Yuri Molchan

600,000 Chinese BTC Miners Cease Work Over Past Two Weeks: F2Pool Report

Since the middle of November, up to 800,000 BTC miners have closed down their operations due to BTC price drops and a decrease in hashrate all over the network
600,000 Chinese BTC Miners Cease Work Over Past Two Weeks: F2Pool Report
Contents

In a recent interview, Mao Shixing, head of Chinese mining company F2Pool, shared that as per his company’s recent study, from 600,000 to 800,000 Bitcoin miners have left their business over the past couple of weeks. In this research, the firm took into consideration the major decline in the network’s hashrate. It also analyzed data regarding the average hashpower of mining processors of old models which are now having trouble making profits.

Overall decline of the BTC hashrate

Data from the blockchain.info website shows a large-scale decrease in the all of BTC hashrate. The site takes into account the total computation power on this first-ever made blockchain platform. The recent data states that the hashrate has declined from nearly 47 mln tera hashes per second (TH/s) on November 10 down to 41 mln on November 24, demonstrating a drop of nearly 13 percent.

Mao Shixing said that the majority of miners have who ceased their work are most probably those who used mining machines of older models, from a production year of about 2016-17. Their hash power is around 10 TH/s and those, as statistics show, are making financial loses right now.

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The hashrate of F2Pool presently totals almost under 11.5 percent of the entire BTC platform, and it has also dropped around 10 percent recently, as per Mao. He also mentioned that tens of thousands of miners working with the pool have ceased work recently. This is the situation with BTC mining in China at the moment.

About a week ago, Mao published a photo on his Weibo account (the Chinese analogue of Twitter) — it was a photo of a person packing his mining gear to be sold by kilos. The community believes that mining has become so unprofitable that people have to sell the equipment as copper, but in fact Mao explained that gear in the boxes in that particular photo is as old as hills and is useless for further mining operations.

Winter is coming in China

The founder of F2Pool also shared that the reasons for the decline include the recent fall back of the crypto market, followed by the hard fork of Bitcoin Cash along with a rise for power fees in China. Another important reason is that Chinese producers of mining gear are rivalling between each other, making equipment of older models useless for further mining operations.

Mao explained the double rise in the power tariffs is due to the coming winter, compared to summer when electricity was not used so much. E.g., in summer in some regions electricity cost around $0.030 per 1 Kw/h. Now the price is to reach $0.043 per the same amount of electricity.

Mining is still alive

Mao assures that the more miners are getting out of business, the lower is the difficulty of BTC mining. Mining is going nowhere. The recent statistics show that the overall BTC mining difficulty has dropped around five percent, thus giving a chance for more profits for those miners who have decided to stay, says Mao.

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Darryn Pollock

If Venezuela and Iran Can, Why Aren’t More Countries Creating Cryptocurrencies?

A few countries have looked to form their own cryptocurrencies to fight off things like inflation and sanctions, but why aren’t they all considering it?
If Venezuela and Iran Can, Why Aren’t More Countries Creating Cryptocurrencies?
Contents

Cryptocurrencies have met a quandary where they stand currently, they have emerged from the dark web and been embraced and understood by mainstream society, yet their adoption is still slow.

Regulation, misunderstanding and a labored sentiment has stopped the spread of cryptocurrencies to ordinary citizens as they remain the playthings for enthusiasts and investors.

However, Blockchain, the underlying technology, is being roundly praised with all sorts of institutionalized and traditional sectors exploring its uses. Governments have not been shy to try and incorporate Blockchain, but they are still skeptical of cryptocurrency.

However, some countries are looking at Blockchain, and cryptocurrencies, as a way to defeat certain ends- creating their own government-back coins- this is happening in Venezuela, as well as soon to be in Iran. The reasons are to fight hyperinflation in the South American country and to avoid sanctions in the Middle East.

However, the use of cryptocurrencies can aid countries even where there are no direct financial or economic issues, so why are more countries not using them?

The oil-backed Petro

The Petro in Venezuela has been met with a lot of cynicism for its use to firstly avoid sanctions from the US, but also because people have noted that it could be used as a tool by Nicolas Maduro to inflate his pockets in a time where the Bolivar is inflated beyond use.

However, the Petro could be a functional and useful cryptocurrency for the people of Venezuela who are in a position where an economic collapse is on their doorstep. By pegging the price of the coin to a barrel of oil, they could be offered stability and ease of use through a digital token.

