vietnam bans

Vietnam Bans the Import of Miners

The State Bank of Vietnam announced that the government banned the import of cryptocurrency mining machinery. These mostly include the ASIC mining rigs. In parallel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) has lowered its annual profit expectation for the next year.

Vietnam bans crypto mining hardware import for an indefinite time. The decision was announced on July 19, 2018 by the State Bank of Vietnam. Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested the ban. The crypto sector in Vietnam has imported 15600 units of hardware between January 2017 and April 2018. Most of these imports were in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. The Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung previously wanted the related ministries to research the cryptocurrency and their regulation. Thus, the temporary ban is a part of the regulation of cryptocurrency in Vietnam.

Ministry of Finance in Vietnam has stated that this temporary ban is to protect the people of Vietnam from fraud. Probably, they will research the processes better and release the ban in the short term. The reason why the government took such a measure is to have a better control over what is happening. Thus, it may be considered good for the future of crypto mining in Vietnam.

In another news, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has announced that it has lowered annual profit expectations. In fact, TSMC is the biggest hardware producing company. Therefore, the fact that they lowered their expectations for the next year was a little surprising. The hardware builder decreased the expectations from two-digit percentages to “high single-digit percentages” in their latest report. Hence, their revenue projections for the next year dropped from $ 11 billion to $ 10 billion.

We will see how these news will affect the crypto mining industry over the next weeks. We hope to see Vietnam removes the ban they applied on crypto mining hardware in the short term.

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Bitmain raised

Bitmain Raised 300 Million in Investing Round

Bitmain raised $300 to $400 million in a Series B funding. The Chinese crypto mining manufacturer was valued at $12 billion after the investment.

The Chinese company Bitmain raised $300 million from Sequoia Capital’s China subsidiary Sequoia China. US hedge fund Coatue and Singapore based EDBI were also involved in the investment round. The Series B investment round was reasonably higher than the Series A round which was held in September. In Series A round, the company has raised $50 million approximately.

Bitmain

Bitmain is a privately held company from China. They produce crypto mining hardware such as ASIC chips and motherboards that are specially developed for mining. According to financial analysts, the Chinese company has made $4 billion in profits in 2017. Also, the company holds 70-80 percent of the market for mining hardware. Additionally, Bitmain is the owner of AntPool and BTC.com. These websites have the 35 percent of the Bitcoin hashrate in total.

This round of investing was a bit large so that it brought a pre-IPO investing round to minds. Company’s CEO, Jihan Wu, has told Bloomberg that he has plans for an IPO in the future. Also, he stated that the company is worth nearly $12 billion. If Bitmain goes for an IPO, they will be rivals with Ebang Communication and Canaan Creative. These companies are also producing mining hardware and they have already gone public.

With the IPO, the company will be opening its ledgers to the public. Then, their net worth and profits will be more clear. We will see how the CEO of the company will move in the next months. Also, company’s potential listing on a stock market will be essential for the cryptocurrency world. The more transparency in the business, the more secure the transactions and mining. We hope to see what is best for the cryptocurrency world.

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malicious crypto miners

Kaspersky’s malicious crypto miners report

Kaspersky Lab warned users about the increase of ransomware and malicious crypto miners in the last two years. The company released a report about the numbers in 2017 and 2018. They also warned mobile users to be more careful while downloading applications.

Kaspersky Lab, an anti-virus company, has released a press release to inform users about new data. In its report, Kaspersky has shared several different data from the ransomware attacks on malicious crypto miners. Ransomware is defined as a virus program that wants ransom to disinfect the PC. In other words, when a PC is infected with ransomware, you should pay some amount of money or do other things to remove the virus. Some crypto miner programs are found to be ransomware. So, they are mining cryptocurrency until you pay the ransom. That process harms the computer a lot as it put too much pressure on the processor and other parts. Also, according to the report, ransomware viruses are decreasing, while malicious crypto software is increasing in 2018.

What are the indicators?

