Bitmain Launches ASIC-based BTC Mining Machine, Antminer T19, to Combat S17’s Issues

China-based Bitcoin mining firmware company, Bitmain, announced the launch of the Antminer T19 model version. This model is a cheaper version of the flagship Antminer S19 and S19 Pro models but competes favorably in efficiency of BTC mining.

Bitmain releases ‘cheaper’ Antminer T19 model

After a problematic launch of the Antminer S19 models, Bitmain officially announced the launch of the cheaper Antminer T19 model which will start selling on Bitmain’s website on June 1, 2020. According to the main website the price of the Antminer T19 is $1,749 compared to S19 ($1,785) and S19 Pro ($2,407). The S19 version was sold out in minutes following the launch in 2019. The shipping of the products will start on June 21st till June 30th, the statement reads.

The Antminer T19 is the latest model in the new generation of SHA-256 custom-built chips created by Bitmain. The miner will generate a hash rate of 84 TH/s with a 3 percent variance and a power efficiency of 37.5 joules (J/TH) with a 5 percent variance. In comparison to the two flagship devices – the S19 miner produces 95 TH/s and the S19 Pro producing a hash rate of 110 TH/s. The official report further states,

“The T19 also utilizes the new APW12 power supply and upgraded firmware, which offers faster start-up speeds for an optimized mining experience.”

Bitmain, the largest Bitcoin firmware manufacturer, will limit the number of purchases to two for each user to prevent “hoarding” by the miners. Recently, Riot Blockchain, bought over 1,000 Antminer S19 model machines to boost BTC’s hash rate by 80 percent.

A solution to a failed start?

The third line in a generation of new machines gives miners hope after the terrible and troubling launch of the Antminer S19 and S19 Pro models. Users complained on abnormal failure rates of the mining firmware with nearly 20-30 percent of the total machines failing – normal failure rate is at 5%.

The dominance of Bitmain in Bitcoin’s mining is however raising questions of centralization with the company dominating the manufacturing of miners and mining the token too. Three of the largest mining pools control over half of the total hash rate and Bitmain controls two of those.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Chinese Devs to Use Telegram’s Open-Sourced TON Blockchain To Launch Their Own Network

  • Chinese TON developers announce the launch of their variation of the TON blockchain after successive launches by TON Lab’s Free TON platform and New TON.
  • This comes shortly after the global messaging app, Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov, backed out of the open-source blockchain project.

In an official announcement from the Chinese TON project, the third “fork” from Telegram’s abandoned TON blockchain is set to launch. The company aims to follow through with  Telegram’s vision of a decentralized blockchain project after Pavel’s move to pull the messaging app firm out of the $1.7 billion ICO project.

After a long and tough legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Telegram called it quits in the TON project. The $1.7 billion ICO will be partially redistributed to investors over the next year and further withdrawing their appeal lawsuit from the federal courts.

The abandonment by Telegram, however, does not stop the building process given the blockchain’s open-sourced build. The China TON Blockchain developers, led by founder, Tooz Wu, aim at “starting the TON Blockchain testnet in the first step, and recruit more nodes and developers to join the network”. The published announcement further reads:

“We also aim at testing the network, and then redesigning network rules that are more adapted to the current context, and invite more people to experience and use TON.”

A Battle for the Betterment of TON

The launch of Chinese TON opens up a competitive field as it battles for subscribers with TON Lab’s Free TON and New TON. Speaking on the latest announcement co-founder and CEO of TON Labs, Mitja Goroshevsky, believes more communities working on the project improves development rather than stifle it despite extra competition. He said:

“The technology is open for everybody and anybody can launch it. […]Users will decide which has the most technical depth, which is better [and] more decentralized.”

However, Chinese TON developers do not share the same feelings towards Free TON with a tweet from a top developer calling the token a “shitcoin.”

Telegram’s off the TON project

While the open-source development goes on smoothly, Telegram’s investors in the GRAM token ICO are threatening to sue the company.

In April, the company announced they will be calling off the project and redistributing 72% of the investment to U.S. customers immediately and overseas investors are given an option to wait a year to receive 110% of their investment.

