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Hackers can use compromised Google Cloud accounts to install mining software in under 30 seconds: report

The report said the actors usually gained access to Cloud accounts because of “poor customer security practices” or “vulnerable third-party software.”

In a report aimed at assessing threats to Cloud users, Google’s Cybersecurity Action Team said that some attackers are exploiting “poorly configured” accounts to mine cryptocurrency.

On Wednesday, the Google team said out of 50 analyzed incidents that compromised the Google Cloud Protocol, 86% were related to crypto mining. The hackers used the compromised Cloud accounts to access resources from individuals’ CPUs or GPUs to mine tokens or take advantage of storage space when mining coins on the Chia Network.

However, Google’s team reported that many of the attacks were not limited to a single malicious action like crypto mining, but also as a staging point to conduct other hacks and identify other vulnerable systems. According to the cybersecurity team, the actors usually gained access to Cloud accounts as a result of “poor customer security practices” or “vulnerable third-party software.”

“While data theft did not appear to be the objective of these compromises, it remains a risk associated with the cloud asset compromises as bad actors start performing multiple forms of abuse,” said the Cybersecurity Action Team. “The public Internet-facing Cloud instances were open to scanning and brute force attacks.”

The speed of the attacks was also noteworthy. According to Google’s analysis, hackers were able to download crypto mining software to the compromised accounts within 22 seconds in the majority of the incidents analyzed. Google suggested that “the initial attacks and subsequent downloads were scripted events not requiring human intervention” and said it would be nearly impossible to manually intervene to stop such incidents once they started.

Related: Google bans 8 'deceptive' crypto apps from Play Store

An attack on multiple users’ Cloud accounts to gain access to additional computing power is not a new approach to illicitly mining crypto. ‘Cryptojacking’, as it is known by many in the space, has had several high-profile incidents including a hack of Capital One in 2019 to allegedly use credit card users’ servers to mine crypto. However, browser-based cryptojacking as well as mining crypto after gaining access through deceptive app downloads is also still a problem for many users.

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Russia Gets Bulk of Chinese Mining Machines Amid Miners’ Exodus, Report Reveals

Russia Gets Bulk of Chinese Mining Machines Amid Miners’ Exodus, Report RevealsChina’s crackdown on its crypto mining sector, launched earlier this year, caused a massive migration of mining enterprises to friendlier jurisdictions. Miners have been moving enormous amount of coin minting hardware to new bases around the world, with Russia reportedly taking the largest share among several attractive destinations, including the U.S. Russia, Kazakhstan, US Accept […]

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Bitcoin Mining Company Griid Secures $525 Million Credit Facility From Blockchain.com

Bitcoin Mining Company Griid Secures 5 Million Credit Facility From Blockchain.comOn Monday, the mining firm Griid Infrastructure announced the company has secured a $525 million credit facility from the crypto firm Blockchain.com. According to the announcement, the credit facility will be a four-year term in order to increase the company’s mining capacity. Bitcoin Mining Infrastructure Firm to Increase Capacity With Help From Blockchain.com Cryptocurrency mining, […]

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Texan Bitcoin mining power demands could jump 5 times by 2023

While the state is eager to become the global hub for Bitcoin mining operations, residents are concerned that the power grid will not be able to handle the load.

As the state of Texas faces a rapid influx of Bitcoin mining operations, its electrical infrastructure will have to support the industry’s expected 5,000 megawatts (MW) of additional power demands by 2023.

The Bitcoin mining industry in Texas currently consumes around 500 to 1,000 MW of power. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates that demand could increase as much as fivefold by 2023 and has planned an additional 3,000 to 5,000 MW according to reports

This expansion comes as the Lone star state plans to become the home to 20% of the world’s Bitcoin mining operations. Texas emerged as the go-to destination for Bitcoin miners ever since the Chinese government officially banned Bitcoin mining earlier this year.

The state government has capitalized on China’s clampdown by making Texas a haven for crypto miners who can now enjoy a 10-year tax abatement, sales tax credits, and state-sponsored workforce training.

Some Texas residents, however, are concerned that the existing power grid cannot be improved. ERCOT’s management of the state’s electrical grid came under heavy scrutiny in February 2021 when blackouts plagued the region during an extreme cold snap which left about 5 million residents without power for days.

A report issued by ERCOT on Nov. 19 has failed to inspire confidence that the grid problems have been fixed. Texas Observer reporter Amal Ahmed tweeted on Nov. 22,

“The new seasonal assessment report (basically, a forecast) from ERCOT seems to indicate that, unsurprisingly, the agency hasn't changed it's approach at all to really prepare for extremes.”