Some of the findings of Kaspersky Lab is as follows. The numbers are the result of a comparison between 2016-2017 and 2017-2018:

1- The total number of ransomware fell by almost 30% in 2017-2018
2- The number of mobile ransomware fell by 22.5% in 2017-2018
3- The total number of miners rose by 44.5% in 2017-2018
4- The total number of mobile miners increased by 9.5% in 2017-2018

In light of that information, Kaspersky Lab warns mobile users to be more careful about their downloads and use a mobile anti-virus where possible. We previously reported that Malwarebytes also warned about malicious crypto miners. Both mobile and desktop users should be aware of the threats and monitor their systems properly to reduce the cyber attacks and their harms. Also, we advise users watch for press releases like that from antivirus companies to have more idea about the upcoming threats.

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apple bans crypto

Apple bans crypto mining apps on iOS devices

Apple has posted a new guideline for developers that includes new statements about iOS applications. In the statement, it can be clearly seen that the company is banning cryptocurrency mining applications. Yet, Apple is targeting the apps that run mining processes in the background with this guideline.

Apple issued a new statement for developers to change some guidelines for them. They are targeting the applications that run mining processes in the background. Some applications did this through ads while running mining in the background of the ad. In 2014, the company has already banned a blockchain app that was mining Bitcoin. Yet, with the new statement, Apple bans crypto mining apps that use too much resource of the mobile device.

Crypto mining processes require too much energy even on the computers, regardless of how powerful the rig is. However, the sector was going a safer and a more energy-friendly road. With this ban, Apple also targeted the future apps that can have optimized processes for mining.

On the other hand, ads that run mining processes in the background was harming the mobile devices. Even YouTube was found to have these kinds of ads, and Google issued a ban on ads like these as well. The problem with these kinds of apps is that they put a lot of stress on the mobile device’s resources. They make the device heat too much or drain the battery rapidly. Measures like Apple’s forces developers to come up with new ideas to produce better applications.

We will see how the cryptocurrency developers respond to this situation. In fact, this ban would clean out some malevolent apps from the store. This is a good thing for the other developers that do not spam the users for their own good.

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solar powered crypto mining

Solar Powered Crypto Mining

A solar powered crypto mining company that is acquired by Solar Alliance Energy will use solar energy to mine. William Shatner (Captain Kirk from Star Trek) is the spokesperson for the venture.

A company, Solar Alliance Energy, acquired a new warehouse in Murphysboro to start operations of crypto mining. They will use solar energy to power up the mining warehouse and the mining rigs. William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the previous installments of Star Trek, is part of the campaign for the solar energy based crypto mining. Solar Alliance previously signed a memorandum with a solar panel manufacturer to produce solar powered crypto mining machines and setups.

William Shatner played Captain Kirk in Star Trek series. Shatner is famous for his part back in the 90s. He was the advocate for the solar energy based crypto and he said in a tweet that he is impressed by how the company is adopting solar power for such a purpose. He also stated he is proud to be a part of the group that is taking part in digital currency revolution. “The combination of solar and cryptocurrency mining facilities represents meaningful change,” Shatner stated.

How it will work?

The Solar Alliance Company is aiming to earn revenue through leasing space to mining tenants. After that, they are planning to produce their own solar powered mining rigs and equipment to sell. Moreover, the company gets support from the Murphysboro mayor. The mayor said it was a wonderful opportunity for the city to have such a facility.

Cryptocurrencies use up too much energy, and companies try to reduce the need for power. Especially, the mining process needs a lot of electricity. We will see how the solar energy will affect the mining efficiency and power consumption. It will definitely be an improvement for the environment. Also, faces like William Shatner are the driving force of the industry for publicity.

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Semiconductor manufacturing

Semiconductor manufacturing and crypto mining

Cryptocurrency mining and semiconductor manufacturing are closely related as there is a need for better computing power using less energy. Big semiconductor companies are entering the sector. As the competition grows, it is expected that the prices will go down and chips will be using less electricity.

