Category Archives: Cryptocurrency

Florida State Employee Arrested for Allegedly Mining Crypto at Work

A state employee at Florida’s Department of Citrus (FDoC) has been arrested for allegedly using official computers to mine cryptocurrencies.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has jailed Matthew McDermott, IT manager for the state government agency that oversees Florida’s citrus industry. He is reportedly being held pending trial, with bail set at $5,000.

Cryptocurrency Mining Farm (Image: M. Krohn/Wikimedia)
Cryptocurrency Mining Farm (Image: M. Krohn/Wikimedia)

The FDLE alleges that McDermott used computers in the department to mine cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and litecoin, and has charged him with grand theft and official misconduct, according to the report.

An investigation further indicated that the utility bill of the department had surged by over 40 percent from October 2017 to January 2018, as cryptocurrency mining requires significant amounts of electricity due to its high processing demands.

Read more: CoinDesk

Cryptocurrency Mining at Home Heats Up With Eco-Friendly Miner

Proof of Work (PoW) mining operations, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, use a tremendous amount of energy and generate a tremendous amount of waste heat.

Qarnot is one of a number of growing companies that has found a way to turn that waste heat into controlled heating for the home or office.

The new Qarnot QC-1 “crypto heater” takes advantage of an obvious synergy: It makes use of the waste heat generated by mining crypto in the guise of an attractive space heater.

Qarnot Crypto Mining Heater (Image: Qarnot)
Qarnot Crypto Mining Heater (Image: Qarnot)

Spec wise, the QC-1 contains two GPUs: NITRO+ RADEON RX 580 8G 60 MH/s at 650W. Local electrical costs and climate are key determining factors with regard to recouping costs and making a profit; for example, if you are in a cold northern environment with cheap electricity like Quebec, then your costs to run it should be low enough (about $0.03 KWh USD) that the mining revenue should pay for the device in a few years.

The device mines Ethereum by default but can be configured to mine various other PoW-based cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin. A mobile app is available to monitor your account and configure the unit. The lack of fans or hard drives leads Qarnot to claim the system is “perfectly noiseless.”

Read more: BitcoinMagazine

Bank Of America: Our ‘Inability To Adapt’ Could See A Failure To Compete With Crypto

Bank of America (BoA) has admitted to US regulators it may be “unable” to compete with the growing use of cryptocurrency.

In its annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week, filed Feb. 22, the major US bank for the first time highlights cryptocurrency as an area that may cause it “substantial expenditure” as it tries to remain competitive.

“Our inability to adapt our products and services to evolving industry standards and consumer preferences could harm our business,” BoA states in the filing.

As banks worldwide eye the cryptocurrency phenomenon, direct interaction remains low. The lack of uptake formed a central reason why the European Central Bank confirmed it had opted for a hands-off approach to legislating the area earlier this month.

Open bank vault (Image: ahobbit/Pixabay)
Open bank vault (Image: ahobbit/Pixabay)

While BoA has sought to innovate in the sphere, receiving a patent for its proposed cryptocurrency exchange system in December 2017, it has come in for criticism more recently after blocking its clients from credit card purchases of cryptocurrency.

Read more: CoinTelegraph

Bitcoin Mining Costs More Electricity Than Houses, But it’s a Non-Issue

Analysts are concerned that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining centers are spending too much electricity, and that the process of verifying cryptocurrency transactions could worsen the global environment.

Justification of mining in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

In December 2017, several analysts criticized the electricity consumption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining centers, calling the mining process an “environmental disaster.” Earlier Cointelegraph reported that cryptocurrency mining will likely exceed electricity consumption of households in 2018.

Cryptocurrency Mining Farm (Image: M. Krohn/Wikimedia)
Cryptocurrency Mining Farm (Image: M. Krohn/Wikimedia)

Smari McCarthy of Iceland’s Pirate Party stated that excessive consumption for Bitcoin mining is not practical because the main use case of Bitcoin is for “financial speculation.”

“We are spending tens or maybe hundreds of megawatts on producing something that has no tangible existence and no real use for humans outside the realm of financial speculation. That can’t be good.”

If environmentalists and analysts perceive the main use case of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to be financial speculation, the consumption of a massive amount of electricity could be considered impractical. However, the main application of Bitcoin is not financial speculation. In countries wherein the underbanked struggle to gain access to financial services, Bitcoin operates as an efficient currency.

In Venezuela, for instance, local residents are using Bitcoin to order food, basic goods and medicine from outside of the country because the Venezuelan bolivar, the country’s national currency, has lost almost all of its value, and has become virtually worthless.

