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On August 19, the combined SHA-256 hashrate between the BCH and BTC networks touched a massive high of over 91 exahash per second (EH/s). One notable contribution to today’s network hashrates is the manufacturing of next-generation mining rigs that produce a significant number of terahash. Currently, the top machine released this summer is Pangolin’s Microbt Whatsminer M20S, generating a whopping 68-70 terahash per second (TH/s).
Bitcoin’s Hashrate Keeps on Climbing
After the birth of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) built for the SHA-256 consensus algorithm (BTC, BCH), the landscape of manufacturers has looked very different. Even over the course of the last two years, mining producers have changed substantially except for Bitmain, which has managed to survive through every stage. The top mining rig creators in 2019 include companies like Bitmain, Pangolin, Innosilicon, Ebang, Asicminer, and Canaan.
Pangolin, Innosilicon, Bitmain, and Strongu have all produced new miners in 2019. The top mining rig this month is the new Pangolin Microbt Whatsminer M20S, a machine that produces 68-70TH/s at top speeds. Unlike most of the manufacturers located in China, the Shenzhen Bit Microelectronics Whatsminer M20S hasn’t sold out yet. The unit consumes about 3360W off the wall and its two fans have a higher sound level than most competitors as the M20S generates 75db.
The M20S has TSMC wafered 12nm chips powering the devices. Pangolin is known for creating machines that produce competitive hashrates but with different sized chips. More than a year ago when companies like GMO and other manufacturers were seeking to score 7nm chips, Pangolin was still using 28nm and 16nm chips. However, the Whatsminer M3 and M10 produced between 12TH/s to 33TH/s using those chips. Pangolin may have got a deal on the 12nm chips as TSMC had slow orders on the 12nm and 8nm in April. According to the business, there have been six batches of Whatsminer M20S models sold so far. Each device is $ 2,629, and at $ 0.13 per kWh, the device makes between $ 9-11.50 a day at current BTC prices and network difficulty. Today, at a price of $ 318-325 per BCH plus the difficulty (287,507,454.73), profits can fluctuate between -2% to +2% processing either the BTC or BCH chains. The new Whatsminer M20S has received good reviews in comparison to the Asicminer 8 Nano Pro which was released in May 2018.
Three Antminer Models With More Than 50 Terahash
Statistics show that the Asicminer 8 Nano Pro would be the second most powerful SHA-256 miner with 76TH/s per unit. However, the company is completely sold out and second market reviews are not very good. In fact, there are videos and reviews online warning people not to invest in the Asicminer 8 and the 8 Nano Pro. There are no second market resellers and nearly all the reviews stemming from every Asicminer product in existence have been negative. With a machine launched last year that costs $ 11,600 per unit and requires a minimum order of five units, it seems most mining operations did not invest in this model.
Following the Asicminer statistics, the next three miners in the top five are manufactured by Bitmain, namely the Antminer S17 Pro series (53TH/s), S17 (56TH/s), and the 50TH/s S17 Pro version. The three new Antminers pull in around $ 7-10 per day with electricity rates at $ 0.13 per kWh.
Older Mining Rigs Still Profit
All of Bitmain’s new S17 series miners are available to the public and the latest batches begin shipping in December. The prices for the new Antminer models are between $ 2,727 to $ 2,969 per unit. The Bitmain mining rigs are equipped with TSMC wafered 7nm chips and depending on the model each machine consumes 1975W to 2520W off the wall. The only other company that manufactures a mining rig that performs above 50TH/s would be the sixth most profitable miner today: the Innosilicon Terminator 3 (T3). The T3 processes the SHA-256 algorithm at around 53TH/s and can make anywhere between $ 5-9 a day with an electric rate of $ 0.13 per kWh. Mining rig manufacturers that have a few machines that produce terahash just below the 50TH/s mark include the new Strongu STU-U8 (46TH/s) launched in January and the Ebang Ebit E11 ++ (44TH/s) released in 2018.
Newer machines producing 40-70+TH/s are definitely leading the pack despite the fact they pull a lot more wattage. Although with current crypto prices still quite profitable, many older machines are still taking in daily revenue. This includes the Antminer T15, Bitfury Tardis, and the Ebang Ebit E11+, making between $ 2-4 per day. At today’s prices, the two most profitable SHA-256 coins (BCH, BTC) continue to gain hashpower. The hashrate growth doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon, with the new high-powered machines responsible for much of the increase.
What do you think about the next-generation mining rigs pushing the SHA-256 hashrate upwards? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies, and websites associated with this article. Bitcoin.com or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services, mining manufacturers, and mining products mentioned in this article. This editorial review is for informational purposes only.
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A decade ago when Satoshi Nakamoto unleashed the Bitcoin network, the security behind the protocol was guarded by only a few miners. These days, mining the SHA-256 algorithm has become a thriving industry that hasn’t stopped growing.
Bitcoin Mining Pools and ASICs Change the Game
Every waking second of the day, bitcoin miners are crunching numbers, humming away in facilities that few people who use the network have ever seen. Miners from large facilities who form giant pools stem from a variety of provinces around the world. In the early days up until 2010, individuals mined bitcoin with a central processing unit (CPU). This was until people like Laszlo Hanyecz, the man who traded 10,000 BTC for two pizzas, and Artforz mined the cryptocurrency with a graphics processing unit (GPU). Artforz was an anonymous individual but became the talk of the bitcoin community during the early days after he created the first “farm” of GPU miners. In July 2010, Artforz said he had about 4% of the global hashrate at the time, mining 1,700 coins in six days. Less than three months later, people claimed the anonymous individual’s “Artfarm” controlled between 20-30% of the network hashrate.
