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Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Bitmain and more...

Author: Nishant Sharma (page 1 of 2)

Antminer Z9 Mini Shipments: An Experiment in Radical Transparency

With multiple thriving cryptocurrencies supported by diverse development roadmaps within each, Bitmain strongly believes that the permissionless internet of money promises a more secure future. Zcash is one such cryptocurrency that we hope to see thrive and help deliver on this promise.

Bitmain supports those members of the Zcash community who believe that security, reliability, and accessibility are among the highest-order values in a cryptocurrency network. We also believe that dedicated, ASIC-based mining systems reinforce these values. This is especially evident given recent news about the potential security dangers when crypto networks are not secured by large amounts of dedicated and dependable mining power.

Given that, we want to make sure we do our best to allow Zcash community members to predict and plan for when increased hash rate comes online.

We have therefore decided to carry out the shipments and QA of all Antminer Z9 Mini units in the most transparent fashion possible. To this end, we will tweet real-time updates from our QA teams and shipping warehouse via our official account (on 19th June, all Tweets, including these Z9 mini updates, relating to Antminer series and all other products sold on shop.bitmain.com moved to twitter.com/Antminer_main), using the hashtag #Z9QA. As has always been our policy, all orders will be shipped on a first-paid-first-shipped basis. We will also share the time of payments (though not the identity or location of the buyer) for the orders that are about to be shipped.

This is something we have never done before but we continue to experiment with the best ways to work and communicate with the communities in which we operate.

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On Sia’s “The State of Cryptocurrency Mining”

David Vorick, lead developer of Sia, recently shared a blog post titled “The State of Cryptocurrency Mining,” which provides a perspective into the cryptocurrency mining world.  

First off, we’d like to express our appreciation for David and what he’s achieved with Sia. The crypto community revolves around transparency and trust, and we hope to someday work with David and his team.  

That said, the article reflects some persistent misunderstandings about our business, and we’d like to take the opportunity to clear up the confusion. We’d like to briefly address the most egregious ones.  

“Playing Dirty” 

The article accuses Bitmain of “playing dirty,” claiming that that the company has attempted to block Obelisk from manufacturing in China.  

Considering the truly vast number and diversity of suppliers in China, it’s difficult to consider that Bitmain could possibly exert such powerful control over a competitor’s supply chain to the degree the article suggests. The article does try, though. Indeed, this section—fully six percent of the total article—tries to accuse Bitmain of “playing dirty” while stating twice that there is no evidence of same. 

There are numerous suppliers and other third-party agencies involved in the manufacturing of a miner, both in China and elsewhere.  

This is, at its very bottom, a conspiracy theory, much like some of the other ones we frequently encounter. This brings us to the next item.  

A3 and “Flooding the Market “

The article asserts that Bitmain floods the market with its mining rigs. Here is what really happened: At launch, Bitmain introduced a strict one-miner-per-user batch allocation policy and other methods [1][2] in order to restrict hoarding and combat centralization. The number of miners made available per round was purposely limited to help further regulate their introduction into their respective ecosystems. Since then, we’ve enforced this policy with the launch of all ASIC miners for cryptocurrencies that can be profitably mined by GPUs. The article’s calculations here are merely speculative. 

Again, in an article that makes a number of accusations, we wanted to tell our own side of the story. Our license-to-operate within the cryptocurrency ecosystem is vital to our business and we do not take it for granted. We will continue to provide industry-defining mining hardware and services, while remaining sensitive to the communities in which we participate.  

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Bitmain’s Coupon Giveaway – Lunar New Year 2018

In the past year, blockchain technology has attracted considerable attention across the world. The entire industry continues to thrive and grow. Meanwhile, we at Bitmain have also made continuous progress by keeping excellence as our focus. We would like to express our gratitude to all customers, whose trust and support have been essential to our progress. To this end, we are pleased to announce a Lunar New Year Coupons (the “Coupons”, each a “Coupon”) giveaway for all our customers (at the time of writing this).

 

Who are eligible for these Coupons?

Those who have successfully completed purchase (with 100% payment) of an Antminer S9, T9+, T9, L3+, L3 or D3 on our official website (https://www.bitmain.com/) before 23:59:59 on 26 February 2018 (GMT+8) will be eligible for the Coupons.

 

How much are these Coupons worth?

The answer to this depends on what and when you successfully placed and paid an order on www.bitmain.com. Please read below to find out.

