Mining crypto currency. Farm for mining bitcoins. Vector flat illustration

A new study by cryptocurrency exchange BitMex reveals that bitcoin mining revenues fell by more than half in November.

At the beginning of the month, daily mining revenues were at $13 million. By the end of the month, that figure had fallen to just $6 million. The news comes after the bitcoin price collapsed by 36% in November.

The fall in prices means a lower incentive for miners, who are rewarded with bitcoin for keeping the system running.

The BitMex study also noted a 13% reduction in hash rate (a measure of computer power dedicated to the bitcoin blockchain). That’s the equivalent of 1.3 million Bitmain S9 miners going offline.

bitcoin hashrate
Bitcoin hash rate 2018

The Good News

With miners switching off their machines, there’s less competition. It should, theoretically, become more profitable to mine bitcoin with fewer miners competing on the network.

We have also just seen two major shifts in bitcoin “difficulty.” The Bitcoin algorithm is designed to readjust itself every two weeks (roughly) to compensate for the volume of miners. 

The difficulty fell 7.4% on 16th November and 15.1% on 3rd December. These adjustments make it easier to mine bitcoin, thereby re-incentivizing miners.

Further reading: What is Proof of Work? – The Bitcoin Algorithm

Should We Worry?

Probably not. The fall in revenue is likely to knock out miners in regions where electricity is expensive. However, there are plenty of places around the world where mining is more affordable thanks to low energy prices.

We should also point out that most miners adopt a long-term strategy. As blockchain expert Andreas Antonopoulos explains: 

“Miners have a much more long-term perspective, meaning that they have existing investments in equipment and they usually purchase electricity on long-term plans, they don’t pay it by the week. And therefore, if they have to wait to become profitable another three months and they have the equipment in place, they’re not turning it off.”

Crypto Curious? Subscribe to the Block Explorer newsletter to get exclusive crypto insights before they appear on the site.

UK government bitcoin taxes

Eddie Hughes, a UK Member of Parliament (MP) has suggested the UK should accept local taxes in bitcoin.

Inspired by Ohio’s recent decision to allow bitcoin payment for taxes, he said: “you’re either ahead of the curve or you’re behind the curve, and our country is in an interesting position right now — we need to be seen as a progressive country.”

The Conservative MP, who describes himself as a “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” says the British government has a duty to educate itself about blockchain technology. 

“It just feels like it gets talked about a lot, wherever you go in the UK, and as MPs we have a duty to understand it,” he said.

Speaking to The Express, Hughes advocated the payment of local (council) tax with bitcoin, but hinted that other options should be considered.

“What’s to stop us being able to pay council tax and other bills with bitcoin?”

Hughes was also inspired by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts donations in cryptocurrency. Adoption and mainstream understanding remains a concern for Hughes: “it needs to appear like an app that people will use so they can become familiar with it in a safe and secure way.”

The MP says he’d love to trial the scheme in his constituency near Birmingham and strikes an optimistic tone for the future: “We are at a crossroads and we’re about to determine our future – one in which taking the lead in this field could prove very beneficial.”

Source: The Express

Crypto Curious? Subscribe to the Block Explorer newsletter to get exclusive crypto insights before they appear on the site.

facebook blockchain

Facebook is on a blockchain hiring spree, advertising five new roles in its fledgling blockchain department. The roles span data science, software engineering, and product marketing, although it’s not yet clear exactly what Mark Zuckerberg and co. are building.  

The new members will join at least 32 existing blockchain employees, led by former PayPal president David Marcus. The current roles point to a wide scope in the department, including engineering, legal, risk and operations, marketing, and strategy.

Crypto news outlet The Block suggests, however, that Facebook’s newest advert for a “product marketing” role is most illuminating, hinting that Facebook is close to rolling out a real product.

The job advert itself reveals as much, listing the following responsibility:

“Frame our go-to-market to drive product adoption”

So what are they building? Earlier this year a spokesperson told Tech Crunch that “We are still in the very early stages and we are considering a number of different applications for the blockchain. But we don’t have anything else to share at this time.”

Early speculations hint at a Facebook crypto wallet or peer-to-peer money exchange and micropayments. A Venmo-esque tool to exchange money between friends would seem like a strong prospect for Facebook given its social platform.

For now, the Facebook job application remains vague, saying only that they are “exploring the opportunity the blockchain will bring.”

Source: The Block

Crypto Curious? Subscribe to the Block Explorer newsletter to get exclusive crypto insights before they appear on the site.

decentraland auction

Today, Decentraland launches its second land auction, allowing users to purchase digital “parcels” of land on the blockchain.

If you’re getting visions of the virtual-reality world in Ready Player One, you’re not far off. Decentraland aims to build a VR world, complete with avatars, games and virtual real estate.

Today’s auction will sell off 9,331 parcels of land, each 10m x 10m in size, in the virtual metropolis of Genesis City.

What is Decentraland?

