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| October 17, 2019

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Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned

July 12, 2019 |

Iran’s Central Bank Will Allow Bitcoin Mining Operations as Miners Flock to the Oil-Rich Nation

According to regional reports, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is planning to allow licensed cryptocurrency mining as long as operations are charged for electricity based on the price of export. The CBI governor, Abdol Nasser Hemmati, explained that mined cryptocurrencies should flow back into the Iranian economy.

Also read: Bitcoin Miner Recounts Struggle to Obtain Cheap Iranian Power

Chinese Miners Negotiate With Iranian Leaders to Set Up Mining Operations in the Free Trade Zones

In December 2018, there were reports of miners stemming from China, Spain, Ukraine, Armenia, and France to mine bitcoin in the oil-rich nation of Iran. The Middle Eastern country has extremely cheap electricity rates, and in April there were even more stories of Chinese miners heading to Iran for extremely affordable electric prices at $ 0.006 per kilowatt-hour (KWh). Then, at the end of June, the spokesperson for Tavanir, an Iranian state-operated grid entity, said that electrical consumption had spiked by 7% in comparison to the previous year. Tavanir executive Mostafa Rajabi Mashhad further blamed illicit cryptocurrency mining operations for the country’s increased electrical consumption. Rajabi told the press that other Iranian provinces were having difficulties due to the mass electrical consumption and emphasized that “illegal bitcoin miners will be identified and their electricity will be cut.”

Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned
Spokesperson for Tavanir, Mostafa Rajabi Mashhad.

Following Rajabi’s statements, bitcoin miners defied his warning and Iranians shared pictures of a bitcoin mining mosque. The regional publication Iran Daily reported that there were roughly 100 unauthorized bitcoin mining sites located in various provinces. The Tabnak website claims 1,000 bitcoin mining machines were seized by Iranian law enforcement on June 28. “Two of these bitcoin farms have been identified, with a consumption of one megawatt,” a Tavanir official, Arash Navab, told state television. Bitcoin mining has become a very popular vehicle to escape sanctions across many provinces in Iran. “Everyone’s talking about Bitcoin and how to get it,” said Mahsa Alimardani, an Iranian native and researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute noted to regional reporters.

Then on July 10, Mohammad Sharqi, managing director of Iran Blockchain Association, told the local press that Chinese digital currency miners have asked Iranian officials to let them set up facilities in the country. Official discussions have been initiated and miners would like to operate in the Iranian free trade zones in Anzali, Kish Island, Qeshm Island, Chabahar, Arvand, and Aras. “The Chinese have made requests through official channels for cryptocurrency mining in the free zones,” Sharqi explained to the media. CBI’s deputy governor for new technologies, Nasser Hakimi, explained the same day that the local anti-money laundering authority had concerns with virtual currency trading. Sharqi thinks the stories of extreme electrical consumption have been exaggerated. Despite government warnings, according to an Iranian electrical industry spokesman, there are more than 148,000 machines in the country.

Central Bank of Iran Governor: ‘Bitcoin Mining Will Be Authorized if Miners Pay Export Prices for Electricity and Help Feed Funds Back Into the Iranian Economy’

Abdol Nasser Hemmati, the CBI governor, explained on July 10 that the government will authorize bitcoin mining in Iran even though Iranian bureaucrats have not finished regulating cryptocurrency trade. There are two caveats to the deal, Hemmati told the press, which will have to be followed strictly if mining operations are initiated in Iran. “Mining of the international digital currencies should be done based on the price of electricity for export,” Hemmati expounded. “What’s more important is that these mined currencies should be fed back to the national economic cycle,” the CBI governor added.

Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned
Abdol Nasser Hemmati, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor.

Hemmati warned the CBI would not tolerate a cryptocurrency that affects the price of the Iranian rial or gold. Reports also detail that Iranian law enforcement have already started to bust operations using factories, mosques, and utility service areas that benefit from extremely cheap electricity rates. At the export rate that’s charged to neighboring countries, bitcoin miners would have to pay $ 0.07 to $ 0.10 per KWh. The news outlet Presstv reports that the utility service area rates in Iran can be as low as $ 0.05 per watt. Electricity prices in Iran can be even lower in places like greenhouses and mosques for $ 0.006 per KWh as long as mosque leaders don’t mind breaking fatwa against the use of their subsidized electricity.

