Crypto mining company uses ASIC to mine Bitcoin in Space
This morning, a cryptocurrency mining company called Miner One sent an ASIC into space (kinda) to mine Bitcoin for a few hours. Doing so, they evoked some interesting questions: Are they the first crypto mining company in space? Does crypto mining have a future in space?
The Miner One team used a helium-filled balloon to send the miner as high as 35,000 meters (100,000 feet). After the balloon passed through the troposphere, the ASIC was activated and used a satellite phone to access the internet as it continued rising towards the stratosphere. Eventually, the balloon burst and the miner parachuted back down to earth.
The miner technically wasn't in space, as it would have needed to break through the exosphere, but it was still pretty darn cool. More importantly, this raises an interesting question for the future. Could a miner be put into a satellite orbit and remain powered by the Sun? The answer is probably. With a rising demand for blockchain scalability and sustainability, it may be an option to consider an off-planet and/or satellite validation method. If we can better harness the energy of our celestial star and get on the Kardashev scale, maybe our tps (transactions per second) limits on some blockchains would disappear
While we're on the topic of Bitcoin, we mind as well address the recent pivot in the market, from bear to bull. If this trend continues, Bitcoin should begin retesting its all-time highs in the next couple months. Just based on Bitcoin's history, another record high at this point would signal much higher levels, potentially numbers higher than even the Stratosphere.
Link: Miner One in Space
Link: The Kardashev scale
Russia still plans on launching the crypto-ruble in the near future.
For a while now, we've been waiting on Russia to launch its crypto-ruble. Recently, the head of the Committee on the Financial Market in Russia stated that, "The crypto-ruble is on its way, but not in the coming year. Russia has also hinted that blockchain technology can transplant traditional payment systems.
By this they are surely referring to the debate on whether or not SWIFT should be banned in Russia, as part of ongoing sanctions against the country and its government. In fact, SWIFT's board of directors have so far agreed that they won't respond to the pressure and calls to disconnect financial institutions in Russia from its network.
On April 18th, the CEO of SWIFT, Gottfried Leibbrandt, noted that, "Neutrality is integral to SWIFT, it's one of our core principles. As a unique utility to the global economy, we believe in serving the global financial community in its entirety. Having as many customers on our network as possible is beneficial to everyone, and in the interests of all global economic flows."
Even though this serves as pleasant news for Russia and the crypto-ruble, they may move in a different direction anyways. Russia may also be looking at their own SWIFT-like network. Something similar to Ripple or Stellar Lumens, that would work in conjunction with a crypto-ruble and allow them to continue cross-board remittance.
The take away here is that Russia is pushing forward with the crypto-ruble, joining countries such as India and Venezuela in the implementation of a digitalized, national currency (something discussed in my book "The Satoshi Sequence"). This will also lead to a digital economy and wider use of blockchain technology. If this new market can back the sovereignty of a nation, then it can surely give individuals back their sovereignty as well. Developments like this will be important to monitor going forward.
Link: The cryptoruble
Link: The Satoshi Sequence
Bitmain is brewing a storm in the state of Washington
The Chinese ban on cryptocurrency mining has led to a flood of hash power exiting the communist empire that has since dominated the mining market. One of the most prominent migrators out of China is a company called Bitmain, which is also the world's largest supplier of ASIC miners. Usually when an exodus like this occurs, companies like Bitmain begin to saturate other economies with their technology. That is happening in the state of Washington in the United States, and the implications might not be so good.
Recently, the port of Walla Walla, Washington approved a large land lease by Bitmain. They are looking to build a massive crypto mining facility in Washington, since the electricity rates are some of the lowest in the United States. However, many residents voiced their concerns over the amount of energy the company will require and how that would affect the local community. These are well known concerns around the world, but the reality is beginning to set in for the average person in Washington.
Here are a few of the biggest issues at hand:
1. Many blockchain projects use Proof-of-Work (PoW) in order to achieve consensus on the blockchain. As a result, this requires large sums of computing power (hash power) and an enormous amount of electricity. This is great for justifying the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but the power demand increases the electrical bill for everyone else. In a state like Washington, where electrical rates are generally very low, this can come as a shock to the livelihood of many individuals and businesses that traditionally enjoy these lower rates. The economic effect will not be pretty.