Decentraland is a 3D, virtual-reality space where users can explore, purchase, and build upon blockchain land. It’s built on the Ethereum blockchain and utilizes a native cryptocurrency called MANA.

The virtual world is broken up into “districts,” and each district contains “parcels” of land. The world is finite, meaning land will ultimately be scarce, powering a true real estate market within the platform.

Decentraland hopes to encourage developers to build games and applications into the platform, increasing the value of land and creating a true community. 

Of course, this being blockchain, it’s decentralized: “Decentraland is not controlled by a centralized organization. There is no single agent with the power to modify the rules of the software, contents of land, economics of the currency, or prevent others from accessing the world.”

Decentraland Genesis city
Decentraland Genesis City Map: Marketplace

Big Money Behind Decentraland

Decentraland is partly funded by one of the cryptoverse’s largest investment funds, Digital Currency Group (DCG). DCG has investments in Coinbase, CoinDesk, Ledger, and blockchain.com among others.

Despite backing many of the world’s largest blockchain companies, it only owns five cryptocurrencies – one of them is Decentraland’s MANA. As DCG explains “We own MANA and LAND, and have been actively exploring other initiatives to accelerate the development of the decentralized metaverse.”

As part of that acceleration, DCG recently launched Metaverse Ventures to back projects building on Decentraland. Metaverse Ventures is “a wholly owned subsidiary of DCG that will invest exclusively in companies building products and services for Decentraland.”

Among the ventures backed so far include Vegas City, a region of land with 7,000 parcels complete with Vegas-style entertainment in virtual reality. They have also invested in Artie, which is building VR and Augmented Reality (AR) avatars for the virtual world.

Decentraland Land Auction, December 2018

The Decentraland auction begins today using a Dutch auction system. The price starts high and gradually lowers until someone purchases the land. 

land-price-graph

Decentraland will auction 9,331 parcels in this round, each starting at 200,000 MANA (about $12,000). The price will drop each day until the parcels reach 1,000 MANA (about $60), assuming they’re not snapped up beforehand.

Thanks to recent partnerships, users can also purchase land with ZIL, SNT, BNB, Dai, and MKR. To learn more about purchasing LAND, see the video below.

The Decentraland auction starts today.

Crypto Curious? Subscribe to the Block Explorer newsletter to get exclusive crypto insights before they appear on the site.

women in blockchain

Edit: Block Explorer’s Women in Blockchain article was updated on January 11th to reflect the industry in 2019.

Women in blockchain and cryptocurrency are dramatically under-represented.

As the New York Times reported earlier this year, the industry has so far been dominated by “blockchain bros,” with women accounting for just four-to-six percent of blockchain investors.

However, there are women out there making a real change in the blockchain industry, offering a living example that gender doesn’t matter as long as you bring value to the table. 

As Silicon Valley entrepreneur Brit Morin explained, “We have an opportunity to rebuild the financial systems. Women want to be part of that.”

Block Explorer proudly presents the most important women in blockchain: 

1. Kathleen Breitman (@breitwoman)

 Who: Breitman is one of the co-founders of Tezos, a self-governed automatically updated blockchain. The project raised $232 million of funding becoming the third-largest Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017 and the tenth-largest in history (according to data from CoinSchedule). 

Even though the project went through the process of harsh legal scrutiny, the team was able to make it work, launching the fully operational protocol back in September. 

Why follow: Her tweets are a balanced mix of personal thoughts, heads up about important people and events in the field and funny jokes, delivered in a very calm manner. 

What does she say?

2. Neha Narula (@neha)

Who: Narula was a Google engineer and part of the team in charge of relaunching Digg, the news aggregator. Now, Narula is a director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. It’s a pioneer in industry research, focused on cryptocurrencies, related technologies and solving the major issues standing in the way of mass adoption including privacy, security, and scaling.

Why follow: She is responsible for many amazing things in blockchain development right now, including creating a demo for a crypto-powered vending machine that allows the buyer to pay for goods with multiple coins. You don’t want to miss it! 

What does she say?

3. Galia Benartzi(@galiabenartzi)

 Who: Benartzi co-founded Bancor, the protocol for smart tokens, one of the most successful token sales to date. Getting back to CoinSchedule and their stats, Bancor was the fifth-largest token sale in 2017 and the 12th largest in history, at the time of publishing. 

Benartzi is currently in charge of Bancor’s business development, and that’s one hell of a mission. 

Why follow: Galia mostly retweets Bancor’s whereabouts and given that the project is working to rethink the future of money and digital assets – it’s a lot. Also, she shares her interviews and talks at the major events. It’s nice to be in the loop if you’re eager to attend blockchain events featuring ladies on the panels.

What does she say?

4. Preethi Kasireddy (@iam_preethi)

 Who: Preethi used to work as a blockchain engineer at Coinbase. And before that as an analyst at Goldman Sachs and partner at Andreessen Horowitz investment firm. Her recent venture is a project called TruStory, a social network of experts helping to identify what is real and what isn’t, focused on crypto-related news. She also holds 1:1 sessions with women who want to get involved in blockchain and crypto. 