Read more: CoinTelegraph

Banks in Britain and U.S. ban Bitcoin buying with credit cards

(Reuters) – Banks in Britain and the United States have banned the use of credit cards to buy Bitcoin and other “cryptocurrencies”, fearing a plunge in their value will leave customers unable to repay their debts.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY.L), Britain’s biggest lender, said on Sunday it would ban its credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies, following the lead of U.S. banking giants JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Citigroup (C.N).

Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)
Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)

The move is aimed at protecting customers from running up huge debts from buying virtual currencies on credit, if their values were to plummet, a Lloyds spokeswoman said.

Concerns have arisen among credit card providers because their customers have increasingly been using credit cards to fund accounts on online exchanges, which are then used to purchase the digital currencies.

However, other banks said on Monday they will continue to allow credit card customers to buy cryptocurrencies.

“We constantly review our protections for customers as a responsible bank and lender, and are keeping this matter under close review,” a spokeswoman for Barclays said.

“At present UK customers can use both their Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card to purchase cryptocurrency legitimately,” she said.

Read more: Reuters

Cryptocurrency Mining course

Following on the heels of January’s very sociable Milton Keynes Cryptocurrency Meetup, those who attended were invited to a Cryptocurrency Mining Course last weekend in Witney.

System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Course (Image: BIUK)
System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Course (Image: BIUK)

It was kindly put on, for free, by Kevin Ackland, owner of Systems & Solutions. He and Richard Owen, IT Manager, gave a broad and very interesting presentation covering cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in general, and mining on PC hardware in particular.

System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)
System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)

This was followed by a wide ranging discussion on cryptocurrency and mining. I found this particularly interesting as I am new to mining, having just dabbled in a little GPU and CPU mining. Some of the attendees have extensive experience so I learned a lot.

System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)
System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)

We then had a look at a mining rig in operation, including going through the processes of starting it up and operating it. This included monitoring the operation, and power usage, via smartphone apps. I was surprised, and impressed, at how quiet it ran (having seen YouTube videos of very noise dedicated Bitcoin miners).

System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)
System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)

My thanks go to Kevin and Richard for putting on the course and for being such good hosts. If you’re considering getting a mining rig, and you’d like one made to your specification, do consider Systems & Solutions.

Crypto Fear-Mongering at Davos

While cryptocurrencies have been a talking point at previous World Economic Forum conferences, they have come to the fore in Davos this year.

Following a breakout year which saw Bitcoin rise to an almighty high of $20,000, alongside the massive growth of other altcoins, it’s hardly surprising that one of the major talking points at WEF would be the future of cryptocurrency.

With financial industry leaders coming together at the most important annual event on the economic calendar, media outlets took their chance to ask the top minds for their two cents worth on the current and future prospects of virtual currencies.

Bitcoin (Image: MichaelWuensch/Pixabay)
Bitcoin (Image: MichaelWuensch/Pixabay)

Cointelegraph is currently attending the summit in Davos and has reported continual resistant perceptions towards cryptocurrencies.

These views stem from a lack of a regulatory framework for virtual currencies which has made some of the world’s prominent banking and financial institutions hesitant about investing and supporting cryptocurrencies.

UBS Chairman Axel Weber said as much in an interview with Bloomberg, saying his firm would not recommend cryptocurrency adoption or investment to its clients until there is clarity on future regulatory action.

As per usual, the vibrant and feisty cryptocurrency community has been watching developments at Davos keenly, and there has been plenty of backlash in response to any FUD or untoward comments about cryptocurrencies.

Read more: CoinTelegraph

Mastering [alt]coins: The Poor Man’s Guide to Getting Crypto Rich

So you missed out on the crypto boom?

You had dreams of telling your boss where to shove it while you drove off in your shiny new pink Cadillac looking for the meaning of life but it didn’t happen.

Maybe you sat on the sidelines waiting for a good price that never came? These prices are crazy, you thought, they’ve got to come back down! Who would pay $10,000 for a single Bitcoin? It was only $1,000 a month ago. And so the prices kept blowing past you.

Or maybe you made all the mistakes in the Cryptocurrency Trading Bible parts one and two? You over traded, chased rallies too late, FOMOed, sold out too fast and in general did a lot worse than the market because you didn’t learn your lessons. The price to becoming a good trader is really, really high. Most people never make it. To get great at trading you have to lose a bunch of money fast and fail to outperform the market before turning it around.

