1. Home
  2. Mining

Mining

Witnesses address energy impacts of crypto mining during House hearing

“If policymakers take a cautious approach and foster a pro-innovation environment, the rewards for consumers, investors and all Americans are likely to be great," said Jordan Ramis shareholder Gregory Zerzan.

Five industry experts appearing before the United States House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee had different views on how lawmakers should address the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies.

In written testimony released before a Thursday hearing on “Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains,” former Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks argued that the energy consumption of Bitcoin (BTC) mining was “economically productive” given other assets including gold required roughly the same amount of energy for mining, with the “a host of other environmental concerns.” In addition, Brooks said that the traditional global banking system consumed roughly 2.5 times the amount of power to produce the same amount of value BTC does at its current market capitalization.

John Belizaire, the founder and CEO Soluna Computing and another witness appearing at the hearing, said that from an energy perspective, the miners and computers needed to power crypto are "not a waste" and could encourage the development of renewable energy sources. The CEO said that unlike other banking systems, Bitcoin mining included the option of turning the systems off when necessary, giving miners the ability to absorb excess energy from an area’s electrical grid rather than straining it.

Cornell Tech professor Ari Juels, who has often been a critic of crypto mining as it stands today, was supportive of the crypto space as a whole but argued in favor of “energy efficient alternatives” rather than the proof-of-work common for mining. He added that the Ethereum blockchain’s transition to proof-of-stake would likely consume “far less electricity” and have features including smart contracts and nonfungible tokens — unlike Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin does not equal blockchain,” said Juels. “The tremendous promise of blockchain technology does not require Bitcoin or its energy-intensive component called proof of work.”

Steve Wright, a recently retired former general manager of the Chelan County in Washington, similarly hinted that mining firms should consider "mechanisms to assure cryptocurrency production is encouraged toward efficient outcomes as early as possible." Wright noted that the high value of clean energy costs in the area seems to be pushing many crypto miners towards carbon-emitting, fossil-fired sources of power "at least the near term."

Related: Bitcoin mining becomes more sustainable: Mining Council's Q4 survey

U.S. lawmakers seem to be giving crypto and blockchain a great deal of attention as the space grows. In December, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on stablecoins and how the U.S. might participate in the race to adopt digital currencies. Brooks also testified at a House committee hearing that same month on digital assets’ role in the future of finance.

“Although digital tokens are a highly speculative and volatile asset class, they also represent the promise of a more open, more widely shared internet,” said Gregory Zerzan, a shareholder at business law firm Jordan Ramis. “If policymakers take a cautious approach and foster a pro-innovation environment, the rewards for consumers, investors and all Americans are likely to be great.”

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Stresses Crypto Trading Platforms Must Be Regulated to Ensure Investor Protection

Russian central bank proposes blanket ban on crypto mining and trading

Russian central bank has demanded reinforcement of the ongoing crypto payment ban and seeks to introduce punishments

In a report published on Thursday, The Central Bank of Russia has called for a blanket ban on domestic cryptocurrency trading and mining.

The report titled "Cryptocurrencies: trends, risks, measures" compares cryptocurrencies to a Ponzi scheme and calls for a complete ban on their use throughout Russia. The authors claim that cryptocurrencies are highly volatile in nature and are being used as a tool for illegal activities. The report also warned that crypto could pose a risk to financial sovereignty and could aid people in taking money out of the national economy. The report read:

“Potential financial stability risks associated with cryptocurrencies are much higher for emerging markets, including Russia.” 

The Russian central bank demanded a complete ban on over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks, crypto exchanges as well as peer-to-peer exchanges. The report also called for reinforcing the crypto payment ban and the introduction of strict punishment for any violations.

The central bank report further proposes a complete crypto mining ban in the country, claiming that mining activities create new supply which leads to demand for other crypto services such as exchanges. Crypto mining could undermine the existing green energy agenda and also disrupt Russia’s energy supply. The official paper read:

“Crypto mining creates a non-productive electricity expenditure, which undermines the energy supply of residential buildings, social infrastructure and industrial objects, as well as the environmental agenda of the Russian Federation."

