Bitcoin mining

Argo Blockchain, a business that seeks to offer cryptocurrency-mining to the masses, announced its plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange or LSE on June 11, 2018. This announcement coincided with the launch of Argo’s Mining as a Service, or MaaS, program, which will allow users to participate in mining through the Argo site with their home computers or smartphones. According to the announcements, Argo expects its valuation to be £40 million, or about $54 million, and to raise £20 million, or about $27 million. Argo plans to use the money raises to fund the growth if its MaaS services. Co-founder Jonathan Bixby said:

We have launched this service to take the pain and heartache out of participating in the biggest new technology breakthrough since the launch of the internet.

Argo aims to be the first crypto-mining company on the LSE. In 2015, blockchain-focused investment business Coinsilium was the first cryptocurrency-related company to hold an IPO on LSE’s submarket for smaller companies, AIM.

Argo was established in 2017. According to the company announcements, its technology invites the public at large to become crypto-miners, “without the need to have significant computing expertise or acquire complex and expensive hardware and have the frustration of setting up their own systems.”

Argo compares its mainstream mining services to the cloud computing revolution of the last decade, and Bixby told The Financial Times it wants to be “the Amazon web services of crypto.” Subscribers to Argo’s cloud-based platform sign up for a specific amount of mining capacity and can choose what to mine, which mining pool to join and where to store their coins off the site. Introductory fees to join its pools are £18 or about $25 per month. Currently, it mines the digital currencies Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Zcash, but this may change in the future.

Argo is headquartered in London and has a mining facility in Quebec. It currently has 7 racks, each holding 10 servers with 8 GPUs each in Canada, and it has also started “initial operations” in China. Argo’s primary targets customers are in Europe, North America and Australia. The company plans to rely on renewable energy like solar and hydropower.

Bixby describes the company’s plan to go public in this way:

A London stock market listing will provide Argo with the profile, credibility and access to global capital to drive our growth and help us establish a leadership position in the long term.

The featured image is the Argo logo, credit: Argo.

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Gemini To Become First BitLicensed Exchange To Offer Trading in Zcash
The New York State Department of Financial Services has authorized Gemini Trust Company to offer trading of Zcash, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Tyler Winklevoss, Chief Executive Officer of Gemini Trust Company, LCC said, “We are proud be the first licensed exchange in the world to offer Zcash trading and custody services and look forward to providing customers with a safe, secure, and regulated place to buy, sell, and store Zcash, an incredible new form of digital cash.”

Crypto Mining Company Coinmint Moving To Revamp 1,300 Acre Alcoa Plot
Once used for aluminum smelting, an Alcoa plant in Upstate New York is going to be converted into one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining centers. CNBC reports Coinmint said Tuesday it “would invest up to $700 million in the upstate New York location, which it expects to be the biggest bitcoin mining center in the world. The project will create an estimated 150 jobs over the next 18 months.”

Cryptocurrency Theft Malware Now An Economy Worth Millions
According to a new research report titled “Cryptocurrency Gold Rush on the Dark Web” by Carbon Black, the market for malware and tools designed for the theft of cryptocurrency is growing swiftly. ZDNet states, “The researchers estimate that over the past six months alone, a total of $1.1 billion has been stolen in cryptocurrency-related thefts, and approximately 12,000 marketplaces in the underbelly of the Internet are fueling this trend.”

Image courtesy of Carty Sewill, http://cartyisme.com/.

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Blockchain To Be Integrated In ‘Dungeon Defenders’ Game
Video game publisher Trendy Entertainment, Coindesk reports, “is partnering with startup Signal Zero to integrate a blockchain-based rewards system with its flagship Dungeon Defenders franchise.”

About Half Of Crypto Investors Plan To Hodl Long-Term
On June 7, 2018, BlockExplorer’s Julia Travers reported that South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchange Bithumb released the results of a user survey called, ‘Cryptographic Investment Trends’. It captured the perspective of 2,507 virtual currency investors over the age of 20. The survey included questions on investment plans and government regulations. A notable finding was that 42.8 percent of those surveyed plan to “hodl” or keep their crypto-investments over the long term.

Andy Warhol Art To Be Sold For Bitcoin Via Ethereum Blockchain
In the latest landmark for Bitcoin, Forbes reports, “cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, a London art gallery will later this month auction a portion of Andy Warhol’s 1980 work 14 Small Electric Chairs for cryptocurrencies.”