Pavel, however, warned investors and users against any private developers and platform claiming partnerships with Telegram.

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Author: Lujan Odera

CBDCs May Be A Tailwind for Bitcoin and Further ‘Accentuate’ its Role in the Global Digital Economy

People’s Bank of China is gearing up for the launch of their Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in 2020 and nearly all central banks of advanced economies, from the Fed, ECB to BoE, and BoJ, are actively analyzing the prospect and impact of such currencies.

These currencies have the potential to streamline payments but if successfully launched, will they affect bitcoin negatively? According to Grayscale’s latest report, it would be the exact opposite. The report reads,

“If CBDCs are successfully launched, the infrastructure and education that would accompany the use of these bearer assets could serve as a gateway for further adoption of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.”

The move from fiat currencies to digital infrastructure would only highlight Bitcoin’s features of being scarce, uncompromising, and apolitical that is open for anyone to use.

Unlike bitcoin and even stablecoins, CBDCs are issued and tracked by central banks and have the same features as fiat currencies just in digital form.

Digital fiat would only make it easier to issue new currency

Although implementation details aren’t yet available, the potential issuance of CBDCs raises a number of challenges.

If issued as bearer assets, CBDCs could pose a threat to commercial banks because then depositors would be able to transact and store the currency outside of the banking system, as such they would necessitate upgraded financial infrastructure, new policy, and management practices.

“This would represent a significant shift in managing the control, movement, and accounting of money.”

This means CBDCs would bring control and surveillance of both issuance and transfer of money under the government watch.

“The value proposition for governments is clear, but it may raise concerns around privacy, especially from citizens in democratic societies who may not welcome this level of oversight.”

And this is where bitcoin comes in, which offers the complete opposite of a CBDC, censorship resistance, and decentralization, allowing users to transact and store their digital currency without the risk of their payments getting blocked or their funds being stolen or seized. As such,

“the interest in developing and implementing CBDCs may be accentuating Bitcoin’s role in the global digital economy.”

Already, the active discussion around CBDCs is strengthening the case for non-sovereign digital currencies, like Bitcoin,

“by forcing institutions to consider adopting digital currency infrastructure, while also educating users on digital bearer assets and the characteristics of good money.”

Also, digitizing the currency doesn’t mean the central bank would lose the ability to dictate and implement monetary policy. It would rather become easier for a central bank to issue a new currency and set effect rates on assets held in personal custody. The report states,

“With public trust in governments waning, this paradigm may prove to be a tailwind for Bitcoin.”

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Author: AnTy

Momo Wang Drops New CryptoKitty on Winklevoss-backed Nifty Gateway; Sells Out in 3 Minutes

  • The launch of a new Cryptokitty token has flooded the Winklevoss-backed NFT exchange Nifty Gateway, the high-brow digital art marketplace.

CryptoKitties just launched 100 tokens representing ‘Catterina’, a new collectible drawn by the project’s brand ambassador and Chinese artist Momo Wang. Wang is popularly known for illustrating a sticker of a white rabbit ‘Tuzki’ shared by tens of millions of users on WeChat and Facebook everyday. Her new illustration dubbed Catterina has gone live on Nifty gateway marketplace with one hundred images up for sale at $100 a piece.

Sold out in three minutes

Two and a half years ago, CryptoKitties briefly crushed the Ethereum network under the weight of its popularity. This time around and within an hour of Momo Wang announcing the limited run, Nifty gateway posted on its official twitter account that they’d had over 100 user sign ups already and urged people not to miss out. Within three minutes of launching, all of the 100 tokens depicting Momo Wang’s Catterina had already been sold out.

It turned out that the craze following the previous announcement had resulted in a massive number of users accessing the platform all at once. This in turn led to the service growing slower and slower. The Nifty exchange announced their systems had experienced an unanticipated volume which resulted in payment issues arising. They added that all who had paid without receiving a kitty would be immediately refunded. Moments after the sale, Nifty posted that one of Catterina’s non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) had sold for a whopping $450 on a secondary market.