A year before Artforz fired up his GPU farm to mine bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto asked the community to slow down on the mining arms race in December 2009. “We should have a gentleman’s agreement to postpone the GPU arms race as long as we can for the good of the network. It’s much easier to get new users up to speed if they don’t have to worry about GPU drivers and compatibility. It’s nice how anyone with just a CPU can compete fairly equally right now,” Nakamoto said at the time. The GPU arms race sparked the creation of the first mining pools in November 2010, when Marek Palatinus, otherwise known as “Slush,” formed a pool (Slushpool) because “mining became very hard for other people” after GPU enabled computers entered the fray. With mining pools, a collective of individual miners sharing profits became all the rage, and the summer of 2011 saw the inception of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).
As soon as FPGAs were created, many bitcoiners knew application-specific integrated circuits (abbreviated as ASIC) were on the way very soon. Unlike the machines used in the past, ASICs are integrated circuits that have one specific job, which is to mine the SHA-256 algorithm. ASICs and pools quickly turned bitcoin mining into an industry and hobbyist miners began to contribute less over the next few years. Moreover, mining bitcoin without an ASIC became unprofitable and the CPU, GPU and FPGA days quickly came to an end in 2013. Roughly around this time, Avalon released its first set of ASICs and bitcoiners witnessed the birth of companies like Bitmain, Kncminer, Hashfast, Bitfury, Cointerra, and Butterfly Labs (BFL). From here the mining ecosystem went into overdrive and digital currency fans saw giant mining pools like Ghash.io and Btcguild gathering 51% of BTC network’s mining power. Many of the mining manufacturers are now bankrupt but some companies like Bitmain, Bitfury, and Slushpool have remained relevant over the years.
The Exahash Era, SHA256 Between Two Chains and Pool Distribution
The BTC network’s hashrate did not surpass 1 exahash per second (EH/s) until January 25, 2016. A year later, after August 1, 2017, well known and unknown mining pools processed both BTC and BCH transactions that summer and still do to this day. In mid-November, during the crypto bull run of 2017, the BTC network processed 10.8 EH/s, while the BCH network was around 5 EH/s. Interestingly, when markets plummeted downward in 2018, SHA-256 hashrates continued to climb, seeing little downward pressure. This was the highest profile split in history where two chains with the same algorithms saw large mining pools jump back and forth between chains depending on profitability. Moreover, on November 15, 2018, when the BCH/BSV split occurred, miners from the BTC network stepped in during the hashwar. Additionally, after the BSV fork, both BTC and BCH chains saw a considerable drop in hashrate and price per coin. Both chains have been gradually increasing in value and gathering far more processing power in 2019.
Currently, between BTC and BCH, there’s a whopping 75-80 EH/s processing both chains, with 75 EH/s on BTC and 2.24 on the BCH network today. There’s no doubt 80 EH/s is a monumental milestone for the BTC network and the metric is steadily approaching 100 EH/s, which would be 20% of one zetahash. One zetahash per second (ZH/s) is an unfathomable 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one sextillion) hashes per second. After the November 2018 hashwar, the 4-5 EH/s of processing power split into two (BCH and BSV) and both chains saw a low of under 1 EH/s. The BCH chain has gradually seen an increase of hashpower and has gathered over 2 EH/s in recent months.
During the second year of the nascent BTC network, the processing power was only around 10,000,000,000,000 (ten trillion) hashes per second (10 TH/s). Because the tech has improved a great deal, a single mining rig can produce over 10 TH/s these days. After the second year anniversary of the split in 2017, the BCH hashrate is thousands of times larger with the network’s maintained two quintillion hashes per second. The BCH chain has roughly 14-15 known miners and around 29% of the overall hashrate from unknown pools. There are 12 known miners processing BTC transactions at the moment and 14% of the mining power is controlled by unknown miners as well. Additionally, six well-known BTC mining pools also mine the BCH chain as there’s sustained hash dedicated to both networks at all times. The three largest BCH mining pools are Btc.com, Antpool, and Bitcoin.com. Btc.com is also the biggest pool mining on the BTC network followed by F2pool, and Antpool.
2019 Mining Rigs and Next-Generation Semiconductors
In December 2018, during the crypto winter’s lowest of lows, only five SHA256 mining rigs were profitable at the time. At an average electricity cost of $ 0.13 per kWh, machines that produced more than 28 TH/s profited at only $ 0.27 to $ 1.39 per day depending on the model. Now more than 40 mining devices on the market are profitable at 13 cents per KWh based on electric costs at current exchange rates. The top mining rigs profiting the most include a device by Microbt Whatsminer, and three models by Bitmain. The Microbt Whatsminer M20S (70TH/s) is profiting by $ 9.93 per day and the three newly manufactured Antminer S17 series (50-56 TH/s) can make a touch under $ 9 a day. Top mining manufacturers in the second half of 2019 include firms like Bitmain, Canaan, Ebang, Innosilicon, Strongu, and Microbt.
It will be interesting to see how the mining industry develops over the next 10 years. There’s a lot of money and electricity being used to mine SHA256 coins and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Many of the aforementioned mining chip manufacturers above have made massive amounts of money and have become some of the largest IT companies in the world. Because of this, large mining firms like Canaan and Bitmain have filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. Last December, the mining equipment maker Ebang filed a draft IPO prospectus with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).
Mining has also bolstered the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors by introducing machines that utilize the 7 nanometer (7nm) node design. Production of 256 Mbit SRAM semiconductors using a 7nm process started in 2017 in Taiwan. China-based mining manufacturers have deployed a variety of newer mining devices that use next-generation 7nm semiconductors. Bitmain has released more than five different miners in 2019 with 7nm chipsets stemming from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Local reports in China have revealed that Bitmain recently placed an order for “30,000 7nm wafers from TSMC.”
