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NVIDIA Faces New Class Action Lawsuit Over Cryptocurrency-related GPU Demand Drop

The new year does not seem to bring good tidings alone for NVIDIA, with yet another class action lawsuit promising to keep their legal team busy. When we first posted about NVIDIA stock prices falling 2.1% following the launch of their Turing microarchitecture cards, there was no warning that just a few days after that post things would get worse. Indeed, as of today, the NVIDIA stock price on the NASDAQ stock market has fallen nearly 54% from the 1-year high that was only this past calendar quarter. California-based Schall law firm believes this drop in price can be attributed to more than just the volatile trading that has been ongoing in general in the stock markets, and has decided to file a class action lawsuit against NVIDIA.

Schall Law believes, and we quote, "the Company made false and misleading statements to the market. NVIDIA touted its ability to monitor the cryptocurrency market and make rapid changes to its business as necessary. The Company claimed to be "masters at managing our channel, and we understand the channel very well." NVIDIA also claimed to the market that any drop off in demand for its GPUs amongst cryptocurrency miners would not negatively impact the Company's business because of strong demand for GPUs from the gaming market. Based on these facts, the Company's public statements were false and materially misleading throughout the class period. When the market learned the truth about NVIDIA, investors suffered damages." These are strong words indeed, as oft is the case with the launch of class action lawsuits, and they have put out a press statement to accompany a link for those wanting to join along which can be seen in the source below.

Razer Wants to Mine Crypto on Your PC in Return for Loyalty Rewards

In a move that made us go "WTF" internally, Razer has decided to test their fanbase's loyalty more so than ever before. Today, the company introduced Razer Softminer, a mining software program that is intended to be installed on computers and run to mine cryptocurrency. But instead of the users getting whatever new cryptocurrency is in fashion, Razer instead wants to retain all mined crypto and in turn "award" users with the so-called Razer Silver- loyalty reward credits, in their own words. The miner appears to be running off a version of the Gamma desktop application, as per speculation from TweakTown.

Razer Softminer utilizes heavy GPU performance loads, and there is no mention as to what the actual mining is for. It is clear, however, that the users are not mining Razer Silver (which Razer is quick to admit is not cryptocurrency) and these loyalty credits are handed out in an equivalent manner based on the mining power of the system. In their estimate, a sytem with at least a NVIDIA GTX 1050 or AMD RX 460 running the mining program for a whole day will net ~500 Razer Silver, and these can be used to "redeem Razer peripherals, digital rewards such as games, vouchers and more" from a dedicated rewards page.

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 Presents Professional Crypto Mining Motherboards with TB360-BTC Expert and TB360-BTC PRO

BIOSTAR, a leader in crypto mining motherboards, introduces two new BTC series professional crypto mining motherboards - TB360-BTC Expert and TB360-BTC PRO. Fully optimized for professional crypto mining, the TB360-BTC Expert and TB360-BTC PRO support 17 x PCI-E 3.0 and 12 x PCI-E 3.0 expansion slots respectively. Packed with features for scaling up professional mining operations of any size, the TB360-BTC Expert and TB360-BTC PRO ensure a rock-solid mining system with improved mining performance. The BIOSTAR TB360-BTC series is also the first crypto mining motherboards based on the B360 and H370 chipset, which can support 8th generation Intel Core processors.

Kaspersky Labs Warns Against Cryptocurrency Social Engineering Schemes

The cryptocurrency phenomenon and the growth of a keen audience of cryptocurrency owners was never going to go unnoticed by cyber-criminals. To achieve their nefarious goals they typically use classical phishing techniques, however these often go beyond the 'ordinary' scenarios we have become familiar with. By drawing inspiration from ICO (initial coin offering) investments and the free distribution of crypto coins, cyber criminals have been able to profit from both avid cryptocurrency owners and rookies alike.