NFT’s bullish rise to the top

As if knocking out the Ethereum exchange was not astonishing enough, NFT‘s ecosystem has continued to evolve significantly. The recent announcement of Dapper Labs partnering with the NBA and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in a bid to launch tokenized representations of MMA fighters just proves of how NFT is making progress associating with prominent public figures. Nifty first produced tokenized collectibles depicting MMA competitor Cris Cyborg and after a few hours they had sold out.

NFT also sets to revolutionize the blockchain gaming industry by ensuring that games are embedded with tokenized items that can be privately owned, purchased and traded.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Deribit Partners With ClearLoop To Prevent Auto Deleveraging (ADL) In Volatile Markets

  • Panama based cryptocurrency derivatives exchange, Deribit, announces the launch of an external custody solution in partnership with ClearLoop, a London based digital asset infrastructure provider.
  • The solution aims to reduce the auto deleveraging (ADL) on the platform while enhancing the collateral transfer between wallets.

According to the release statement, this is expected to open up a more secure gateway for institutional traders to carry out trades without transferring their assets from the cold wallets to online wallets every time they wish to trade.

The account which is a custody account aims at preventing asset managers from being forced to move their crypto to hot wallets from secure storage. Transfers not only cause issues with the security of crypto assets, as they can be stolen or sent to the wrong wallet, but any delay in the transfer can cost the traders money. This is dependent on the time required for confirmation.

ClearLoop’s solution will employ a secure and quick system through intermediate clearloops providing managers with a secured custody solution. In addition, it eliminates self-retention risks on the platform.

Source: Deribit Insights

For each position that a trader presents, ClearLoop first ensures that the exchange and the client both have enough assets to cover them before they open them. ClearLoop also ensures that the same has been settled between them as soon as the deal has been closed.

In relation to a number of market inefficiencies, ClearLoop claims that by faster transfer of customer guarantees, traders will be better protected from the risks of automatic debt reduction.

Co-Founder and CEO of Deribit, John Jansen said,

“Integration with ClearLoop is a natural next step for Deribit, as it could potentially solve some of the most critical issues faced by the derivatives market.”

Traders can get higher volumes per transaction by enabling shorter response times while at the same time avoid cryptocurrency value restrictions which can be stored in hot wallets. These are needed to minimize counterparty and security risks. ClearLoop argues that with its new solution, all deposits, and counter deposits that are secured in the cold wallet storage until allowing instantaneous trades across the blockchains.

[Also Read: Deribit Launches ETH Daily Options After Success With Bitcoin Contracts]

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Exchange KuCoin and DigitalBits Partner to Roll Out Enterprise Currency Desk (ECD)

The crypto exchange KuCoin and DigitalBits have formed a partnership in order to launch a new type of over-the-counter (OTC) desk.

KuCoin says the Enterprise Currency Desk (ECD) is created for companies that want to work with decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain technology in order to provide digital asset acquisition solutions.

The first partner is DigitalBits, a platform where companies can deploy branded stablecoins in lieu of consumer brand loyalty reward systems. It provides companies access to more tokens, allowing them to power their operations like wallet authentications, staking and transaction fees.

Here’s what a KuCoin press release for Wednesday reads:

“A designated service to address token procurement and liquidity will allow companies to easily engage in blockchain-based solutions, without having to employ experienced traders to obtain and utilize large amounts of tokens.”

DigitalBits: Intermediary for Provisioning Tokens

As reported by the Digital Bits’ vice president of operations – Michael Luckhoo – DigitalBits will be an intermediary, provisioning tokens for certain functions of businesses.

Luckhoo also mentioned that leveraging a partner in the ecosystem will be helpful for companies aiming to intake token requirements, instead of trying to obtain the same thing from each and every project taken separately.

The ECD Solution Will Cater to Enterprise Clients

The ECD solution is a traditional OTC one, only optimized and catering specifically to enterprise clients. KuCoin wants to allow its platform to serve as

“A designated service, addressing token procurement and liquidity allowing companies to easily engage in blockchain-based solutions, without having to employ experienced traders to obtain and utilize large amounts of tokens.”