Iranian Leader Claims U.S. Congress, Donald Trump and Sanctions Have Been Hindering Iran’s Cryptocurrency Progress

Even at $ 0.13 per KWh, there are more than 40 SHA-256 machines that are still very profitable at today’s BTC prices. In some countries, electricity is higher or even double $ 0.13 per KWh so Iran’s power prices are quite affordable even with the export rate tacked on. Saeed Zarandi, the Iranian assistant minister of industry, trade and supply revealed to the press that the U.S. has been hindering Iran’s cryptocurrency progress.

Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned
Saeed Zarandi the Iranian assistant minister of industry, trade and supply explained that the U.S. and its newly imposed sanctions against Iran have curbed the country’s cryptocurrency progress. The U.S. and Iran have been in deep conflict over the last few weeks.

Zarandi said that the U.S. Congress under the Trump administration has been harsh toward the country. Iran and the U.S. have been at odds again lately as the country’s military shot down an American drone and told the press it was in Iran’s no-fly zone. The U.S. and President Donald Trump claim the aircraft was in international airspace and not in Iran’s territory. Since then many observers have been worried that the U.S. may spark a war with Iran or vice versa. Zarandi asserted that members of the U.S. Congress believe cryptocurrencies could be used in Iran to avoid sanctions.

One specific set of sanctions called the Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act is comprised of rules that make it hard for international companies to do business with Iranian financial institutions. H. R. 7321 details the expansion of prohibitions on correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts for foreign financial institutions. This includes banks that facilitate transactions or provide financial services for Iranian financial institutions. H. R. 7321 also displays a set of three rules to follow when it comes to Iranian-based digital currencies.

  1. Sanctions with respect to foreign persons that engage in significant transactions for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the development of Iranian digital currency.
  2. Sanctions with respect to foreign persons that conduct or facilitate significant transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian digital currency or maintain significant amounts in Iranian digital currency.
  3. Report on the progress of the Government of Iran in creating a sovereign cryptocurrency.

The latest rules against an Iranian digital currency also follow the U.S. imposed sanctions against cryptocurrencies from Venezuela and more recently Cuba. Moreover, in November 2018 the American government convinced Swift to cut Iran off from the global financial system which pushed Iranian college students toward cryptocurrency to pay for books and online tuition. Furthermore, reports from regional news outlets in China claim that Iranian cryptocurrency miners have been scrambling to buy mining rigs from the mainland. With the CBI green-lighting bitcoin mining in the country, the inflow of funds could give Iran an edge over the imposed U.S. sanctions. With rules like the Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act and major payment processors like Swift cutting Iranian banks off, the country may be forced to use a borderless currency.

What do you think about Iran’s central bank planning to approve authorized bitcoin mining in the country as long as miners pay export prices for electricity? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Presstv, Iran Daily, Tabnak, and Pixabay.

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The post Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To

April 28, 2019 |

As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To

You wouldn’t know to look at it, but Binance DEX could soon become the busiest exchange in the cryptosphere. At present, MITH is the only token tradable on there, though it will soon be joined by NOW – the first token to be added to Binance Chain – plus hundreds more if exchange boss CZ has his way. But how accessible is Binance DEX, particularly to users of countries that are denied access to centralized exchanges? And exactly how decentralized is Binance DEX?

Also read: Wizsec Security Blames Coinlab After Mt. Gox Trustee Delays Proceedings

Binance Wants to Make DEXs Sexy

Characterized by poor UX, low liquidity, and slow onchain order execution, decentralized exchanges (DEXs) aren’t much fun. Binance DEX promises to change all that, with an interface that resembles its parent exchange, and block times of just a few seconds ensuring trades are settled rapidly. Cryptocurrency projects seem sold on it, at least, with dozens having already applied to join Binance Chain and be listed on its DEX. The first project to be officially added to Binance Chain, Change Now, is in the midst of initiating a token swap, and appears destined to join the DEX next, based on tweets from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and sentiment expressed on Binance Community. There it will join mithril (MITH), which is currently trading on Binance DEX against BNB.

As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To

There’s not much to do on Binance DEX at present other than create a wallet and acclimatize to its layout and ordering procedure, before waiting for projects migrating to Binance Chain to complete their token swaps. In addition to Change Now, whose Now Swaps service has also been assisting with the BNB token migration, CZ has spoken of welcoming multiples more projects onto Binance Chain and its corresponding DEX than are currently listed on the main exchange. In the weeks to come, the trickle of tradable projects on Binance DEX looks set to become a torrent.

