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Cryptocurrency Market Bleeds Trillions in Less Than 24 Hours; Did the Bubble Pop?

The cryptocurrency market is experiencing another major shakedown in pricing, with the overall crypto market valuation dropping by more than a trillion dollars in less than 24 hours. As of time of writing, leading cryptocurrency by market cap Bitcoin has lost more than 30% in value, dropping to $31,000. Ethereum is down by 40% to $2,424, and memecoin Dogecoin has fallen by 45% - one would think a memecoin would have had its value dropped to zero from the instant of its conception, but that's not the world we live in.

As the market tries to staunch the bleeding, major cryptocurrency platforms Coinbase and Binance are down, citing "network congestion" issues stemming from the unexpected volatility. As investors see their attempts to sell neutered by these network congestion issues, this seems like a way to reduce the amount of cryptocurrencies available in the market, which would feed the descending value cycle even more. Whether or not this is the bubble popping, it's yet another foundational shock to the trust that was already achieved by these platforms and the cryptocurrency market as a whole. How this will affect market availability and demand for graphics cards and hardware is anyone's guess, but even if it does, it'll take some time until we see availability in the main and secondary channels.

Commodore 64 Modded To Mine Bitcoin

We saw the modified Nintendo Game Boy last month which could crank out Bitcoins at a blistering 0.8 hashes per second or ~125 trillion times slower than a modern Bitcoin ASIC miner. If you are searching for something a bit more modest than the Game Boy take a look at the Commodore 64 which has been modded to achieve a Bitcoin mining rate of 0.3 hashes per second. The Commodore 64 was released by IBM in 1982 featuring the MOS Technology 6510 processor clocked at 1.023 MHz and paired with 64 KB RAM and 20 KB ROM.

While the Commodore currently falls behind the Game Boy there is hope on the horizon with the creator of the program claiming a 10x performance improvement to over 3 hashes per second is possible by re-writing the code in machine language. The commodore 64 can be further upgraded with the SuperCPU upgrade which boosts mining speeds to over 60 hashes per second completely destroying the Game Boy but still falling just short of the latest ASIC miners at ~18,000,000,000,000 hashes per second. Obviously, this demonstration was not meant as a practical application but it is interesting to see how cryptocurrency mining can be implemented on older hardware and the amazing rate of technological advancement we have seen over the last 40 years.

Newegg Starts Accepting Payments with Dogecoin

Newegg, one of the leading tech-focused e-retailers in North America, today celebrates #DogeDay by announcing that the company now accepts Dogecoin as an official payment method on Newegg.com.

Newegg has been quick to embrace the shift to cryptocurrency. In 2014, the company was the first major e-retailer to accept Bitcoin for purchases made on the Newegg platform. Similarly, Newegg is among the first to enable customers to pay with Dogecoin while shopping online.

Nintendo Game Boy Modded to Mine Bitcoin

Nintendo's Game Boy handheld console was launched in 1989, making it 32 years old. Being widely regarded as the icon of handheld gaming, it was sold in millions and has been copied countless times. However, with some spare time and a crazy mind, the console has been modified to mine Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Yes, you are reading that right. An 8-bit console is mining the biggest and the most valuable cryptocurrency. An electronics enthusiast named "stacksmashing" has set himself a difficult task - to prove that the console can mine some Bitcoin, at any possible rate. And he has managed to prove it is possible, although with some modifications.

Given that the console lacks any connectivity options to the outside world due to its age, the modder had to use SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) to connect the Game Boy with the Raspberry Pi, which had the task of connecting the Game Boy to the internet to mine some Bitcoin. Using the custom 8-bit Sharp LR35902 processor running at 4.19 MHz, the console is naturally not very powerful. Thus, it can not do any meaningful mining and to compare it to modern mining ASICs is just silly. However, it is interesting to see proof of concept and get to see some engineering fun. For more information, please check out the YouTube video here.