Some of the most popular targets are ICO investors, who seek to invest their money in start-ups in the hope of gaining a profit in the future. For this group of people, cyber-criminals create fake web pages that simulate the sites of official ICO projects, or try to gain access to their contacts so they can send a phishing email with the number of an e-wallet for investors to send their cryptocurrency to. The most successful attacks use well-known ICO projects. For example, by exploiting the Switcheo ICO using a proposal for the free distribution of coins, criminals stole more than $25,000 worth of cryptocurrency after spreading the link through a fake Twitter account.

BIOSTAR Launches the TB250-BTC D+ Motherboard With 8-way GPU Support for Crypto Mining

BIOSTAR announces a pro-level crypto mining motherboard, BIOSTAR TB250-BTC D+ that appeals to anyone looking to maximize and/or scale their mining rigs. The BIOSTAR TB250-BTC D+ allows the Intel B250 chipset to reach its full potential as it allows true native 8-graphics card support, which removes the need for riser cards. The slim form factor gives larger mining operations the luxury of squeezing more systems into an existing space without the mess.

Riser Card-Free Design
Taking riser cards out of the equation allows you to reduce setup costs (a saving of US$7-$10 per riser card) and lowers the running costs with more reliable hardware and reduced power consumption and thus your electric bill. The Intel B250 chipset enables the TB250-BTC D+ to run up to eight native PCI-e X16 slots, which hits the sweet spot for graphics cards per motherboard cost-performance ratio. Aside from cost savings, it is more reliable and stable without the risk of burnouts and capability issues.

Confessions of a Crypto Miner: Green(er) 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, I'm going to talk about saving energy and reducing a miner's impact on the environment. How can you do that, you ask? Simple: Consolidation.

Mining inherently consumes a lot of energy, but a lot of things we do as tech geeks are actually not all that efficient. Case in point, my NAS I've had for years. Old Lenovo server-something or another, modded pretty hardcore, but still energy-drinking to the core. It's based around a Core 2 Quad and uses around 400W of power on its own when not doing much of anything more than being an NAS. It features big RAID arrays and big blower fans, none of which I really need in this day and age and all of which consume power. I've been thinking since I got my Ryzen quad core mining rig: What's to stop me from mining and doing my NAS stuff on the same rig, thus saving power? As it so happens, not much. My miner has the same memory size as the old Lenovo DDR2 solution and a far more energy efficient, likely faster CPU. So I can fold that 400 W server into my 550 W of mining, far reducing my footprint in a green sense. Let's get to it.

Google to Remove Cryptomining Extensions from Its Store

In a continued crackdown from regulatory and tech companies alike, Google has just announced an addendum to their purge of all manner of cryptocurrency or mining-related content that they deem may be dangerous for users. After the company went through the trouble of establishing clear guidelines on what exactly would be classified as an acceptable cryptocurrency and cryptomining extension on its store (basically, what Google wanted was transparency from the part of the developers as to what the extension would do with users' hardware resources), and seeing those warnings and guidelines fall on deaf ears, Google has taken, again, the nuke approach: they're just banning all related content and extensions from their store altogether.

AMD Corrects Analyst's Cryptomining Revenue Estimate in Defense of Its Share Value

AMD has gone on to publicly call attention to what it considers to be erroneous information put forward by Susquehanna analyst Christopher Roland. The analyst's report, which prompted the reclassification of AMD and NVIDIA's share targets - and investment ratings. Looking to stem what could translate to lower confidence from investors in its share outlook for the future, AMD has now gone on to clarify that mining revenue actually accounts for single-digit amounts entering the company's coffers, and not the 20% previously mentioned by the analyst.

AMD was dealt a worse hand than NVIDIA on Cristopher Rolland's analysis, since the perceived AMD exposition to a negative downturn on the GPU cryptocurrency mining market (kickstarted by the expected entrance in the market of Ethereum-specific ASICs) was double that of NVIDIA (20% on the former versus 10% on the latter). As such, the company has tried to remind customers, investors, and would-be investors that they appreciate the time and attention that investors continue to pay to Blockchain and cryptocurrency, but "(...) we [AMD] would also like to keep it in perspective with the multiple other growth opportunities ahead for AMD." You can read the AMD statement in full after the break, under the title "The View from Our Corner of the Street".