Iran’s almost-cryptocurrency

In response to more US sanctions, Iran has started preparing its Rial-backed cryptocurrency. However, instead of being decentralized in the normal sense. It is issued in compliance with a mathematical formula, but Iran’s digital Rial is released based on the decision of their central bank. That said, Iranian digital currency cannot be mined, and its transaction records can only be accessed on a private Blockchain.

Still, if rolled out correctly, and made available openly and fairly to its people, the digital Rial could not only help avoid sanctions but could leapfrog the Middle Eastern country forward as its citizens fully enter the digital currency revolution, despite the government being in control.

Dashing into the struggling countries

Venezuela may have the Petro, but it also has skepticism from its people. Thus, digital currency Dash is working hard in establishing itself in the South American country, as well as in Zimbabwe, another country with economic issues.

However, the issue with implementing decentralized coins that are well known in countries with an established government is that they will not be open to having no control or sanction over a major financial aspect of their economy.

Chance to grow

It would be interesting to see what countries with stable economies think of the benefits of a digital currency, even if it is a government-issued one. Many will feel that there is no point in a government-backed crypto, saying it is not a true cryptocurrency, but it does offer many benefits.

Not only are the benefits open for their citizens, it would take away the privatization of a lot of companies like Visa and Mastercard, and allow the government a new revenue stream on which to tax, while still aiding things like cross-border payments.

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AI Beixi Xu

One-to-One 3D Service: How Meituan’s AI Product “B-BOX” Serves Customers

🤖 AI
Chinese group buying website Meituan is going to launch their full scene AI product “Better-Box” to serve customers by the end of this month
One-to-One 3D Service: How Meituan’s AI Product “B-BOX” Serves Customers
Contents

Chinese group buying website Meituan is going to launch its first full scene AI product “Better-Box” to serve customers by the end of this month.

The new product combines AI, Cloud Big Data, machine vision and 3D photographic projection technologies to provide virtual characters to serve users. The name came from Meituan’s “eat better live better” business mission.  

What “B-BOX” looks like?

B-Box is shaped like a cube, with an AR optical see-through projector on the top. Also, there is a 10mm-AI-chip inside called M1000 to support its operation, apart from that we cannot see other holes outside the box.

Photo via Sohu

One-to-One Service: improve user’s shopping experience

Recently most merchants are paying more attention to consumer’s consumption experience to win profits. The launching of B-Box aims at helping customers make a better choice.

“If you open Meituan’s mobile app, you can talk to the 3D virtual character,” said Renjie Yu, Meituan’s AI technician. “B-Box uses Cloud Computing technology to analysis consumers’ shopping preference, that’s why you can talk to the virtual person in the real time.”

The product will be widely used in all entertainment places such as karaoke, restaurants, bars and hotels. Besides that, B-Box can also help vulnerable populations such as speech handicapped people to better communicate with Uber drivers.

Talking to a 3D virtual character, Photo via China Scitechnology Business
Talking to a 3D virtual character, Photo via China Scitechnology Business

“I am really surprised at their AR Magic Sensor system,” said Siyu Wang, a Meituan user who studies in Shanghai. “ I don’t like making choices; I prefer someone recommend dishes for me especially cater to my taste, that makes me special.”

B-Box not only provides customers better service but also helps merchants know their customers and find solutions to the existing consumer market. As one of the largest retail platforms in China, there are two million merchants registered on Meituan, the company said B-Box is the start of applying AI to customized service.

Now the product is going into the production process and will be put into use on the Meituan platform on April 31.

AI
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Eric Eissler

NEO Price Prediction for 2018-19, 2020-25

Did you miss the boat with NEO? Perhaps not, take a look at the NEO price predictions
NEO Price Prediction for 2018-19, 2020-25
Contents

NEO was once known as Antshares, but the name was changed to rebrand. China-based NEO is like many others trying to improve upon the smart contracts Blockchain model.

What is NEO

It could be referred to as the Chinese Ethereum but what sets it apart from Ether is the fact that is attempting to develop a smart economy that digitizes assets and creates a proof of ownership model.

Additionally, the other thing that sets it apart is programming languages. Ethereum uses a proprietary Solidity language, that requires developers to learn before using.

