SingUlarity Katya Michaels

Become What You Are: How New Online Communities Boost Self-Identification and Social Mobility

SingUlarity
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Why this is more possible now than ever
Become What You Are: How New Online Communities Boost Self-Identification and Social Mobility
Contents

The word “birthright,” when defined as an individual’s entitlement to particular benefits or possessions conferred at birth, has nearly faded from use. Indeed, it sounds anachronistic and almost un-American – “entitlement” itself has accumulated a multitude of negative connotations in recent years. We still believe certain truths to be self-evident and certain rights inalienable, at least in theory, but the concept of having a birthright to opportunities– or responsibilities– seems archaic.

These days, even in developed countries, most families are struggling to maintain a middle-class lifestyle at best, and have very little birthright, if any, to bestow on their offspring. On the other hand, it’s probably good news that we are inhabiting increasingly open and diverse societies, where we no longer view children as being destined for various privileges or deprivations by the context of their birth.

And yet, we cannot discount the role played by the circumstances of early life in determining an individual’s path and sense of place in the world. Thanks in part to the technological advances of the last few decades, that sense of place is becoming less dependent on geographical location or social status.

However, our identities are still forged through socialization– the process of internalizing societal and cultural norms that ensures the survival of individuals and the continuity of civilization.

We learn who we are and what our future lives may hold through the frameworks and narratives of our communities. As Internet technology changes the nature of our communities, so it must change the nature of our identities– and the way those identities can evolve over a lifetime.

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Bring your own self

In the 19th-century, industrialization led to the formation of entire strata of new job categories. The change in the economic model permeated the social structure, leading people to question their place and purpose in it. Most were finding that although their awareness of life’s possibilities increased, the rigid socioeconomic framework prevented them from moving outside the bounds of the situation into which they were born.

In 1835, one of the great thinkers of the time Karl Marx, then 17 and just setting out on his own path, wrote in Reflections of a Young Man on The Choice of a Profession:

“We cannot always attain the position to which we believe we are called. Our relationships in society have to some extent already begun to be established before we are in a position to determine them.”

Learning opportunities were extremely limited, and even if one managed to attain the knowledge necessary for social and professional advancement, the barriers to entering– or leaving– communities were too high.

Community boundaries gradually became more permeable through the 19th and 20th century, but the decisive shift happened when growing Internet adoption fostered the emergence of online communities that required no qualifications for entry aside from internet access and were unrestricted by geographic or demographic considerations. For the first time, individuals could introduce themselves on their own terms to a supportive group of people with shared beliefs, interests and codes of conduct– even if most of them would never meet face to face.

Internet technology made the editorial composition of one’s online identity and facilitated connections far beyond the reach of “natural-born” communities possible. The user, represented through networks of social connections in different digital environments, was liberated from the restrictions of real life, free to choose community affiliations and abandon them at will.

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Community mix and match

Communities are central to a healthy society, and though they may vary in their form and implementation, certain factors contribute to the feeling of belonging that forms the basis for self-definition. An influential 1986 study by David McMillan and David Chavis found that there are four enduring elements that contribute to a sense of community: membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection.

Throughout life, the relative significance of those elements is likely to shift– while influence and agency may be more significant at some stages, an emotional bond is paramount during others. Not only do people change over time, but their community needs may be wide-ranging and even contradictory. Now, we can find a community to support our every interest, to validate every side of our personality.

As the technology of remote communication improves and online communities proliferate, the search for the right community becomes more refined, the choices more nuanced. This variety translates into freedom to be completely unpegged, fully customized– not fitting neatly into any category, yet finding communion in a multitude of settings.

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Beam me up: decentralized mobility

Another great 19th-century thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, envisioned the ideal path of self-identification– “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” The realization of this vision is more possible now than it has ever been in human history, although recently indicators of socioeconomic mobility have been falling in many nations, including the US, due to a combination of economic and political factors.