Apple M1 Processor Manages to Mine Ethereum

Ethereum mining has been a crazy ride over the years. In recent times, it has become very popular due to a huge surge in Ethereum prices, following those of the main coin currently present on the market - Bitcoin. However, Ethereum miners use a customized PC stocked with many graphics cards to mine the Ethereum coin. Any other alternative is not viable and graphics cards have a high hash rate of the KECCAK-256 hashing algorithm. But have you ever wondered could you mine Ethereum on your shiny new Apple M1-equipped Mac? Our guess is no, however, there are still some people making experiments with the new Apple M1 processor and testing its capabilities.

Software engineer Yifan Gu, working for Zensors, has found a way to use Apple's M1 GPU to mine Ethereum. Mr. Gu has ported Ethminer utility to Apple's macOS for Apple Silicon and has managed to get GPU mining the coins. While technically it was possible, the results were rather poor. The integrated GPU has managed to get only 2 MH/s of mining power, which is rather low compared to alternatives (desktop GPUs). Being possible doesn't mean it is a good idea. The software will consume all of the GPU power and it will limit your work with the GPU, so it isn't exactly a profitable solution.

Bitcoin Breaks $50,000 Barrier, Hitting the Highest Value Ever

Cryptocurrency has in the past few years gained a lot of popularity, mostly fueled by Bitcoin's rapid growth and its massive price increasing over time. Today, Bitcoin, the world's leading cryptocurrency, has managed to make history and broke the record of 50,000 USD. As of now, on February 17th at 07:00 UTC, Bitcoin has reached 50,452.60 USD value. What is driving the price up you must wonder? It is the market adoption of the currency. Tesla Inc. has invested 1.5 billion USD in Bitcoin as it intends to accept it as payment for its products. Next up is Mastercard, which is preparing to support cryptocurrency on its network. In addition to Mastercard, Apple is also preparing its services for cryptocurrency payments. Right now, the market cap of Bitcoin is $935,359,977,182 at the time of writing, just shy of one trillion USD.

NVIDIA Evaluates Cryptocurrency Mining GPU Production

During the 19th Annual J.P. Morgan Tech/Auto Forum Conference, NVIDIA has talked about the possibility of special graphics cards dedicated to mining purposes. The special edition crypto mining GPU is a form of graphics card that has no display outputs, and possibly a few defective texture units. Usually, GPUs that end up with defective texture units end up as waste, however, as crypto mining requires only the compute element from the GPU, these products could be rebranded as mining GPUs. But, it seems like NVIDIA is currently somewhere in the middle ground and weighing in whatever the company sees something like that as a feasible option.

During the conference, NVIDIA's Colette Kress, a chief financial officer, had said a few things about the possible production of GPUs dedicated to crypto mining. "If crypto demand begins or if we see a meaningful amount, we can also use that opportunity to restart the CMP [mining-specific GPUs] product line to address ongoing mining demand," said Ms. Kress. She added that "We [NVIDIA] don't have visibility on how much of the GeForce RTX 30-series end demand comes from mining. So, we don't believe it's a big part of our business today. Gaming demand is very strong, and we think that's larger than our current supply." And that is an understandable thing. Right now crypto mining is hot because of Bitcoin's price, however, NVIDIA can't predict if it will crash a lot or not, so the company doesn't want to risk starting a big production for something that can burst like a bubble.

Bitcoin Hits All-Time High: Now Worth Over 23,000 USD

Cryptocurrency market capitalization has now hit over $650 Billion, and that is mainly influenced by a single, most wide-spread currency on the network - Bitcoin. The Bitcoin (BTC) is the biggest cryptocurrency available, simply because it was the first one established and well designed. In its history, Bitcoin was priced anywhere from 0.1 cents to tens of thousands of US Dollars. However, in the recent soaring, the cryptocurrency has reached its peak value since it was created. Today, at around 09:14 UTC, the cryptocurrency has reached an astonishing value of 23,441.60 USD, making it a record high value. What is driving the price up and the reason for soaring is unknown, but it is a reflection of the market capitalization of cryptocurrency and its use, so it must mean that the BTC is getting more attention than ever.