Related: This Singapore tech company says its recycling 90% of waste heat from Bitcoin mining

Some miners have attempted to allay residents’ fears about the potential drain on resources. The Texas Standard reported on Oct. 21 that some Bitcoin miners have been working with local power providers to ensure the stability of the grid.

Meanwhile, several others intend to operate using fully renewable and potential alternative sources of energy such as natural gas flares as BTC mining operations become increasingly greener

There are currently no proposals from the Texas state government to deal with potential issues that may arise from the increase in electrical demand from crypto miners. As suggested by the Texas Standard, miners could be flexible in shutting off their hardware during periods of peak demand or be charged a premium per kilowatt-hour if they want to stay on during peak demand periods.

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This Singapore tech company says its recycling 90% of waste heat from Bitcoin mining

The green Bitcoin mining operator is also en-route to list on the NASDAQ exchange via a SPAC merger.

It takes a lot of energy for miners to verify transactions and mint new blocks on the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain. According to Statistica, one Bitcoin transaction consumes as much electricity as over 1 million VISA transactions. Moreover, the cryptocurrency's environmental burden increases even more if the energy used for mining stems from fossil fuels.

But SAITech, a Eurasia-based Bitcoin mining operator with headquarters in Singapore, seeks to recycle the waste energy from mining for use in residential, agricultural, and industrial applications. The company is also undergoing a $228 million special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, merger with TradeUP Global Corp for its stock to list on the NASDAQ exchange. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, SAITech's CEO Arthur Lee discussed the company's heat capture technology, its efficiency, energy use of mining rigs, and the road ahead after its SPAC merger:

Cointelegraph: Would you mind describing your liquid cooling and waste heat recovery technology in simple terms?

Arthur Lee: SAI is a clean energy crypto mining operator. We offer to host services with leading energy-saving solutions to computing power and heating. You can regard us as a horizontally integrated clean energy company; we provide services for the computing industry, electricity, and heating industry. But for now, we mainly focus on the Bitcoin mining industry because it consumes so much energy; we want to find solutions for the whole industry and make it better, decrease the carbon emissions, and enhance the efficiency for the entire industry. For now, we just provide a liquid cooling system, saying we reuse the heat from the miners and provide heating services for our customers, by which we can just save the electricity used to be used for two parts: one is for heating, one is for computing.

But for now, we can just use only part for electricity, after we finish the computing test, we will provide heating service. Based on that, we released our carbon footprint ESG report this year. Through our method, we can prove that we can save more electricity and decrease carbon emissions. We also joined many NGOs like the U.N. framework conversation on Climate Change. We signed a U.N. commitment to reducing the cost with clean computing power in the digital asset industry. We aim to provide more services for global customers, not only in Asia but also in Europe and America.

CT: How efficient is your technology in terms of recycling heat? Is there any kind of metrics you that are able to share?

AL: I can simplify it as that you use one part of electricity, we can reuse about 90% of it to provide heating services. For the whole system, it’s an integrated system, not just a heating system; we have four parts of technologies; the first one is SAIHEAT, we use the heat from the chip. Second is SAIWATT; we find more clean-energy resources like hydropower, solar power, wind, and other clean energy. We will become a better battery for them to solve the energy-saving and energy storage problem. The third one is SAIBYTE technology. Based on this technology, we provide integrated systems; you know, the mining pool, wallet, and blockchain browser.

We just integrated the functions together and provided the services for customers and the industry providers. The fourth technology we will use is SAICHIP, you know we have the better liquid technologies which can reuse the heat and a better cooling system, so we cooperate with the manufacturers like BITMAIN and other miners, we will provide our liquid cooling technology to make the miners more efficient, by which we can enhance the efficiency of the whole system. For us, the liquid cooling and heating services is just a start, but we will reuse them and have a more efficient system.

CT: Why did you guys choose Kazakhstan out of all countries to set up the majority of your mining operations?

AL: You know that, before the regulation of China, most of the miners around the world were based in China; they use 20% of the whole hash rate in China. After the regulation, many miners want to go overseas like North America, Eurasia, South Asia, and maybe Europe. For us, the whole of Eurasia is a better place for the miners because, on one side, the miners who go to America will pay more penal tax. For the Eurasia market, it’s near China, so many miners from China can go there faster, and thirdly, the energy supply is very efficient; in Eurasia, especially in Europe and middle Asia, the energy is cheap and sufficient so that you can use more power and cheap power. Fourthly, the construction fee and construction cost are cheaper in Eurasia because the labor is cheap and the efficiency is high. We think Eurasia is like the middle east in the oil industry, so that Eurasia will be another middle east in the mining industry.