The Taiwan-based foundry also reportedly expanded capacity for 7nm wafers due to large orders from IT companies like Bitmain. SHA256 mining rigs using the 7nm technology are producing hashrates between 30-70+ TH/s according to 2019 device specifications. If mining continues to be popular and there’s enough demand to improve the mining process and industry, spectators will see much faster machines in the next few years. For instance, TSMC has already announced a 6-nanometer (N6) process is in the works and the tech is scheduled for risk production in Q1 2020.
For now, the SHA256 mining industry remains a lucrative business even though there’s been a number of failed operations along the way. The ecosystem has grown mature since the days of Butterfly Labs, Cointerra, and Hashfast. Instead of hearing about individuals commanding a lot of hashrate like Artforz, you now hear about giant size pools racing to find newly minted coins. It’s safe to say that the industry will continue to move at a breakneck pace and even the largest pools will have to remain vigilant in order to stay relevant.
What do you think about the SHA-256 mining industry in 2019? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned software, companies, mining manufacturers, mining devices, pools, and any of their affiliates. Bitcoin.com or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, company, software or service mentioned in this article. This editorial review is for informational purposes only.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Coin Dance, Blockchain.com, Whatsminer, Bitmain, Innosilicon, Bitcoin.com, CG Miner 2012, and Pixabay.
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The post Bitcoin Mining Industry’s Exponential Growth Just Won’t Stop appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Stories continue to emerge about newly discovered illegal mining operations being busted by state and corporate authorities. Just last week Iranian media reported the seizure of 177 Bitcoin mining units worth over $ 270,000 being smuggled via truck in the Arak region. On July 31, Russia’s Kraskom power company reported illegal siphoning of power from municipal grids for mining, resulting in losses over $ 31,000. With incidents like this in no short supply, it is worth asking why people are willing to risk severe criminal punishment to mine crypto, and whether government monetary policy worldwide might play a role in creating such demand.
Violent Legislation Doesn’t Work
As American economist Milton Friedman once so aptly observed, “Prohibition is an attempted cure that makes matters worse – for both the addict and the rest of us.” In the case of the historic U.S. prohibition on alcohol, it proves to be so. From the government literally poisoning people to death to stop alcohol consumption, to the proliferation of thousands of underground bars and speakeasies dealing with mob crime syndicates, the whole debacle was an abject failure, much like the so-called drug war of today. Prohibitionism always serves two roles: to distort the organic price and demand for the activity or substance, and also — by virtue of violence-backed laws and the violent markets they engender — to make it more dangerous.
Bitcoin mining restrictions can be viewed similarly in some respects. In light of current prohibitionary, fiat strangleholds on economies worldwide, crypto mining has become very lucrative. Thanks to the sound nature of Bitcoin and its limited supply, it would be lucrative regardless, but with prohibition added to the mix, markets are sharply and artificially dynamized. Whether it is the illegality (in some countries), or the systematic devaluation of fiat (everywhere), mining crypto pays and provides economic opportunity where the fiat status quo falls short. And while mining bitcoin might not be an addiction like alcoholism, folks are still willing to take great risks — even potentially life-threatening ones — to partake. In the name of freedom, and in the pursuit of survival and value.
Government-Manufactured Market Restrictions
State restrictions can make even the most benign of acts “crimes.” Selling raw milk, for example, is not a dangerous act in and of itself. However, introduce some violent legislature into the mix, and even this simple activity ends up culminating in the potential violation, kidnapping, and caging of a non-violent human being.
Independent bitcoin miners are similarly taking remarkable risks, whether they’re illegally stealing electricity to do so or not. The recent reported smuggling of 117 crypto miners in Iran is potentially punishable by death, for example. While mining is technically not prohibited there, operations must be state-approved and meet specific guidelines. Private mining and the use of bitcoin in commerce domestically are both banned as per new legislation passed on August 4.
A Fiat Pressure Cooker
Some wonder why these rogue miners don’t just wait until the dust settles, get licensed and certified, and start mining then, legally and safely. This may be akin to asking why the impoverished teen drug dealer in Chicago’s housing projects doesn’t just go apply for a bank loan. Crypto has been an effective means for Iranians to help stave off economic hardships brought on by crippling U.S. sanctions, and a fiat currency that’s inflating rapidly. Many likely don’t have the time or resources to wait on sluggish governments to move or approve. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service:
The reinstatement of U.S. sanctions has driven Iran’s economy into recession as major companies exit the Iranian economy rather than risk being penalized by the United States. Iran’s oil exports have decreased significantly, the value of Iran’s currency has declined sharply, and unrest has continued.
As for reported power theft in Russia, motives don’t seem so easy to guess. Those involved could be facing up to five years in prison for outfitting a building with mining rigs and connecting illegally to local power grids. While that’s not an Iranian death sentence by any stretch, it’s a sizeable risk all the same. There was also a large bust last year in Taiwan, involving fake storefronts and rigged electric meters to avoid detection from power companies.
Whether these other cases are people just trying to survive in a fiat paradigm with few options for security, or simply exercises in getting filthy rich, is up for debate. However, economics maintains that when more resources and opportunities are available to the individual market actor, supply and demand equilibrium can be more closely approached. To unilaterally throttle markets under the color of law as governments do is to ensure that unnaturally high, imbalanced prices favorable to criminal enterprise are maintained. To quote Friedman again:
See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true.
Of course, even in the best of circumstances there will still be bad actors who steal and rob, but the problem is exacerbated immensely by the fiat lockdown and forced monopoly on resources and activities — including power itself — via government money and licensing rackets. For example, in many places in the U.S. it is illegal to save one’s own private solar power without first striking a deal with the local, government-embedded power company.