Twitter Reportedly Looking Into Banning Cryptocurrency-Related Ads as Well

After Google has actually announced a change to their financial services-related ad policies that will ban all cryptocurrency-related ads that run through its advertising platform, reports now place Twitter as the next major service to follow suit. According to Sky News, the banning will affect the majority of ads relating to cryptocurrency products, services, and advice, cutting it diagonally and indiscriminately if services are actually legit or fakes. The publication says the decision comes "amid looming regulatory intervention in the sector."

Sky's sources say this ban will enter into effect within the next two weeks. If so, this is now the third major servie (after Facebook and Google) to ban all crypto-related content form its advertisements. That regulatory intervention is looming on the sector is putting it mildly; and it's high time that happened. The cryptocurrency market really is "being chilled", to quote Mike Lempres, chief legal and risk officer at Coinbase. And it's coming from all sides: regulatory bodies, general services, John Oliver shows, mainstream media, and even investors' own risk-assessment. It was bound to happen - the frenzy was getting quite old, really - and is an expected development. Let's hope this is just the beginning of a renewal of sorts for the cryptocurrency and blockchain world.

Google To Ban Crypto-Related Advertisements

Google has surreptitiously announced, via an update to its financial services-related ad policies, that cryptocurrency-related ads on its services will be banned before long. As both public and regulatory bodies have become increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies' successes and shortcomings, the company has decided to take a stance until the as-of-yet deeply unregulated cryptocurrency field becomes clearer for users, and is less of a metaphorical minefield. While blockchain is one of the most promising technologies in recent years, and is definitely here to stay, the path for cryptocurrencies is much less clear, and there have been enough warning shots fired across the bow.

As there are veritable cybernetic graveyards of scams and failed crypto endeavors that ruined millions of peoples' lives, Google won't be facilitating these events. As Google's director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, told CNBC, "We don't have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we've seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it's an area that we want to approach with extreme caution." The new approach will be brought upon initial coin offerings (ICOs), wallets, and trading advice alike, starting in June this year.

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.

"Lawyering Up" - Coinbase to Send Data on 13,000 Users to the IRS

Coinbase, one of the world's largest cryptoexchanges - which is also one of those with the most solid footing when it comes to these kind of exchange - has announced via email that it will be disclosing around 13,000 users' data to the IRS. No doubt this is a move by the company to improve its footing even more with state institutions; however, this will certainly reduce consumers' trust in the exchange - at least, for those customers who weren't considering having to pay taxes on their crypto earnings.

What prompted this move by Coinbase? Well, back in November 2016, the IRS, through a San Francisco-based judge, started court proceedings which would see all of Coinbase users' data to be delivered to the services. Coinbase fought over these court proceedings, but ultimately caved in after the IRS's proposal changed from "all users" to a system that's likely based on trading volume. This is why "only" 13,000 users will see their personal data (taxpayer ID, name, birth date, address, and historical transaction records for certain higher-transacting customers during the 2013-2015 period) being delivered to the IRS as part of a major tax evasion investigation (which should surprise no one, really).

Cryptocurrency Report: 46% of 2017's ICOs Have Failed Already

ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) were 2017's talk in the cryptocurrency work: they were akin to the Dot-com craziness in the late 1990's, early 2000's, in that investment and speculation moved billions of dollars. Wherever you turned, every week, and sometimes more than twice per day, ICOs were popping out - initial investment efforts much like Kickstarter in "cool" new projects built on the blockchain technology. According to Tokendata, around 46% of 2017's ICOs resulted in failed projects: of the 902 crowdsales that took place last year, 142 failed at the funding stage, and 276 have failed, due to the "developers" either taking the money and running, or choosing the less obvious approach of letting the project fade into obscurity - alongside the collectively raised $233 million between them.