Conversely, NEO is built on C++, Python and JavaScript, which more than one mln developers already know, so they can jump into the action and start writing smart contracts. On an interesting side note, NEO tokens cannot be subdivided; the smallest amount of NEO is one NEO and nothing less.

NEO past performance

NEO, at the time when it was known as Antshares, entered the market on Sept. 8, 2016 at only $0.18 cents per token.

Since that time it has spiked to a high of $162.11 on Jan. 30, 2018 and is currently, at time of writing, trading at $37.88.

Since it starts it has gained a considerable amount, but at the same time it has lost a great deal too; down by 76 percent from its all-time high.

NEO is ranked at 12 on CoinMarketCap. It has moved relative to the market as most cryptos have done over the past year. Let’s not get too hung up on the past and its glory days, but let’s look ahead to where we think NEO could be headed in the short, mid, and long-term.

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NEO price prediction 2018 and 2019

While many predictions and software models called for higher NEO prices by mid-2018, they have been wrong, unfortunately. The crypto market has seen much adversity from governments and regulatory bodies around the world and this has made the bears dominate the market for much of the first half of 2018. If the bears continue, the price could fall by another 50 percent by the end of the year, leaving NEO around $20.

However, if the bears take over and there is a rally market, we would be fortunate to see a doubling or tripling of the price by the year’s end around $80 or close to the all-time high of $120. The following year proves to be more of a challenge, but as NEO works more and more closely with the Chinese government, we could see the price propel upwards, as the government would be a colossal support for the token, as the Chinese government has taken many measures to ban crypto trading in China.

Support for one token would be a figurative monopoly for NEO in China. While that might take a few more years to happen, we could hopefully see a $100 NEO at the bare minimum sometime in 2019.

NEO price prediction 2020 and 2025

The farther we get into the future, the more unknown variable enter the equation and make it harder to predict what could happen to prices.

However, if we study multiple charts and estimations we could infer that the price of NEO could be in a range from $150 to $200 in 2020, if no major bear markets attack the price. Should the continue to bears drag the market downwards, we could see prices hovering in the lows: between $115 and $135. Going out into the long-term predictions, we could see some more positives depending on how the Chinese act.

Mass investment by the Chinese could drive the price to anywhere between $200 and $300 per token. Furthermore, the more use cases and adoptions of the technology, the more we are able to see increased prices.

NEO is one of the Chinese government’s favorite cryptocurrencies and they have treated it favorably.

Considering all the bans and crackdowns they have issued for other cryptos which has lead to many market crashes. In addition to China’s favorability towards NEO, it is also being used by many major businesses in the country such as Alibaba and Microsoft China.

Considering the huge size of the Chinese market and the impact China has on the overall economy, this factor could provide a major boost for NEO.

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Reasons to invest in NEO

  • NEO has a technical advantage over Ether, such that it can be programmed with more than one language.
  • NEO is considered the next step in Blockchain development. Bitcoin is for payments, Ethereum is for smart contracts, NEO is for smart economy and the digitization of assets.  
  • NEO has backing from the Chinese government, essentially giving it dominance over all other cryptos in the country.

Reasons to not invest in NEO

  • Competition. NEO faces challenges from numerous cryptos that have been flooding the market. They lay claim to being the “next big thing” and the crypto market is dynamic, with a “here today, gone tomorrow” pace.  
  • Chinese backing is a double-edged sword that could hurt NEO, should the government decide to go back on supporting NEO and place an outright ban on cryptos.

Crypto Kings hard to unseat

While there are many who, such as Mark Cagney, co-founder at Social Finance (SoFi) argue that NEO has the ability to displace Bitcoin and/or Ethereum and that would win it more gains, could be right but have not added the technology adoption rate into the equation. While technology develops at a rapid pace, users are not apt to adopt it right away. People will find something they like and stick with it.

Bitcoin and Ethereum have the name and track record, it would be a long time before that apple cart is upset, but it doesn’t mean than NEO won’t perform well.

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David Dinkins

Aluminum, Steel, Bitcoin: China’s Three Means of Exporting Spare Electricity

In the face of Trump’s tariffs, it’s beginning to look like China shouldn’t have cracked down on Bitcoin mining after all
Aluminum, Steel, Bitcoin: China’s Three Means of Exporting Spare Electricity
Contents

President Trump’s recently-announced tariff on aluminum and steel imports has generated significant controversy and consternation, both in the US and abroad. It might surprise our readers to find that Bitcoin has something in common with the aluminum and steel industries. In fact, all three industries are notable in that they essentially convert spare electricity into an exportable product, according to the Washington Post.