Getting Started With Binance DEX

A wallet creation tutorial guides beginners through the prerequisites to begin trading on Binance DEX and there’s also a detailed guide to getting started. Users are given three ways to access their wallet: using a keystore file and password, using a 24-word mnemonic phrase, or with a private key. The Binance-owned Trust Wallet, as well as the Coolwallet S and Ledger devices are all supported, enabling users to access the DEX directly from their hardware wallet. Trust and Coolwallet utilize a service called Wallet Connect, which provides DEX authentication by scanning a QR code via the respective mobile wallet.

As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To

True Decentralization or Just Window Dressing?

Much has been made of the design of Binance Chain, whose node validators are all controlled by the exchange. In the context of censorship resistance, therefore, Binance DEX, which runs on Binance Chain, doesn’t score highly, but then that was never the intention. The DEX has been designed to facilitate trustless trading without the need to deposit funds, and it achieves that with aplomb.

Binance Chain doesn’t need to rival Bitcoin or Ethereum in terms of decentralization; its primary purpose is to enable the noncustodial exchange of assets. These assets are of course limited to Binance Chain’s native BEP2 tokens. Unless wrapped versions of BTC and ETH are made available on the chain, therefore, leading cryptocurrencies will remain unavailable on the DEX.

As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To
Binance DEX looks very similar to its parent exchange

As for who can trade on Binance DEX, the exchange has issued no formal guidelines as to which countries, if any, are excluded. With no KYC or registration required to participate, however – not even an email address – anyone can technically trade on the decentralized exchange, with a VPN taking care of any IP blocking that might otherwise stand in the way. Binance caught flak for quietly excluding countries that were subject to U.S. sanctions, such as Iran, late last year. These individuals will be able to trade on Binance DEX in the knowledge that central powers are powerless to seize their funds. If Binance DEX can provide that, it will have justified its existence. Justifying the great expectations surrounding the new decentralized exchange will take longer.

What are your thoughts on Binance DEX? Have you tried it yet? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

April 6, 2019 |

Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

As the darknet’s largest market prepares to wind down, its second largest is taking the strain. When Dream closes for good at the end of April, Wall Street will become the largest darknet market (DNM), at least until Dream’s successor launches and can prove its legitimacy. Paranoia has pervaded the darknet in recent weeks amidst uncertainty over marketplace integrity and a string of high profile busts.

Also read: The Darknet’s Largest Marketplace Is Closing – But a Replacement Is on Its Way

Wall Street Profits from Dream’s Demise

While Dream winds down the clock, ahead of a planned shutdown and transition to a new DNM, customers have flocked elsewhere. Many have taken up residence at Wall Street, which has struggled to process the spate of new orders. A notice posted on the site this week warned of address generation, input detection, signing messages and other onchain processes taking longer than normal. Unlike Dream, Wall Street doesn’t provide deposit addresses: instead buyers send funds from a personal wallet directly to a two-of-three multisig, created for each unique transaction.

Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down
The warning notice posted on Wall Street

Customers have the option to pay with BTC or with monero (XMR), and PGP login is available for added security. The number of vendors and listings on Wall Street is much lower than on Dream, and the success or failure of the first orders placed by former Dream users will be pivotal in determining whether Wall Street can capitalize on its competitor’s impending demise.

With DNMs in Turmoil, LEA Launches Crackdown

In addition to facing uncertainty on the darknet, vendors and buyers have been on high alert in the streets. A series of law enforcement raids have added to the sense of disquiet, including a Sacramento operation that netted close to $ 2M of BTC. “The darknet is not the cloak of secrecy for illegal drug users that they think it is,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott at a news conference announcing the busts, which targeted opioid sellers.

Meanwhile, a Canadian drug dealer battling to retain the $ 1.4M of BTC found in his possession has suffered mixed fortunes. Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly ruled that the BTC should be confiscated, but consented to allow 30-year-old Matthew Phan to keep 7.23 BTC, as the judge was not entirely confident that this sum was associated with criminal activity. The raid which saw Phan’s BTC confiscated occurred in 2015, when his digital assets were worth around $ 65,000. While he has now forfeited the lion’s share of the 280 BTC he was found with, Phan’s remaining 7.23 BTC should provide some solace upon his release.

Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

Tor Project Supports 10 Cryptocurrencies Including BCH

The past month has provided little cheer for darknet users, with one of the few crumbs of comfort coming courtesy of the Tor Project, responsible for developing the onion browser used for connecting to the darknet. The foundation has expanded the list of cryptocurrencies it accepts, and now takes donations in bitcoin cash, monero, zcash and several more. In addition, donations sent to Tor will now be received directly by the project, instead of going via Bitpay. Thanks to the addition of support for several privacy-centric coins, the darknet’s most devout users now have an easier way to support the project whose work makes it all possible.

Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

What are your thoughts on the closure of Dream and its proposed successor? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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PicsArt hits 130 million MAUs as Chinese flock to its photo editing app

March 21, 2019 |

If you’re like me, who isn’t big on social media, you’d think that the image filters that come inside most apps will do the job. But for many others, especially the younger crowd, making their photos stand out is a huge deal.

The demand is big enough that PicsArt, a rival to filtering companies VSCO and Snapseed, recently hit 130 million monthly active users worldwide, roughly a year after it amassed 100 million MAUs. Like VSCO, PicsArt now offers video overlays though images are still its focus.

Nearly 80 percent of PicsArt’s users are under the age of 35 and those under 18 are driving most of its growth. The “Gen Z” (the generation after millennials) users aren’t obsessed with the next big, big thing. Rather, they pride themselves on having niche interests, be it K-pop, celebrities, anime, sci-fi or space science, topics that come in the form of filters, effects, stickers and GIFs in PicsArt’s content library.

“PicsArt is helping to drive a trend I call visual storytelling. There’s a generation of young people who communicate through memes, short-form videos, images and stickers, and they rarely use words,” Tammy Nam, who joined PicsArt as its chief operating officer in July, told TechCrunch in an interview.

PicsArt has so far raised $ 45 million, according to data collected by Crunchbase. It picked up $ 20 million from a Series B round in 2016 to grow its Asia focus and told TechCrunch that it’s “actively considering fundraising to fuel [its] rapid growth even more.”


PicsArt wants to help users stand out on social media, for instance, by virtually applying this rainbow makeup look on them. / Image: PicsArt via Weibo

The app doubles as a social platform, although the use case is much smaller compared to the size of Instagram, Facebook and other mainstream social media products. About 40 percent of PicsArt’s users post on the app, putting it in a unique position where it competes with the social media juggernauts on one hand, and serving as a platform-agnostic app to facilitate content creation for its rivals on the other.

What separates PicsArt from the giants, according to Nam, is that people who do share there tend to be content creators rather than passive consumers.

“On TikTok and Instagram, the majority of the people there are consumers. Almost 100 percent of the people on PicsArt are creating or editing something. For many users, coming on PicsArt is a built-in habit. They come in every week, and find the editing process Zen-like and peaceful.”

Trending in China

Most of PicsArt’s users live in the United States, but the app owes much of its recent success to China, its fastest growing market with more than 15 million users. The regional growth, which has been 10-30 percent month-over-month recently, appears more remarkable when factoring in PicsArt’s zero user acquisition expense in a crowded market where pay-to-play is a norm for emerging startups.

“Many larger companies [in China] are spending a lot of money on advertising to gain market share. PicsArt has done zero paid marketing in China,” noted Nam.

Screenshot: TikTok-related stickers from PicsArt’s library

When people catch sight of an impressive image filtering effect online, many will inquire about the toolset behind it. Chinese users find out about the Armenian startup from photos and videos hashtagged #PicsArt, not different from how VSCO gets discovered from #vscocam on Instagram. It’s through such word of mouth that PicsArt broke into China, where users flocked to its Avengers-inspired disappearing superhero effect last May when the film was screening. China is now the company’s second largest market by revenue after the U.S.

Screenshot: PicsArts lets users easily apply the Avengers dispersion effect to their own photos

A hurdle that all media apps see in China is the country’s opaque guidelines on digital content. Companies in the business of disseminating information, from WeChat to TikTok, hire armies of content moderators to root out what the government deems inappropriate or illegal. PicsArt says it uses artificial intelligence to sterilize content and keeps a global moderator team that also keeps an eye on its China content.

