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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.

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.

"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."

Bitcoin's Lack of Wallet Privacy Leads Criminals to Look Towards Other Cryptos

"It is used for criminal, illegal activities" is one of the most oft-mentioned reasons for users to reject Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. However, it seems that this argument is losing weight as we speak when it comes to Bitcoin. In the wake of much increased interest and awareness regarding the fledgling, currently leading cryptocurrency, which has seen institutions and states renew their interest and attention towards regulation or stricter control of the virtual currency, users that would use Bitcoin for nefarious purposes have started to migrate to other cryptocurrencies. You see, the reality of a distributed, transparent ledger is great for a system's transparency; however, transparency and easily identifiable - and traceable - wallets and transactions go against criminals' interests. Law enforcement agencies, such as Europol, have already issued warnings and established protocols towards the adoption of software tools to monitor people using bitcoin. As such, criminals are looking towards other less "transparent" cryptos to use as escape routes for their criminal ways.

The most viable alternative for criminals has apparently been Monero, the cryptocurrency that has also been in the world's mouth because it's usually the one being mined in web browsers, absent of users' consent. Monero has been developed with privacy as a main design criteria from the start, encrypting the recipient's address on its blockchain and generating fake addresses, obfuscating the real sender, but going one step further by also obfuscating the amount of the transaction. This means Monero is currently "one of the favorites, if not the favorite" for usage in ransomware attacks, said Matt Suiche, founder of Dubai-based security firm Comae Technologies, said in a phone interview to Bloomberg.

Bitcoin Futures Listed by Chicago Board Options Exchange

That sole title may make proponents of Bitcoin make waves of contentment, whereas those that are more skeptical of the cryptocurrency (or cryptocurrencies in general) will likely find themselves shaking their heads in dismay. Whether you're on one of those camps, or Bitcoin is just indifferent for you, the fact that a cryptocurrency has made its way to a bona fide exchange should likely mean one thing: Bitcoin's valuation is only ever more likely to increase now.

Futures trading is one of the wildest, less material forms of trading, since the actual property of the item whose futures you're investing into never becomes yours. Instead, futures trading is more akin to betting, where investors gauge the expected value of a product in the future. A futures trader may invest in the price of rice in China, the expected value of shares for a given company, the value of a fiat currency... And now, the value of bitcoin. Usually, the best futures traders make their decisions based on actual real world data that might affect their investment. The thing here that might propel Bitcoin's value upwards, is that we're already seeing the effect this futures trading has brought upon Bitcoin. Remember that Nicehash hack that resulted in the theft of a puny $68M? Well, historically, hacks in cryptocurrencies have brought about plummeting value, as investors knee-jerk and cash-out before the same can happen to them (among other variables). However, the hype from Bitcoin being traded in an exchange has been so great in the past few weeks that the Nicehash hack didn't register as so much as a blip in Bitcoin's value, in the grand scheme of things. It's just kept on increasing.

Mining "Renting" Service Nicehash Hacked; $68M Routed From User Wallets

Another high-profile hack has hit Bitcoin, as cryptocurrency mining pool Nicehash has confirmed that they've suffered a hack which has rendered users' wallets with the service to be emptied. The heist, currently valued at more than $68M, transferred 4,736.4281 BTC in total to the unknown party's (the perpetrator's, almost certainly) wallet. A single transaction of 4,655.25349748 BTC was the most high-profile one to take place, and has left Nicehash users in the cold.

In a post on Reddit, Nicehash representatives confirmed the heist, stating that "Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours. Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken."

Steam Removes Bitcoin Support as Payment Option

In a blog post over at the Steam community pages, the outfit has announced that it would no longer be accepting Bitcoin as a viable payment option for purchases in the Steam store. In the blog, Steam points towards Bitcoin's high volatility as one of the reasons (the cryptocurrency very frequently sees swings in the order of hundreds of dollars in mere minutes, which makes it more difficult to properly equate Bitcoin's and the purchase's value. Additionally, Steam cites increasingly high transaction fees that sometimes can reach as much as $20, a well-known problem in the cryptocurrency's blockchain that has resisted numerous attempts at being fixed, thus generating multiple forks.