CT: Do you have any data on the total hash rate of all your mining machines, all combined?

AL: Currently, we operate about 4,500 units of mining rigs for our customers in Eurasia, and we will expand our self mining rigs in the next year and provide more hosting services for our customers.

CT: What does the road ahead look like after your SPAC merger? For example, you will expand to countries outside of Kazakhstan? etc.

AL: After the merger, we plan to go in two directions; the first one is R&D, we will enhance our efficiency, at the same time, we will provide a new product, which is more efficient and more cost-effective. Second, we will expand our market from Eurasia to North America and other places. We will provide more hosting services and enhance the percentage of SAIHEAT used to provide heating services. And we will provide more heating services to agriculture, residents, and industry. We will buy more mining devices maybe next year at a proper time, build our own self-mining system, find more partners around the world, like those who have more clean energy and who have heating needs, and provide services for them.

SAITech's mining operations worldwide | Source: SAITech Investor Presentation

CT: Are you guys taking on any of those [green] initiatives? For example, to help build the local Kazakh economy, anything like that?

AL: I think for the bitcoin industry, just like the mining company and trading company, they just provide services for the customers. I think mining is more like investment and buying bitcoins is like saving. For investment, the miners are regarded as a bank to provide institute and settlement services. Suppose the mining company becomes the problem of clean energy. In that case, they will face more problems in the future. More people will concentrate on ESG and carbon emission problems, so the whole industry, not only for us but for the whole industry, will concentrate on how we could use more clean energy, even save energy. Suppose we can provide more services with our products. In that case, we reuse the heat. For the bitcoin industry, we provide more products for the customers; for the whole industry, that means that we can save more electricity consumed, and we will decrease the whole carbon emissions for the industry. No one will worry about more carbon emissions and more energy wastage in this industry.

CT: Would you like to add any other statement or vision about the company, especially regarding sustainable mining?

AL: Yes, you know our name SAI, S means Sustainable, A means Available, and I means Innovative, so we want to find more technologies which can provide the sustainable available and innovative services for the customers, the whole market, and industry. For us, the whole industry is just like the energy industry, so the energy is the main cost for the mining services, maybe the chip is the second part, so the electricity is the main part. We are the first company in this industry to release the carbon footprint and ESG report. We just said we have better solutions like SAIHEAT SAIWATT and SAIBYTE. We have better solutions to help us to promote carbon emissions and efficiencies. We want to become a large-scale company that provides services for the mining industry. We are not only doing mining ourselves but also want to cooperate with other mining companies. We use our technology, open-source for them, and we can use the technology together. We will help them reduce carbon emissions and help ourselves find more electricity. For the whole industry, we will make it better and more efficient.

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While BTC’s Hashrate Climbs Higher, Bitcoin’s Mining Difficulty Nears All-Time High

While BTC’s Hashrate Climbs Higher, Bitcoin’s Mining Difficulty Nears All-Time HighDuring the last 90 days, Bitcoin’s hashrate has been climbing higher and has been slowly nearing the all-time high (ATH) the network captured six months ago in May. The accelerated hashrate has caused the network difficulty to rise, as Bitcoin’s mining difficulty has adjusted upward nine times in a row to date and it’s closing […]

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Bitcoin bulls in City Hall: Meet America’s crypto mayors

A wave of political goodwill and support for Bitcoin is building up. Is this just hype, or will there be long-lasting support for crypto?

As 2021 comes to a close, Bitcoin (BTC) has had a tumultuous ride this year, with wild price swings that have seen the pioneer cryptocurrency hit all-time highs only to retrace to lower prices — including a 50% drop that shook the market. Now, Bitcoin is once again back and stronger than ever, even recently going past its previous all-time high.

Bitcoin’s dizzying market price swings aside, it seems some politicians have recognized Bitcoin’s potential, with a wave of mayors across the United States expressing bullish sentiments.

From Florida to New York, there is a seemingly growing trend of politicians, particularly city mayors, supporting Bitcoin adoption.

Here is a look at some of America’s mayors who have expressed bullish sentiments about the leading cryptocurrency.