Russia became the third-largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining hub following China’s crypto mining ban in May. If acted upon, the latest proposal for a blanket ban on crypto mining in the country could lead to yet another realignment on the world's crypto mining map.

According to a Bloomberg report, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) was instrumental in advancing the ban, having lobbied central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina to pursue a hardline course. The report claims that the FSB is worried about the increasing number of untraceable funding to opposition parties and media via crypto.

The report is framed as an invitation for public discussion, with the deadline for comments and suggestions from interested parties set at March 1, 2022.

Related: Russia prioritizes CBDC ruble as overall crypto outlook seems positive

The central bank of Russia has been skeptical of cryptocurrencies for quite some time. However, what could be seen as signs of president Vladimir Putin’s interest in and understanding of crypto led some to believe that the Russian government might choose to regulate the decentralized industry rather than ban it.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Stresses Crypto Trading Platforms Must Be Regulated to Ensure Investor Protection

Regulator Reiterates Call for EU Ban on Proof-of-Work Mining

Regulator Reiterates Call for EU Ban on Proof-of-Work MiningThe EU should prohibit proof-of-work crypto mining, an executive at the European securities watchdog has insisted. Coins relying on the energy-intensive method of minting pose a risk to efforts aimed at meeting climate change goals such as those set in the Paris Agreement, the regulator says. Bitcoin Mining Now Attacked in EU for Burning Too […]

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Stresses Crypto Trading Platforms Must Be Regulated to Ensure Investor Protection

MXC’s 200% gain hints that LoRaWAN IOT mining projects could rally in 2022

A growing partnership network, the ability to mine multiple cryptocurrencies simultaneously and renewed interest in blockchain-focused IOT technology back MXC’s 200% rally.

Cryptocurrency mining has become a hot topic of conversation over the past couple of years due to its lucrative nature and the impact the industry has on the environment

The emergence of Web3 and the increased presence of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has led to a new class of low-cost mining protocols with low-power network technology. These include LPWAN or LoRaWAN which are designed to transmit low bit rate data over long distances.

One such protocol that has been gaining traction in recent months is MXC, a Web3 infrastructure protocol designed to provide geolocation-based LPWAN coverage to IoT devices around the world

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that since hitting a low of $0.046 on Jan. 1, the price of MXC has seen a 200% rally to a new all-time high of $0.139 on Jan. 19.

MXC/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Three factors adding to MXC's building momentum include the earning capability of the MXC miners that can mine multiple cryptocurrencies simultaneously, the introduction of one-week shipping for new mining devices and an expanding, global ecosystem of partners and independent mining nodes.

Mining diversity could be an advantage

The IoT mining sector has seen many new entrants become established in recent years with projects like Helium (HNT) and Nitro Network (NCASH) offering LoRaWAN based networks that transfer data in exchange for the native HNT and NCASH tokens.

MXC has chosen a different route that utilizes a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) to offer coverage for IoT devices that can also mine multiple cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), MXC and DataHighway (DHX) simultaneously.

The MXC network uses its MatchX M2 Pro LPWAN miner, which is available for purchase on their website at a price of € 2,499 or on Amazon for a price of $3,299, alongside the DataDash app, which allows users to manage its miners and rewards.

In terms of devices capable of mining Bitcoin, the M2 Pro miner requires 5 watts of power as compared to the 3,250 watts required by the Bitmain "Antminer S19 Pro.” This makes the M2 better suited for individuals that don’t have a lot of funds to invest in a hefty mining operation.

According to one user's self-report, the M2 Pro miners have been earning a yield of $8 to $10 dollars per day and estimates that it will take a total of 8 months to recoup the original investment.

Easy access to M2 Pro

Another reason for the building momentum for MXC has been the introduction of one-week shipping for new M2 Pro orders.

