BTC Miner Argo Reports a Surge of 332% in H1 2021 Net Income Due to Increase in its Production

BTC Miner Argo Reports a Surge of 332% in H1 2021 Net Income Due to Increase in its Production

The company reported a mining margin of 81%, up from 39% in H1 2020, which further jumped to 83% in July. In late June and July, the miner actually mined more BTC with the same hash power due to a substantial decrease in the global hash rate that led to big changes in mining difficulty after China’s crackdown on crypto mining.

Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain reported its financial results for the first six months to June 30, 2021, noting an increase of 180% in its revenue to £31.1 million (nearly $43.2 million), reflecting an increase in production and Bitcoin prices.

In the first half of 2020, the company earned revenue of £11.1 million or $15.4 million.

The UK-based miner reported a surge of 332% in its EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) to £16 million (about $22.2 mln), despite a £6.2 mln downward revaluation of digital assets and a £1.6 mln share-based payment charge.

The company also reported a mining margin of 81%, up from 39% in H1 2020, while pre-tax profit grew more than 21x during the same period to £10.7 mln. Peter Wall, CEO & interim chairman at Argo Blockchain, said,

“We have capitalised on a change in market conditions in the first half of 2021 to deliver strong growth in both revenues & profits, demonstrating that our smart growth strategy is delivering value to shareholders.”

Argo Blockchain mined a total of 883 BTC compared to 1,669 in 2020; this decline was due to the halving in May 2020, which reduced Bitcoin block rewards from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC.

In late June and July, the miner mined more BTC with the same hash power due to a substantial decrease in the global hash rate that led to significant changes in mining difficulty.

Last week, it reported mining 225 BTC at a mining margin of 83%, bringing its total BTC mined year to date at 1,108 BTC. Wall said at the time,

“We are also pleased to have broken ground at the Texas facility, and are excited to continue to utilise renewable power and to work with the local community in Texas to enact positive change.”

As of June 30, the company holds 1,268 BTC, while it held a mere 127 BTC last year. At the end of July 2021, Argo had 1,496 BTC.

Argo also increased its mining capacity from 685 PH at the end of 2020 to 1,075 PH as of 30 June 2021.

Already listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker ARB, trading at $126.70, down from $284 ATH in February, last month Argo also filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US market under the ARBK ticker.

Argo, powered by clean energy, expects the proposed offering to start in the Q3 of this year after the SEC has completed its review process and approval.

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Author: AnTy

Square’s Bitcoin Revenue Tops $2.72 Billion in Q2 and Reports Impairment Loss of $45M

Square’s Bitcoin Revenue Tops $2.72 Billion in Q2 and Reports Impairment Loss of $45M

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s Square reported another profitable quarter with its Bitcoin yearly revenue surging 200% year over year to $2.72 billion from $875 million. Bitcoin gross profit meanwhile rose from $17 million to $55 million.

Square’s Cash App reported a “significant growth” of 3x YoY in bitcoin revenue, with bitcoin gross profit being 2% of it.

Total net revenue was $4.68 billion in the second quarter of 2021, up 143% YoY, and excluding bitcoin, the total net revenue was $1.96 billion, up 87% YoY.

In Q2, Cash App also reported a gross payment volume of $42.8 billion, up from $33.1 billion in Q1. The App also reached 40 million monthly transacting active customers in June.

In its Q2 financial letter to shareholders, the company noted that Bitcoin’s YoY growth was due to increases in the price of bitcoin and bitcoin actives and growth in customer demand.

However, Q2 saw bitcoin revenue and gross profit declining from Q1 due to relative price stability affecting the trading activity compared to prior quarters.

As for the $220 million investment in Bitcoin ($50 million in 4Q20 and $170 million was invested in 1Q21) that Square is holding on its balance sheet, resulting in the company reporting an impairment loss of $45 million, up from $25 million in Q1 due to Bitcoin being an indefinite-lived intangible asset which is subject to such loss if its fair value decreases the carrying value during the assessed period.