New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams

Mayors across the U.S. have been pushing for the adoption of digital assets, including New York City’s newly elected mayor, Eric Adams, who has pledged that he will take his first three paychecks in Bitcoin. The move from Adams was in response to the mayor of Miami’s announcement two days earlier that revealed his plans to accept his next paycheck entirely in Bitcoin.

Adams, a former police officer with a reputation for being tough on crime, said in a tweet that “In New York we always go big, so I’m going to take my first THREE paychecks in Bitcoin.”

Adam further tweeted that “NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries.”

The newly elected mayor also spoke to Bloomberg, saying that he will “look at what’s preventing the growth of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in our city.”

Mayor-elect Adams has been a Bitcoin bull for quite some time, having previously pledged to make New York City the center for Bitcoin. Adams has also suggested that schools add cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to their curriculum.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez

Since his election, Adams has been duking it out with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez over who is the bigger Bitcoin bull. Suarez, who was reelected for another term after serving as Miami’s mayor since 2017, also claimed in a tweet that he would take his next paycheck “100% in Bitcoin.”

As a part of Miami’s plan to become the crypto capital of the U.S., Suarez said that the city plans to issue digital wallets to its citizens that would be used to dole out Bitcoin yields from the city’s crypto stash.

While some reports state that U.S. law prohibits certain states from holding volatile assets, Miami’s mayor remains adamant, claiming that his top priority is to hopefully run the city without taxes. Suarez has previously mentioned that he wants to pay city employees in crypto.

Cool Valley, Missouri Mayor Jayson Stewart 

In the small town of Cool Valley, Missouri, Mayor Jayson Stewart announced that he intended to give each resident up to $1,000 in Bitcoin as a response to the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies.

The environmentalist mayor believes that Bitcoin can lift the town’s fortune through the establishment of Bitcoin mining facilities and other related activities. Stewart also believes that Bitcoin education holds the key to increasing wealth and prosperity in the region, and he hopes to one day see a Bitcoin-friendly bank in the city.

In an interview with Cointelegraph Magazine, Stewart said that “A lot of it is about fixing the wrongs of the past financial system. In the past, we didn’t have access to this amazing technology that we have today when it comes to our financial system and storing our value.”

Similar to Miami’s mayor, Stewart plans to dole out Bitcoin to the people of Cool Valley, with a plan that is funded by private donors who aim to increase the use and adoption of the digital asset. 

The Missouri mayor has been a Bitcoin bull since as far back as 2015, when he used to work for a tech startup that served wealthy clients and earned a salary in Bitcoin.

Jackson, Tennessee Mayor Scott Conger

In the wave of cities across the U.S. edging closer to Bitcoin adoption, the city of Jackson, Tennessee is not one to be left behind. With a belief that Bitcoin is the only solution to fix the devaluation of the U.S. dollar and the inflation that is cutting across the global economy at the moment, the city’s mayor, Scott Conger, announced that a blockchain task force will study potential methods of enabling property tax payments in the city using Bitcoin.

In mid-July, Conger tweeted: “Why do we accept inflation? Why don’t we demand more from our federal government? 6.3% in 2 years. 172.8% in my lifetime. Every year our dollar is worth less. There is no rebound. There is only 1 fix for this.. #Bitcoin.”

Similar to the sentiments of other mayors, Conger has expressed interest in exploring options that will see the city’s employees receive their paychecks in cryptocurrency. The mayor also plans to adopt Bitcoin mining operations and add BTC to the city’s balance sheet. Apart from Bitcoin, Conger has also hinted at Ether (Ether) and Litecoin (LTC) as potential mediums for payments within the city’s financial operations.

Tampa, Florida Mayor Jane Castor

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has also joined the fray of mayors in cities around the U.S. who are bullish on Bitcoin. A matter of days after Miami Mayor Suarez announced his plans to receive a Bitcoin paycheck, Castor followed suit.

Castor made the announcement on day two of the Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit, which took place at the Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa.

Growing bullish sentiments

Apart from American mayors embracing Bitcoin and blockchain technology, other leaders around the nation and across the globe are starting to realize the benefits of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. For instance, U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer and Darren Soto sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission in a call for the approval of Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S., something that many onlookers believe could set up a bullish trend for Bitcoin and legitimize cryptocurrencies.

Even traditional financial institutions that were bearish on Bitcoin are starting to admit that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are primed to bring about revolutionary changes to the finance industry. The chief operating officer of Bank of America, for instance, recently claimed that blockchain and cryptocurrencies could improve the operations of banks.

