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China’s leadership in the Bitcoin mining industry will be challenged

Bitcoin mining in China versus the rest of the world: Where we are now and where to look in the near future….

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If you talk about Bitcoin (BTC) mining, you have to talk about China. China has become a giant in the Bitcoin mining ecosystem with major mines and pools, quick, cheap labor and a majority control of the world’s hashing power. So, should you go set up a mining operation there? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Is China actually a threat to the Bitcoin ecosystem? Let’s look at the state of Chinese mining.

Back to the basics

In the beginning of Bitcoin, you could simply mine from your laptop or set up a few miners in your home to run the hashing algorithm. But as more miners started turning on and the Bitcoin mining difficulty rose, higher levels of computing power and electricity was needed to solve the equations and reap the reward.

Only a finite amount of Bitcoin can be mined — 21 million tokens — so as time goes on, it will get harder and harder to mine them. Miners continue to need better and faster hardware, which requires more electricity. Today, mining operations are moving to large data centers where thousands of miners run day and night.

Related: How to mine Bitcoin: Everything you need to know

Why mention all of this? Because when mining at a large scale, electricity costs, labor costs, the speed of acquiring new hardware and sustainability come into play if generating profit is the goal — and China has the advantage in nearly all of these areas.

The state of mining in China

At the end of 2019, China produced nearly two-thirds of the world’s hashing power. Even though cryptocurrency usage and exchanges are reportedly banned in China and Bitcoin mining was once in danger of being shut down, the government took an about-face and is increasingly embracing the use of blockchain technology in its major industries — and allowing Bitcoin mining to grow.

Related: US Bitcoin holders worry about Chinese control of the mining network

Bitcoin mining in China is a growing industry because labor costs are cheap, turn-around time is incredibly quick, and lead time and production costs are much lower, since the country is a hub for global trade. Since much of the hardware used to mine Bitcoin is made in China, miners can very quickly be upgraded. If you want to set up a data center fast with low overhead and expenses, do it in China.

Low electricity costs in the form of hydropower are available as well. Because Bitcoin mining requires so much electricity between powering the miners and powering the fans to cool the miners, a data center needs to get electricity as cheaply as possible. Hydropower in the Sichuan province is reportedly as low as $0.02 per kWh during the rainy season, and the Chinese government is now encouraging mining in this province so operations can take advantage of the hydropower plants there.

Related: Sichuan rainy season to give Bitcoin hash rate a much needed jolt

But only some Chinese mining operations run on cleaner, cheaper hydropower. Most run instead on coal, which is a dirtier and more expensive option. Of the main power sources today, hydro is the cheapest, at around $0.01 to $0.02 per kWh, with wind being another cheap option at $0.025 cents per kwh. Gas and coal are the more expensive options, at $0.03 to $0.035 cents (plus transmission costs and taxes). So, while labor and materials may be cheap, coal usage makes mining operations unsustainable from both a cost perspective and environmental perspective. Factor in the political instability of setting up mining operations in China, and you may want to look elsewhere.

Can China stay on top?

Anyone wanting to set up scaled mining operations are increasingly seeking out locations in Nordic countries, Canada and the United States. While these locations may offer higher start-up expenses and maintenance costs, the availability of sustainable, cost-effective electricity is proving to be a big advantage. Additionally, these areas are more politically stable, so there is less threat that the government will one day decide to shut down all mining operations. In fact, Canada deemed mining operations as “essential services” during its COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Related: Regulatory overview of crypto mining in different countries

This may be the reason why the world’s hashing power is shifting locations. According to a recent report, Chinese hashing power is decreasing compared with last year yet growing in other parts of the world.

Another reason for this decrease may be that Chinese mining was hit hard in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains, causing new hardware to be significantly delayed in getting to data centers. In an industry where every minute counts, using slower, older miners for even a day longer means losing money and advantage. Additionally, China’s quarantine rules prevented workers from tending to their rigs, further disrupting operations.

Additionally, the third Bitcoin halving occurred this past May, cutting the mining reward in half and forcing miners to make significant upgrades to their hardware to stay competitive. Because it now takes twice as much hashing power to mine the same amount of Bitcoin as a year ago, mining operations have needed to not only upgrade, but make sure their energy costs were staying efficient. Following the halving, many miners around the world switched off because the endeavor was no longer profitable.

On top of it all, this summer’s monsoon season caused excessive flooding in the Sichuan province, leading to electrical shortages that cut up to 20% of the region’s hash rate.