The San Francisco-based company mentions the impairment loss because GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) requires any decreases in market price below carrying value to be recognized. Still, no upward revisions are recognized when market price increases until Bitcoin has been sold.

Still, the fair value of Square’s investment in bitcoin was $281 million based on observable market prices as of June 30, 2021. This is $127 million greater than the carrying value of the investment.

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Author: AnTy

96% of PAX and BUSD Reserves in Cash & Cash Equivalents, Reports Custodian

96% of PAX and BUSD Reserves in Cash & Cash Equivalents, Reports Custodian

Paxos also blasted Tether (USDT) and Circle (USDC) for claiming themselves to be regulated while having 75.85% and 61% in cash and cash equivalents that are “backed substantially by corporate debt obligations.”

After USDC disclosed its reserves backing this week, Paxos has released the composition of the reserves of its stablecoins, PAX and BUSD.

Paxos, PayPal’s broker-dealer, is the custodian for both PAX and Binance’s stablecoin BUSD. As of June 30, 96% of their reserves have been cash and cash equivalents, with the remaining 4% in US Treasury bills maturing in October.

Here, cash includes cash balances held in USD at insured depository institutions and

Cash equivalents are short-term, highly liquid investments with maturities of 3 months or less.

In its disclosure, Paxos Chief Compliance Officer Dan Burstein shared his displeasure and exasperation with the leading stablecoins USDT and USDC claiming to be regulated.

“Neither USDC nor Tether is a regulated digital asset, for the simple reason that neither token has a regulator. In fact, neither USDC nor Tether tokens are ‘stablecoins’ in anything other than name. These tokens are backed by illiquid and risky debt obligations – a critical weakness that no prudential regulator would allow to exist as this creates undue risk for their customers.”

USDT is the leading stablecoin with a market cap of $62.4 billion, capturing 58% of the market share, while USDC has a 24.3% market share with nearly a $27 billion market cap.

PAX has a market cap of $907 million, while BUSD accounts for a 10.8% market share with an $11.37 billion supply.

According to Burstein, only Paxos Standard (“PAX”), Binance Dollar (“BUSD”), and Gemini Dollar (“GUSD”) are regulated dollar-backed stablecoins by the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”).

He further argued that USDC and Tether’s reserves are backed substantially by corporate debt obligations, which means customers are not protected due to illiquidity risk, credit risk, and interest rate risk.

In the case of USDC, he said, reserves are held on its issuer Circle’s balance sheet meaning, they can use consumer funds to pursue risky high-yield investments for its financial gain.

“The principal value of regulatory oversight is to ensure that the reserves consist of real, liquid, accessible dollars — if neither USDC nor Tether can fulfill these promises, can they even be considered dollar-backed stablecoins?”

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Author: AnTy

Still Working with Binance.US, Clarifies Silvergate Bank After the Reports of Cutting Ties with Binance

Still Working with Binance.US, Clarifies Silvergate Bank After the Reports of Cutting Ties with Binance

Crypto-friendly Silvergate Bank took to Twitter to confirm that they are working with cryptocurrency exchange Binance.US in “good standing.”

Binance.US is “an active participant on the Silvergate Exchange Network,” added the bank late on Thursday.

This clarity came after the reports that the Silvergate Bank has abruptly cut ties with leading exchange Binance.

Binance has reportedly sent an email to customers in English and Spanish language, informing them that the exchange will no longer support USD deposits and withdrawals via Silvergate Bank over SWIFT from June 11, reported The Block.

“Rest assured, we are working hard to provide an alternative USD solution,” further reads the email.

In December, Binance launched the Silvergate funding option for international users that allow customers to deposit and withdraw USD from their accounts.

In response to this, Binance.US said on Twitter, “We are proud to continue working with Silvergate Bank as one of our banking partners.”

However, no such confirmation has been made in regards to Binance.

In separate news, Binance’s Chief Finance Officer (CFO) Wei Zhou has left the company after working for three years. Zhou’s track record in initial public offerings ignited the rumors at the time that Binance might be considering going public, but CEO Changpneg Zhao has denied any such plans.