While online communities have allowed members to be who they decide to be socially and professionally, they have been powerless to release members from the constraints of centralized financial institutions– until recently. Now, the integration of decentralized solutions with community platforms has the potential to provide increased financial independence as well.

Transparent transactions, accessible investment tools, smart contracts and rewards for added value can give users control over their finances in the same way that online communities have given them control over their identities.

Moving to perfection

Perhaps wider participation in community platforms that use advanced technology to make membership more transparent, secure and promotive of social mobility could help us finally bring to life the dream of a young Karl Marx, as he formulated it in the same work from 1835. He spoke about profession, but it serves equally as inspiration for the pursuit of any calling, passion or identity:

“If the conditions of our life permit us to choose any profession we like, we may adopt the one that assures us the greatest worth, one which is based on ideas of whose truth we are thoroughly convinced, which offers us the widest scope to work for mankind, and for ourselves to approach closer to the general aim for which every profession is but a means- perfection.”

Learn More

SingUlarity
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Darryn Pollock

NEM Up 20 Percent — Can We Expect a Market-Wide Bull Run Soon?

NEM has spiked up near 20 percent with Coincheck back to normal trading, but the question still remains: will there be a big rally soon?
NEM Up 20 Percent — Can We Expect a Market-Wide Bull Run Soon?
Contents

NEM, the cryptocurrency that held a lot of trading volume in the hacked exchange Coincheck, has spiked upwards of 20 percent on news that the aforementioned exchange has resumed normal trading activity.

This is a nine-week high for the cryptocurrency, which has been able to get a lot more of its trading volume back thanks to Coincheck righting itself. However, while NEM’s spike in price is understandable and predictable, based on the catalysing effect of the exchange, there are bigger questions looming about a market-wide rally.

Bitcoin has found a very steady place in its price bracket, but there are waves and flows of ups and downs coming from other altcoins, making many wonder if there is perhaps another bull run emerging.

The likes of Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao believes that this is the case, but he also states that he cannot predict exactly when and how the rally will come. Many have looked to the past, regulatory acceptance, adoption, and the potential of good news on the horizon for Q4 as reasons to suggest the rally could be sooner than expected.

NEM’s Growth

NEM is the biggest earner over the last 24 hours or so, and its growth is amid a mostly stable market with Bitcoin almost rock steady in the $6,400 range.

Following Coincheck’s announcement that they were resuming trading activity on their exchange, NEM surged to highs of $0.114, before falling to $0.103 as a result of profit taking. Its price has since climbed back up and is currently sitting near its current highs.

NEM is leading a pack of altcoins which are showing good gains in general across the market, with XRP following behind with close to a four percent growth spurt. Earlier in the week, Bitcoin Cash was also pushing high levels ahead of its upcoming fork but has since seen a fall in price in a correction.

Potential for a bull run

With Bitcoin settling so comfortably in its right price bracket, there is not much need to look at the major cryptocurrency to lead the next bull run — as has often been the case in the past. Instead, with many of the top altcoins showing good progress, there is the argument that one should look to a combination of good performances there to pull the bulls out.

The altcoin bull run might precede a real big one coming from Bitcoin as even Zhao states that, although he believes there is a Bitcoin bull run coming soon, he cannot say when.

Zhao has said he expects another bitcoin bull run to happen "sooner or later", telling CNBC: "Even if I don’t know what will catalyze a Bitcoin bull run, I am certain it will happen...Sooner or later, something will trigger it."

It could well be that a smaller altcoin bull run might be the catalyzing effect that the Bitcoin market needs. Its lack of volatility has been mostly well received, but really, its claim to fame has always been massive growth spurts, which have been missing for about a year now.

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🤷 Opinions Alexander Goborov

EOS vs. Ethereum: The Bitter Rivalry Re-Examined

Opinions
EOS and Ethereum are continuously at loggerheads: here we attempt to deduce why
EOS vs. Ethereum: The Bitter Rivalry Re-Examined
Contents

Ethereum and EOS just don’t seem to be on the same page and agree on most things crypto, apart from unanimously declaring that the Blockchain itself is our virtual future. Of late, there have been scandals and accusations, but where is this all coming from? Is there more that meets the eye? Turns out yes, there is.