Nearly all cryptocurrencies must be mined and maintained with high-cost mining rigs. As the mining processes go on, the cost of mining a single coin increases. Thus, miners seek out to find new ways to reduce costs related to the mining process. Semiconductor manufacturing companies are competing to produce more powerful machines with reduced power usage to address this problem. Nowadays, a mining rig cost around $3,000 and $10,000. And, the cost of mining one coin could be as high as $3,000. So, semiconductor companies are focusing on more profitable mining rigs.

The race for producing the best mining semiconductor is called “ASIC Arms Race”. In 2017’s graphics card shortage, NVIDIA and AMD were caught offhand as their supplies were not enough for the high demand. Now, there are several mining rig retailers and producers, and the competition gets hotter every day. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is being rivaled by Samsung lately. The entry of a big player such as Samsung will make competition harder. Even though Samsung would be more focused on its mobile phone branch, this move is a good one for the sector. Also, Intel announced that they are producing 10 nm chips. These chips are going to be used in mining computers. However, Intel also stated they are postponing the release of 10 nm chips until 2019.

Although there were good ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) in the past, they were producing low amounts of coin and they were expensive. However, with the big players coming into play, and semiconductors produced at manufacturing plants, we can see reduced prices and higher performances.

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malware attack

New malware attack hits Macs

Malwarebytes, Inc. has recently announced that a malware attack hit Apple’s Mac computers. The malware takes over some of the computers’ CPU to use it as a resource to mine Monero coins. But the good news is the malware can easily be cleaned out of the system.

Researchers at Malwarebytes, Inc., an anti-virus software company, have found out that a malware program running on some Macs mine Monero without the users noticing. The problem arose when some users reported computers’ fans whirring out. The software responsible for the mining process is called mshelper. The software responsible for the malware attack took over a huge part of computers’ CPU to mine Monero. Malwarebytes stated that the software consists of three components: the dropper, the launcher, and the miner.

The dropper part was responsible for installing the malware on the computer. It can be anything scaling from fake Adobe Flash Player installers to malicious ads. (IT BASICALLY STARTS THE PROCESS). The launcher (it was called pplauncher) was responsible for initiating the mining process. It was rather a large file with a size of 3.5 Mb. Finally, the miner was doing the mining job. It basically ran some complex functions to mine Monero on user’s Mac. The miner used an older copy of the legal miner program XMRig to mine the coins. In other words, the malware program mshelper is based on XMRig’s older version.

Malwarebytes released an update to their anti-malware software to remove the virus. Also, they added that if the user’s computer does not have problems with fans, the malware would not cause big problems. Yet, we should all be aware of malware attacks using crypto mining. Malwarebytes also notices users be aware of the rise of malware crypto miners. Frequent system checks and keeping anti-virus software updated is crucial for keeping clean.

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crypto mining consumes

Crypto mining consumes a lot of energy

A recent research suggested that crypto mining consumes a lot of electricity. The research also expects that the crypto mining processes will consume up to half of the world’s electricity. Yet, there are doubts that the research had some ambiguous assumptions and insufficient evidence for that claim.

A research paper, published last week on science magazine Joule have stated that the crypto mining consumes 2.55 gigawatts of electricity currently. The author Alex de Vries also estimates the number to be 7.67 gigawatts in the future. This makes crypto mining’s power needs to be comparable to some European countries such as Ireland or Austria. The author also says that mining process uses power as high as a household’s daily consumption in order to mine a single coin.

Crypto mining requires such a huge amount of energy because it needs computers to track the coin transactions along the blockchain, a publicly controlled virtual ledger book that makes cryptocurrency viable. By the use of blockchain, the system prevents duplicate transactions by the use of a process called “proof-of-work”. However, this “proof-of-work” process needs a lot of computers because of the power needs. As of today, reward per block for Ethereum is around 3 ETH. This makes around 5600 blocks per day. In other words, just for Ethereum, miners can make 0.053 USD/Day for 1 MHash/s. Thus, the miners invest more in their hardware so that they can earn faster. This makes the power consumption go off the roof.