“After three years at Binance, Wei has decided to leave for personal reasons,” the spokesperson said.

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Author: AnTy

Galaxy Digital Reports $860M in Net Income in Q1 2021 and Surpasses $1 Billion in AUM

Galaxy Digital Reports $860M in Net Income in Q1 2021 and Surpasses $1 Billion in AUM

Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital reported a profitable Q1 2021 with $860.2 million in net comprehensive income, a complete turnaround from the $27 million loss in Q1 2020. Novogratz, founder, and CEO of Galaxy Digital said,

“Galaxy Digital reported another consecutive record quarter, as net comprehensive income grew to $860 million from $336 million in the prior quarter.”

Income from the company’s trading business increased to $508.7 million, while net realized gains from investments were $151.1 million in the quarter.

The firm made 12 new investments in the quarter and now holds about 80 investments across approximately 60 portfolio companies.

In Q1 of 2021, during the bull market, Galaxy Digital reported an increase of 50% in trading volumes from the last quarter and a surge of 510% in gross counterparty loan originations to $670 million.

Galaxy Digital Trading also onboarded over 100 new counterparties in the quarter. The firm further launched several products in this period, including a Bitcoin ETF and an Ether ETF.

As of March 31, 2021, the company had $1.27 billion in assets under management.

In the Bitcoin mining realm, Galaxy started hosting its machines at a third-party data center in the United States and expects to achieve up to 1,995 Petahash per second (PH/s) of mining capacity delivered monthly by the end of next year.

The company has appointed Erin Brown as its Chief Operating Officer, who previously served as Chief Risk Officer at Jump Trading. Novogratz said,

“Beyond delivering dramatic organic growth, we announced we would acquire BitGo, which will establish Galaxy Digital as the first full-service digital asset financial platform for institutions and ensure our business is aligned with broader institutional adoption.”

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Author: AnTy

Colonial Pipeline Capitulates to $5 Million Ransomware Demand: Report

Colonial Pipeline Capitulates to $5 Million Ransomware Demand: Report

Emerging reports have revealed that the cybercriminals that attacked the US fuel pipeline, Colonial Pipeline Co, were paid $5 million in cryptocurrency.

According to Bloomberg, sources familiar with the situation confirmed the extortion fee was paid to enable them to resume fuel shipments.

Colonial Pipeline Attack Associated With DarkSide

The hefty ransom fee was reportedly paid within hours of the attack due to the mounting pressure on the pipeline operator to get gasoline and jet fuel flowing again across cities.

This is contrary to earlier reports asserting that Colonial Pipeline was refusing to negotiate with the attackers.

The FBI had earlier confirmed that the hackers were part of a Russia-linked DarkSide group specializing in digital extortion.

The Georgia-based Colonial ransomware attack crippled gas delivery systems in Southeastern states. Half of the gas stations in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina were reported empty.

The cybergang had reportedly demanded that the ransom be paid with a privacy coin like Monero (XMR).

However, the ransom payment goes against the advice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The government agency has repeatedly discouraged American ransomware victims from paying hackers. According to them, payment isn’t guaranteed to work and could incentivize cyber crimes.

Crypto Surge Propelling Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware refers to a category of malicious computer programs that force users into paying a ransom fee before they can access their data. The hackers involved in this type of cybercrime lock up victim’s files and demand ransom or payment for them to unlock it.

According to data from the blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, crypto payments via ransomware attacks rose in 2020.

In its annual Crypto Crime Report released in January, Chainalysis said the amount paid by victims increased by 311% in 2020, reaching about $350 million in cryptocurrency. The average ransom paid by organizations in 2020 was $312,493, as stated in the report.

