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| May 23, 2018

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PETA: PetSmart Gives Animals ‘Slow, Miserable Deaths’

March 31, 2018 |

Authorities raided a Nashville-area PetSmart on Thursday, seizing hamsters, mice, and a guinea pig, WSMV reports. According to the Tennessean , PETA says it received photos and videos from a PetSmart employee showing store managers “repeatedly refusing to provide sick, injured, and dying animals with veterinary care in order to keep…

U.S. economy adds 313,000 jobs in February, but wage gains slow

March 9, 2018 |

Hiring surged last month as U.S. employers generated the most new jobs since mid-2016, the Labor Department said Friday, but wage growth slowed as long-awaited gains in worker pay have yet to take permanent hold.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%, the lowest since 2000, as the labor force…

L.A. Times – Business

Europe’s Clocks Are Running Slow and Crypto Mining Is Being Blamed

March 9, 2018 |

Europe’s Clocks Are Running Slow and Crypto Mining Is Being Blamed

From wrecking the environment to making it harder to search for alien life, cryptocurrency mining has been blamed for a multitude of sins. But to cause time itself to slow down is a fresh charge and one which, on the surface, sounds impossible. Something strange is happening in Central Europe right now: clocks are running slow, and not by fractions of a second, but entire minutes. Could large scale crypto mining be responsible or is it being made a convenient scapegoat?

Also read: New Study Looks at the Cost to Mine BTC Across the Globe

Overclocked Miners May Be Slowing the Clocks

Ever since mid January, the Continental European Power System has been experiencing anomalies. This huge belt of 25 countries, running from Spain to Turkey and from Poland to the Netherlands, has been subject to “a continuous system frequency deviation from the mean value of 50 Hz” reports the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The location of the disturbance has been identified – Kosovo and Serbia – but the cause has not.

The power deviations that have been affecting electrical frequencies have had the weird knock-on effect of delaying clocks that calculate their time based on the frequency of the power system. As a result, these are running at “a delay of close to six minutes”. It’s unclear exactly how this slowdown manifests itself, over what period, and whether these clocks can be manually adjusted to show the correct time. What is clear is that the power drain responsible for this anomaly is huge: 113 GWh, which is equivalent to the power consumption of Greenland for six months. Central heating timers and oven clocks are among the systems affected.

Europe’s Clocks Are Running Slow and Crypto Mining Is Being Blamed
Red lines show the main power lines in the European region responsible

The Search for a Culprit Intensifies

ENTSO-E is clearly unhappy about the missing power and its strange side effects. In fact it’s seething, but is literally powerless to act. The situation, it acknowledges, is largely a political one that would require the cooperation of the countries suspected of causing the huge power drain. On the Swiss Grid website, the current deviation from 50 Hz can be viewed in real time. At the time of publication it was sitting at 49.970 Hz, causing a grid time deviation of 345 seconds. The site explains: “There are still many clocks which go by the frequency in the electricity grid. If the frequency is higher, they go faster. If the frequency is lower, they go more slowly.”

Europe’s Clocks Are Running Slow and Crypto Mining Is Being Blamed

The question of what could be siphoning off electricity on such a grand scale remains unresolved. It could be a top secret project involving a particle accelerator akin to the Large Hadron Collider. It could be government impropriety or incompetence. Or it could be crypto miners. Suspicions are falling on the latter option. Electricity rates in Serbia and Kosovo are among Europe’s cheapest, with the price of mining one bitcoin in these regions estimated to be $ 3,133, placing them on a par with China. “The first step [to resolving the issues] is to cease the deviation,” writes ENTSO-E. “The second step is to compensate for the missing amount of energy.” Crypto miners could yet be exonerated of all charges. But until the culprit can be identified, an enormous rogue mining operation remains a strong possibility.

Do you think crypto miners could be responsible for the power drain, or are they a convenient scapegoat? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Swiss Grid.

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The post Europe’s Clocks Are Running Slow and Crypto Mining Is Being Blamed appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Italy’s Slow Climb Out of Recession, in 12 Charts

March 4, 2018 |

The economy is improving ahead of this weekend’s election, but deep scars from the longest downturn since World War II remain. What’s News Europe


Fergie Roasted for Slow Rendition of National Anthem at NBA All-Star Game

February 19, 2018 |

Fergie sang the National Anthem to kick off the 2018 NBA All-Star game, and most everyone seemed to hate it … including Hollywood. Tons of stars blasted Fergie for her sultry rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner Sunday night ahead of a mega…

Will the wild stock market cause the Federal Reserve to slow interest rate hikes? And should it?

February 13, 2018 |

Financial markets delivered an unwelcome gift for Jerome H. Powell when he was sworn in last week as chairman of the Federal Reserve — a nosedive.

Triggered by fears of rising inflation and interest rates, the Dow Jones industrial average’s record 1,175-point plunge on Feb. 5 kicked off the worst…

L.A. Times – Business

Bitcoin Futures’ Future: Slow, Measured, No Mom and Pop Investors

February 5, 2018 |

Bitcoin Futures’ Future: Slow, Measured, No Mom and Pop Investors

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy explained in a recent interview how the decision to list bitcoin futures in the last quarter of 2017 wasn’t made as a result of light or transient causes. Instead, it was a deliberate effort to bring a proven technology to well-financed clients who will help it mature.