Extra electricity

China is brimming with spare electrical capacity, as hydropower has been scaled up drastically and new coal-burning plants are being built like they’re going out of style. In fact, the Post reports that since 2001, China has added more electrical production than the rest of the world put together. By 2020, the US is expected to generate 4.2 tln kilowatt-hours, about the same as it produces now. China, on the other hand, will produce about 6.8 tln kilowatt-hours, according to estimates.

Exporting

China is producing more power than can possibly be used under ordinary circumstances, and it’s impossible to store or export electricity at that scale. However, the Chinese cleverly found a way to take all that cheap excess energy and monetize it, by turning it into aluminum, steel and Bitcoins. After dealing with fixed costs, all three industries have very low input costs (Bitcoin has none). In fact, the overwhelming majority of the cost of producing aluminum is the electricity needed, causing some to call the metal “congealed electricity.”

As a result of turning the country’s excess electricity into aluminum and steel, the entire international market has been thrown into upheaval. China makes more aluminum than the rest of the world combined. In 1993, the US had 23 aluminum producers; today, there are only two left.

So long, Bitcoin

It’s not surprising that China’s Communist government eschewed a digital currency that gave so much power back to the people. After all, China’s president just abolished presidential term limits, effectively transforming himself into a lifetime ruler. Is it any wonder that he, and his officials, are opposed to citizens taking economic power into their own hands?

Still, it’s unfortunate, because Bitcoin is an ideal way to convert unused electricity into an exportable economy. Before the government crackdown earlier this year, China produced 75 percent of the world’s newly-mined Bitcoins. While Bitcoin is still a small industry compared to steel and aluminum, it was a highly effective way to monetize some of that spare electricity.

Now that China has effectively banned all Bitcoin trading and has severely handicapped Bitcoin miners, the country has no choice but to continue expending its excess electricity in the manufacture of aluminum and steel. Unfortunately for Chinese industry, that production will now be met with significant tariffs upon export to the US.

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Alexander Goborov

The Biggest Crypto Crimes and Fiascos to Date: Our Top 10 List

Today’s top 10 list is comprised of the most notorious (and expensive) crypto crimes and fails known to date: Silk Road’s Ulbricht remains unbeaten
The Biggest Crypto Crimes and Fiascos to Date: Our Top 10 List

In the times of the ongoing crypto-economic crisis―to remind ourselves that we have seen far worse―we bring you our top 10 list of the most notorious crimes and failures of the crypto world to this day:

The Biggest Crypto Crimes and Fiascos to Date: Our Top 10 List

In tenth place is our good old friend Charlie Shrem who just keeps on going. Charlie already served time back in 2014 for making his Bitinstant crypto payment system available to drug dealers on the Dark Web.

Now, he is being sued by the Winklevoss Twins for not ever giving back their share of Bitcoins, equivalent to 32 million USD at the time of the lawsuit, which could be classified as a form of embezzlement. Whether Charlie is proven guilty or innocent remains to be seen.

In ninth place is the famous Thai actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit, known by his stage name Boom, which is all too appropriate for having caused a major media boom earlier this year when he was arrested for stealing 34 million USD worth of Bitcoin from a young Finnish investor.

After an initial introduction on the web, the Finnish man was taken to a casino in Macau and offered to invest in the hot new Dragon Coin. When he did just that, the scammers led by Jiratpisit Jaravijit disappeared without a trace, but fortunately, were eventually located and apprehended.

In eighth place is NiceHash, one of the largest crypto mining platforms in the world, based in Slovenia, a former constituent of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. NiceHash came under a cyber attack in December 2017 as the Bitcoin bubble was in full force. Close to 5000 Bitcoins were stolen as a result of well-orchestrated security breach causing the website around 62 million USD.

Amazingly, while NiceHash’s reputation was indeed hurt, the platform is still operating today and considered by many to be one of the most reputable mining companies around.

In seventh place is the Zhou case from China. In the summer of this year, Chinese law enforcement officials arrested a group of IT specialists based in the Shaanxi province in Central China who used remote cyber-hijacking techniques to gain control of computers at several unnamed Internet companies.