A Bit of History

Ethereum was established in 2015 by the Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin. The company very quickly ended up among the market leaders, becoming the second most valuable currency by market cap with around 22 billion USD. EOS got officially launched much more recently, only this year, but the company is already the fifth in the world by market cap with around 5 billion USD.

Importantly, one of EOS’s founders, Daniel Larimer (the other being Brendan Blumer of Block.one), already possessed a substantial amount of crypto experience as he had previously founded both the Steem Blockchain, along with its native coin of the same name, and Steemit, the corresponding social networking platform, back in 2016.

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ERC-20 Tokens

What some may not remember is that EOS actually started out as an Ethereum Blockchain-based ERC-20 token company. Similarly to how, say, Electrify.Asia are conducting their business at present, EOS used Ethereum—having gathered around one billion USD from token sales—to gain the necessary momentum before they launched their very own EOS Blockchain.

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This means two things. One is that Ethereum was used as a crypto springboard of a sort whose services were let go of when they became redundant. And two, Larimer and Blumer were savvy or even devious enough to use not the Steem Blockchain, ready at hand, but the more powerful one by Ethereum, though it belonged to a different camp. Today, EOS has both its own Blockchain platform / EOS altcoin and its own working EOSIO token with a similar purpose to ERC-20. So yes, it is possible that Ethereum views EOS as a younger neighbor from across the street who has now suddenly started playing on the same team with the big kids… and winning, too.

The Punches Being Thrown

While both networks are solid, both have their drawbacks of course. The EOS team has been fairly vocal in pointing out or at least hinting at Ethereum’s technological problems and problems-to-be. For instance, traffic congestion for Ethereum is not that unusual with some reports of longer confirmation times having been publicly voiced already. Another one of Ethereum’s problems, which is, in fact, the cause of the first one, is scalability: because of how the platform is modelled, expanding it is bound to create all sorts of jams and delays, and, crucially, not let the network grow properly beyond a certain point. This dilemma is said to be noticeably less pronounced on the EOS Blockchain because of how the latter one is built.

Also, unlike Ethereum that charges its participants fees in the form of “gas”, EOS charges its users nothing whatever. Instead, the network asks for some power and bandwidth in exchange, which are proportional to the resources required to undertake that particular action on the platform. This was also publicly noted by those who side with EOS.

It didn’t take much time for the Ethereum team to return the favor which culminated in a serious accusation this past summer from Ethereum’s DApp developers, among them Justo. Conveniently enough, this accusation also single-handedly explained why Ethereum’s network was getting congested and gas prices were jumping up and down:

“Myself, and many other high profile Ethereum application developers made a prediction that EOS would, in all likelihood, attempt to attack the Ethereum network gas prices to validate the launch of their platform.”

And further, after it had allegedly happened, in response to how one can be sure it was indeed EOS:

“EOS has been attacking the network on and off every time something they do doesn’t run properly… It started one month running up to the mainnet release. It was predictable and very clearly orchestrated… Follow the wallets. If you don’t think EOS is doing it, then who has 2 million dollars a day to attack Ethereum, and also owns EOS tokens?”

Daniel Larimer’s cold and succinct response can be seen below:

Larimer Message

The Most Recent Scandal

Earlier this week, Ethereum went a step further and plainly accused EOS of not being a Blockchain company altogether, a claim of immodest proportions. A research study conducted by the Ethereum-funded company ConsenSys and its partner Whiteblock concluded that EOS had been built using a model which is profoundly different from the universal standards of today’s Blockchain technology. Whiteblock’s CTO (Chief Technology Officer), Zak Cole, who is also one of the published report’s authors, proclaimed:

“EOS token and RAM market is essentially a cloud service where the network provides promises for computational resources in a black box for users to access via credits. There is no mechanism for accountability due to the lack of transparency on what block producers are able to create in terms of computational power.”