As if those numbers weren't high and disheartening enough as they are, an additional 113 ICOs are being classified as "semi-failed": the teams behind the projects have either started the process of obscuring their activities, stopping to communicate on social media, or their community has become so small as to mean the project has no chance of success. All in all, the 46% failed ICOs could soon grow to a staggering 59% of either confirmed failures or failures-in-the-making.

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.

US and UK Government Websites Infected with Crypto-mining Malware

Potentially thousands of websites operated by various government ministries, departments, and statutory agencies, of the United States and the United Kingdom, could be infected with crypto-currency mining malware. The already infamously slow government websites, often crippled with bandwidth and hosting deficiencies, not to mention webpage design that's often behind web standards, are now embedded with crypto-miners thanks to outdated accessibility software.

Most government websites implement a web-based text-to-speech software called Browsealoud. Outdated versions of the software can be surreptitiously infected with crypto-mining scripts, by exploiting a vulnerability in the way the software dials home to the text-to-speech server. The scripts slow down computers by forcing them to mine crypto-currency for unauthorized people. Browsealoud has been developed by British software company Texthelp, which is reaching out to all its customers to update to the latest version of their software. It's always handy to have mining script blocking browser extensions.

"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.

Full Stop: South Korea Not to Ban Cryptocurrency Trading After All

Remember the revived pressure on cryptocurrencies on account of news that South Korea might halt trading in their territory? Well, the country's finance minister, Kim Dong-yeon, who previously said that shutting down exchanges was "a live option but government ministries need to very seriously review it," came on the record this Wednesday to, let's say, set the record straight, clarifying that "There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market)." The minister, then, added that the government's immediate task is to "regulate exchanges". Those two statements certainly leave a lot of space in-between, since the shutting down of some exchanges while some others are left operating would not, in fact, result in an outright ban. Let's call it pruning, shall we?

The intention, it seems, is to be able to cut out the unregulated parts of the market, that take the form of unregulated exchanges, where the country's customs earlier announced it had uncovered illegal cryptocurrency foreign exchange trading worth nearly $600 million. This, it seems, is the real target for South Korea's newfound steam.

Samsung Enters Volume Production of a Killer Crypto-mining ASIC

One of the world's largest SoC, DRAM, and NAND flash makers, with its own semiconductor fabs, Samsung, is eyeing itself a large slice of the crypto-currency mining craze. The company reportedly entered volume production of a highly efficient crypto-currency mining ASIC, for an unnamed client from China. The client has placed a gargantuan order for crypto-coin mining ASICs contract-manufactured by Samsung, which appears to be targeted at Bitcoin, for now.

China's largest mining ASIC solutions providers, Bitman and Cannan, have similarly contracted TSMC to manufacture mining ASICs. An ASIC (from a mining context) is a single-chip solution that combines a CPU, a SIMD parallel-processing component tailored for mining, memory, and storage. It has infinitesimally smaller PCB, power, and thermal footprints compared to PCs with GPUs, and can be deployed in extremely large numbers for mining on an industrial-scale.

Lesson from the Crypto/DRAM Plagues: Build Future-Proof

As someone who does not mine crypto-currency, loves fast computers, and gaming on them, I find the current crypto-currency mining craze using graphics cards nothing short of a plague. It's like war broke out, and your government took away all the things you love from the market. All difficult times teach valuable lessons, and in this case, it is "Save up and build future-proof."

When NVIDIA launched its "Pascal" GPU architecture way back in Summer 2016, and AMD followed up, as a user of 2x GeForce GTX 970 SLI, I did not feel the need to upgrade anything, and planned to skip the Pascal/Polaris/Vega generation, and only upgrade when "Volta" or "Navi" offered something interesting. My pair of GTX 970 cards are backed by a Core i7-4770K processor, and 16 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1866 memory, both of which were considered high-end when I bought them, around 2014-15.