Stealing Purchasing Power
When purchasing power is degraded, market actors naturally seek out more secure and advantageous options. Selling illegal drugs, operating an unlicensed business, finding creative ways to avoid taxes — these are all ways to improve one’s position in a paradigm where the only legal currencies are unsound, and where the economic habitat often resembles a pit of starving dogs fighting each other just to stay out of debt under the king’s table.
On top of all the prohibitive rules, governments worldwide continue hypocritically stealing power from individual market actors by exploiting the very markets they outlaw for private individuals. Iran is setting up a national legal structure for crypto mining and is working on its own gold-backed crypto token. The IRS is sending warning letters to crypto holders in America and in effect corralling them into centralized, government-regulated exchanges. Strange behavior from groups claiming crypto is made from “thin air,” has no value, and is used largely by terrorists.
People Mine for Gold, Not Garbage
One day it will be absurd to imagine someone going to jail for mining crypto, as it is today to imagine getting arrested for drinking a beer on the sofa and watching TV. The track record of various prohibitions speak for themselves. The war on drugs has cost American taxpayers over $ 1 trillion since 1971, and yet 451,000 individuals remain incarcerated on any given day, for non-violent drug offenses. According to some sources, around 10,000 died during America’s alcohol prohibition by way of the government-poisoned industrial alcohol. Private bitcoin and crypto mining are currently being criminalized around the world, even in countries where the licensed practice is legal for select, government-approved parties.
Removing these violent restrictions would bring balance to the global economy, allowing black market bubbles to pop, and value to seep back into the free market. At the very least, the systematic violence perpetrated on innocent people for non-violent activities (like mining crypto) would stop. Portugal’s decriminalization of drugs is an example of this. As is the American prohibition being repealed. All this seems very obvious, and yet the state continues violently forcing itself upon anyone and everyone, demanding use of their garbage play money, or else. Go home, government, you’re drunk.
What do you think about state restrictions on bitcoin mining? Let us know in the comments section below.
OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, fair use.
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The recent advent of transaction mining as a business model has taken the cryptocurrency world by storm, with transaction fee mining exchanges such as BitMax and FCoin overtaking other long-serving exchange powerhouses in a short span of time.
Conventional cryptocurrency exchanges have had a simple business model of charging transaction fees on the end user when an order is successfully matched and executed. Transaction fees are typically charged as a small fraction (0.10 – 0.30 %) of the traded amount. As a result, users that are large traders or engage in high frequency strategies tend to wrack up a large amount of fees.
Transaction Mining represents a paradigm shift from this traditional business model. Instead of simply collecting fees from end users, fees are redistributed back to users through the issuance and awarding of native utility tokens. A token buy-back mechanism or a partial trading fee distribution to token holders Is subsequently instated to create value. The proposition to users is decidedly attractive; instead of paying for the trading of cryptocurrencies, they obtain additional native tokens which has trading value and a stake in the fee revenue of the exchange itself in return. Market response corroborates with unprecedented record trading volumes, showing that the transaction mining model is an effective incentive for user growth and activity.
Bitpunter Gaming Platform, an online gaming platform with a range of casino and sportsbook products, seeks to reproduce the success of the transaction mining model in the realm of gaming. With a slated official full launch on January 2020, the Bitpunter Gaming platform will feature both crypto and fiat currency deposit options, and a pioneering game transaction mining model. By playing on the Bitpunter Gaming Platform, players are awarded BPTT Tokens in accordance to their gaming turnover. 80% of net gaming revenue generated on the Bitpunter Gaming Platform will be sent to a “Game Data Fee Pool”, which is distributed to the pool of token holders in proportion to the number of tokens they hold in relation to total supply.
Dennis Loke, CEO of Bitpunter Gaming Platform, explains the underlying motivation of introducing transaction mining to the gaming industry. “The gaming industry has been implementing largely homogeneous reward programs and user incentives, which does not necessarily provide value to users on a continuous basis, and hence does not promote user loyalty. We aim to break the status quo through a transaction mining model which will hopefully incentive and attract players to come to our platform and play for a long time, as they will earn tokens which provides value for them in perpetuity.”
To find out more about the platform, visit http://bitpunter.io
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Natural gas acquired as a byproduct of oil extraction has become synonymous with wasted energy. In certain areas, drilling companies are unable to find a profitable market for the excess fuel. It’s often vented into the atmosphere. Startups are now offering on-site systems that utilize the surplus to mine cryptocurrencies. This new business is growing in regions where shale oil and gas extraction are major industries.
Fossil Fuels Aren’t Going Anywhere
At least for the foreseeable future, traditional energy sources such as oil and gas are here to stay. Their abundance and relatively low price compared to some renewables, their utility, mobility and well developed supporting infrastructure are hard to beat. However, despite these obvious advantages, getting them out of the ground can sometimes be a wasteful process.
Electricity is the primary cost of bitcoin mining and while coin minting is often powered by renewables like hydro, energy from traditional sources is widely used as well. Cryptocurrency mining can utilize the surplus fuel that would otherwise be wasted, and the oil and gas industry is a good example of this. With the spread of alternative methods of extraction to even remote, hard-to-access places, the need for on-site consumers grows.
New shale oil wells have been popping up across North America and other parts of the world in the past few years. They are often located far from potential markets, and the transportation of certain byproducts such as methane and other compounds forming natural gas is not always economically viable, because grid prices are too low or because expensive additional infrastructure is needed to transport the fuel.
Associated gas, or flare gas, is a liability for oil companies and they have several options for dealing with it. If a well is close to a market, producers can pipe it to end consumers. Alternatively, they can flare it or vent it into the atmosphere. However, authorities in the U.S. and Canada impose restrictions on the amount of gas that can be released or burned. Exceeding these limits usually leads to costly production stoppages.