This has resulted in a heated discussion on Reddit with many users taking a stand in support of either of the two companies.

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Epilogue

The rivalry now seems like the result of bad blood right from the very beginning. Predicting what is going to happen next is difficult, but most likely things are only going to get more wound up. The market is ultra competitive and billions of dollars are up for grabs. On the plus side, perhaps a by-product of this rather nasty exchange will bring the users better and cheaper technology; after all, as the late Henry Ford once said, “competition is the keen cutting edge of business, always shaving away at costs”.

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Bitcoin Needs Banks and Regulators to Step in to Make it a Success

The recent move by banks to ban customers buying Bitcoin with credit cards is both good for individuals and Bitcoin
Bitcoin Needs Banks and Regulators to Step in to Make it a Success

As soon as the word “regulation” comes into contact with the crypto community, there is much booing and hissing. The decentralized nature of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is supposed to bring total economic freedom but it turns out that freedom is still a dangerous thing.

The recent move by the Lloyds Banking group in the UK, as well as JP Morgan in the US, to ban the buying of Bitcoin with their credit cards is a slightly removed form of regulation that is not only necessary, but beneficial to the crypto ecosystem.

Buying with debt

Straight off the bat, it is nonsensical for people to purchase a speculative asset such as Bitcoin with credit cards, or any sort of debt.  It is not only foolhardy, but dangerous for investors, and for Bitcoin.

News sprung up during Bitcoin’s monster rally last year, through November and December, of people getting caught up in the fear of missing out (FOMO) who were desperate to get involved in this ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.

People began buying Bitcoin with credit cards without really taking into consideration the dangers it could bring. At that time, it was all green markets and huge upswings. However, what goes up, must come down, and down the market went.

Those people who bought Bitcoin at the top with credit cards are now suffering not only the normal debt associated with credit cards but also have to deal with almost a 50 percent loss in their investment.

Reasons for stepping in

Whenever banks start making rules about Bitcoin, people get nervous. However, it’s good to remember that this move by Lloyds and JP Morgan is really a very specific niche of regulating. The banks are not involved in controlling people and their Bitcoin but are rather setting the rules for how their credit can be used.

It is pretty standard for banking to have such a level of control, and it’s a bit of regulating that the ‘new crop’ of investors could use. The reason that the banks have for doing this is the fear that their customers will get even deeper into debt, and thus could default.

Sounds like bubble talk

Buying highly volatile assets with debt is almost always a bad move. This happened in the housing market with its sub-prime mortgages. The dotcom boom also saw people throwing huge amounts of money at companies, some of it borrowed, leading to an eventual bubble.

It is not the technology that’s the problem, but people’s psychology. If people continue to get into the Bitcoin market just to make huge returns with no understanding of the underlying asset, the currency is in danger of bubbling.

However, if banks and others step in, then a little bit of added regulation can moderate people’s worst impulses and help Bitcoin survive and become viable.

Blending in regulation

There is regulation, and then there is regulation. Some are out there to try and strap Bitcoin down to a point where it cannot exist, such as in China. On the other hand, there is regulation which is actually aimed at helping fintech and the evolution of Blockchain technology.

If there can be protections and rules from banks and other institutions to protect people from a bubble or a bad Bitcoin experience, it can only be beneficial for the digital currency and should be sought, rather than shunned.

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Green Energy Competition Heats Up Down Under: Past-ICO Review

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On the road to a fall business launch, WePower sets itself apart from competition
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Contents

The tokenization (what isn’t getting tokenized these days) of electricity is one major use utility that has recently caught on in the Blockchain space. A number of similar projects have surfaced, with a major competitor, Power Ledger, vying for one of the same green energy markets in Australia.

High competition in this space plays a positive role overall as the driving force of innovation, but the implications for any individual company, including WePower, where total market dominance is not guaranteed, but rather working varied energy projects.

