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Intel Could Make Bitcoin Mining Profitable Again

One of the biggest barriers to entry for small-time bitcoin miners is cost. Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC), the largest U.S. semiconductor maker by market value, is looking to change that.

In a recent United States Patent Application, California-based Intel revealed plans for a unique hardware application dedicated to bitcoin mining. Intel originally filed a patent application for what is being deemed a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator in September 2016.

Intel’s bitcoin accelerator hardware would aim to make mining of the digital currency less energy intensive, potentially increasing profitability along the way.

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“As opposed to physical currency systems backed on natural resources (e.g., gold), Bitcoins may be created by using software and hardware systems to solve a series of mathematical algorithms (e.g., Secure Hash Algorithm 256 (SHA-256)),” according to Intel’s patent application.

Bitcoin algorithms require massive processing capabilities, resulting in higher energy costs to miners.

“When the Bitcoin mining algorithms are solved in a way that satisfies certain predefined conditions, a new block is added to the blockchain and a certain number of Bitcoins are awarded to the miner; thereby introducing new Bitcoins into the eco-system,” according to the patent application. “Bitcoin mining algorithms are inherently difficult to solve, and thus require large amounts of processing power. Because of the large amount of power utilized, and the relatively high cost of that power, mining Bitcoins can be a very costly endeavor. In some embodiments, the cost to mine a single Bitcoin may exceed the value of the mined Bitcoin.”

Other Costs

Cryptocurrency miners face other costs, including graphics cards. The graphics cards, usually made by Intel rivals AMD Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) and NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA) were initially made for gamers, but demand for those cards surged as the digital currency universe grew. Demand for those cards has soared so much that they are becoming scarce, leading to skyrocketing costs for gamers and digital currency miners.

While cryptocurrencies are not traditional commodities, such as gold or oil, there are break-even prices associated with mining cryptos. When the price of those commodities fall, producers can opt to scale back production and wait for higher prices. For example, an oil company that breaks even at $40 per barrel, could consider reducing output when prices linger around $45 per barrel.

Today, some bitcoin miners may be facing a similar scenario. At this writing late Sunday night, bitcoin traded just over $6,900, well below its December highs around $20,000. Some market observers believer the break-even price for many bitcoin miners is $8,000, a price the largest digital currency has not touched since late March.

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Bitcoin

Coinbase Will Reward You For Holding Your Crypto

Coinbase is for the first time allowing general users to earn rewards by simply holding cryptocurrency, starting with the Tezos (XTZ) token.

In a company blog Wednesday, Coinbase said U.S. customers (barring residents of Hawaii and New York) can now stake the smart-contract platform’s crypto with an estimated 5 percent annual return.

Tezos uses an alternative consensus mechanism to proof-of-work mining – the system built into the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, bitcoin. Called proof-of-stake, the alternative mechanism rewards network users for holding onto its coins and thereby helping protect the network.

Coinbase’s 5 percent estimate is based on Tezos’ last 90 days of staking returns. The firm also notes that there’s an initial holding period of 35–40 days, after which stakers will start to see rewards appear in their accounts every three days.

The exchange has also added Tezos to Coinbase Earn, a program aimed at educating the public about crypto, and will give out XTZ to participants completing educational videos.

Coinbase soft-launched staking for both Tezos and decentralized finance token Maker (MKR) this March on Coinbase Custody.

As Coinbase wrote at the time, Coinbase Custody primarily serves institutional clients holding large amounts of crypto. This latest initiative brings staking to even the smallest of Tezos holdings, however.

Coinbase also recently rolled out 1.25 percent interest on users’ holdings of the dollar-pegged stablecoin USDC.

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Bitcoin

$19 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) seized in dark web drug probe

The U.S. government has seized $19 million worth of BTC from a drug trafficker, who allegedly laundered funds through the cryptocurrency on the original dark web marketplace known as “Silk Road.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the news on Thursday, saying that the trafficker, Hugh Brian Haney, 60, was arrested near Columbus, Ohio. In 2017 and 2018, Haney allegedly transferred bitcoins representing drug proceeds he had earned through Silk Road to an account held at a company involved in the exchange of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He claimed falsely that the source of these bitcoins was from mining.

Haney is charged with one count of concealment money laundering and one count of engaging in a financial transaction in a criminally derived property. The former count carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, while the latter a maximum term of 10 years.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent-in-charge Angel M. Melendez said:

“HSI special agents employed blockchain analytics to uncover and seize bitcoins valued at $19 million and usher Haney out of the dark web shadows to face justice in the Southern District of New York.”

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Bitcoin

“Cryptocurrency is a great idea” – Ron Paul

During a recent “Squawk Alley” interview, Former Republican congressman and presidential candidate, Ron Paul- discusses how he is in favor of cryptocurrencies as well as block change technology. Apparently, he enjoys competing currencies and believes they are a good idea. 

He also believes that the governments only have the right to step in to prevent fraud from taking place. In the interview, Paul states that, “the government has a role. And if somebody has a case that there is fraud, I think it should be investigated.” Paul then goes on to state that what he wants to do “is legalize the freedom of choice, absent blatant fraud.” Agreeably so, this is exactly the type of perspective that the crypto world needs.

Throughout the interview, Paul compares crypto to gold in many ways. He points out how both assets are competing with traditional fiat money. He discusses how our government has never been “very tolerant of competition, and they’re not even tolerant with using the Constitution to compete with the fiat dollar. Because gold and silver, you can’t use it.” 

This isn’t the first time that Ron Paul has discussed his views on crypto. Back in 2014, the Former Republican Congressman displayed his concerns about the foundation of crypto and Bitcoin. However, he acquired a bearish pro-crypto outlook on the future of fiat money. Paul believes that the dollar won’t last long as “they all self-destruct.” According to Paul, the only competition for the dollar is the euro and yen- which “isn’t any good.”

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