In Australia, Commonwealth Bank — one of the largest banks in the country, with nearly 16 million customers — has revealed plans to integrate Bitcoin into its services. All over the crypto space, a wave of bullish news continues to emerge, with Bitcoin appearing primed for upward momentum.

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Foundry USA becomes second-largest Bitcoin mining pool amid China ban

New York-based Foundry USA contributed to a 15.42% share of the network hash rate and is just 4,000 PH/s behind AntPool.

New York-based crypto-mining service provider Foundry USA takes the lead to become the world’s second-largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining pool after taking up a 15.42% share of the network.

Data from BTC.com shows that Digital Currency Group-owned Foundry USA stands behind the pool leader AntPool by a hash rate of just 4,000 PH/s, which contributed to a 17.76% network share at the time of writing.

The rise in the participation of American entities can be attributed to China’s recent blanket ban on crypto trading and mining activities. The ban forced a large-scale migration of local Bitcoin miners, who now reside in crypto-friendly jurisdictions including the United States, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

Out of the top five mining pools in terms of hash rate distribution, Foundry USA charges the highest average transaction fees of 0.09418116 BTC (nearly $5,500) per block. American businesses have also picked up China’s slack in terms of crypto ATM distribution.

Coin ATM Radar data shows that Georgia-based Bitcoin Depot has overtaken its Chinese counterparts to become the world’s biggest crypto ATM operator. Interestingly enough, a majority of the crypto ATM operators are run by American companies, a trend more prominent after China’s proactive ban on crypto activities.

Despite the clear intent to pursue an in-house central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Chinese Communist Party has also sought public opinion on the Bitcoin mining ban on Oct. 21, which has sparked conversations around the amendment of the government’s negative stance on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining activities.

However, Statista’s data confirms that China’s contribution to the Bitcoin mining hash rate has been on a steady decline since September 2019. Two decades ago, China represented over 75% of Bitcoin’s mining hash rate, which by April 2021 reduced to 46% prior to banning cryptocurrencies.

Related: US lawmakers introduce bill to ‘fix’ crypto reporting requirement from infrastructure law

As the United States inches towards Bitcoin’s mainstream adoption, the regulators seek clarity in relation to the new reporting requirements put forth by the Biden administration.

Members of the Republic and Democratic party have appealed, in different occasions, to amend the crypto tax reporting reforms along with a plea to redefine the word “broker” in crypto transactions.

Starting from 2024, the bipartisan infrastructure bill requires the general public to declare digital asset transactions worth more than $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. The bill currently considers miners and validators, hardware and software developers and protocol developers as brokers.

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‘We are the number two crypto miner in the world, and we see practically no financial return,’ says Kazakhstan President Tokayev

In addition to calling for greater regulation in the cryptocurrency industry, President Tokayez contemplated the introduction of a digital Kazakhstani tenge.

During a meeting with representatives of the financial sector on Friday in Almaty, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan, expressed his opinion on the current state of affairs of the country's cryptocurrency industry. The details of the speech were posted on the official website of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and translated by Cointelegraph:

Cryptocurrencies are an objective factor that cannot be simply ignored. It is necessary to clearly evaluate their potential to influence the current financial system.

President Tokayev speaking at a conference | Source: Akorda.kz

He then added:

Therefore, work should be resumed on the formation of a balanced regulatory environment for the creation of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. Otherwise, it turns out that we are the number two country in the world for cryptocurrency [Bitcoin] mining, and we practically do not see financial returns.

According to data from the University of Cambridge, Kazakhstan's share of the Bitcoin (BTC) network's total hash rate amounts to 18.10% — the second in the world behind the United States (35.40%) and ahead of Russia (11.23%). However, there exists a large number of individuals carrying on Bitcoin mining with disputed legal status in the country. Gray area miners account for as much as 50% of all cryptocurrency mining activity in Kazakhstan by some estimates.

In the context of President's Tokayev statements, the lack of cryptocurrency regulation results in, for better or worse, very little tax revenue being captured by the government despite the industry's sharp growth in recent years. Nevertheless, President Tokayev discussed the possibility of introducing a digital tenge as a "representative of the financial system" and further reiterated his support for fintech development in Kazakhstan:

Our financial institutions must seize the chance and tackle ambitious goals. It is necessary to not only copy someone else's experience but to develop and promote new formats of services that go beyond the borders of Kazakhstan. The state will do its utmost to promote these initiatives.

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