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| January 22, 2019

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China Annual Economic Growth Rate Is Slowest Since 1990

January 21, 2019 |

China’s economic expansion languished to its slowest pace in nearly three decades last year, as a bruising trade fight with the U.S. exacerbated weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

9 Cryptocurrency Firms Sue Washington State Utility Over 50 Percent Rate Hike

January 13, 2019 |

9 Cryptocurrency Firms Sue Washington State Utility Over 50 Percent Rate Hike

A major utility in the U.S. state of Washington, Grant County public utility district, and its commissioners are facing a lawsuit filed by nine cryptocurrency firms. The suit alleges that they “acted inappropriately in creating and approving a new rate that raises electricity costs” for cryptocurrency miners.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Lawsuit Filed

Grant County public utility district (Grant PUD) in Washington state has revealed that nine cryptocurrency firms have filed a lawsuit against it and its commissioners relating to the increased electricity costs imposed on them for mining cryptocurrencies.

9 Cryptocurrency Firms Sue Washington State Utility Over 50 Percent Rate Hike

At a meeting which took place on Jan. 8, the commissioners agreed that “Grant PUD would cover the cost of legal defense for commissioners Tom Flint, Dale Walker and Larry Schaapman, as well as former commissioners Terry Brewer and Bob Bernd, and 10 PUD employees,” the meeting note reads, adding:

All are co-defendants in a suit filed against Grant PUD in U.S. District Court of Eastern Washington by nine cryptocurrency-related firms who allege Grant PUD, its commissioners and some employees acted inappropriately in creating and approving a new rate that raises electricity costs for them and other new ‘evolving industry’ customers.

Grant PUD serves over 50,510 customers throughout the county, its website claims. According to Ifiberone publication, the utility released a statement about the lawsuit on Thursday. “We are aware of the litigation and plan to file a response to the notice of complaint in federal court before the end of the month.”

Higher Rates for Crypto Miners

Starting on April 1, cryptocurrency miners will have to pay “the first of a three-year, graduated increase to a new, above-cost electric rate designed to protect Grant PUD from risk and preserve below-cost rates for core customers,” the utility explained.

9 Cryptocurrency Firms Sue Washington State Utility Over 50 Percent Rate Hike

The commissioners of Grant PUD unanimously approved “the new Rate 17 for evolving industries” on Aug. 28, the utility announced at the time. Noting that currently “all Grant PUD customers in the evolving-industry profile are miners of cryptocurrency, including bitcoin,” the PUD detailed:

Rate 17 customers will receive a 15-percent increase next year, a 35-percent increase in 2020 and a 50-percent increase in 2021, when the new rate will be fully in effect.

Grant PUD revealed when it approved the rate hike that it had received new service inquiries for more than 2,000 megawatts of power since summer 2017. This accounted for “more than three times the electricity needed to power all Grant County homes, farms, businesses and industry” and approximately 75 percent of those requests were from cryptocurrency miners.

What do you think of these cryptocurrency miners suing Grant PUD over increased electricity rates? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Grant PUD.


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

The post 9 Cryptocurrency Firms Sue Washington State Utility Over 50 Percent Rate Hike appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Major Mining Pools Have a ‘High Die-Off Rate’ Study Reveals

January 8, 2019 |

Major Mining Pools Have a ‘High Die-Off Rate,’ Study Reveals

On Monday, Coinmetrics.io published a study looking at hashrate history of the most competitive BTC mining pools. The research from the open source cryptocurrency analytics site reveals interesting insights into how the mining ecosystem has evolved over time.

Also read: Connecticut Software Engineering School Receives $ 10,000 BTC Donation

‘Major Mining Pools Are Fallible’

Cryptocurrency mining is a very competitive industry that has grown significantly in recent years. The processing power of all the SHA-256 algorithm-based coins is more powerful than the world’s supercomputers combined, and individuals and businesses have sunk billions into the mining industry. On Jan. 7 Coinmetrics.io released some interesting research concerning the mining pools processing thousands of BTC blocks over the years. The research team at Coinmetrics explained that the analysis was in response to an Ark Invest issue published last year which lightly touched upon the mining industry and hashrate distribution.

Major Mining Pools Have a ‘High Die-Off Rate’ Study Reveals
Nic Carter, cofounder of CoinMetrics.io, tweets about the new study “Granular mining pool mapping with Bitcoin’s coinbase outputs.”

The authors state that the data used in the Coinmetrics report stems from well-known sources like BTC.com and Bitcoinity, but the team also parsed the coinbase outputs from the last 450,000 BTC blocks. These days, most mining pools use the coinbase parameter to identify themselves when a block is mined on the blockchain. Coinmetrics explains the habit is completely voluntary and in the early days, miners did not identify themselves in this manner. Due to this factor, Coinmetrics skipped the first 100,000 blocks when parsing the chain. After sifting through the particulars, the researchers were able to identify 37 individual mining pools or large solo miners. The statistics suggest that these bitcoin miners mined at least 0.1% of the blocks in the period.

“The striking conclusion from the all-time chart is just how fallible major mining pools are: several influential pools which once controlled significant fractions of Bitcoin’s hashrate – BTC Guild, Ghash, BTCC – are now totally defunct,” the report emphasizes.

Coinmetrics continues by stating:    

Indeed, few pools seem to be truly persistent, F2pool and Slushpool being notable exceptions.

Major Mining Pools Have a ‘High Die-Off Rate’ Study Reveals
Labeled chart of major mining pools. “37 individual mining pools / large solo miners which mined at least 0.1% of the blocks in the period, and 11 additional identifiable entities which we excluded due to not meeting that threshold (they were aggregated into ‘other known’),” the study details. 

