center” (it is a warehouse, as you can see), and some will probably even invest in such an operation. This is what gives Bitcoin often such a bad name, and a “scam” appearance.


Steve Schaeffer, MGTI COO, in the video


Hashrate Distribution on 10 NOV 2018:
MGTI does not even show up on here.



The Global Bitcoin Hashrate on 10 NOV 2018
just now 45 ExaHash/sec – peaked at 61 EH/s in SEP 2017
(MGTI’s 98 PH/s is a very small part of it)



This is why I titled the post “Bull-Shit Bingo”
… forgive the language, but sometimes it is necessary.


Had MGT not sent out a promo-eMail about this presentation,
I might have not even seen this hilarious – albeit bad – video at all.

Subject: WATCH: A New MGT Mining Video
From: <news@mgtci.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2018 14:03:52 +0000



In fairness, they are not the only one, who are big on hype, and small on facts. This is the 85 MegaWatt “facility” of DMG Mining in Canada – who is really shy on saying how many tera- or petahash they actually power with the energy – but also offer “mining as a service”:


85 MW Announcement:
DMG’s 27,000 square foot crypto mining-as-a-service (MaaS) operation sits on 34 acres in British Columbia, Canada
and is one of the largest such operations in North America.


or take “Hut8”, which mines with Russian Bitfury (14nm) chips:



Certainly with high aspirations – quote from their website:
The name “Hut 8” refers to the building at Bletchley Park where Alan Turing created his world-changing Enigma decoding machine.

How many PetaHash/sec they power in their two facilites is also not disclosed – or at which cost they mine.


Happy Investing!

(hopefully you know better by now)



[12 NOV 2018] Mining capacity comparison:

Japan’s GMO mining hashrate equaled 674 petahash/sec in October 2018, planning to grow to 800 PH/s


Japanese IT giant GMO Internet has published its third quarter report Monday, Nov. 12, revealing a “historical performance” of its crypto-related sectors despite “the harsh external environment.”

GMO claims its crypto businesses, including mining equipment production and its crypto exchange, have gained 2.6 billion yen ($22.8 million) in revenue over the third quarter “in just a year since the launch.”

GMO Coin, an exchange platform launched by the company, has reportedly seen up to 208,000 users trading about 89 billion yen ($781 million) in October. GMO also reports that the profits are up 34.4 percent quarter on quarter (QoQ).

In the meantime, the revenues for GMO’s mining segment are also up QoQ, but profit has been down in the second and third quarters. The company yet again links the decrease to the “worsening external environment” and “increasing depreciation cost.”  According to the statistics provided by GMO, in October their mining hashrate equaled 674 petahash per second (PH/s), but the company is planning to reach 800 PH/S within the year.

As for new mining rigs, the delivery of the GMO Miner B3 announced back in July and scheduled for October has been postponed due to the delay of some electronic components.

The company has also changed a ticker for its yen-backed currency, GMO Japanese Yen, from GJY to GYEN. The company announced the creation of the cryptographic stablecoin tied to Japanese fiat in early October, which targets international transactions and is set to launch in 2019.

In March, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) — which regulates crypto exchanges in the country — sent a business improvement order to GMO Coin following January’s Coincheck hack. The company was forced to improve its services and provide reports on their risk management systems. GMO Coin then established a “Group Information Security Audit Office” in order to develop stronger security measures to protect customer information.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, major mining companies have recently released their Q3 reports. While AMD, a California-based semiconductor manufacturer, stated that its revenues for the period were negligible, Canada-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining company Hut 8 reported a record high $13.5 million for Q3.


from: https://cointelegraph.com/news/japans-gmo-internet-reports-historical-q3-performance-for-its-crypto-related-businesses





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