The vast majority of criminal crypto payments included in the report had to do with darknet markets and the general category of scams. A major reason for the increase in ransomware-connected payments during 2020 was coronavirus work-from-home measures, which opened up new vulnerabilities for many organizations.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Coincheck Sees 5x Surge in Revenue; Japan Assembly Members Seek ‘Tax-Free’ Crypto Zone in Tokyo

Coincheck Reports 5x Surge in Revenue, Japan Assembly Members Call to Make Tokyo a Special ‘Tax-Free’ Crypto Zone

During the period of Oct. and March, Monex Group acquired a crypto exchange that was hacked in Jan. 2018 gained 210,000 users. Meanwhile, ruling party members want to transform the city into a crypto “trading center.”

Japan is now aiming to boost its cryptocurrency industry with a member of the ruling party Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly wanting to transform the capital into a “trading center” for cryptos. And for this, they are advocating for a 0% tax on cryptocurrency trading.

Assembly member Yuu Ito talked about bolstering the city’s financial sector by increasing its involvement in the digital asset industry.

“According to our research, the number of financial institutions that are gathered in the city is key to our success or failure,” Ito was quoted as saying, “unfortunately, Tokyo is lagging behind in that regard.”

Fellow Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member Nobuko Irie is of a similar opinion as she said,

“The country is printing deficit-financing bonds in the wake of the corona. Even in Tokyo, we must create new financial resources by setting technology that can generate wealth like blockchain as a growth strategy.”

While praising the rising bitcoin adoption, she raised concerns about how politicians were handling the situation and urged for necessary action to make Tokyo a crypto trading center.

“Politicians should now tackle the issues of monetary policy and taxation around bitcoin. If you do it in the nation, you will lose the sense of speed, so create a special zone in Tokyo to use it tax-free in the city. I think it is the role of politicians to identify issues and clear them systematically while running.”

Virtual currency and blockchain can also be used to turn its economy around, Irie said.

Gains on cryptocurrencies are taxed as capital gains, but Bitcoin “is originally a currency, therefore, it’s not easy to use unless taxation is set to 0%,” said Ito.

Moving Forward

Japan has been seeing a growth in crypto adoption until the crypto exchange Coincheck was hacked in January 2018, which has been acquired by online brokerage Monex Group. Hindering the growth of the crypto frenzy in the country, people are now hopeful of moving to the next stage after undergoing a period of scrutiny and renewal.

Coincheck’s revenue actually increased fivefold to ¥20.8 billion (over $191 million) in the 2020 fiscal year compared to the previous year, as per earnings released by the Monex Group last month.

The exchange also gained 260,000 users, out of which 210,000 were accumulated in the second half of the business year ending in March, reported Japan Times. However, the volume on the exchange only including the BTC/JPY pair, is still only about $150 million, as per CoinGecko.

According to CryptoCompare, JPY has the fifth biggest share of BTC volume by currency after Tether (USDT), USD, Binance stablecoin BUSD, and EUR.

“Due to our hacking problem, not only us but each Japanese cryptocurrency exchange had to strengthen measures to protect customers” and prevent cyberattacks, money laundering, and other inappropriate transactions, said Yusuke Otsuka, an executive, and co-founder of Coincheck.

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Author: AnTy

MakerDAO Reports $12.57 Million in Net Income for April

MakerDAO Reports $12.57 Million in Net Income for April

Original decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol, MakerDAO has released the financial report for April 2021.

Yet again, the protocol recorded growing income for the month. Maker DAO broke past the $12 million this time, up 44% from the previous month’s $8.7 million. These insane numbers show that the stablecoin minter has come a long way over the past year, as in April 2020, its net income was less than $51k.

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Maker has three business lines — 1: Lending where DAI is lent against strong collateral, i.e., non-dollar backed stablecoins. 2: Trading, which involves exchanges of DAI with other dollar-backed stablecoins. 3: Liquidation, which involves liquidating loan collateral before losing money.

MakerDAO’s latest income resulted from increasing interest income due to loan demand accounting for $10.3 million, up 27% from the previous month, of all the net income. The average yield during the month was 5.15%, about the same as March.