For LPWAN networks, achieving widespread coverage is key to the overall health and long-term viability of the network. Having an easy way for interested parties to obtain mining equipment helps to increase the rate of growth.

Delays in miner shipments have been an issue for other networks, including Helium, which has led to hard feelings and some cancellations as users lament the lost-mining time and funds that could have been put to more productive use elsewhere.

As a result of the access interested parties have in obtaining the M2 Pro, the MXC network has now reached 18,186 nodes worldwide.

MXC node network. Source: MXC Mapper

Related: EU securities regulator calls for proof-of-work crypto mining ban

New partners and the launch of F-NFTs

In addition to an expanding network, MXC has new partner projects joining its network and there are plans to integrate "functional nonfungible tokens" or F-NFTs.

The protocol has partnered with Matcha and the team is currently in talks with Huobi exchange to create promotional offers for international users.

MXC has also revealed a new partnership with Random Network which will provide the community with a dashboard for the data that MXC distributes from its global network of M2 Pro miners.

On top of collaborating with other entities, MXC recently unveiled plans to launch F-NFTs in an effort to bring “hardware to the metaverse” and expand the community and functionality of the “MXC Data Republic.”

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Stresses Crypto Trading Platforms Must Be Regulated to Ensure Investor Protection

Iran to reportedly pilot central bank digital currency soon

The Central Bank of Iran hinted at a possible CBDC pilot soon without elaborating on the time frame of the program.

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is reportedly planning to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot soon.

According to a report by the Iranian Labour News Agency, the CBI vice governor said that CBDCs could help the country resolv financial inconsistencies. 

The development of a sovereign digital currency in Iran began in 2018 at the Informatics Services Corporation — the executive arm of the CBI. The development phase has been completed and a pilot will be launched soon. However, CBI didn’t reveal many details about the time frame.

The Iranian CBDC was reportedly developed using the Hyperledger Fabric platform hosted by the Linux Foundation. Cointelegraph reached out to Hyperledger for a comment but didn’t get a response at the publishing time.

Iran has experienced significant financial and economic difficulties as a result of heavy economic sanctions levied on it by the United States. 

Amid these problems, Iran has turned to crypto and was among the first countries to legalize Bitcoin (BTC) mining in hopes of reviving the economy, however, it had to temporarily shut mining operations on numerous occasions due to acute power shortages and blackouts. 

Iran is also looking to use cryptocurrencies for international trade, in hopes of bypassing the trade sanctions. As reported by Cointelegraph, CBI, and the Ministry of Trade reached an agreement to link the CBI’s payment platform to a trading system allowing businesses to settle payments using cryptocurrencies. 

At present, nearly 100 nations are working on a sovereign digital currency, while only a handful of them have reached the pilot phase. China is currently at the forefront: it completed its CBDC development in 2019 and is currently mass testing it across various provinces and retail sectors

Related: Iran halts authorized crypto mining to save energy for winter

France and Switzerland have carried out multiple cross-border pilots. South Korea, Japan, and Russia are expected to carry out trials in 2022, while the U.S. is still in the discussion phase. According to the Atlantic CBDC tracker, nine nations have already launched their CBDC, 14 are in the pilot phase, 16 are in the development phase, 41 nations are still researching and two nations have canceled their CBDC plans.

CBDC development tracker Source: Atlantic Council

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Stresses Crypto Trading Platforms Must Be Regulated to Ensure Investor Protection

Crypto Miner Convicted in Russia for Allegedly Stealing Power to Mint Digital Coins

Crypto Miner Convicted in Russia for Allegedly Stealing Power to Mint Digital CoinsA regional court has sentenced a man accused of illegally connecting his crypto farm to the grid to two years in prison. The decision comes as authorities in Moscow prepare to address the lack of proper regulations for cryptocurrency mining, which has become a popular source of income in Russia. Illegal Crypto Farm Burns 1.3 […]

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Stresses Crypto Trading Platforms Must Be Regulated to Ensure Investor Protection

Intel to reveal new energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASIC at next ISSCC

The proposed "Bonanza Mine" promises to be a new, viable option to compete against traditional mining rigs.