Throughout 2016, my GTX 970 pair ate AAA titles for breakfast. With NVIDIA investing on advancing SLI with the new SLI-HB, and DirectX 12 promising a mixed multi-GPU utopia, I had calculated a rather rosy future for my cards (at least to the point where NVIDIA would keep adding SLI profiles for newer games for my cards to chew through). What I didn't see coming was the inflection point between the decline of multi-GPU and crypto-plague eating away availability of high-end graphics cards at sane prices. That is where we are today.

Japanese Crypto Exchange Coincheck Hacked, Biggest Heist in History of the World

In what amounts (for now) to the biggest heist in the history of the world, Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, which handles about 3% of the total cryptocurrency transactions, has apparently been on the receiving end of a $500 million hack to its crypto vaults. The heist, which seems to have particularly over the NEM cryptocurrency, took some $532 million worth of the cryptocurrency from the exchanges' coffers. This news comes after Coincheck halted all NEM transaction on its exchange starting this morning, without previous warning, which raised red flags on the NEM investor community and Coincheck users. Additionally, it's being reported that there was an additional $123 million worth of Ripple cryptocurrency taken, as well.

For now, Coincheck has only issued an update saying that "Depositing NEM on Coincheck is currently being restricted. Deposits made to your account will not be reflected in your balance, and we advise all users to refrain from making deposits until the restriction has been lifted", so, there's no confirmation of the heist as of now. However, Nikkei is reporting that Coincheck has reported the theft to the local Financial Services Agency and the police. If confirmed, this is easily the biggest heist in the world's history, and not coincidentally, the biggest in crypto history as well.

Confessions of a Crypto Miner: Efficiency

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.

In the last entry, I got my hardware & software set up and started mining. If you were monitoring the miner via the stats link, you may have noticed a few offline moments 2-3 days ago. This was due to me installing a nice new power monitoring setup and taking some measurements at different settings, all with the goal of finding the most efficient way to run the miner long term, to maximize profits. We now have all the data on hand and can now draw conclusions from it. There are two things I'd like to investigate with this article: 240 VAC's impact on power draw, and how the graphics card power limit setting affects profit margins.

Confessions of a Crypto Miner: The Setup

As I have mentioned on the forums here at TechPowerUp a few times, I was an active crypto-miner during one of the most tumultuous times in crypto history: The period between 2013 and 2015. Rather than tell you a long and sad story, I will say just this: I ended up with a net loss by the end of this era, and it wasn't a good time to be an investor if you didn't like roller coaster rides. The reasons I lost money are many, but I think I can attribute them to primarily a lack of experience, a lack of written records, and really, a complete lack of a plan.

My New Plan
Yes, I'm planning on mining again. I've always been drawn to the tech, and I am in a much better position to do so now. Ironically, this time around, I'm not really in it for the money. I've already been there, done that, and it's too stressful for me. Having no end goal of riches doesn't set me up for failure. I think it is a more realistic mindset for taking on this project. It also gives me a chance to document my endeavor to the world, and to you, dear reader. I hope we all learn something here.

"You Hold It!" - Cryptocurrency Pricing Plummets as South Korea Revives Pressure

Cryptocurrency value has begun a tumultuous plummet since yesterday, in a market shrinkage that's being mostly correlated with an announcement by South Korean finance minister Kim Dong-yeon that a ban on cryptocurrency trading could still happen, pending a government review. South Korea is one of the world's most relevant economy and technology players, so a ban there could certainly start a domino effect in other countries.

""There are no disagreements over regulating speculation," minister Kim Dong-yeon specifically said - a move that would include a ban on anonymous cryptocurrency account, thus spelling doom for some privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero and ZCash from being traded in the country, for sure. The minister also places a heavy value in being able to tax the income made on virtual currency, and added that shutting down the exchanges was "a live option but government ministries need to very seriously review it."
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