Crypto Exchange Binance Hacked, $40M+ Stolen in Bitcoin

This is a pretty high-profile heist, as heist come, since Binance is actually the rworld's biggest crypto exxchange in terms of traded volume. The act was reported by Binance as a well-conducted orchestra, with hackers using seemingly unconnected accounts at the most opportune time to achieve a single, high-value withdrawal of $41M (roughly 7,000 Bitcoin at current pricing) - only 2% of Binance's total value in their so-called "hot wallet".

The hackers also took away with several information on users' accounts: a large number of user API keys, 2FA codes, and "potentially other info" were taken besides the cool $41M in Bitcoin. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao warned that the hackers could still be controlling enough relevant accounts that could allow them to influence pricing and make even more money.

ASUS Thinks It's a Good Idea to Mine Cryptocurrencies When Your GPU Is Idle, Partners with Quantumcloud

Maybe the guys at ASUS haven't noticed it, but this is probably the worst time to announce an effort to promote cryptocurrency mining. The crypto market has fallen about 80% since its peak in 2017, and this November has been an special tough month for crypto investors with Bitcoin going under $4,000 for a few days. Miners are running away and a lot of people think the bubble is finally exploding. Companies such as GIGABYTE are suffering the consequences, but ASUS seems to be quite sure that the situation isn't that bad.

They have partnered with blockchain technology provider Quantumcloud and they will encourage users to use their idle GPUs to mine cryptocurrencies. Yeah, that's right. There are no details on what crypto currencies will be mined with Quantumcloud's software, but at least ASUS is letting now those potential users that they "won't get rich quick, but you can earn some easy money with your idle GPUs". In fact there's a disclaimer telling they do not "guarantee that users of its software will make any earnings or profit" and ASUS adds that users "are responsible for considering their own usage costs". Maybe a year ago this could have been a thing, but the idea seems really uncool right now.

Hodlers Dump Crypto for X'mas? ETH and BTC at Yearly Lows

Prices of the two top crypto-currencies with DIY and small-scale miners, Ethereum and Bitcoin, dropped to yearly lows Monday, with Ethereum falling just a touch below USD $140, and Bitcoin at $4,700. This is in stark contrast to January, when Bitcoin scraped $20,000, making it among the most valuable "currencies" in human history. The direct impact of the crypto-currency slide falls on graphics card prices, at least for currencies which are viable to mine with graphics cards.

Across the board, new graphics card prices are at record lows for the year, with AMD's flagship Radeon RX Vega 64 going for as low as $399 brand-new. These cards were priced upwards of $1,500 and barely available this January. The RX 580, which was priced upwards of $700 in January, can be had for under $200. Prices of NVIDIA "Pascal" graphics cards are similarly low, with the GTX 1070 Ti going for under $400. For whatever strange reason, the GTX 1080 Ti is still marked up, selling for prices on par with RTX 20-series SKUs such as the RTX 2080. You can also expect a torrent of used graphics cards on E-bay and tech forums.

Cryptocurrency Trading Bots Manipulating Bitcoin, Altcoins' Pricing

The Wall Street Journal has come forward with a story confirming what we all knew, but could have been left out of the cryptocurrency narrative for various reasons: that bots are used on a daily basis to manipulate pricing of these digital assets. The practice includes various tricks, such as spoofing (creating a hue order in the ledger and then canceling), pump-and-dump schemes (where players can resort to a variety of manipulation techniques to pump um a given product's pricing in order to then dump all their positions at the ballooned price) and ping-pong transactions (where a holder of multiple wallets makes extensive trades between his assets, never moving crypto in or out of his control, but placing extra orders and volume on the markets.