Despite being headquartered in Silicon Valley, PicsArt has placed its research and development center in Armenia, home to founder Hovhannes Avoyan. This gives the startup access to much cheaper engineering talents in the country and neighboring Russia compared to what it can hire in the U.S. To date, 70 percent of the company’s 360 employees are working in engineering and product development (50 percent of whom are female), an investment it believes helps keep its creative tools up to date.

Most of PicsArt’s features are free to use, but the firm has also looked into getting paid. It rolled out a premium program last March that gives users more sophisticated functions and exclusive content. This segment has already leapfrogged advertising to be PicsArt’s largest revenue source, although in China, its budding market, paid subscriptions have been slow to come.

picsart 1

PicsArt lets users do all sorts of creative work, including virtually posing with their idol. / Image: PicsArt via Weibo

“In China, people don’t want to pay because they don’t believe in the products. But if they understand your value, they are willing to pay, for example, they pay a lot for mobile games,” said Jennifer Liu, PicsArt China’s country manager.

And Nam is positive that Chinese users will come to appreciate the app’s value. “In order for this new generation to create really differentiated content, become influencers, or be more relevant on social media, they have to do edit their content. It’s just a natural way for them to do that.”


Chinese Miners Flock to Sichuan for Cheap Electricity During the Wet Season

February 13, 2019 |

Chinese Miners Flock to Sichuan for Cheap Electricity During the Wet Season

Over the last two months, the hashrate between the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) networks has increased significantly since hitting a low on December 15, 2018. Numerous reports detail that many Chinese miners who control a large portion of SHA-256 hashrate have been recently setting up shop in Sichuan. During the wet season here, miners can get an astounding 0.08 yuan per kWh or $ 0.01 per kWh.

Also Read: Self-Proclaimed ‘Satoshi’ Responds to Billion-Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit

Chinese Mining Operations Return to Sichuan in Order to Snatch Cheap Hydro Power

Several reports detail that during the last three weeks, Chinese miners have been flocking back to the Sichuan region in order to obtain cheap hydroelectric energy. The migration follows the significant hashrate decline in December when the SHA-256 hashrate between BTC and BCH declined by about 30 percent from its all-time high. During the dry season in Sichuan, Chinese miners positioned themselves in other locations throughout China and other countries when the fiat value of cryptocurrencies, in general, was much higher. Back in 2015-2016, it was estimated that more than 70 percent of the SHA-256 hashrate stemmed from China and 70 percent of the hashpower from these Chinese facilities derived from Sichuan. But when the price of BTC and many other coins skyrocketed, large Chinese mining operations trekked to other areas and sought out electric subsidies from local governments.

Chinese Miners Flock to Sichuan for Cheap Electricity During the Wet Season
Sichuan, China, situated at more than 3,000m elevation is famous for its rivers and colorful pools formed by calcite deposits. Many of the rivers and waterways supply hydroelectricity plants with energy and bitcoin mining facilities have operated in the mountainous region for years.

For instance, Chinese journalist Eva Xiao reported in August 2017 how large bitcoin mines were partnering with local Chinese governments for cheaper electricity from the State Grid. The reason for the strategic move was because unlike the dry and wet seasons in Sichuan, government partnerships provide static electrical rates that remain fairly steady. Bitmain did this with the company’s mine in Ordos in Inner Mongolia when it acquired electricity from the State Grid for $ 0.04 per kWh. Xiao details that in exchange, Bitmain allowed the Ordos mine to be taxed. However, regional reports published on Jan. 21, 2019 state that an influx of Chinese miners has been returning to Sichuan for the wet season. The China-based publication recently explained that during the dry season in Sichuan, hydroelectric costs are three times higher than the wet season.

“This tragedy will seemingly come to an end as soon as the rainy season is expected to come in April,” local reporter Lylian noted. “The 1,419 rivers in the region will soon wake up to propel the roar of 3,267 hydro plants — Numerous bitcoin mines will revive as they will have cheaper and sufficient power supplies.”

The report continued:

In the period of high water, the cost of electricity in Sichuan can be as low as 0.08 yuan ($ 0.01), while the electricity cost of thermal power in the dry season is 0.28 yuan ($ 0.04).

Chinese Miners Flock to Sichuan for Cheap Electricity During the Wet Season
Reports also detail that second-hand Antminer S9s are selling for $ 119 per unit. 