Crypto Mining Makes Excess Gas Profitable
Installing bitcoin mining equipment at oil production sites provides a solution to these problems. Some companies are already offering this type of service. Gas engines are used to generate electricity and power mining rigs. Oil producers remain compliant with venting quotas and receive additional income, while ensuring uninterrupted oil extraction. Mining rewards can be significantly higher than the price most companies get when they sell gas to the grid. At the same time, nature is spared from a very potent greenhouse gas – methane gas is 25 times more harmful than CO2.
Upstream Data is a Canadian company offering mobile mining datacenters that can be bought or rented by oil companies and installed at facilities which need to vent associated gas. They can bring in over 15 times more revenue than the market price of the fuel, while limiting carbon footprint. The datacenters come in different configurations depending on their equipment and power rating. The all-in-one Ohmm Combo can be ordered with up to 125 kW of ASICs and a natural gas genset, all housed in a modified shipping container. The midrange version starts at 28,000 Canadian dollars ($ 21,400). A new product called Ohmm Mini, a 50 kW stackable datacenter, is also on sale, and Ohmm Mega, a 1,000 kW datacenter, is currently under development.
Upstream Data founder and CEO Stephen Barbour, who is a mechanical engineer with eight years of experience in the oil industry, told news.Bitcoin.com that his business continues to pick up. Earlier this month, he tweeted about the commissioning of a new Ohmm datacenter in Texas. The entrepreneur noted that media reports on his solutions have brought more legitimacy to crypto mining as a means of utilizing stranded gas. His company continues to get new orders and is conducting trials with small and large groups. “A lot of great things are happening for us so we’re pretty excited to expand our services,” Barbour said and added:
Aside from the oil industry, our datacenters can also be used in traditional mining applications. However, I believe the future of bitcoin mining is in the oil and gas industry due to the enormity of the energy produced and wasted.
Huge Amounts of Stranded Gas Flared Each Year
Various studies have shown that oil companies vent or flare enormous quantities of natural gas year after year. According to the World Bank, 5.3 trillion cubic feet (150 billion cubic meters) of natural gas is flared annually, which amounts to 25% of the total consumption in the United States. An analysis conducted by General Electric claims that 5% of the global gas production is flared annually. It has been estimated that the stranded natural gas accounts for up to 60% of the planet’s reserves.
EZ Blockchain is another company expanding its operations in the sector. It has designed a mobile flare mitigation system which can be deployed on oil well pads and mine digital coins using energy from the flared gas. Its EZ Smartbox portable mining units are powered by gas-electric generators to convert associated gas into electricity used in data processing including crypto mining. The Chicago-based company has already delivered 13 mobile units to three locations, with 6 MWs under operation and 64 PH/s of hash power. To find out more about these operations and get further insights about the industry, news.Bitcoin.com contacted Sergii Gerasymovych, founder of EZ Blockchain.
“Our primary area of operation and target market is the Bakken region in North Dakota, which has very rich gas being flared, with over 1,500 BTU/ft3. Raw gas is dirty, it consists of methane, butane, hexane, pentane, ethane, and other gases. NGL companies are required by law to clean it before it can be burned and producers spend money to do that,” the entrepreneur explained.
In the smallest configuration of the EZ Smartgrid solution, a 350 kW datacenter can be equipped with 250 S9 miners and utilize up to 100 MCF of gas daily with a gas-electric generator. “This is a drop in the ocean for oil producers, but we worked hard to solve the scaling problem. We strategically partnered with a distributor of generators from Jenbacher with a power range of 200 kW to 10 MW and flexibility to run either on natural gas or a number of other gases,” Gerasymovych noted. He thinks this is a game changer as the average small well in North Dakota produces around 350 MCF of gas daily, and an oil pad can have five or more wells.
The company is currently working with one oil producer in the Bakken region and is about to start operations with another. Its team is also evaluating a 10 MW location in the Appalachian Basin. EZ Blockchain’s founder believes there’s huge opportunity for the expansion of this type of crypto mining, particularly in North America where due to the shale boom, there are many wells where gas is flared. This fuel isn’t going anywhere and building pipes is not economically feasible.
There is enough wasted gas in North Dakota alone to power a third of Bitcoin’s whole network. Bitcoin mining can be done completely off-grid, solving an environmental problem.
Sergii Gerasymovych expects more drilling companies to install and operate on-site mining equipment to utilize the excess gas that would otherwise be wasted. However, this will not happen quickly as the oil and gas industry is very conservative. It’s going to take time for small to midsize companies to look for a new, innovative approach. “They are in the business of pumping oil, not mining bitcoin. That’s why EZ Blockchain usually runs the mining operations,” he remarked.
Gerasymovych emphasized that these operations generally require a lot of investment into gas generation equipment upfront. “This is another obstacle we face with oil producers. Small companies can operate tens of wells and midsize companies – hundreds or even thousands. That means very big mining operations have to be built and funded in order for the flaring problem to go away completely,” he explained. Oil and gas companies are a bit hesitant to invest money in an industry which they do not know well and it may take more time before the technology becomes a mainstream solution.
The expansion of the shale oil industry in North America and the scale of gas wastage have created ideal conditions for services such as those offered by Upstream Data and EZ Blockchain, and they are not the only companies that are working to utilize the abundant byproduct in crypto mining applications. The U.S.-based Crusoe Energy Systems is developing its own solutions in the niche, helping oil and gas producers to reduce gas flaring while making a profit by verifying crypto transactions. This spring, the startup raised $ 4.5 million in a seed funding round led by Bain Capital Ventures and Founders Fund Pathfinder, bringing its total funding to $ 5.1 million.