Of course, most of these practices have been outlawed in real-world investment scenarios, as price manipulation doesn't really bode well for a free market. However, some players in the crypto sphere (trader Kjetil Eilersten, who developed the market-manipulation program Quatloo Trader) go as far as defending pricing manipulation tools' implementation, saying that a market where "everybody manipulates" results in a zero-sum loss for anyone. Now isn't that refreshing.

BIOSTAR iMiner A578X8D Now Available Stateside

BIOSTAR iMiner A578X8D, an easy to set up all-in-one solution for home and professional miners, is now available on Newegg for US$3499. The BIOSTAR iMiner A578X8D is the world's first riser card-free and all-in-one crypto mining solution, offering ultra-mining flexibility for different crypto-currencies (Ethereum, Monero, Bitcoin Gold, Zcash, etc.). This plug-and-mine system requires no additional hardware installation, simply power-on to start mining. The BIOSTAR iMiner A578X8D supports Windows 10, Linux and ethOS for different types of miners, and as an exclusive bundle with Newegg, the iMiner A578X8D also comes with an optional ethOS mining operating system to allow users to set up and start mining immediately.

The Only Thing You Get with Mining Ethereum Now is Room Heating

Cryptocurrency prices continue their downward slide making them no longer viable to mine on GPUs. The value of Ethereum has dropped to USD 256, down from its historic high of $1,250 this January. Bitcoin fell to below $6,000 Wednesday, way down from its late-2017 high of $19,000. A 79 percent devaluation isn't the worst of Ethereum's problems. The currency is facing stiff inflation from conversions to other cryptocurrencies or the Dollar. At its peak, ETH held 32 percent of all cryptocurrency market cap, beaten only by BTC at 39 percent. Now ETH only makes 14 percent.

Intel's "Bitcoin Mining Hardware Accelerator" Patent Filling Published

A filed patent by Intel has shed some light on the company's idea to somewhere, along the fuzzy lines of the future, introduce a Bitcoin mining hardware "accelerator" to the market. The application itself, for a "Bitcoin Mining Hardware Accelerator With Optimized Message Digest and Message Scheduler Datapath" was originally submitted in September 2016, so it's not exactly a novel idea. However, the fact that it has just now been published doesn't really mean there hasn't been work behind closed doors at Intel towards development of working silicon of this technology.

In the filing, it appears it's Intel's intent to create a chip that could augment the existing Bitcoin mining process by increasing energy efficiency. As they themselves put it, "Because the software and hardware utilized in Bitcoin mining uses brute force to repeatedly and endlessly perform SHA-256 functions, the process of Bitcoin mining can be very power-intensive and utilize large amounts of hardware space. The embodiments described herein optimize Bitcoin mining operations by reducing the space utilized and power consumed by Bitcoin mining hardware."

CORSAIR Launches "STOP GPU ABUSE" Campaign With #GPURESCUE

Corsair, in a welcome, interesting and heartfelt marketing ploy, has taken its place on the side of gamers worldwide against the unintended, hear-wrenching abuse felt by graphics cards used for mining everywhere. The soft, unyielding music does a great job of just showing how much of a "crying out" these graphics cards that are being put to sweaty, inhuman, ever-worsening working conditions are releasing.

If you were as touched as other users (and Corsair marketers) in doing this video, there are a lot of ways for you to donate and contribute to the liberation of these shackled miners. For your donation, Corsair will buy back a mining-set graphics card, and send you a photo of your "adopted" GPU happily crunching frames inside a gaming computer - its real home. Just contribute via PayPal, your choice of credit card, venmo, or... Bitcoin?

[The video has been removed since]

NVIDIA, AMD to Face Worsening Investment Outlook as Bitmain Preps to Launch Ethereum ASIC

Analyst firm Susquehanna has cut AMD and NVIDIA's share price targets on the wake of confirmed reports on Bitmain's upcoming Ethereum ASIC. There's been talks about such a product for months - and some actual silicon steering as well that might support it. Susquehanna, through analyst Christopher Rolland in a note to clients Monday, cited their travels in Asia as a source of information.