WePower and Power Ledger comparison: they are different

Thanks to some tweets,  we had a chance to get some info on what makes WePower stand apart from Power Ledger. WePower is focused on energy financing platform that will create and oppertuing for green energy production that will allow companies to raise capital by selling their “future energy production”. This is a major difference, is that they are selling energy before it is created. Whereas Power Ledger’s financing is equity based, which is similar to the current energy financing systems. WePower’s Smart contracts offer a much leaner and easier method of getting green energy projects financed. WePower is focusing on utility based energy transfers, where as Power Ledger is developing a p2p distribution network. WePower has a different blockchain and token, which accumulates value with the growth of the platform, where all energy is pooled and be bought or sold once it is produced. WPR token is also used for trading energy at auction. Power Ledger’s token is used for subsidizing energy retailers.  

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Throw another bill in the bank, mate!

ERC20 WPR token raised $40 mln in the initial ICO on Feb. 1, 2018. There was a presale that lasted from Sept. 22, 2017 to Feb. 1, 2018. So the company had a lot of time to raise the funding.

The token entered the market at $0.20 and then slid down to around $0.049 per token a 77 percent loss since its debut. It has a market cap of $22,281,006 and a rank of 284 with daily trading volumes around $460,130, according to CoinMarketCap.

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Team is not from Oz

The company is Lithuania based with an office in Estonia. They are working on power projects in their respective countries as well as, most notably in Australia and Spain- it’s pretty sunny in these countries.

  • Nikolaj Martyniuk Co-Founder

  • Artūras Asakavičius Co-Founder

  • Kaspar Kaarlep  CTO

  • Jon Matonis Blockchain advisor

  • Eyal Hertzog Blockchain advisor

  • Heikki Kolk is Energy IOT Expert

Incentives

WP’s main goal is to make green energy projects easily financed by allowing it to come from the community and individuals as opposed to the traditional top-down method of financing.

The financing model created by the WePower ICO incentivizes both producers and energy buyers to use the platform.

For producers, the model helps to increase return on equity by 20-25 percent, according to the website.

For consumers, buyers purchase energy upfront on the market for a reduced cost. Since the energy rights are held within a smart contract, energy that is not used is liquid and can be sold in the market.

This is tokenization in action right here, making things that are not normally liquid, ready to be sold at a moment’s notice.

Buyers, therefore, have access to cheaper energy, using only what is needed and reselling the rights to access the surplus.

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On schedule for business launch

WePower has some cool stuff going for it, and they are pushing ahead with releasing the v1 platform this month and are running ahead of schedule with the v2 platform. These platforms will help with new business and green energy project registrations. The official business launch is scheduled for the Fall 2018.

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Cryptocurrency Cloud Mining vs Hardware Mining- Which is More Profitable?

💡 Cryptotips
The battle of cloud mining vs hardware appears to be in favor of good old hardware mining
Cryptocurrency Cloud Mining vs Hardware Mining- Which is More Profitable?
Contents

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other less popular altcoins are now generating an immense level of buzz among crypto enthusiasts and this has caused the adoption of different cryptocurrencies to surge. Although the concept of mining coins is very appealing, there’s often the debate about which offers more profitability, cloud mining or hardware mining?

To really drive the point home, let’s understand what mining is all about.

What is cryptocurrency mining?

Before a cryptocurrency transaction can be carried out, it must be verified on the Blockchain network.

The process of validating the transaction on this network is known as mining and those in charge of the operation are referred to as miners.

As easy as this process sounds, it is a lot of work. In order to mine, a software which is able to compute cryptographic algorithms is required and to complete this, an enormous amount of computing capacity is needed. At the inception, mining was done on personal computers, but now, individual computers do not suffice.

And this is one of the drawbacks of hardware mining. It is quite expensive and almost impossible to execute individually. However, cloud mining is fraught with fewer risks and doesn’t require an exorbitant amount to start up.