The capital will be used to finance the production of Crusoe’s mobile datacenters designed to mine digital coins at oil drilling sites. The goal is to provide a large-scale flare mitigation service for oil and gas extraction companies across North America. Crusoe’s modular datacenter units are installed in shipping containers and can be quickly deployed on any oil well site in the U.S. and Canada to start mining within days. The systems not only reduce flaring but also eliminate most of the smog-forming emissions of volatile compounds such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO).
Decentralizing Power Consumption in Bitcoin Mining
While cryptocurrency mining has become more and more centralized over the years, there’s a strong case that the generation of power used in the process will be gradually decentralizing, thanks to solutions like these. Datacenters running on stranded gas do mine on pools, but they are mobile units that can be installed anywhere. As the hunt for cheap energy intensifies, with electricity being the main expense in bitcoin mining, more and more businesses are likely to develop products allowing for the use of energy close to its source.
Companies specializing in flare gas utilization have some challenges to overcome. Datacenters require maintenance, rigs need to be restarted sometimes, fuel pipes can freeze, and it can be hard to establish a reliable internet connection in remote places. Add to that the low efficiency of gas engines used to power the mining modules – it’s less than 30% and most of the energy is still lost as heat and through the exhaust pipe. Bans imposed on shale oil and gas extraction and fracking also pose a threat to the business.
Nevertheless, bitcoin mining remains a viable option for energy companies operating far from potential markets and under strict regulations on venting and flaring. Mining containers can also be installed at ordinary natural gas fields and exploited whenever coin minting is more profitable than selling the fuel to other consumers. Along with Canada and the U.S., Russia, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are among the largest natural gas producers in the world. Global proven reserves have been estimated at 6.95 quadrillion cubic feet.
Do you expect to see a rapid development of other crypto mining technologies utilizing excess or wasted fossil fuels? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Upstream Data, Crusoe Energy Systems.
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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.
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.”
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.
— RT (@RT_com) June 29, 2019
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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On June 28, Bitcoin Cash proponent Javier Gonzalez announced the launch of an interesting protocol called the Bitcoin Mining Parliament (BMP). The theory behind BMP is backed by the concept of Nakamoto Consensus where “miners are the executive power of Bitcoin” and “any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.”
A Virtual and Transparent Bitcoin Mining Parliament Will Be Established
The system Satoshi Nakamoto created over 10 years ago has invigorated many people’s lives and has changed the course of history. The technology Satoshi unleashed has many benefits but one of the core innovations of Bitcoin is Nakamoto Consensus, a method that brings the network to a state of valid consensus despite imperfect information. Nakamoto Consensus uses proof-of-work, block selection, and an incentive structure to motivate network participants to act in harmony.
I’m excited to announce the Bitcoin Mining Parliament:https://t.co/djipPly53e
— Javier González González (@JavierGonzalez) June 28, 2019
Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of arguments about the power non-mining nodes may or may not possess and the concentration of strength behind mining nodes that process blocks. Javier Gonzalez believes that miners are the executive power of Bitcoin for multiple reasons. The developer has launched a new open source protocol called the Bitcoin Mining Parliament (BMP) and a pool called Bmp.virtualpol.com in order for miners to utilize the protocol. At the moment the BMP project’s readme specifications detail that the platform is still in its early beta form but the tool is currently being used. At the time of writing, there are 124 miners participating with the BMP pool and the dashboard shows how certain things can be voted on with hashpower.
“Miners can write -in proportion to their computing power- in the Blockchain of a network based on proof-of-work — Also -with sufficient consensus- they can write legitimate empty blocks in a minority chain in order to provoke its collapse,” Gonzalez’s BMP theory paper explains. “And they can do this if they consider this extreme decision convenient to the network and therefore their long-term interests.” The paper further states:
Miners can exert their power in real time, in an agile and eminently executive way, recording their decisions in a publicly verifiable way, thanks to the safest and most reliable voting system available which is known. Therefore, miners are in command in Bitcoin. And they will never act alone because they form a group of allies without conflict of interest (except in the competition for computing power).
According to Gonzalez’s BMP theory paper, in time he believes that it will be inevitable that a “virtual and transparent Bitcoin Mining Parliament (BMP) will be established.” Within this parliamentary group of miners, each participant can have voice and ”vote in proportion to their percentage of demonstrable exahashes per second.” A BMP could come to an agreement about certain features, resolve future conflicts, and even appoint legitimate spokespersons for the network. “They will have a closer and more accurate contact with the Bitcoin’s community of users and developers,” the paper highlights.
Nakamoto Consensus Ensures Rules and Incentives Can Be Enforced
According to the project’s philosophy, bitcoin miners estimate consensus with inadequate coordination. Gonzalez insists that Satoshi invented the role of miners because the network’s governance model needed to be entrusted to a higher entity that is more powerful than one individual or a small group of developers. Miners are rewarded for doing this and Gonzalez thinks that their interest will always be the same. Understanding this predictable pattern and relationship is ”the manifestation of what is known as Nakamoto Consensus,” Gonzalez asserts.
“Ignoring these facts will give rise to a brittle Blockchain with a tendency to break with every controversy — Accepting the consensus mechanism means the empowering of the miners in order to wield their legitimate power over the Blockchain to its exact degree,” the BMP creator’s paper explains. “Likewise, accepting this reality could guarantee indefinitely the compliance with the last line of the last page from the Satoshi Nakamoto’s original paper, which states:”
Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.
Have We Ever Put Nakamoto Consensus to the Test During Conflict?
Of course, the subject comes with controversy, especially from those who don’t believe miners are the executive branch of the network. From many people’s perspective, Nakamoto Consensus hasn’t been truly been tested during times of conflict like Segwit2X for example. For instance, the infamous User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) never took place because Segwit2x was called off. With over 80% of hashpower willing to implement Segwit2X after they managed to get Segwit activated, miners never tested their strength by going forward with a block size increase. This was because the block increase event (Segwit2X) was called off due to the threat of USAF which never materialized into anything more than proof-of-social media. So the question remains: would the majority of miners at the time be able to increase the block size and avoid UASF issues by utilizing Nakamoto Consensus? We will never know until Nakamoto Consensus is used during a disagreement of this kind.