Also read: Market Risk Advisory Committee: Bitcoin Futures Self-Certification Works

CME’s Chairman and CEO on Bitcoin Futures

Scarlet Fu put it bluntly. Did the long practice of self-certification within the commodities exchange industry force out or exclude important players such as Goldman Sachs, for example, who were then saddled with bitcoin futures they clearly didn’t want, poisoning the well? Mr. Duffy, CME Chairman, answered immediately, “No.”

“I don’t think it does,” he continued, “because we spent a lot of time working with all our clients, talking to them about all our products, educating them about what we’re thinking. At the same time, there is a competitive issue out there that you want to be cautious of. The self-certification process is a big part of why [bitcoin] was put into place [so quickly].”

Bitcoin Futures’ Future: Slow, Measured, No Mom and Pop Investors
Terry Duffy

Questions of industry self-certification have popped up in frequency tandem to bitcoin’s giant price drop in recent weeks. It even became the central focus of the regulator’s first meeting of the year, as both CME and its crosstown rival, Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe), were asked to defend the tradition in direct contrast with standard stocks and their grueling gatekeeper, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Mr. Duffy expanded his answer to Ms. Fu of Bloomberg, stating “[Our bitcoin futures product] didn’t have to go through a six month review (everybody could look at your intellectual property and do a copycat, lookalike product). We don’t have the same model as the Securities model. Ours is completely different. I think that the self-certification process works. We worked closely with our regulator. We worked more closely with them on this product because of the unique nature of this product.” 

Bitcoin Futures’ Future: Slow, Measured, No Mom and Pop Investors

Bitcoin is a Proven Commodity

Cboe was the first to list bitcoin futures, but CME’s week-later entrance into the ecosystem was largely seen as validation for the decentralized currency’s legitimacy and resiliency. CME is about as mainstream as finance can get. It owns several exchanges, and among its holdings is the Dow Jones index.

Remaining on the self-certification issue, Mr. Duffy defends the decision to list bitcoin. “At the same time, and I said this on my earnings call this morning, this product has been around for nine years. It’s not like it just showed up yesterday. Volatility [in traditional markets] has been low the last couple of years. What has not been low in volatility? It’s been bitcoin. People are clamoring for some kind of [volatility]. All the sudden this product becomes very much front page news. We’ve all been talking about bitcoin, and there’s been a lot of conversation about,” he explained. That conversation often turned to volatility and risk, and CME is not in the business of introducing more risk but, instead, managing it.

Bitcoin Futures’ Future: Slow, Measured, No Mom and Pop Investors

“We list [bitcoin futures], and we list it with a whole new group of standards. I said today on my shareholder earnings call I would not reduce any of those standards in order to make money on this product. I think it’s important we take a very slow approach to this, and make sure the product is rolled out properly.”

Ms. Fu asks indignantly, “So that high initial margin of 43% … under no circumstances would you lower that?” By way of perspective, commodity margins are usually single digits. Mr. Duffy’s answer is somewhat surprising, as it seems he really believes in bitcoin futures for the long term.

Protecting Ma and Pa

“That’s not what I said,” the Chairman and CEO corrected. “I would not do that in lieu of trying to get volume on it. I think the product needs times to mature. I think we’ve got to get more people involved in it, more commercials involved in this product. One of the reasons we have a five bitcoin per contract, versus our competitors having a one bitcoin contract, is I wanted to make sure I did not attract what is referred to in the business as the ‘moms and the pops’ trading it. I wanted to make sure people had a really good idea about what they’re getting into. I don’t want to attract a craze of people attracting to a marketplace when they’re not quite sure what they’re doing,” he cautioned. CME’s Chairman defended the high margin rates while the sot price tanked, stating

“Now, you look at the price of bitcoin. When we listed it, it was at $ 19,500 day one CME listed it. Today, it’s around $ 9,000 a bitcoin. We have a 43% margin, as you referenced a moment ago; we have had an over 50% decrease in that product. We are still holding 43% initial margin on that product today. It goes to show you the risk management processes we have in place for all of our asset classes but especially something like this when people were concerned about a quick break or a quick rally.”

Ms. Fu also asked about the prospect of listing other cryptos. Mr. Duffy pained a little at the question, “I’ll be honest with you Scarlet, we have not made a decision if we’re going to pursue other cryptocurrencies or not. I was very clear with the management of my company, and my board and my shareholders: this is new, this is controversial, but at the same time, if you look at the evolution of finance, everything was new, everything was controversial. We’re taking a very measured approach towards cryptocurrencies, and I will tell you right now we have no plans in the immediate future to bring out new cryptos right now,” he remarked candidly.

What do you think of Mr. Duffy’s comments? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Pixabay, CME.

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The post Bitcoin Futures’ Future: Slow, Measured, No Mom and Pop Investors appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Fallout From Apple’s Decision to Slow Phones Just Got Worse

January 31, 2018 |

US authorities are investigating Apple’s slowing of older iPhones, according to published reports. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating whether Apple violated securities laws. In December, Apple apologized for the slowdown after a blogger’s tests…

Solar panel tariffs threaten to increase customer cost and slow growth, but the industry remains optimistic

January 24, 2018 |

Fees on solar panel imports imposed this week by the Trump administration threaten to increase customer costs and cut solar energy growth by as much as 11% over the next five years, but the industry remains optimistic that the roadblock will be temporary.

The new tariffs probably will add about…

L.A. Times – Business