Since the issue of money appears to be a pressing one. Let’s consider the cost of starting up cloud mining vs hardware mining.

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Cost of hardware mining

Hardware mining requires a significant initial investment. Some of the factors which influence the cost of mining are discussed below.

  1. Mining Rigs

  2. The hash rate of the Blockchain network

  3. The cryptocurrency being mined

  4. The cost of electricity

  5. The cost of cooling

  6. The physical space

The list goes on and on. Also, depending on how powerful you want your mining operation to be, the cost can go up significantly. Do you require an ASIC mining rig? One thing you’ll need to consider is that these cannot be repurposed. The implication is that if the cryptocurrency you mine decides to alter its hash algorithm, that signals the end of the mining rig.

In addition to this, most people start out with multiple mining rigs so as to justify the revenue they generate at the end of the day. You also need to consider the electricity cost where you stay and how much it’ll cost to cool your equipment.

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Cost of cloud mining vs hardware mining

In comparison to hardware mining, cloud mining appears to be simpler to compute. Some of the most popular cloud mining services, Genesis Mining and HashFlare, offer a monthly subscription model for users to purchase. This model is computed based on the cryptocurrency you intend mining and the hash rate of the network.

Cloud mining gained popularity simply because of the obvious limitations of hardware mining- only very few people can afford large data centers.

This new model then allows individuals to invest and purchase a part of a company’s mining power. Then, cryptocurrency is being mined without the issue of electricity bill, storage space or cooling equipment.

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ROI for cloud mining vs hardware mining Ethereum

The battle of cloud mining vs hardware appears to be in favor of good old hardware mining and the reason for this conclusion will be delineated shortly.

We gathered sufficient information from reviews, several online ROI calculators, and cryptocurrency fora and we were able to come up with a definitive approach to assessing the ROI of cloud mining vs hardware mining.

It was discovered that ideally, after 10 to 15 months of constant mining, a miner who deals in hardware mining should recover a significant portion of the amount invested and should move on to the profit-making period.

Considering the fact that there are areas where electricity costs are low and the weather is halcyon, the time it takes to recoup investment might be about six to eight months. One thing to note is that cloud mining vs hardware mining offers two different sides to the story.

While hardware mining is initial investment heavy, cloud mining is all about recurring expenditure. The cost of purchasing a two-year contract for cloud mining ETH is about $1,520 at 40MH/s while it is as high as $12,960 at 360MH/s.

The time it takes to break even was recently calculated to be almost 11 years for BTC. Genesis Mining for ETH even demonstrated a worse ROI. It was estimated that it’ll take approximately 25,992 days for an average person to break even.

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Advantages of cloud mining

In view of the seemingly unfavorable time it takes for the operation to become profitable, what are the positives we can draw from cloud mining?

  1. You can begin mining with very little knowledge about the Blockchain technology

  2. It is possible to start mining immediately you decide to. There’s no delay associated with purchasing the hardware or shipping cost.

  3. There’s no decrease in hash rate with time. This also means that environmental factors do not cause a decline in efficiency.

  4. The pool management system is automatic and doesn’t take up your time

  5. Cloud mining incurs very little additional maintenance cost. It only requires you to purchase a subscription model and stick to it.

  6. You can get a daily automatic payout if you desire.

  7. It’s easier to expand your mining operation by increasing your subscription model. This is unlike hardware mining where you are required to discard your old equipment and then purchase new ones

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Advantages of hardware mining

  1. Requires significant initial cost but eliminates recurrent expenditure

  2. There’s no way to fall victim to numerous cloud mining scams

  3. It is believed to be more lucrative.

Conclusion

Hardware mining vs cloud mining 2018 is one of the most talked about topics. This is a topic where experts and cryptoanalysts take different sides, arguing about the cloud mining vs hardware mining profitability. Whichever technology you decide to employ, you’ll need to devote significant time and effort to carry out more research.

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