The criminals, led by Zhou, managed to steal 87 million USD worth of digital currency, which is considered to be the biggest ever crypto theft, and all that, mind you, despite the Chinese government’s ongoing crypto ban.

In sixth place is the Italian company Bitgrail whose servers supposedly suffered a major security breach in February of this year. During the crypto siege, hackers stole 17 million Nano tokens, which at the time of the incident was equivalent to 195 million USD.

The news went from terrible to yet more scandalous when it was later reported that the founder, Francesco Firano, might have simulated the attack in order to cover unlawful withdrawals from the clients’ wallets from the previous year. The investigation is still going on with the investors suing the company and Bitgrail’s crypto wallets having been confiscated by the Italian police.

In fifth place is Parity Technologies based in Germany with offices in the UK. In perhaps the biggest epic fail of the crypto world known to date, Parity lost 300 million USD worth of Ether when one user accidentally became the owner of all of Parity’s multi-signature wallets last year.

Parity had been fixing their system in order to fight off repeated cyber threats from hackers; however, this backfired a millionfold by leaving a bug in their system that led to the peculiar situation of one client having gained ownership of other clients’ funds, which the client then proceeded to move around.

Whilst trying to set things right in a panic, the user, “devops199”, destroyed the transfer code, which unwittingly locked all of the funds in wallets with no possibility of access. Parity is said to be working on resolving the issue, currently to no visible result. Hard fork type solutions and alternate routes have been suggested, but Ethereum has not been very supportive in going along.

In fourth place is Coincheck, based in Japan, with the biggest reported cyber security breach known to date, also (quite alarmingly) from earlier this year. In January, during a well-executed attack, the hackers stole 523 million NEM coins from the exchange platform, which at the time of the accident were worth approximately 530 million USD, leading the company’s shocked president to call it “the biggest theft in the history of the world”.

The Japanese firm showed full compliance with the local law by opening its doors to inspections and promising to refund their clients. In April, Monex Group, which specializes in traditional finance, saw an opportunity in the wounded crypto giant and bought Coincheck. Impressively, the platform lives on with plans to enter the American market.

In third place is One Coin, a by now well-known crypto pyramid, the biggest Ponzi scheme case of the crypto world. The scam started back in 2015 in Bulgaria by Ruja Ignatova with her accomplices and spread to other regions, as is the case with any pyramid. The gist of it was this: learn how to crypto-trade with us and support our cryptocurrency, One Coin; invest in it and thus in the future, use the means we provide to mine it.

None of it went anywhere, of course, except that the brains behind the operation collected huge sums of money. While the full extent of the scam is yet to be determined, federal prosecutors in the US made arrests and charged the perpetrators with a 400 million dollar financial crime; the prosecutors in China arrested yet more scammers in their country and gave the figure of 267 million USD, taking the total damage to 667 million USD. So far.

In second place is India’s very own Bharatiya Janata Party, which in July of this year  was accused of money laundering using Bitcoin by no less than the Indian Congress itself. The accusation pertaining to the party’s questionable activities from the previous year was publicly presented by Shaktisinh Gohil, a spokesperson for the All India Congress Committee, who claimed that Bitcoin had been used to convert the party’s “black money into white”.

In a country riddled with corruption, an accusation of money laundering was nothing new; what was new though is that Bitcoin had been made the instrument. That, plus the amount of black money allegedly converted into Bitcoin, a whopping 760 million USD. India’s Supreme Court has since been called upon to launch a formal judicial inquiry, but the outcome remains uncertain.

And finally, in first place is Silk Road and its creator Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the infamous platform responsible for popularizing Bitcoin―back then still a new phenomenon―for the purposes of decentralized trade on the Dark Web, mainly of illicit substances and firearms.

In 2013, Ulbricht was apprehended by the FBI and later charged with computer hacking, money laundering, and drug trafficking. His Bitcoins were seized and taken to the US Marshals Office, which held a public auction and sold them off to multiple buyers, among them Timothy Draper and Barry Silbert.

While Ulbricht is serving a double life sentence in Colorado’s Florence High Penitentiary, it must be painful for him to realize that his 144 000 Bitcoins would have been worth a staggering 2 billion USD at the time of his final appeal.

We hope you enjoyed our list. You may also like this one:

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