Chinese Whale Has Amassed Largest Non-Exchange Bitcoin Stash
BlockExplorer’s Tony Spilotro says, “A mysterious Chinese investor has been ‘buying the dip’ so to speak, again and again, amassing one of the largest bitcoin wallets in the entire world.”

Image courtesy of Carty Sewill, http://cartyisme.com/

bithumb

On June 7, 2018, South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchange Bithumb released the results of a user survey called, “Cryptographic Investment Trends.” It captured the perspective of 2,507 virtual currency investors over the age of 20. The survey included questions on investment plans and government regulations. A notable finding was that 42.8 percent of those surveyed plan to “hodl” or keep their crypto-investments over the long term. A Bithumb press release authored by “Bitsumm manager” states:

As cipher money continues to be recognized as an asset in major industrialized countries, the perception of cipher money investment is gradually matured by domestic investors.

Bithumb Survey Findings

The Bithumb survey discovered that the older the cryptocurrency buyer, the more likely they are to plan to hodl and make longstanding investments. Here are the percentages of each age range that plan to preserve their holdings:

  • Investors in their 20s: 30.8 percent
  • 30s: 40.3 percent
  • 40s: 45.3 percent
  • 50s and older: 49.1 percent

Bithumb also shares that 39.5 percent of those surveyed plan to keep their investments, even if the government requires them to pay capital gains taxes, or taxes levied on profits from the sale of assets, on cryptocurrency. This is an 11 percent increase over Bithumb survey data from a year ago. About 13.1 percent responded that they would completely stop investing in digital money if this tax is imposed. The exchange concludes, “more and more investors are looking at cryptographic money as assets and looking for stable investments.”

Bithumb was founded in 2015 and is one of one of the largest exchanges in South Korea. The survey was conducted between April 30 and May 6, 2018, through Bithumb Cafe, Bithumb’s official communication channel.

Other South Korean- and Bithumb-related News

South Korea continues its tumultuous journey to establish crypto-trading regulations, which included discussion of a total ban in January 2018.

Bithumb recently made regulatory headlines when it announced it would ban users from 11 countries in late May 2018 as part of its anti-money laundering or AML policies. Specifically, citizens of countries labelled as Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories, or NCCT, were banned as of May 28. NCCT countries are noncompliant with the standards set out by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, or FATF, an intergovernmental organization established by the G-7 in 1989. This group of countries includes North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka.

Bithumb stated in a related press release:

We will strictly enforce our own rules and protect our investors, and we will actively cooperate with the authorities. We will lead the standards of the Worldwide Codex Exchange with autonomous regulation ahead of schedule.

Earlier in 2018, South Korean exchanges including Bithumb banned anonymous cryptocurrency trading.

As of May 2018, Yoon Suk-heun, the new governor of the country’s Financial Supervisory Service, is reportedly considering relaxing cryptocurrency regulations.

The featured image is a collage featuring the Bithumb logo (credit: Bithumb) and a public domain survey image.

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Ledger Wallet Desktop Edition Launching on July 9
Operation Prowli: GuardiCore Uncovers Large Scale Cryptojacking
GuardiCore, a cloud-based security provider, has uncovered a large-scale attack on vulnerable servers. BlockExplorer reported on the story as it came to light, “Codenamed Operation Prowli, the attack leverages various exploits to redirect web traffic, and to install cryptocurrency mining software on its targets”.

One Firm Is Way Ahead of Wall Street on Bitcoin
The New York Times reports, ” The financial firm, Susquehanna International Group in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., just outside Philadelphia, is one of the largest players in trading traditional investments like stocks, options and exchange traded funds, or E.T.F.s. Over the last two years, the privately owned company has also built up a trading desk of around a dozen people that buys and sells millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin and other virtual or cryptocurrencies in private deals.”

Block Explorer’s Tony Spilotro reports, “Cold storage through a hardware wallet such as the Ledger Nano S is among the safest, most secure, and widely recommended way to store crypto assets. However, using a hardware wallet isn’t always straightforward: not all coins are supported, user interfaces are clunky, and users are often required to use multiple apps to interact with different blockchains.”

Lobbyists Cash-in On Bitcoin
In this Politico money podcast, reporters examine how lobbyists cash in on bitcoin.

Image courtesy of Carty Sewill, http://cartyisme.com/