The Rise of Unknown Miners in 2018 and a Shrinking Reward Distribution

One notable aspect from the report is that there’s been a significant rise of “unknown miners” or operators choosing not to identify themselves in 2018. There could be a variety of reasons why there’s been a spike of unknown miners, such as for privacy and political reasons. The Coinmetrics research also details that operations like F2pool have seen a significant drop in hashrate and Antpool’s slice of the pie has “moderately declined.” BTCC and BW.com have closed operations and Bitfury’s hashrate has dropped as well. Both F2pool and Antpool have dominated with roughly 83,000 blocks combined, but to this day BTC Guild still holds the most captured BTC by pool. This factor is due to the block rewards shrinking, as pools could amass a lot of coins if they had a sizable amount of hashrate back in the day.

Major Mining Pools Have a ‘High Die-Off Rate’ Study Reveals
BTC Guild was able to accumulate the most BTC during its tenure mining due to the early block rewards being much larger.

Most veteran bitcoiners will remember the old mining pool giants of the past mentioned in the Coinmetrics report. Back then there were plenty of BTC Guild memes and proponents begging individual miners to stop mining with the pool when it gathered 48 percent of the network’s hashrate five years ago. The same thing happened a year later with Ghash when the community was up in arms after the pool gathered more than 51% of the network multiple times in June 2014. Researchers Ittay Eyal and Emin Gün Sirer from the publication Hacking, Distributed explained the situation in great detail at the time and stated:

Actually, it became a 55% miner for almost a day. And prior to that, it seems to have tested the waters over a period of 10 days or so, perhaps gauging the public’s reaction.

Major Mining Pools Have a ‘High Die-Off Rate’ Study Reveals
BTC Guild in 2013. The mining pool caused a lot of debate at the time. 

One factor not mentioned in the Coinmetrics report is the hashrate variations that have stemmed from Bitcoin forks. A lot has changed in the last two years and since August 2017 there’s been some variance of miners switching between the BTC and BCH hashrate as well.

Major Mining Pools Have a ‘High Die-Off Rate’ Study Reveals
The red lines represent deep variances between the BTC and BCH hashrate from Aug. 1, 2017, to December 2017 and then the 2018 BCH hard fork as well. This data stems from the analytics website Coin Dance. 

Because many mining pools like Antpool, Viabtc, F2pool, and BTC.com mine both chains, there was a notable divergence between the two chains’ mining profitability up until December 2017. Spectators also noted a slight deviation of pools switching hash during the BCH hashwars that started on Nov. 15 last year. The Coinmetrics analysis concludes by saying that there are a lot more stories in the data they scraped and they have “only begun to scratch the surface.”

What do you think about the recently published Coinmetrics report on mining pools? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Coinmetrics.io, Coin Dance, and Shutterstock.


Have you seen our widget service? It allows anyone to embed informative Bitcoin.com widgets on their website. They’re pretty cool, and you can customize by size and color. The widgets include price-only, price and graph, price and news, and forum threads. There’s also a widget dedicated to our mining pool, displaying our hash power.

The post Major Mining Pools Have a ‘High Die-Off Rate’ Study Reveals appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Fed chief tells investors what they want to hear: The central bank will be ‘patient’ on more rate hikes

January 7, 2019 |

Despite the latest jobs report indicating the U.S. economy remains on solid footing, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell gave anxious financial markets some additional reassurance on Friday. Powell said the Fed would be “patient” to see how the economy develops before policymakers raised…


L.A. Times – Business

One City’s Police Suicide Rate Raises Alarms

January 5, 2019 |

Facing high suicide rates, Chicago police have decided to make a change. The fifth Chicago police suicide over the past six months—another self-inflicted gunshot wound on Tuesday—only reinforced the need for officers to have access to better psychological counseling and support, NBC News reports. “Police officers think, ‘I’m…
Newser

Fed raises key interest rate but signals slower pace of increases ahead

December 19, 2018 |

Amid stock market turmoil and President Trump’s attacks on the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates, Fed officials announced another rate hike on Wednesday — but signaled a slower path of increases in the coming year.

The quarter-percentage-point boost in the Fed’s benchmark interest rate…


L.A. Times – Business

Investors Turn Focus to Fed’s 2019 Rate Path

December 17, 2018 |

Volatile markets, mixed inflation signals and recent remarks by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell have deepened investors’ doubts about how many times the Fed can raise rates next year.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

‘Almost all’ Federal Reserve officials see continued gradual rate hikes, meeting minutes show

November 29, 2018 |

If the Federal Reserve chief this week signaled an approaching end to the central bank’s recent spate of interest rate hikes, as many investors believed, he’s got a lot of convincing to do among his fellow monetary policymakers.

“Almost all” the participants in the Fed’s most recent meeting, on…


L.A. Times – Business

Dow jumps 617 points: Stocks surge on hopes the Fed will slow its interest rate hikes

November 28, 2018 |

U.S. stocks rocketed to their biggest gain in eight months Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell hinted that the Fed might not raise interest rates much further. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 617 points.

Powell’s remarks relieved investors who feel the 9-year-old bull…


L.A. Times – Business

Chickenpox outbreak at North Carolina school with high anti-vaccination rate leaves dozens sick

November 20, 2018 |

At least 36 students at a North Carolina school with a heavy anti-vaccine population have been sickened after an outbreak of the chickenpox virus, health officials said.
FOX News