Reports indicate that Intel, one of the largest computer processor manufacturers, intends to reveal a new “Ultra-Low-Voltage Energy-Efficient Bitcoin Mining ASIC” known as Bonanza Mine at the upcoming IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in February 2022. 

Intel submitted a patent in November 2018 outlining similar ideas for "high-performance Bitcoin Mining." It is suspected that the processes described in the patent could make their way into the product being shown off at the ISSCC.

According to the patent, the ASIC behind the Bonanza Mine will be able to finish calculations just as effectively as other ASICs while eliminating the need for repeated or redundant computations. This system is proposed to reduce overall power consumption by approximately 15%.

The processors used for mining crypto are notorious for being subject to shortages and diminishing sales. Intel would become a competitor against companies like Bitmain, with a proposed Ether ASIC still pending release and Nvidia, a company that was also struck by multiple instances of declining chip sales. Demand for crypto mining has been rising steadily despite constant processor shortages and inconsistent production costs

Representatives from Intel seemed confident in regards to entering the crypto mining industry and with the new chip, commenting:

"Intel has done design work around SHA 256 optimized ASICs for several years beginning with pathfinding work done in Intel Labs."

At the time of publication, it is unclear whether Intel will release the Bonanza Mine for retail sale or if it will be strictly for industrial or research purposes. Regardless, this could potentially catapult Intel into becoming a main competitor within the crypto-mining industry.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Stresses Crypto Trading Platforms Must Be Regulated to Ensure Investor Protection

Former pro-crypto CoC Brian Brooks to testify in a House hearing on the energy impacts of mining

Crypto allies dominate the list of witnesses slated to appear before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

As the U.S. Congress prepares to take a thorough look at the energy use of crypto mining, the list of witnesses for the Thursday hearing contains more proponents of blockchain technology than its outright critics.

The House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee announced a hearing on “Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains” last week, with the event itself scheduled for Thursday. The focus of the hearing will be on the energy and the environmental effects of crypto mining, specifically as it relates to networks that use a proof-of-work, or PoW, consensus mechanism.

A Committee on Energy and Commerce staff memo released on Jan. 17 revealed the list of witnesses invited to testify. Among the five experts on the list, only one — Cornell Tech professor Ari Juels — can be definitively categorized as an outspoken critic of Bitcoin (BTC) mining in its current form. Ironically, Juels is one of two authors of a 1999 paper that defined and introduced the term “proof-of-work.”

Another entry on the witness list is Brian Brooks, former U.S. Comptroller of the Currency and Binance.US CEO who in Nov. 2021 joined BitFury, a major player in the crypto mining industry, as CEO. Also notable is the presence of John Belizaire, CEO of Soluna Computing, a firm that is focused on developing green data centers for batchable computing. In a Jan. 6 blog post, Belizaire lauded Bitcoin’s energy consumption as a “feature, not a bug,” arguing that it provides a viable mechanism for absorbing excess renewable energy.

Utility providers will be represented by Steve Wright, a recently retired former general manager of the Chelan County, Washington state, public utility district. During his tenure, Wright took steps to attract cryptocurrency miners to the county.

Gregory Zerzan, Jordan Ramis shareholder and former acting assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury, once noted that concerns around Bitcoin mining could be addressed by “transitioning away from fossil fuels.”

The memo itself offers a rather balanced overview of energy-related concerns associated with PoW mining, although it also reiterates certain statements that have been questioned by recent research. For one, the authors stated that the energy consumption and environmental impact of crypto mining may grow in the coming years — a claim that was countered in Bitcoin Policy Institute’s fact-checking brochure.

Jake Chervinsky, head of policy at the Blockchain Association, tweeted that the memo was “not all bad, but commits basic errors.”

The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 am EST on Jan. 20 and will be streamed here.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Stresses Crypto Trading Platforms Must Be Regulated to Ensure Investor Protection