However, for some other analysts, the situation is not that bad. For example, Marc Bevand said that de Vries’ model is based on the assumption of miners would sell the coins without any profit, which does not reflect the real situation. Also, de Vries assumes all mining rigs produced by Bitmain is used for Bitcoin mining; yet, this is not the case either. Since most of the mining rigs are used for altcoins other than Bitcoin. Thus, there are some controversial points in de Vries’ assumptions for the future of the crypto mining.

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NVIDIA made profit

NVIDIA made profit from cryptocurrency in Q1

Nvidia, world’s largest graphics card manufacturer, announced they made a profit from cryptocurrency businesses. The company had $289 million revenue from cryptocurrency based sales, increasing last year’s revenues by 10%. However, they stated that they expect a decrease in the cryptocurrency sales in the following quarter.

On Thursday, Nvidia released its public financial reports. In the reports, the company has given information about their financial performance in the first quarter. The company increased its overall profits and sales when compared to last year’s data. When we look at the cryptocurrency stats, we see that Nvidia made a profit from cryptocurrency-related sales. The sales for cryptocurrency equipment is around $289 million. This is equivalent to 9% of all revenues of the company. Although the finances look good in the first quarter, Nvidia expects a decrease about 60% in cryptocurrency-related sales. This expectation stems from Bitmain rivalry and the fact that crypto miners are digressing to Bitmain’s cryptocurrency-focused hardware.

What is the reason?

At the end of 2017, the graphics card shortages was a big problem for the cryptocurrency community. Since there were not enough graphics cards, the prices went up dramatically. That boom in the sales of cards seems to have affected the finances of companies in a positive way. Although Nvidia made more profit in cryptocurrency related hardware than AMD, the company was surpassed by Bitmain. And, this competition is the primary reason why Nvidia expects a decline in sales.

Also, there are some controversial issues about whether a consumer uses the graphics card for gaming only or mining. The companies have tried to implement ways to detect the differences. However, the users who use the cards for both purposes made things complicated. That is another reason why Nvidia and AMD are reporting low amounts of cryptocurrency related sales compared to Bitmain. Nonetheless, the reality could be different than expectations. In Q1, Nvidia expected a $200 million sale on cryptocurrency business, however, they surpassed this target. The company hopes to surpass the expectations in the second quarter as well.

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new crypto mining chip

Intel is working on a new crypto mining hardware

Intel is reportedly working on a new crypto mining chip designed especially for cryptocurrency mining processes. The company has filed a new patent application for the new system. New hardware is expected to provide faster mining and lower energy consumption. This new hardware could change the future of cryptocurrency mining.

Technology giant, Intel, is working on a new hardware for cryptocurrency sector. The company has made a patent application for a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) for mining operations. This SoC will couple low-power processing with hardware accelerators designed specifically for mining. The fact that commercial GPUs by Nvidia or AMD are not designed for crypto mining makes them inefficient in mining processes. Hence, Intel will try to overcome this issue with their new crypto mining chip. Since crypto mining’s biggest problem is energy consumption, this new crypto mining chip will try to address that problem. Intel’s new chip will be more energy-friendly than its other processing units. Also, the new chip’s hardware specifications will be designed solely for crypto mining.

Intel’s SoC will contain a processor farm, an integrated circuit and a logic device to handle the mining algorithms. It works by reducing the search space required to determine the next hash header (a.k.a. nonce) required to solve the algorithm. If the system cannot find the solution, then Intel’s chip alters the Merkle tree or order of unprocessed transactions. Additionally, the chip starts off with another hash header search.

Moreover, Intel’s new chip is expected to have a fair price compared to the GPUs or other processing units. This expectation is due to the fact that the new chip is designed specifically for mining. It will have no other area of expertise, in other words. It is also expected that the prices of GPUs will go down with the release of such a new device.

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