  1. For EACH Antminer S9 that has been ordered and fully paid for before 23:59:59 on 26 February 2018 (GMT+8) and shipped before 23:59:59 on 22 February 2018 (GMT+8) (the shipping time shall be the one specified in www.bitmain.com), a US$100 off Coupon will be issued to the buyer.
  2. For EACH Antminer S9 that has been ordered and fully paid for before 23:59:59 on 26 February 2018 (GMT+8) but was NOT shipped before 23:59:59 on 22 February 2018 (GMT+8) (the shipping time shall be the one specified in www.bitmain.com), a US$200 off Coupon will be issued to the buyer.
  3. For EACH Antminer L3+/L3/T9 that has been ordered and fully paid for before 23:59:59 on 26 February 2018 (GMT+8), a US$100 off Coupon will be issued to the buyer.
  4. For EACH Antminer T9+/D3 that has been ordered and fully paid before 23:59:59 on 26 February 2018 (GMT+8), a US$200 off Coupon will be issued to the buyer.

 

When will the Coupons be issued?

All Coupons will be issued before 1 March 2018. Please click on “Coupon List” under “My Coupon” in “User Center” after logging into your shop.bitmain.com account, to check whether your Coupon has been issued.

 

When can these Coupons be used?

The Coupons can be used after they have been issued and will expire on 31 May 2018 (GMT+8).

 

Please note

  1. The Coupons will not be issued in cash and cannot be exchanged for cash. It can only be used to deduct the payment amount when you purchase our miners through www.bitmain.com.
  2. The number of Coupons that can be used in an order should be same as the number of miners in the order. More than one Coupon cannot be used for the purchase of one miner.
  3. During the purchase process, once the Coupon has been selected and the order has been submitted, the Coupon is deemed to have been used and cannot be used again, even if such an order is not fully paid.
  4. Coupons can be transferred to other users’ accounts on www.bitmain.com.
  5. The amount deducted by the use of a Coupon or Coupons cannot be invoiced.

For any queries or troubleshooting, please leave a message for our Support team at support.bitmain.com
Before submitting a message (or ticket), please remember to select the “Ticket Type”  and “Product or service” that is most closely related to your request to get a response in the shortest possible time.

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Fraudulent Websites and Scams

Since the Bitcoin price broke new all-time highs this year, there has been an increase in the number of fraud attempts targeting Antminer buyers.

Although most of these attempts fail, there have been reports of some users falling prey to these scams.

We are even more concerned for our users since one of our old servers containing our users’ information was compromised by unknown attackers last week. This could mean that you may be contacted by impostors who pretend to be Bitmain’s official representative or Bitmain’s reseller to get payment from you for Antminers that they cannot and will not deliver.

Please remember:

  1. We do not have any official distributor or reseller anywhere

We receive various queries about whether X or Y is an “official distributor” or “official partner” of Bitmain’s products simply because X or Y claims to be an “official distributor” or “official partner” of Bitmain. We have no official representatives or distributors in any country. This brings us to the following point.

  1. We only sell on bitmain.com

Even if a Bitmain executive wanted to order an Antminer, he or she has to place the order on shop.bitmain.com. There is no other way of ordering hardware from Bitmain. We will never send you an invoice on Skype or using a Gmail email address, both of which have been used by impostors to scam Antminer buyers before.

We have previously sold certain hardware models on www.newegg.com and, if we do so again, we will announce it on our official Twitter and Facebook account.

  1. Type the exact URL or save the correct URL

When you want to visit our website, please type www.bitmain.com or shop.bitmain.com. You may bookmark these two websites to ensure you are not misled by a website that looks similar to our website and even has a URL that very closely resembles our real URL.

  1. The only invoice you should trust is the one automatically generated by bitmain.com

We never send a wallet address or payment link manually on Skype or by email. All our invoices and payment instructions are automatically generated and emailed by bitmain.com after you have placed an order there. If you fear that the email may not be genuine, you can also login to your Bitmain.com account to access the correct invoice or payment instructions.

  1. We will announce a new batch release date as soon as we know the date ourselves

If we haven’t announced the time of the next batch release of a particular product, we do not know the time yet. We announce this on Facebook, Twitter and via email to those who have subscribed to be notified about batch releases of that particular model. We do not have an Instagram or another social media account.

If you would like to subscribe to a particular model’s batch notification emails, please leave our sales team a message with your email address and name of the models that you are interested in staying notified about.

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Weekly News Roundup – 25 November 2016

IRS Files Petition in Court to Get Coinbase Users’ Info

On 17th November, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed a petition in the District Court for the Northern District of California asking for permission to serve a summons to the Bitcoin exchange Coinbase to turn over records about every transaction of every user from 2013 to 2015.