With a concept like BMP, the mining governance model could essentially avoid such conflicts or end a weak minority chain without giving it a chance to survive. “Miners can take responsibility, better than anyone else, for preventing the risk of such events happening again,” the BMP white paper suggests. Gonzalez believes it’s a human tendency to become entangled with such conflicts and with “multiple development teams competing, confrontation is only a matter of time — To resolve this, miners must assume their executive role.” Gonzalez says that the BMP would be a binding power when most of the hashpower participates.
A Parliamentary Group of Governing Miners Can Work Without Altering the BCH Protocol
Gonzalez is convinced that the BMP idea can be implemented in various ways that would not alter the Bitcoin Cash protocol or mining operations. The foundation of BMP would be registered users who can verify their hashpower. Gonzalez explains that in the coinbase transaction of each block (metadata that can store info in a block reward), pools would publish “the addresses of the main miners in multiple outputs, indicating in the OP_RETURN the percentage of hashpower corresponding to each miner.” The creator also underlines the fact that BMP is an “open source tool with no responsibility for actions taken by third parties.” Gonzalez adds:
The individual hashpower of each miner is calculated with his quota signaled with the hashpower registered in the block. A pool will never be able to control more hashpower than that demonstrated in its blocks. In this way, each miner will be able to demonstrate his effort, beyond the blockchain, in proportion to his percentage of hashpower.
What do you think about the Bitcoin Mining Parliament (BMP) created by Javier Gonzalez? Do you agree with his theory about miners being the executive branch within the Bitcoin network? Do you think Nakamoto Consensus has ever been truly tested? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: This editorial is intended for informational purposes only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned mining tool or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Javier Gonzalez, BMP, and Bmp.virtualpol.com
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On Tuesday, the Iranian energy grid corporation Tavanir warned illegal bitcoin mining operations that they would be cut off from their supply. Following the announcement, pictures of a mining facility set up in a mosque went viral on social media.
Mining in a Mosque
On June 25, Tavanir’s spokesperson Mostafa Rajabi Mashhad explained to the press that illicit bitcoin mining facilities have increased the last two months of power consumption by more than 7%. During the first week of June, it was reported that some miners were using places like government buildings and mosques to power their mining rigs. In August 2018, Iran’s Senate Standing Committee on Power told mosque leaders that they would continue receiving free electricity. However, the deal came with a stipulation as mosque leaders were required to announce a fatwa against the use of stolen electricity. The very next month, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, Abolhassan Firouzabadi, told the press that mining was officially recognized as an industry in Iran.
The day after Mostafa Rajabi Mashhad emphasized that illegal bitcoin mining operations would be shut down, Twitter user Rmahdavii shared a photo of a bitcoin mine operating inside a mosque. The picture he shared shows a bunch of miners on racks within the confines of the place of worship. Rmahdavii’s tweet, which has over 4,900 likes and 638 retweets, says “You are a Bitcoin mosque — Qali-Allah.” Mahsa Alimardani explains that “mosques receive free energy in Iran and Iranians have set up Bitcoin miners in them — There’s around 100 here, producing around $ 260,000 USD a year.” Alimardani added:
This money goes a long way in Iran’s choked sanctioned economy.
Demand for Permissionless Money Grows Stronger After Fresh Sanctions Are Levied Against Iran
In Rmahdavii’s tweet thread, there are also two more photos shared showing the mine in the worship area. The post was not only shared massively on Twitter, but made its way to forums like r/cryptocurrency and r/bitcoin. Over the last six months, there have been two distinct reports of bitcoin miners from Spain, Ukraine, Armenia, France, and China migrating to Iran for cheap electricity. Many places worldwide will charge between $ 0.10-0.30 per kilowatt-hour, but in Iran prices are reportedly as low as $ 0.006 per KWh. Cryptocurrencies, particularly BTC, BCH, and ETH, are sold on the Exir exchange and Iranians used to buy BTC on Localbitcoins.com until the platform stopped servicing Iran. There have been a few BTC premiums on the Exir platform in Iran but nothing too out of the ordinary. Then, on June 22, a crypto asset investment fund partner at Primitive Ventures, Dovey Wan, noticed a 30% over-the-counter (OTC) BTC premium in Iran.
Iran always had a troublesome relationship with the U.S. and there have been trading sanctions against the oil-rich nation for years. However, after Iranian forces downed a U.S. drone on June 20, the Trump Administration signed an order on June 24 levying even more sanctions against Iran and its leaders. The following day, after new sanctions were handed down, the price of gold and cryptocurrency markets jumped significantly. With market prices rising rapidly and plenty of demand for cryptocurrencies in Iran, mining coins with free electricity, or even at $ 0.006 per KWh, must be enticing. Still, the message from Tavanir’s Mostafa Rajabi Mashhad warned that miners doing so will be “identified” and “cut off.” The Twitter post shared by Rmahdavii seemed to be a direct statement of dissent against the Tavanir injunction to shut down these types of operations.
What do you think about the situation in Iran where people are using mosques for free electricity to mine bitcoins? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, and the Twitter user Rmahdavii.
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A New Beginning
This joint endeavor is between Bitcoin.com, a company dedicated to spreading BCH and BTC adoption, and Bit Mining, a blockchain ecosystem builder with large mining farms spread across the globe. As an official Bitcoin.com partner, Bit Mining will redirect its own hashpower to Bitcoin.com’s mining pool to help spread the adoption of cyptocurrencies.