Despite these significant setbacks, mining in China is sure to bounce back. But with other parts of the world embracing and encouraging Bitcoin mining, and with the greater sustainability offered elsewhere, we may soon see China’s place as the giant of the industry challenged.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Philip Salter is the head of mining operations at Genesis Mining, the world’s largest cloud crypto mining operation, where he leads the software development, data engineering and research teams. Salter started his career as a software developer for BSI Business Systems Integration AG. Salter is an avid miner and crypto enthusiast based in Germany.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/china-s-leadership-in-the-bitcoin-mining-industry-will-be-challenged

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Binance Coin reaches 37% of Ethereum’s market cap: 3 reasons why BNB is soaring

Binance Coin (BNB), the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain, has been rallying after seeing an uptick in transaction volume.

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Binance Coin, the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain, has been surging with a massive uptick in transaction volume.

Binance Coin reaches 37% of Ethereum’s market cap: 3 reasons why BNB is soaring

Binance Coin (BNB), the native cryptocurrency of Binance Smart Chain and top digital asset exchange Binance, is starting to close in on Ethereum (ETH) in market capitalization.

As of April 12, BNB is valued at $87 billion at the price of just under $600. The valuation of Ethereum is hovering at around $246 billion, which is 2.8 fold larger than that of Binance Coin.

— Joe Grech (@JoeBGrech) April 12, 2021

The technical momentum of BNB has been so strong that it briefly surpassed the volume of the BTC/USDT pair on Binance.

This trend is significant because USDT is the biggest stablecoin in the global market and the BTC/USDT pair is one of the most liquid trading pairs in crypto.

Why is Binance Coin surging so hard?

Binance Coin has been rising due to the three key reasons: an overall uptick in the popularity of Binance Smart Chain, strong technical momentum, and the gap between BSC and Ethereum projects.

Binance Smart Chain transaction volume. Source: BSCScan.io

In recent weeks, the transaction volume on Binance Smart Chain has tripled the volume of the Ethereum blockchain.

Particularly in Southeast Asia, the usage of Binance Smart Chain has been rising, according to Coin98, the biggest venture capital firm in Vietnam that is building a DeFi ecosystem targeted at Asia.

Considering that the price of BNB was much lower than Ethereum until late March, this discrepancy between BNB and ETH likely made BNB a compelling trade.

There is also a big gap in valuations between the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem and Binance Smart Chain, which has been fueling a large portion of the demand for BSC projects.

This has caused the value of BNB to rapidly rise over the past two weeks while ETH has been relatively stable at just over $2,000.

A journalist who covers crypto in China known as “Wu Blockchain” explained:

“BNB broke through an astonishing $600, but Ethereum’s Fees fell to its lowest point in a month. Although the transaction volume of BSC is 3x that of Ethereum, the two are not in a competitive relationship. The top 10 addresses of BNB hold more than 88%, and Eth is 20%. The future of Ethereum depends on the upgrade of EIP-1559 and 2.0. The only two things Binance needs to worry about are the government suppression and hackers.”

Traders foresee BNB to undergo a more explosive rally in the foreseeable future if it breaks out against Bitcoin.

Kaleo, a pseudonymous cryptocurrency trader, said:

“$BNB breaking above this level on the $BTC pair could lead to the type of explosive momentum needed to actually close in on $1,000.”BSC/BTC 1-day price chart (Binance). Source: TradingView.com, KaleoWill the capital rotate back into Ethereum?

However, Kelvin Koh, the managing partner at Spartan Group, one of the largest DeFi-focused funds in Asia, said that for now, he expects the capital to rotate back into Ethereum as BSC projects near the valuation of ETH equivalents.

He emphasized that there is a huge valuation gap between BSC and ETH projects. This gap could be making BSC projects compelling to the market. He said:

“BSC is having its own DeFi summer….so much alpha to be discovered in BSC ($XVS, $CAKE). If you are wondering why Ethereum DeFi coins are lacklustre, its because of the huge valuation gap that still exists between the BSC coins and ETH equivalents. Until this gap closes, money isn’t rotating back to ETH DeFi coins.”

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/binance-coin-reaches-37-of-ethereum-s-market-cap-3-reasons-why-bnb-is-soaring

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Our Man in Shanghai: Scandal as $45M of stolen government funds lost using 100X leverage

A blockchain security company’s future is in doubt after its CMO allegedly lost $45M betting on Bitcoin; Chinese netizens turn the other cheek to Peter Thiel’s warnings, and more

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The Chief Marketing Officer a blockchain security company has been charged with embezzlement; Peter Thiel calls Bitcoin a ‘weapon’ of China (but no one cares), and CZ’s net worth rises to $1.9 billion.