According to court records,  the basis of IRS’s claim that all U.S. Coinbase users “may fail or may have failed to comply” with the internal revenue laws is an instance of a tax-defaulting Bitcoin user and two instances of tax-defaulting companies.

 

Bitcoin Price Flirts with Year’s High

Fueled by Indian government’s move to “hard-fork” the Indian Rupee, the Bitcoin price continued to rise since our previous bitcoin news roundup and, on 16 November, it rose by $30 in roughly one hour! On 17 November, it flirted with $780 on Chinese Bitcoin exchanges such as HaoBTC and BTCC.

At time of writing, it was swinging about $730 on Coindesk’s BPI.

Bitcoin Price 11-25 November 2016

Blockchain Partners with Coinify

The Bitcoin wallet Blockchain has partnered with Danish blockchain startup Coinify to offer its wallet users near-instantaneous funding options.  According to Blockchain, this partnership will allow its wallet users to avoid lengthy Know your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) verifications to purchase bitcoins more efficiently.

The Coinify integration will first be beta tested by invite-only participants in the UK and, after successful completion of the testing, will be available across Europe.

 

Blockchain Ads Ten Millionth Wallet

Following Blockchain’s previous news, the company announced a new milestone: it surpassed the ten million-wallet mark. The company mentioned that they have seen unprecedented levels of activity following the Brexit vote, the US presidential election and a weakening Yuan.

 

iPayYou Integrates Bitcoin Payment for Amazon Purchases

While major e-retailers like Overstock.com or Newegg.com have long been accepting Bitcoin payments, Amazon has still not adopted the most popular digital currency for payments on its retail platform.  However, early this week, Seattle-based payment platform iPayYou announced a feature called Amazon Direct that allows users to use their Bitcoin to make purchases on Amazon.

According to iPayYou’s CEO, the money is transferred from iPayYou’s bank account to that of Amazon so Amazon only deals with fiat transfers.

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Weekly News Roundup – 11 November 2016

In absence of the previous weekly news roundup, we will be rounding up some noteworthy news of the past two weeks. The past two weeks have been unusually eventful for the bitcoin and cryptocurrency space.

Zcash Launch and Frenzy

The new Bitcoin-derived cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC) launched amidst much hype  and the frenzy continued after its launch on 28th October, when it surged to a price of  3,300 Bitcoins (more than $2 million). It fell to a value below 1 BTC on 30th October as the frenzy faded, rose temporarily, fell again and remains below 1 BTC at time of writing this.

Zcash / Bitcoin Price

Source: coinmarketcap.com

The company behind Zcash claims that,  in comparison to Bitcoin, Zcash offers more anonymity, increased fungibility and faster transaction verification.

Bitmain Announces World’s Second Most Powerful Data Center

News emerged on a Chinese Bitcoin news’ website on 2nd November that Bitmain is building a giant data center for Bitcoin mining. This was soon followed by Bitmain’s tweets and then a press release that clarified that Bitmain only owns a small share of the 135 megawatt facility and various other investors, who own majority of the facility, can choose to use their share of the data center for any purpose, not only bitcoin mining or mining.

The data center is scheduled to be completed by end of this year. Upon completion, the data center will be second in the list of the world’s most powerful data centers.

BTCC Launches Bitcoin to USD Exchange

Shanghai-based Bitcoin exchange BTCC, formerly known as BTC China, announced on 1st November that they are launching a new USD exchange, one that is operated by a Hong Kong-based legal entity.

BTCC is among the world’s longest running Bitcoin exchanges. By now supporting USD exchange, BTCC can offer tough competition to Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange BitFinex, which suffered a major hack and theft of Bitcoins in August.

BTCC’s new service is not yet available to US customers because BTCC is still awaiting approval from FinCEN or New York DFS.

Indian Gov ‘Hardforks’ the Indian Rupee

On 8th November the Indian government announced an overnight demonetization of Rupee notes of the highest (1000 Indian Rupee) and second-highest (500 Indian Rupee) denomination. This move is aimed at stopping counterfeit notes and black money.

In the same announcement, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed that new 500 and 2000 Indian Rupee notes will be introduced.

This sudden move by the Indian government to demonetize a considerable portion of the cash that Indian citizens possess is expected to increase awareness and use of cashless payment methods, like Bitcoin, in India.

Bitcoin and Gold Prices Surge after the US Presidential Election Result

The uncertainty in global markets after the shocking win of Donald Trump led to a surge in not only the price of Gold but also that of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin price rose by 3% on Wednesday morning to $726 from $708 the day before.