The ECD will function as a subscription desk for brands and businesses. Not to mention that it allows brands access to Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) rewards programs.

KuCoin’s Daily Trade Volume Increased Since 2018

According to previous reports, the Seychelles-based crypto exchange KuCoin raised $20 million in a Series A funding backed by Neo Global Capital, Matrix Partners and IDG Capital back in 2018.

Since then, it reached $33.5 million in daily trade volume. The company said that its new service is going to reduce the friction businesses usually experience when trying to launch branded tokens or to obtain large amounts of stablecoins.

[Also Read: KuCoin Joins Binance, Huobi In Offering A White-Label Crypto Exchange Solution]

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Author: Oana Ularu

Binance.US to Add Tezos (XTZ) Staking on April 16; No Action Needed To Start Earning

Binance.US, the US subsidiary of the Binance crypto exchange is all set to launch Tezos staking service on its platform from April 16. As per the official announcement, the Tezos staking services will be activated by 9.00 EST on Thursday.

Tezos staking has gained a lot of traction from around the globe in recent months and Binance being a leading exchange service provider had the Tezos staking facility on its global platform. The announcement also clarified that Tezos holders on the platform would not have to go through any complex procedures to start earning rewards. The exchange will be solely responsible for determining the rewards for Tezos holders.

Binance.US would take an hourly screenshot of Tezos holders on its platform to determine the reward for the customers. The process will be quite similar to other staking services available for different tokens on the platform. Binance would calculate the staking rewards on a daily basis, however, the allocation of rewards will be done on a monthly basis. At preset Binance.US support a couple of major Tezos trading pairs namely XTZ/USD and XTZ/BUSD, which are available on the Binance.US mobile application as well as website and API.

How Staking Services Help Customers Earn Reward

Binance as a global exchange offers a number of services, be it a fiat-crypto gateway to make trading easier or staking of various tokens without having to run a full node and earn a reward for staking those tokens. The global Binance platform introduced staking services on the platform towards the end of 2019, while its US counterpart introduced staking services in early 2020.

A users can avail the rewards by simply holding the available staking tokens in their exchange wallet for a certain period of time, the longer the staking time, bigger is the reward. Currently, there are two tokens available for staking, one being Algorand, and another being ATOM. With the Tezos listing on April 16th, the Binance.US would join the likes of Coinbase and Kraken who are offering Tezos Staking services.

Binance has become a giant crypto ecosystem in itself, right from having its own utility token BNB which was one of the best-performing assets in 2019 to have their own blockchain. The platform has also been on an accusation spree out of which CoinMarketCap is the latest one which created a lot of noise in the decentralized space on whether acquiring an independent crypto data monitoring services would be good for the crypto ecosystem. Recently, it was also revealed that Binance uses a significant portion of its profit for acquisition.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Swiss Crypto Association Rolls Out A 1:1 Bitcoin-Backed ‘tzBTC’ Token on Tezos For DApps

A consortium of Swiss based crypto firms have come together to launch “tzBTC”, a bitcoin-backed token on Tezos blockchain in a bid to kick-start decentralized finance (DeFi) on its programme.

This recent move to incorporate bitcoin onto Tezos blockchain is a step closer in rivaling Ethereum blockchain which introduced bitcoin applications more than a year ago. DeFi evidently grew rapidly on Ethereum in 2019. Tezos blockchain was launched back in 2018 with an aim of playing host to a new generation of decentralized finance (DeFi), social and business projects.

The Tezos Foundation has teamed up with Bitcoin Association Switzerland along with a number of Swiss digital asset service providers among them including Sygnum, Inacta, Swiss crypto token and Bitcoin Suisse to create the TZBTC digital token. The token gives its holders the ability to interact with Tezos smart contracts while attaching on the value of the Bitcoin. Tezos foundation operational head Roman Schnider told that the collaboration openly demonstrated that Switzerland is a leader in financial innovation.