“Mining,” is the task of processing huge amounts of transaction data to update and secure the public ledger, known as the blockchain. The only physical aspect of this process are the mining farms that are equipped with specialized mining hardware.
About Bit Mining Co., Ltd
Bit Mining Co., Ltd is a subsidiary of Bit Mining Group. It was incorporated to offer rental services for mining rigs in Japan. Japan has many strict legal requirements to incorporate a company, so cross-industry customers can be confident our services meet international standards. Customers who use our services also enjoy excellent tax benefits, this is especially true for middle and small-sized enterprises.
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Bit Mining Corporate Information
Company name: Bit Mining Co.,Ltd
Address in Japan: 4-3-1 Shiroyama Trust Tower, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Headquarters: No. 1, Floor 3, Building 1, No. 366, Tianfu Boulevard North Section, Tianfu District, Pilot Free Trade Zone China (Sichuan)
Japanese representative : General manager: Ryo Nagaoka
Business: Bit Mining develops Blockchain related technologies, like mining farms and pool operating systems. They are also involved in mining farm operations, mining machine sales and mining machine management.
Company name: Saint Bitts LLC
Representative: President and CEO Roger Ver
Business: Bitcoin.com is supercharged to change the world with Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Our suite of developer tools has been downloaded 36,000+ times from over 100 countries. Our team is the heart and soul of the Bitcoin Cash industry. We’re committed to making BCH available to all people, whatever their age, gender, nationality or financial status.
For more information visit: https://www.bitcoin.com/
Official website: https://www.bitcoin.com/
Bit Mining Co., Ltd
Person in charge: Business Planning Department – Yusuke Arima
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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There’s a lot of debate over whether bitcoin mining is bad for the environment. Many bureaucrats and mainstream media pundits claim that mining is wasteful and bitcoin’s energy consumption cannot be ignored. However, these claims have been refuted in the past and on June 6, Coinshares published a report that details mining is not environmentally imprudent but rather 74.1% of the Bitcoin mining industry is “heavily” driven by renewable energy sources.
Bitcoin Mining Operations and Renewable Energy
There’s been clamoring over the years concerning bitcoin mining and how people believe the energy resources the industry consumes is reckless. For instance, there have been countless reports stemming from China that allege Chinese politicians are negative about the mining industry within the country. For years now the majority of bitcoin miners have been based in China and recently the country’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) wrote on April 9 that the department believes bitcoin mining “wastes resources and pollutes the environment.” This week Coinshares, a crypto investment products and research company, published an in-depth report that states otherwise and highlights how renewable energy is dominant within the bitcoin mining industry.
Throughout the report, Coinshares explained how the firm researched the efficiency, electricity consumption, electricity sources, geographical distribution, and composition of the mining network on the BTC chain. At the moment the study explains that the market average since November for the cost of creation at $ 0.05 per KWh and “depreciation schedules has decreased from approximately $ 6,800 to approximately $ 5,600.” This means at current prices mining bitcoin is very profitable and the researchers note that even older mining rigs are competitive. The biggest takeaway from Coinshare’s report is that most mining facilities are located near renewable energy suppliers. Coinshare’s June 2019 study states:
We calculate a conservative estimate of the renewables penetration in the energy mix powering the Bitcoin mining network at 74.1%, making Bitcoin mining more renewables-driven than almost every other large-scale industry in the world.
China Still Dominates Manufacturing, Older Mining Rigs Become Cashflow Positive, and the Penetration of Next-Gen Miners
According to the report, BTC miners captured an estimated $ 5.5 billion in block rewards and roughly $ 300 million in transaction fees. 97% of the $ 5.5 billion consisted of newly minted coins stemming from the block reward. While observing the mining industry Coinshares spotted two macro trends which include a large number of liquidations and bankruptcies and the “first at-scale deployment of the latest generation mining gear.” Coinshares also discussed the ~40% drop in hashrate during Q4 2018 and two separate drivers sparking the recent spike in hashrate. “The re-starting of much of the previously shuttered mining gear as the Bitcoin price recovery has caused even previous-generation mining units to become cashflow positive at commonly attainable wet-season electricity prices,” Coinshare’s report notes. The report also highlights the penetration of next-generation machines and asserts that the “deployment of next-generation mining gear at appreciable scale, predominantly in Sichuan, in line with the advent of the wet-season” was also a contributing factor.
Coinshares says that it is true there is uncertainty when it comes to Chinese miners and the government’s policy toward them. However, unlike the mainstream media, Coinshare underlines the big difference between local municipalities and the national government’s treatment toward the mining industry. The report emphasizes that China still plays a leading role within the mining sector and claims:
On the other hand, Chinese dominance in the hardware manufacturing sector remains as strong as ever and is showing no immediate signs of reduction. Even if the most damning rumours of Bitmain’s struggles were true (we have our doubts), it would have minimal impact on Chinese dominance in the miner manufacturing sector as all other relevant manufacturers are also Chinese.
The report also reveals an estimated electricity draw from the mining industry which assumes that currently the entire bitcoin mining industry is consuming roughly 4.7 GW worldwide. With the renewable power generation in the mining industry capturing more than four times the global average, the number has still has dropped a hair since last November. Last year’s November report detailed the amount of renewable energy-dependent miners was 77.8%, but Coinshares notes this is due to a recent upstart of smaller mining clusters using fossil fuels.
“Overall, our findings reaffirm our view that Bitcoin mining is acting as a global electricity buyer of last resort and therefore tends to cluster around comparatively under-utilised renewables infrastructure,” the research report concludes. “This could help turn loss-making renewables projects profitable and in time—as the industry matures and settles as permanent in the public eye — could act as a driver of new renewables developments in locations that were previously uneconomical.”
What do you think about the latest Coinshares report that notes the mining industry is using renewable power heavily across the globe? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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