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Our Man in Shanghai: Scandal as $45M of stolen government funds lost using 100X leverage

Blockchain security company Beosin has been the focus of a major scandal after its Chief Marketing Officer Gao Ziyang was taken into custody and charged with embezzlement of state-owned assets. He is alleged to have been using government funds to unsuccessfully short BTC, resulting in a massive liquidation of over 300 million renminbi, or $45 million dollars.

Beosin, also known as Lianan Tech, had a working relationship with Chinese authorities and was helping them investigate fraudulent fundraising schemes. After the seizure of funds back in 2020, Beosin was tasked with storing and selling the assets, to be later returned to the state treasury. Instead of selling the assets, CMO Gao Ziyang allegedly opened a short position in late August, hoping to increase the size of the positions for personal gain. At the time, BTC was trading around $12,000.

Authorities say that records obtained from OKEx show the position began using 10x leverage, before increasing to 100x, and eventually ended up in liquidation. They began to ask about the whereabouts of the funds, before finally realizing that the assets were no longer in the wallet. Online, people have marveled at the age of Gao Ziyang, who was described as in his twenties. The future of Beosin, which was once regarded as a credible blockchain security company in China, is now in serious doubt.

Peter Thiel’s Bitcoin claims ignored

On Wednesday, PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist, Peter Thiel warned that the Chinese government may be using Bitcoin as a “financial weapon” to undermine the stability of the U.S. Dollar. The reaction was quite muted, as only 30 comments responded to the story on Sina Finance, a social media account with over 23 million followers. One of the top comments simply pointed out that “Bitcoin wasn’t invented by China” while another comment simply stated “Impossible”.

Binance billionaire

On Thursday, Binance founder Zhao Changpeng, better known as CZ, appeared as #1664 on Forbes’s annual billionaire list. His net worth is now listed at $1.9 billion, an increase of $700 million from the last list in 2020.

Nanjing Ribensi bought by US company

US Company Future FinTech announced earlier this week that they had agreed to a deal to acquire China-based mining company Nanjing Ribensi Electronic Technology Co. Nanjing Ribensi operates a mining farm that can handle up to 30,000 Bitcoin mining machines. The deal was worth approximately $9.1 million dollars and stipulates that the mining company must generate no less than approximately $2.3 million dollars in 2021.

Blockchain standards accelerated

China’s National Development and Reform Commission called for the accelerated implementation of blockchain standards in a new plan released on April 1. The plan was jointly issued by 28 government departments and also included technologies such as cloud computing, IoT, and big data.

This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/our-man-in-shanghai-scandal-as-45m-of-stolen-government-funds-lost-using-100x-leverage

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CoinMarketCap removes South Korea crypto exchanges from Bitcoin price tracker

The crypto analytics provider also removed South Korean exchanges from the price calculations of cryptocurrencies in 2018 “due to the extreme divergence in prices.”

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“If the prices on South Korean exchanges stabilize, then we will add the data back in, but that hasn’t happened yet,” said a CoinMarketCap spokesperson.

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CoinMarketCap removes South Korea crypto exchanges from Bitcoin price tracker

Crypto price trackin website CoinMarketCap has removed many South Korean exchanges from its calculations for the price of Bitcoin as the coin dipped under $58,000 again.

As of today, CoinMarketCap’s Bitcoin price tracker shows no data from major South Korean crypto exchanges including Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit. The website uses data from many exchanges to estimate the average price for cryptocurrencies. At the time of publication, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) is $57,721, having fallen more than 2% this morning.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, CoinMarketCap content manager Molly Jane Zuckerman said the removal was due to the premium observed on crypto exchanges based in South Korea. The crypto analytics provider estimates the BTC price to be roughly 6% higher than that on other exchanges.

“If the prices on South Korean exchanges stabilize, then we will add the data back in, but that hasn’t happened yet,” said Zuckerman.

The last time the price tracking website took similar action was in 2018, when CoinMarketCap announced it had “excluded some South Korean exchanges in price calculations due to the extreme divergence in prices from the rest of the world and limited arbitrage opportunity.”

During roughly the same time three years ago, the price of XRP was falling significantly after reaching an all-time high of $2.96 on Jan. 2. However, the token is looking bullish today, having briefly surpassed $1.00 for the first time since 2018 after it rose more than 20% in the last 24 hours. The price has since fallen to $0.9694 at the time of publication.

CoinMarketCap said only its Bitcoin price index was affected today, given the large volume of the crypto asset on South Korean exchanges. Last month, the volume of transactions in the South Korean digital currency market — driven in part by the price of BTC reaching an all-time — briefly exceeded the daily average transaction amount of the country’s stock market.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/coinmarketcap-removes-south-korea-crypto-exchanges-from-bitcoin-price-tracker

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