Lucas Betschart the president of Bitcoin Association Switzerland said in a press statement that the new token brings the brand and the liquidity of the blockchain. Furthermore, it gains the potential for rich functionality made possible by Tezos smart contracts. The head of operations at the Tezos Foundation Roman Schnider said that atomic swaps are for building out DeFi exchanges and perhaps a wrapped Ethereum (ETH) token. He more so insisted that this partnership was the first in kind but was a roadmap to a better future on the same front.

The main consideration under the recent integration was that intermediaries such as banks and lawyers were not paramount during exchange of items of value. This promises to ease full operations while promoting accessibility and flexibility. This new system all but ensures that privacy will be preserved, as well as bring efficiency and transparency to established digital systems.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Exchange Binance Looks To Join Houbi, OKEx In Launching A Mining Pool

Top crypto exchange Binance has plans to launch its own mining pool, according to a Russian crypto news outlet Coinlife on Tuesday.

The news was confirmed in the meantime by 3 different sources that are active within the mining business, on Wednesday, Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, tweeted about the pool. Here’s what Coinlife said on the matter:

“The company has already hired some professionals for this purpose, some of them former Bitmain employees. The launch is planned for the Q2 2020.”

Head of Sigmapool Also Talked About the Launch

Jakhon Khabilov, the head of the mining pool Sigmapool, has also talked about the launch, saying that Binance is already offering its potential customers very generous bonuses for making referrals. He added that the exchange has also been reaching to some Chinese miners to promote its soon-to-be-launched service.

Binance Follows Huobi and OKex

Binance is not the only one to launch its own mining pool, as Huobi and OKex have done this last year, with OKex in August and Huobi in September. At the moment, their pools are amongst the top 10 producing blocks in the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain.

CoinDance BTC Mining Pools
Source: Coin.Dance

Poolin’s, currently the 2nd largest share of Bitcoin Hash Rate, Vice President Alejandro de la Torre, says exchanges are motivated by liquidity to join the BTC mining farms. It’s a well-known fact that mining adds liquidity to exchanges in a very cheap manner.

Bitriver’s CEO Things Crypto Exchanges Should All Launch Mining Pools

Bitriver’s, one of the biggest Russian mining farms, CEO Igor Runets thinks that launching mining pools is the most logical thing to do for crypto exchanges, seeing both mining pooling and crypto exchanging are software-based businesses that don’t require any additional professional skills. Mining pool users happen to also be exchange’ users, so the client base largely overlaps, he added.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Coinbase Custody Moves Tezos (XTZ) Staking Bakery From US to Ireland For Regulatory Reasons

Coinbase has managed to move the Tezos Staking Bakery, the largest validator since its launch in 2019 which the exchange has been operating since launch, from the United States to Ireland in less than 60 seconds on March 31. The move of staking Bakery was done in the light of regulatory requirements of the Swiss digital asset product provider, Amun.

Coinbase has been offering its custody and baking service to Amun ever since they launched their Tezos-based exchange-traded product on Swiss exchange, SIX. The regulatory changes in the Amun were the sole reason behind the recent move, which required all its staking products and services to be operational within the European Union.

Coinbase Cites Two Prominent Strategies Which They Took Under Consideration Behind the Move to Ireland

Coinbase noted that they pondered over two strategies before deciding to move the Tezos Bakery from the United States to Ireland. The first one was to stop any activity of its US-based validators before deploying the Irish validators. Although the process required nearly an hour in downtime, it ensured that the security risks were minimal.

The second strategy was to initiate the Irish validators before shutting down the US validators and stop the US validators when the Irish validators were completely in control. However, this move would have exposed the validator network to significant security risks. In the end it was decided that the way to go about it was to decouple the validator’s endorser from the node which eventually helped in making the migration process to complete in under 60 seconds.

As a result of decoupling, the exchange found that voting on blocks was being done from Ireland while new blocks were being produced from the United States. Coinbase finally saw a couple hour window suitable for moving the baker to Ireland and eventually completed the migration. Coinbase explained,

“A Tezos validator has two main components: the baker, which produces new blocks that include transactions in the digital ledger, and the endorser, which votes on blocks that other validators produce […] Large Tezos validators typically only produce or bake new blocks every few minutes or hours, but they need to vote or endorse almost every minute.”

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Author: James W