If you’re lucky, you learn those lessons and wind up a savvy trader who trades well whether the market is up or down.

But the odds are against you. Human nature is against you. Emotions are against you. Everything is against you.

And yet there is hope.

Cryptocurrency Art Gallery: Litecoin, Ether, Ripple, Bitcoin and Namecoin (Image: Namecoin/Flickr)
Cryptocurrency Art Gallery: Litecoin, Ether, Ripple, Bitcoin and Namecoin (Image: Namecoin/Flickr)

You didn’t miss the boat. Well not totally. You can still swim out to it if you paddle real hard.

It’s not over. A mere 1% of people own crypto. Crypto can solve dozens of previously intractable problems, like digital identities, supply chain integrity, data breaches and many, many more.

But it’s going to take awhile. The crypto superhighway is still under construction. They’re paving the roads and pouring the cement. Nobody is living in the McMansions yet.

But…but…but bubble. Tulips. It’s all going to crash isn’t it?

Yeah. So what?

Let me let you in on a little secret. Ready?

Read more: HackerNoon

Will the bitcoin bubble burst?

A pillar analysis of the market shows a promising future for cryptocurrency, despite the naysayers.

One of the biggest hurdles bitcoin has faced throughout 2017 has been poor journalism around the cryptocurrency, along with uneducated opinions from many so-called “experts” within the financial industry.

Jamie Dimon famously labelled the currency a “fraud” suitable for murders and drug dealers, while the chief economic advisor of Allianz said in September it should be worth half of what it was trading at back in September when it was edging US$5,000. I wrote about this in my last article when the price fell back to US$3,600.

Peter Switzer, a prominent and well respected financial commentator, was asked for his thoughts on the cryptocurrency around the same time in September. However in a more honest approach he advised he had chosen not to invest stating “I subscribe to the view that I don’t invest in things that I don’t understand”, further quoting Charlie Aitken’s reference to bitcoin being a “bubble”.

Bitcoin price chart (Image: geralt/Pixabay)
Bitcoin price chart (Image: geralt/Pixabay)

The real negligence here has come into play, as there have been few signs that many of the most prominent financial commentators actually understand the cryptocurrency. Myopia has hit many individuals we have historically trusted to understand financial markets.

Despite the numerous comparisons, the cryptocurrency boom displays very few characteristics to Tulip Mania outside of a huge price spike. Many more similarities are found in comparison to the oil rush in the 1850’s, which was actually the largest wealth transfer of this magnitude prior to the evolution of cryptocurrency. Those involved in it simply understood that the world was moving away from the horse and cart, and into a realm where oil would become an essential pillar of the economy. In the same way, currencies are changing and they are about to have a profound impact on everyday life.

It’s time those around the financial industry, especially those giving financial advice and opinion, actually understood the currency, and what its technology really means for the future of currencies.

Read more: Finder

A Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocoin Mining

Is it worth your time to mine for cryptocoins?

Mining cryptocoins is an arms race that rewards early adopters. You might have heard of Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency that was released in early 2009. Similar digital currencies have crept into the worldwide market since then, including a spin-off from Bitcoin called Bitcoin Cash. You can get in on the cryptocurrency rush if you take the time to learn the basics properly.

Which Alt-Coins Should Be Mined?

If you had started mining Bitcoins back in 2009, you could have earned thousands of dollars by now.

At the same time, there are plenty of ways you could have lost money, too. Bitcoins are not a good choice for beginning miners who work on a small scale. The current up-front investment and maintenance costs, not to mention the sheer mathematical difficulty of the process, just doesn’t make it profitable for consumer-level hardware. Now, Bitcoin mining is reserved for large-scale operations only.

Bitcoin mining (Image: Pixabay)
Bitcoin mining (Image: Pixabay)

Litecoins, Dogecoins, and Feathercoins, on the other hand, are three Scrypt-based cryptocurrencies that are the best cost-benefit for beginners. At the current value of Litecoin, a person might earn anywhere from 50 cents to 10 dollars per day using consumer level mining hardware.

Dogecoins and Feathercoins would yield slightly less profit with the same mining hardware but are becoming more popular daily. Peercoins, too, can also be a reasonably decent return on your investment of time and energy.

As more people join the cryptocoin rush, your choice could get more difficult to mine because more expensive hardware will be required to to discover coins. You will be forced to either invest heavily if you want to stay mining that coin, or you will want to take your earnings and switch to an easier cryptocoin.

Read more: Lifewire