This has brought confirmations that "(...) Bitmain has already developed an ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for mining Ethereum, and is readying the supply chain for shipments in 2Q18." And it doesn't seem Bitmain is the only company eyeing the doors of yet another extremely lucrative ASIC mining market: "While Bitmain is likely to be the largest ASIC vendor (currently 70-80% of Bitcoin mining ASICs) and the first to market with this product, we have learned of at least three other companies working on Ethereum ASICs, all at various stages of development."

Qarnot Unveils Their QC-1 Crypto Heater

French company Qarnot has unveiled their QC-1 crypto heater, which is an extension of their Q.rad computing heater that was released in 2013. The new QC-1 allows consumers to mine cryptocurrencies and utilize the generated heat for heating their homes. It features a high-end passive cooling solution and noiseless design as the unit doesn't require the use of fans or mechanical hard drives. A pair of Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 graphics cards are responsible for the cryptomining duties. Together, they can generate a hash rate around 60MH/s. In normal mode, the QC-1 produces 450W of heat. However, customers can activate the booster mode via the provided mobile app for another 200W which brings the total to 650W. The mobile app also serves as a tool for QC-1 owners to monitor the crypto markets.

According to the manufacturer, the QC-1 is capable of heating a 20 square-meter room. Qarnot is marketing their crypto heater as a plug-n-play device which customers can setup in 10 minutes. Installation consists of plugging the unit into the wall outlet and router and entering the crypto-wallet address into the mobile app. The QC-1 is designed to mine Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. The Qarnot QC-1 comes with a 1 year warranty. The unit currently costs 2900 euros which by today's exchange rate is $3575 plus another $300 shipping fee. If you order a QC-1 before March 20th, Qarnot will deliver the QC-1 to your doorstep before June 20th.

Confessions of a Crypto Miner: CPU Mining

Welcome back to "Confessions of a Crypto Miner," my column about a crypto miner from 2013 trying to get caught up with the latest standards. I'm presently mining and reporting to you from a dual-GTX 1080 based rig mining zCash.
Today we are going to take a look at mining again - using the CPU in particular. CPU mining is the original form of mining cryptocoins.

Only Somewhat Classy: Coinbase Hit With Multiple Class Action Lawsuits

Coinbase, which is mostly regarded as one of the most transparent, well regarded cryptocurrency exchanges in the cryptocurrency world, is now being hit with class action lawsuits on themes it would really not like to be associated with. Readers should think on which one of these is worse: insider trading, or crypto theft. For a company that's apparently trying its hardest to become a bastion of transparent crypto trading, going so far as to share data on 13,000 customers to the IRS, these class action lawsuits, if proven, will do irreversible damages to the company's standing.

The insider trading class action lawsuit revolves around the introduction of BCH (Bitcoin Cash) to its staple of tradeable cryptocurrencies. Now, here's the thing: it's nigh impossible for a company not to do, or not to be accused of, to be more precise, of insider trading on this thing. It's almost guaranteed that the company would have invested on Bitcoin Cash in the early stages of its fork and spin-off from Bitcoin. And the company controls at which times they'll enable trading of the cryptocurrency on their platform - an announcement and move which would certainly increase awareness and trade volume on that cryptocurrency, both before and after it's been actually integrated into the exchange. This class action lawsuit is being headed by Jeffrey Berk, who's representing all customers that placed buy, sell or trade orders for BCH between December 19 and December 21, 2017.

ARCHOS Announces the Safe-T mini Hardware Wallet for Storing Cryptocurrencies

ARCHOS is providing cryptocurrency enthusiasts with the perfect hardware wallet to secure their bitcoins and other currencies, to ensure cold storage of private keys and to prevent hacking attempts. Unveiled at the MWC 2018 (Hall 6 - Stand B60), the ARCHOS Safe-T mini will be available starting June 2018, at 49.99 €.