Project’s trading business saw a deep decline, down 61% due to slowing demand on the USDC PSM and lower fees (0.04% vs. 0.10%) on PSM outflow. Liquidations provided it with $2.2 million, which was mainly because of one big ETH-B vault.

When it comes to stablecoin on-chain volume, DAI recorded 63% MoM growth, increasing its market share from 4% last year to 11% now.

MakerDAO is also currently dominating the Ethereum DeFi scene with $11.52 billion in total value locked (TVL), as per DeFi Pulse. In response to all the growth amidst the bull market, the MKR price is hitting new all-time highs; today’s new one was at $5,644.

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“Thanks to a good business performance and some MKR burning, we have generated $10 for each token this month. The market decided that the price that was too cheap it seems,” said Sébastien Derivaux, head of real-world finance at MakerDAO.

MakerDAO also made its very first real-world asset-backed loan with real estate project New Silver, currently at $588k and growing.

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Author: AnTy

FinTech, Investview, Reports a Record Month Adding $1M in Bitcoin & Crypto to Its Holdings

FinTech, Investview, Reports a Record Month Adding $1 Million in Bitcoin & Crypto To Its Holdings

Fintech company Investview Inc. reported the highest monthly gross revenue in the month of February in the company’s history. A public company, Investview, is listed on the OTC Markets Group.

The company had $5.5 million gross revenue last month and another record high of $1.9 million net income. Yet another record high monthly performance was recorded in terms of operating margin, which is estimated at 30% for February.

“It was a record month for gross revenue demonstrating strength and growth from multiple subsidiaries,” said Joe Cammarata, Chief executive Officer at Investview.

Investview also reported more than $1 million worth of digital currency holdings consisting of Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets as of Feb. 28, 2021.

Its subsidiaries are involved in providing financial education tools, content, research, and management of digital asset technology that mines cryptocurrencies, with a focus on Bitcoin mining and the generation of digital assets.

“Financial education remains a driving force with individual demand growing rapidly, especially with greater participation from Gen X and Y.”

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Author: AnTy

NEXON Denies Reports Linking It to The Sale Of Bithumb Exchange For $460M

South Korean Conglomerate, NEXON, Denies Reports Linking It to The Sale Of Bithumb Exchange For $460M

South Korean gaming conglomerate Nexon Co. Ltd. denies reports connecting it to the purchase of troubled crypto exchange, Bithumb. The deal was reported to cost the buyer over $460 million.

According to reports, Bithumb crypto exchange will continue looking for a buyer for a bit longer after South Korean gaming conglomerate NEXON Co. Ltd. denied any connections to the purchase. A spokesperson from the company stated, “Nexon has not invested or acquired Bithumb and has no plans to do so.”

The email sent by the company further clarified that the reports, which “arose from an inaccurate news report last week,” are false and should not be believed. The email further states,

“We cannot comment on the investment plans of other companies.”

NEXON was ready to fork out 500 billion Korean won ($460 million) to purchase 65% of Bithumb’s stake.

Bithumb, the sixth largest crypto exchange across the world, has been in negotiations with several companies since 2018, intending to find a buyer. In October 2018, BK Consortium agreed to purchase a 50% plus one stake in Bithumb, giving it controlling power for a price of $333 million. However, in September last year, the deal was called off after the company failed to make full payments to complete the deal.

This opened a leeway for other investors to purchase the South Korean based exchange with the full acquisition price set between 500 billion won ($460 million) and 700 billion won ($644 million). Chinese exchange, Huobi, is one of the crypto exchanges interested in purchasing Bithumb, local reports noted. Huobi sees this as an easy route to enter the Korean market and easily comply with its crypto laws.

However, the purchase of Bithumb has been riddled with several legal challenges as a police raid on Bithumb Korea and Bithumb Holdings chairman Lee Jung Hoon’s offices complicated the sale. In a separate case, police raided the Bithumb Holdings buildings for the second time in a fortnight on charges of fraud connected to Bithumb’s $25 million ICO fundraising of its BXA token – which was never released.

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Author: Lujan Odera