"At this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option. We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date," the Steam team writes. Users that have been hit with requests for refunds or extra payment depending on the cryptocurrency's fluctuations can rest easy that Steam is aware of the issues and delays, and said that they "(...) will continue working to resolve any pending issues for customers who are impacted by existing underpayments or transaction fees." This event can be read in two ways: that it's a blow for Bitcoin's positioning as virtual gold, as this might start a snowball effect on other companies that accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, thus diluting the usability of the cryptocurrency and potentially affecting its value; or as a vindication for the defenders of Bitcoin as only a high-value, high-stakes cryptocurrency, leaving smaller payments to other more nimble, purpose-designed cryptocoins.

We Need a Lost Cryptocurrency Crawler: 4 Million Bitcoins Lost in the Ether

Cryptocurrencies as they currently are implemented are one of the most divisive subjects among the tech and economic communities in recent years. No, really; it's reached a kind of "Hayek vs Keynes" level of argument in the later. But one thing can't be denied: some early adopters of the technology have cashed in thoroughly and profoundly on the leading cryptocurrencies. The fact that Bitcoin has appreciated some 340% in the last six months (around $7,300 value increase in a single coin of the cryptocurrency) means many people more will see unbelievable surges in their net worth. Today, a single Bitcoin is trading for around $9,530 - and this is a cryptocurrency that, in its infancy, was being used to trade at rates of thousands of Bitcoin per pizza.

However, as with every currency, there's inevitable losses; paper money has seen its fair share of that, and galleons and caravels filled with gold up to the mast used to sink in oceans all around the world. But cryptocurrency is a digital currency; it's impossible for it to deteriorate away, to be lost with your wallet, or any other exceedingly sad case of lost value. Right? Well, not so; it's encryption algorithm ensures that for users to be able to access the contents of their digital wallets, they have to know the password. And many passwords have been lost and forgotten. Some users have even thrown away HDDs with wallets containing thousands of Bitcoin, and some have even lost their hardware wallets.

FSP Releases a Powerful 2000W Dedicated Mining Power Supply

The topic of Bitcoin mining continues trending. Some countries even acknowledge payment with digital currency such as Bitcoin as legal payment methods. In order to keep up with this trend, high specification dedicated mining equipment is continually released by the industry. ASUS and ASRock have released mining dedicated motherboards, and high-end graphics cards from major manufacturers such as nVIDIA and AMD, etc. have all been sold out.

With the upgrading of this equipment, the power needed for overall operation of computers also needs to be increased in response to the power needed for the heavy operation during the mining process. However, currently there are very few power supplies on the market dedicated for mining. FSP power fully understands the needs of miners, and became the first to release the FSP2000-A0AGPBI 2000-watt super high powered power supply to prevent power malfunctions during the mining process when the processor/graphics card is operating at full speed and the power is at full-load 24 hours a day.

Amazon Registers Three New Domains Related to Cryptocurrency

Reports are coming in that Amazon registered three new domains on Tuesday. Normally, this wouldn't raise any eyebrows at all. However, the domain names are quite unique as they're related to cryptocurrency apparently. The domains are amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, and amazoncryptocurrencies.com. According to the registration information taken from the Whois database, all three are registered to Amazon Technologies, Inc., which we all know is a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.

At the moment of this article, we're not sure what is the reasoning behind Amazon's move. Speculations are saying that maybe the tech giant is finally getting into the cryptocurrency business. Or perhaps it's simply a marketing strategy to protect the Amazon brand similar to when the company registered amazonbitcoin.com back in 2013, which redirects users to the Amazon front page. Some are considering it an indication that Amazon might start accepting cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin despite Amazon Pay's VP Patrick Gauthier telling CNBC last month that there were no immediate plans to accept cryptocurrency.
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