ARCHOS is an active member of the SYSTEMATIC PARIS-REGION cluster who has created a specific branch Digital Trust & Security aiming to promote and develop worldwide champions in cybersecurity. ARCHOS Safe-T mini is in line with the dynamics of this thematic group, which, on the cryptocurrency, has partners like Secure-IC, OCamlPro or Gemalto. Digital Trust & Security has also supported and facilitated the emergence and deployment of major collaborative projects such as iTrac or MoneyTrack.

Gem Rose Accent Offers 1 Bitcoin Prize to First Person that Beats Their New Game

Developer Gem Rose Accent will reward the first player to beat their new puzzle game with a Bitcoin, which is worth $11,669.97 at the time of this post. In MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma, players must navigate through a very complicated maze from a first-person perspective and solve the 24 puzzles to finish the game. Players also have the option form a group with other players to solve the different puzzles. MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma is available on Steam for $1.99, but you can purchase it for introductory price of $1.19. According to the developer, MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma will easily be one of the hardest game you will ever play. Will you take up their challenge?

Coinbase Commerce is a New Cryptocurrency Payment Program for Vendors

Coinbase, one of the world's largest - and more transparent, in legal terms - cryptocurrency exchanges, has announced the start of a new cryptocurrency payment program. Coinbase Commerce is a new service that enables merchants to accept multiple cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin) directly into a user-controlled wallet as payment for services rendered or products acquired. Coinbase Commerce can be directly integrated into a merchant's checkout flow or added as a payment option on an e-commerce platform with just an email address and a phone.

This is another step to cryptocurrency world domination, and one of the most important steps towards widespread adoption of these as actual stores of value. The difficulty of translating cryptocurrency into real world value and products - which has seen better days, but has since seen key players withdraw from accepting these as payments - is one of the remaining walls towards widespread, mainstream adoption, and could provide a window for crypto in general to abandon its actual relevance as mere speculative investment. Some platforms already exist - TenX and BitPay come to mind, for instance. however, Coinbase as an exchange has some of the more solid footings in the cryptocurrency industry - and financial markets as well - so this is definitely a high-impact move that could help cement a future based in cryptocurrency trades.

Confessions of a Crypto Miner: Storing Your Coins

Welcome back to Confessions of a Crypto Miner, my bi-weekly column about a crypto miner from 2013 trying to get caught up with the latest standards. I'm presently mining and reporting to you from a dual-GTX 1080 based rig mining zCash.

As requested by many readers, today, we are going to talk about safekeeping your digital currency, and particularly, how to do it safely. Crypto has gotten a bad rap as of late for being insecure, due to numerous hacks of exchanges - but the cryptography in it is actually very strong and solid, and nearly all hacks have been related to centralized services or bad practices.

The focus of this article will be how to hold coin safely for the purpose of investment. I will go over the types of wallets, and their pros and cons. It may seem a bit more technical than some of my usual works but it is very essential information that everyone considering crypto should know. I've done my best to boil it down to basic, easy to understand principles for you.

"Most Cryptocurrencies' Value Could Hit Zero", Warns Goldmann Sachs Analyst

Adding yet more tinder to the fire is usually the way for some players in the industry - and this isn't any different (one could even say this is exacerbated) by investment gurus and finance groups. Steve Strongin, Goldmann Sachs global head of investment research, said in a February 5th report that most digital currencies are unlikely to survive in their current form, and investors should prepare for coins to lose all their value as they're replaced by a small set of future competitors. Steve Strongin is particularly worried on account of "The high correlation between the different cryptocurrencies," adding that "because of the lack of intrinsic value, the currencies that don't survive will most likely trade to zero."

This is a trend that can usually be seen in the crypto market, as most alt-coins tend to follow Bitcoin's pricing trends, with their value being seemingly pegged to the current cryptocurrency king's value - and some might say credibility. There have been some instances of drifting pricing trends where some cryptocurrencies actually cease being pegged to bitcoin's value in their own valuation, but these events are usually few, far between, and tend to regress to their previous state.
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