Why follow: As a person who believes there’s no point in accumulating knowledge if you are not eager to share it, Kasireddy is indeed a goldmine of blockchain theoretical or practical information. All delivered in an easy to digest manner with lots of personality and character.

Her “aha” moment? Realizing that: “One of the biggest potentials of crypto was going to be its ability to break down some of the entrenched, ineffective, and corrupt systems we have in place today and re-imagine them from the ground up. To do things more openly, fairly, and effectively. All along, I had been approaching crypto as just a technological breakthrough. But I realized that it doesn’t stop at the technology, it merely starts there — it’s a movement. A revolution.”

What does she say? 

5. Meltem Demirors (@Melt_Dem)

Who: According to her Twitter profile, Demirors teaches at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oxford University. She has a prominent corporate background as an analyst at Dow Chemical and Tradax Energy and as a consultant at Deloitte.

Starting from 2015 she was deeply involved in Digital Currency Group, one of the most active investors in the industry (its portfolio counts over 100 companies). Currently, she is chief strategy officer at investment management company, CoinShares. So she really knows her stuff. 

Why follow: Meltem has a UNIQUE point of view on what’s going on in the industry right now and where it might take us soon on the macroeconomic level. And she doesn’t hesitate to share it.

Her “aha” moment? “Sending a bitcoin transaction in 2013. Truly magical. Truly life-changing. When I really understood why this mattered.”

What does she say?

6. Linda Xie (@ljxie)

 Who: Linda accumulated many years of corporate risk management experience at AIG, and in product management at Coinbase. Later she moved on to advising 0x, a project building a protocol for decentralized exchanges, and doing her own thing as the managing director and co-founder at Scalar capital, an investment management firm. 

Why follow: Xie is super insightful on many levels: from how to explain the blockchain and cryptocurrencies to a muggle to sharing worthy thoughts and findings from fellow blockchainers. All delivered in a very warm and personal tone, it’s like reading from a friend. 

What does she say? 

7. Amy Wan (@amyywan)

Who: Amy has a solid legal background established while working for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Later on, she moved to the crowdfunding space (and even helped to raise $23.6 million to a real estate platform in series A). The boom of Initial Coin Offerings got her attention and led to her writing the Bloomberg Law practice guide to ICOs. At the moment her main venture is Sagewise, where along with her team she is building a product aiming to resolve disputes on blockchain efficiently. 

Why follow: Knowledgeable and forceful, but yet feminine, Wan shares her legal insights on security token offerings, decentralization and dispute arbitration on the blockchain. 

What does she say?

8. Taylor Monahan (@tayvano_)

 Who: The woman who founded probably one of the most-used Ethereum wallets out there, MyEtherWallet, and later MyCrypto. 

 Why follow: Monahan tweets her opinions on major industry events and her own product updates, all well-seasoned with humor and irony. 

What does she say?

9. Joyce Kim (@joyce)

 Who: Joyce went a long way from being a legal clerk to counseling startups and then becoming a company founder herself. Here entrepreneurial journey includes Soompi.com, one of the largest online communities for Korean pop fans, Simple Honey Inc., mobile e-commerce app based on “wish list” shopping, that was acquired by OpenCoin Inc. in 2013. 

Later she co-founded Stellar, an open platform trying to make financial products accessible for all, and worked there as an executive director. Since 2017 she is on her own again as a managing partner at SparkChain Capital, series A fund, investing in blockchain companies from around the world.

Why follow: Kim doesn’t tweet a lot, but we hope it will change. She is very passionate not only about the blockchain but also about long-term impact it might have on the disruption of some currently dysfunctional institutions. Also, she talks a lot about crypto founders and a token’s evaluation from the traditional “venture” perspective, and it might get you thinking.  

What does she say?

10. Dovey Wan (@DoveyWan)

 Who:  Founding Partner of Primitive Ventures, a crypto asset investment fund, known for contributing to Zcash, Sia, Kyber Network, and many other stealth-mode projects in the field. 

She’s also a voting member for token listings at Huobi Global, giving her voice for or against the candidates applied to be listed on Huobi Pro (currently ranks number six amongst the largest crypto exchanges based on trading volume) and Hadax exchanges.  

 Why follow: Dovey’s tweets are gold. It’s a never-ending flow of fresh tech-related ideas, witty thoughts on the most debated events in the industry, along with funny pics of the casual things she encounters during her trips. 

What does she say?

#11 Laura Shin (@laurashin)

Who? Former Forbes editor and host of two crypto podcasts, Unchained and Unconfirmed.

Why follow? She has interviewed and grilled some of the biggest names in blockchain, asking them tough questions and removing the hype from blockchain. Just listen to her podcast with Binance founder CZ.

What does she say?

Do you think we left someone behind? Go ahead and share your favorite blockchain female in the comment section below.