Bitcoin Prices Still Have to Appreciate Before the Halving

Mining operations are also enticed by the cheap hardware costs these days, as lots of mining rig prices have been slashed. Local columnist Chloe Jiang reveals that a second-hand Antminer S9 will set someone back about 800 yuan ($ 119) per unit. According to the top mining rig manufacturer websites like Bitmain, Ebang, and Canaan, older units are very inexpensive right now. Jiang remarks that cheap mining rigs and $ 0.01 per kWh electric prices in Sichuan may help miners survive the ‘crypto winter.’

Chinese Miners Flock to Sichuan for Cheap Electricity During the Wet Season
Bitcoin Core (BTC) hashrate increase since Dec. 15, 2018.

The overall hashrate between both of the most dominant SHA-256 networks shows miners seem to be returning in greater number with many of them joining unknown pools. Analysts believe that at current electric prices worldwide and the upcoming reward halving for both networks, the price of BTC and BCH needs to rise to at least double current spot prices in order to maintain profitability.

What do you think about miners returning to Sichuan for cheap electricity? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock,, and Pixabay. 

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section. 

The post Chinese Miners Flock to Sichuan for Cheap Electricity During the Wet Season appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Audiences Flock to Spider-Verse, Abandon Mortal Engines

December 16, 2018 |

The animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has swung to the top of the domestic box office in its first weekend in theaters. Sony Pictures on Sunday estimates that the film has earned $ 35.4 million from North American theaters, reports the AP. Critics have praised the film focusing on Miles…

Bitcoin Miners Flock to Paraguay as Country Weighs Its Social Development Options

November 6, 2018 |

Bitcoin Miners Flock to Paraguay as Country Weighs Its Social Development Options

Paraguay’s Itaipú Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric facilities in the world, is supporting bitcoin and ethereum mining in a city on the country’s border with Brazil and Argentina. These efforts have already spawned a number of new cryptocurrency businesses, creating multiple millionaires, but an ongoing reassessment of the dam’s developmental potential could spell boom or bye for the miners that have been flocking to the city.

Also Read: GMO Internet Sees Huge Leap in BCH Mining For October,

Cheap, Clean Power

Across Ciudad del Este, cheap and abundant electricity from the Itaipú Dam powers about 20,000 cryptocurrency mining rigs, with fortune-seekers converging on the city from other parts of Paraguay, as well as countries such as Brazil, China, Russia, Canada and the U.S. Development experts, however, think that the authorities should raise electricity prices and use the proceeds to tackle widespread poverty.

Bitcoin Miners Flock to Paraguay as Country Weighs Its Social Development Options
Itaipu Dam

According to a recent Guardian feature, politicians and development experts are considering a number of alternative propositions, including redirecting exported electricity to domestic industries, renegotiating fairer prices with project partner Brazil, and tapping companies from Silicon Valley to manufacture with clean energy in Paraguay. It is expected that the proceeds would be sown back into social investment to address economic inequality and provide social welfare services for a population with skewed access to employment, healthcare, education and transport infrastructure.

However, the development narrative does not seem to be mutually exclusive with cryptocurrency mining. Paraguay, which generates more than 103 million megawatt-hours of electricity per year at the Itaipu Dam, can still take advantage of its status as the world’s biggest exporter of electricity and cash in as a go-to destination for BTC and ETH miners. Miners in the country pay between $ 0.03 and $ 0.05 per kilowatt-hour, or about one-third below the prices that they pay in Argentina.

Mining Mecca

Paraguay’s offer of clean and plentiful energy can make it a mecca for digital currency diggers, while securing sustained proceeds for the government, as interest in cryptocurrency only continues to grow. The South American country currently only uses 13 percent of its energy and exports a lot of the surplus to neighboring Brazil.

Bitcoin Miners Flock to Paraguay as Country Weighs Its Social Development Options

Tech entrepreneur Gregorio Bareiro thinks Paraguay has more to gain by cutting down energy exports to Brazil and keeping more capacity at home to supply to the cryptocurrency-mining industry, according to the report. Bareiro is only one of a few locals that are capitalizing on the mining boom. He started out providing cryptocurrency investors with DIY cooling systems, but now rents out 750 computers to miners.

“Paraguay today is the only place where there’s abundant energy. We can become the center of global bitcoin mining,” Bareiro said, suggesting that catering to the mining industry could help the country to clear up its debts within a decade.