Prices of other digital currencies (or altcoins) did not make a similar jump. On the contrary, prices of altcoins with the second (Ethereum) and third (Ripple) highest market cap, were down from the day before.

This shows how investors also see Bitcoin as a safe haven at times of market volatility.

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Weekly News Roundup – 28 October 2016

Today is Bitmain’s third anniversary and celebrations are underway at the Bitmain headquarters in Beijing while I start to round up some noteworthy bitcoin news of the past two weeks.

Bitcoin price crosses $700

Bitcoin price continued to flaunt its mojo since our previous bitcoin news’ roundup  and crossed the $700 mark by the time of publishing this (29 October). This is the highest it has risen since 21 June 2016.
The strongest factor in this rise seems to be the devaluation of the Chinese Yuan. The graph below from a Bloomberg article shows an inverse relationship between the price of Chinese Yuan and that of Bitcoin.

bitcoin news roundup - Yuan Bitcoin Inverse relationship

Chinese currency’s weakness is boosting bitcoin demand.                                                Image courtesy: Bloomberg

MGT Capital Investments partners with Bitmain

On Wednesday, news that MGT Capital Investments, Inc. (OTC: MGTI) has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to form a joint venture with Bitmain became public with MGTI’s press release.
The proposed joint venture is expected to result in the development of a Bitcoin mining pool that will include advanced user interface as well as superior network protection and security maintained by MGT’s proprietary cybersecurity technologies. In addition, the companies plan to form a partnership to offer businesses and consumers affordably priced cloud mining contracts.

Bitmain’s BTC.com organizes the biggest conference for owners and operators of “mining farms” 

On 22 October, Bitmain’s BTC.com held the first-ever conference for “mining farm” owners and operators in Chengdu, China. Kevin Pan of BTC.com introduced some unique aspects of its BTC.com mining pool while Chris Zhu of BTC.com explained how miners protect the bitcoin network. Further description of the event is on BTC.com’s blog post.

bitcoin news roundup - BTC.com's Kevin Pan at the miners' conference in Chengdu, China

Kevin Pan of BTC.com at the miners’ conference in Chengdu

Hillary’s campaign team calls Bitcoin a “libertarian Ayn Rand schtick”

An email exchange published by WikiLeaks in which the Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta commented on bitcoin saw the media’s spotlight on 18 October. The email thread was started by Stan Stalnaker, founding director and chief strategy officer of the digital currency “Ven”, to propose Ven for use by Hillary’s campaign after meeting with Podesta at a Hillary fundraiser in London.
Podesta forwarded the email to campaign tech aide Teddy Goff with an explanation: “I don’t send all the crazy ideas I hear about at fundraisers your way, but this seems interesting and legit. Essentially digital currency with a green angle as opposed to bitcoin’s libertarian Ayn Rand schtick. Would you get some members of your team to meet with Stan when he’s in NYC later this month to see if it’s worth a real conversation?”

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Weekly News Roundup – 14 October 2016

The past seven days have been officially and nationally working days, with Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th labelled as “Special Working Days” by the Chinese government. Today marks the end of this marathon work week. We have more reasons to celebrate because the bitcoin price seems to have got its mojo back. And this brings us to the first news of our weekly bitcoin news roundup.

Bitcoin price gets its mojo back

After long showing resistance around $610, the bitcoin price started pushing higher on Monday. On Monday (UTC time), it leaped from $616 to $632 and has been hovering around $636 since then. It touched $639.86 on Wednesday (UTC) and $636.62 within the past 24 hours of writing this.
Speculations about the cause of this price rally abound, as usual. The most notable causes I believe are the depreciation of the Chinese Yuan to its lowest in six years and the fact that Monday is also the most common pay-day in China, a country where bitcoin has maximum appeal as an investment.

Japan to drop sales tax on Bitcoin purchase

Earlier this year, Coindesk reported that Japanese Liberal Democratic Party member Tsukasa Akimoto put the question “Can’t you consider not imposing consumption tax on bitcoins in line with the international trend?” to Finance Minister Tarō Asō.
On Wednesday the news emerged that Japan is set to drop the 8% sales tax levied on bitcoin purchases. This will lower the price for buyers and reduce the tax-related administrative work for bitcoin exchanges in Japan.

Blockchain.info hit by a DNS attack

The bitcoin explorer Blockchain.info was unavailable for several hours on Wednesday because of what later turned out to be a DNS attack according to a post on the company’s blog.
According to the company’s report, the attacker changed their DNS servers and blockchain.info itself was not directly attacked.