2. Alongside this massive power consumption is the debate over ASICs over-saturating the mining market. Network hash rates are already very high for most blockchain projects, and ASICs make them even higher. Essentially, the higher the network hash rate for a crypto, the more competitive it becomes for a miner to achieve profitability. Most miners frown upon ASIC mining for this reason, but as technology continues to advance, the question will be whether or not it's even avoidable.
3. Lastly, there is the concern over government regulations. Many in congress don't understand blockchain tech just yet, but that won't stop them from creating setbacks in the crypto mining industry. When Bitmain makes moves like this into Washington and funnels ASICs into the market, it's going to create a communal push to restrict mining in general on both the state and federal level. I'm sure that many small mining operations in Washington share this sentiment and would like to avoid losing their business as a result of companies like Bitmain stirring up controversy.
It's important to note the economic and communal effects of Bitmain moving it's operations into a foreign country, like the United States. These seemingly small events can lead to growing tensions that may serve as a catalyst for unfavorable outcomes in the future. As a miner, it's important to understand. As an investor in blockchain, this can make or break your investments. A storm is brewing in the mining community and close attention to key issues is a must.
India will block cryptocurrency, but seeks a digital Rupee
Well, it looks like India is clamping down hard on virtual currency. The Reserve Bank of India doesn't want anything to do with this market. This is going to make it difficult for the people of India to buy, sell and trade crypto for the meantime.
Actually, I'm not very surprised by this move. In fact, I specifically mentioned that this would happen in my book The Satoshi Sequence months ago! I even predicted the Petro in Venezuela. If you haven't read my book yet, I highly encourage you to buy a copy on Amazon!
Anyways, India has gone through a lot of monetary policy changes the last couple years and they are gearing up for their own national virtual currency. Even though individuals and banks can't do much business with blockchain tech right now, the future seems bright as they begin formulating a regulatory body (good luck with that).
This situation isn't all that different from China's take on virtual currency, who has also "banned" it from being used. Oh boy, did that backfire on China. Virtual currency is still very prominent in the socialist empire, albeit under the table. Even mining has been tough to remove from the mainland, with most miners flocking to Honk Kong or migrating to Canada in seek of cheaper power rates. India is going to learn the same lesson. There is no modern way of regulating, banning or eliminating blockchain in the same way that fiat can be.
In regards to my book, I'm 2-for-2. First Venezuela, and now India. Next up would be Russia. Oh wait, they've been pursuing a digital Ruble for a while now. This will be interesting to continue monitoring!
TEch giant IBM is betting big on the future of Stellar Lumens (XLM)
Over the past few months, Stellar Lumens (XLM) has received a lot of attention from IBM. The tech giant is providing 9 global validator nodes to support the XLM network and has frequently mentioned Stellar in their press releases ever since announcing a partnership with the project. So why all the interest?
One reason is that IBM wants to help develop the IoV (Internet of Value). The world is shifting further towards digitalization and there is a growing need to facilitate the transfer of value across the world. Stellar has transaction times as low as 5 seconds, which makes it a highly appealing platform to build upon. Even with their Hyperledger project in the works, IBM could learn a few things from Stellar's platform.
Most of you might not know this, but Stellar is actually a hard fork of the Ripple blockchain, which occurred back in 2014. A core developer from Ripple, named Jeb McCaleb, left the project to work on Stellar. Part of the reason was that Ripple was too centralized and he didn't agree with their philosophy. So you can see why Stellar has transaction times that are nearly identical to Ripple.
Anyways, another highly appealing aspect about Stellar is its Federated Byzantine Agreement, which makes up the foundation of the Stellar Consensus Protocol. So what is this mumbo-jumbo I just mentioned? Well, in essence, the Stellar platform came up with a way to utilize smaller groups of nodes that reach consensus with each other by selecting other "trusted" nodes to take part in their own miniature groups on the network.
The idea is to form trusted groups of nodes that can separate themselves from bad actors that could attempt to influence the Stellar network. This inoculates Stellar from something called a "Sybil Attack". This is a malicious attempt to control multiple nodes in a network, while the network remains unaware that it is compromised. This is also accomplished by creating numerous pseudonymous identities to gain a large influence over the network.
Bottom line, Stellar has a strong built-in mechanism to deal with bad actors, while still pioneering one of the fastest Blockchains in terms of transaction speed. For these reasons alone, it would make sense for IBM to partner with the project. It gives the Stellar platform a huge advantage as it continues its battle with Ripple and other blockchain projects that are attempting to capitalize on the Internet of Value.