The best chance we have is not selling our energy to Brazil but investing in cryptocurrency.

Ultimately, Bitcoin mining must not be seen as a deviation from Paraguay’s developmental obligations, but as one of the more sustainable options available to meet them.

Should Paraguay prioritize cryptocurrency mining over the developmental use of its surplus electricity? Let us know what you think.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from

The post Bitcoin Miners Flock to Paraguay as Country Weighs Its Social Development Options appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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A-list royalty: Stars flock to Windsor

May 20, 2018 |

American actor George Clooney, his wife Amal and David and Victoria Beckham were among the guests in attendance at Windsor Castle for the royal wedding. Global media mogul Oprah Winfrey, British actor Idris Elba and singer Elton John were also spotted inside the castle grounds. – RSS Channel – World

Indian Investors Flock to Trade Crypto Ahead of RBI Ban

May 5, 2018 |

Indian Investors Flock to Trade Crypto Ahead of RBI Ban

Investors in India are flocking to trade cryptocurrencies before the ban order by the Reserve Bank of India takes effect. There is a positive sentiment in the local crypto community that the Indian government will not outright ban crypto trading.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Investors Rush to Get Into Crypto

Indian Investors Flock to Trade Crypto Ahead of RBI BanIt has been a month since the Reserve Bank of India ordered banks and financial institutions under its control to stop providing services to cryptocurrency exchanges. The central bank has given banks three months to end their relationships with crypto operators. However, ever since the order, cryptocurrency trading volumes in India have surged dramatically.

“Exchange operators, investors, and analysts say people are rushing to take advantage of a three-month window the Reserve Bank of India has given banks to sever ties with cryptocurrency traders and exchanges,” Reuters elaborated, adding:

Getting in now enables investors to convert rupees into cryptocurrencies, which they can later swap for other coins via private trading platforms even after the central bank’s rules take hold.

Shivam Thakral, CEO of crypto exchange Buyucoin, was quoted saying “new investors are coming to our exchanges while existing ones are regaining interest after the drop because they’re getting good value and are making money as the prices of cryptocurrencies move higher.”

Retail investors believe that “most trading is likely to move to peer-to-peer networks or social applications such as Telegram” after the three month period is up, the news outlet added.

Crypto Trading Ban Unlikely

Indian Investors Flock to Trade Crypto Ahead of RBI BanThe RBI’s order has already been challenged in court by a cryptocurrency firm.

On Saturday, the Indian Express reported that Justice Rajiv Shakdher “issued a notice to the RBI, the finance ministry and the GST Council and sought their stand on the petition challenging the RBI’s April 6 circular ‘Withdrawing Banking Support to Virtual Currency Exchanges’.”

Cryptocurrency firm Flintstone Technologies Pvt Ltd “sought [the] court’s direction for quashing of the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India as the same was ‘arbitrary, unconstitutional’,” the publication detailed, adding:

The company submitted that [the] circular issued by the RBI is devoid of any due application of mind and will cause huge prejudice to those who have invested their hard earned money into the business and transaction pertaining to the virtual currencies and cryptocurrency.

Indian Investors Flock to Trade Crypto Ahead of RBI BanShubham Yadav, Coindelta’s co-founder, believes that crypto traders would likely continue to trade “if it remained legal, regardless of the banking ban,” Reuters conveyed.

Thakral was then quoted by the publication, “there is a positive sentiment in the industry that the government will not ban trading in cryptocurrencies, and even if formal banking channels cannot be used, people can move to crypto-crypto trading platforms.”

Trading between cryptocurrencies, which the central bank ban does not penalize, has already begun to ramp up. Last week, two Indian crypto exchanges started offering crypto-to-crypto trading – Zebpay and Koinex. The latter offers 23 trading pairs while the former offers one.

What do you think of Indian traders rushing to trade crypto before the RBI ban takes effect? Do you think the RBI will take further action? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Business Standard, and Pixabay.

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The post Indian Investors Flock to Trade Crypto Ahead of RBI Ban appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Celebs Flock to Coachella Week 2 to Catch Beyonce

April 22, 2018 |

Not quite as many celebs who took in Coachella week 2, but there were still plenty. Check out our gallery … lots of people came to watch Beyonce, including Marilyn Manson, David Byrne, Tinashe, Tyler the Creator, Tash Sultana, Jamie Foxx, Nile…