Scaling bitcoin

The last weekend saw the third conference of Scaling Bitcoin in Milan, Italy. The previous two were in Hong Kong and Montreal last year.
The conference saw a very high number and caliber of attendees from the bitcoin industry worldwide. This number was most likely more than any other bitcoin conference. The main points of discussion were Segwit, lightning network, block size and sidechains. Recordings of the talks and even the transcripts can be downloaded from the conference’s official website.

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Weekly News Roundup – 7 October 2016

Our second weekly bitcoin news roundup comes as the 7-day China National Day holidays come to an end here at the Bitmain headquarters in Beijing. Some notable news from the past two weeks:

Indian bitcoin start-up gets record funding

Bangalore-based startup Unocoin raised $1.5 million in a Pre Series-A round, setting a national record for any digital currency venture in India. The funding round was lead by Mumbai-based Blume Ventures. Other investors included Mumbai Angels, ah! Ventures as well as prominent international investors such as Digital Currency Group, Boost VC, Bnk to the Future, Bitcoin Capital and FundersClub.

According to Unocoin the funds will be used for product development, team expansion and geographical expansion.  Read more…

French company tests Lightning Network routing

French company ACINQ released a press release on 26 September announcing that they had successfully tested a modified version of the ‘Flare’ routing solution that was described in a white paper in July by BitFury Group in collaboration with the Lightning Network.

ACINQ tested their modified version of the Flare routing algorithm on 2,500 Amazon Web Services (AWS) nodes.  After their tests, ACINQ discovered that the proposed Flare algorithm was able to find a payment route in about .5 seconds with a probability of 80 percent.

Blockchain startup Factom raises $4.2m in funding

Austin-based Factom raised $4.2 million in funding from a slew of global investors, led by billionaire investor Tim Draper, to build a series of new blockchain products.  Other investors in the funding round included BnkToTheFuture and Chinese conglomerate Wangxiang Group’s new blockchain investment fund Fenbushi Capital.

Factom’s blockchain and related products have previously attracted partnerships with the government of Honduras as well as the government of China.

US Congress forms a blockchain caucus

On 26 September, Democrat congressman Jared Polis, a longtime bitcoin supporter, and Republican congressman Mick Mulvaney formed the Congressional Blockchain Caucus to educate other legislators about the blockchain technology.

This is certainly a good development for bitcoin but I  recommend you read this article in The Atlantic to learn more on the role of Caucuses – there seems to be a Caucus (officially congressional member organizations) for various hobbies or general interests.

Interestingly, the Atlantic article ended with “One never knows what group will form next — but hey, Rep. Jared Polis, there’s still no Congressional Bitcoin Caucus.”  That has just changed now.

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Weekly News Roundup – 23 September 2016

On Fridays, beginning today, we will be rounding up some breaking news of the past week from the bitcoin/cryptocurrency space. This past week we saw:

the Devcon2 in Shanghai

Several heavyweights from the global cryptocurrency space descended on Shanghai for the Devcon2.  Here are some informative news articles intended to give you some of the experience.

At Ethereum Mega-Event, the ‘Church of Vitalik’ Sobers Up , How Zcash ‘Project Alchemy’ connects with Ethereum , Ethereum Mist and how to build apps that are truly unstoppable , Ethereum Devs Applaud the Audience at Devcon’s Closing

a US federal judge rule that Bitcoin is a currency

Anthony Murgio, of Coin.mx, who was indicted on alleged money laundering charges in July of last year, had sought to dismiss two of the charges against him in part by arguing that bitcoins don’t count as “funds” in the context of US law. This was rejected by the judge Alison Nathan, who wrote in her ruling that: “Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term. Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account. They therefore function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment.”  Read more…

Bitcoin.com’s new mining pool mine its first block

Bitcoin.com’s new mining pool, which uses the Bitcoin Unlimited protocol, mined its first block. Bitcoin Unlimited is an alternative protocol that removes transaction block size limits from the protocol level and adds it to the transport level. This means those running the software can choose the size they like. Read more…

BTC.COM’s new mining pool make it to the list of global top ten poolsBitcoin Mining Pool Distribution 23 September 2016 BTC.com

The new open-source pool by BTC.com a place on the list of the top ten mining pools. According to pool distribution statistics from BTC.COM’s free block explorer and statistics website, BTC.COM’s new pool, at time of writing, accounted for 2.9% of the bitcoin network’s hashrate. Read more…

Gemini conduct Bitcoin’s first-ever daily auction on an exchange

The Winklevoss twins’  bitcoin exchange held the first-ever daily auction for Bitcoin on their digital currency exchange Gemini Trust Co. Read more… 

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