Here’s another roundup of the news that has happened over the past few days. March is already bringing many interesting developments - but I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, it’s the crypto space after all, where things happen in a flash.
Negative things have been happening in the past few weeks - controversies surrounding a certain decentralized content platform and downtimes on Binance being the two major things. Of course, there has been good news as well, such as the Indian Supreme Court allowing cryptocurrencies to be traded again in the country.
Still, I thought it would be good to focus on mostly positive news stories today.
1. A New York Power Plant Begins Mining Bitcoin - at $50k A Day
Bitcoin's hash rate in log scale. Source.
Let’s start with some interesting news that has come out of the blue.
Bloomberg reports that a power plant, managed by Atlas Holdings, near New York’s Finger Lakes area has established a Bitcoin mining operation that is expected to generate a whopping $50,000 worth of Bitcoin everyday.
Usually, that’d be a very expensive operation - but the power plant will apparently use “behind-the-meter” power, which is what makes it so inexpensive and functional at such a scale.
Atlas has already installed about 7,000 mining rigs in the Greenidge Generation power plant, which mines about 5.5 bitcoins daily. The Chief Financial Officer of Greenidge Generation told Bloomberg that even with the mining rewards halved with the upcoming halving, they are able to be in a “favourable market position.” The report also states that it is essentially the cost of production that is involved, which is offset by power related services.
The days are gone where an individual could feasibly mine Bitcoin, but at the very least we are seeing more players get into mining. Make what you will of the fact that there is this one entity hoarding Bitcoin. Us hodlers and long-term believers that things will still be to the benefit of the people in the long run.
2. South Korea Passes New Regulation to Combat Money Laundering
This is some pretty good news that is seeing some mild misinterpretations (in my opinion) in crypto media outlets. South Korea has passed a new bill related to cryptocurrencies that mandates virtual asset service providers, including exchanges, would have to partner with Korean banks to ensure real-name accounts.
The law was passed unanimously by the South Korean National Assembly, and was done in order to prevent money laundering, in accordance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATFs) AML rules.
Some crypto outlets took this to mean that crypto had been legalized in South Korea. True, it has been given extra legitimacy by authorities, but it is not like it was illegal before. Cryptocurrency was already quite popular in South Korea and authorities, to their credit, had been working on friendly regulation that ensured innovation, entrepreneurship and consumer protection before. This law is just another step.
For example, a two-phase tax law had been passed earlier - which lends just as much legitimacy to crypto as this AML law. What the headline and takeaway really should be is how officials are approaching digital assets with logic and fairness.
Right now, there are only 4 exchanges that follow this real-name account rule. The law will come into effect in March 2021, and other exchanges will have six months from them to implement changes to their verification process. Failure to do so will result in a fine of 50 million Won or 5 years in prison.
Kudos to South Korea for actually trying to find a middle ground and take cryptocurrencies seriously. They are certainly more open minded than other nations.
3. Chainalysis says Only 1% of 1 Trillion in Crypto was Illicit
Chainalysis' report show the total illicit transactions that have occurred since 2017. Source.
Now here’s more evidence that cryptocurrencies’ use for illegal activity is exaggeration and/or unfounded.
Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis in a report released on March 5, revealed that, after examining cryptocurrency transactions in 2019, they had discovered that only 1% of $1 trillion worth of transactions were illicit. They also noticed that the number of illegal transactions seemed to be decreasing.
The report also spoke of how measures taken by exchanges, including cooperation, had reduced theft and improved the overall security for investors.
Cryptocurrency naysayers often point to the funding of illegal activities as one of their arguments against crypto - never mentioning that cash still remains the number 1 way in which illegal activity is funded. Furthermore, we know it is not true that cryptocurrencies cannot be traced and many software companies are working on offering traceability solutions.
Of course, privacy coins exist, but at the current moment, it’s hard to say if it’s going to make any bigger of an impact than cash in this regard.
Chainalysis releases reports and insights on the blockchain space regularly, and they are all well worth reading.
4. Dapper Labs, CryptoKitties’ Developers, Launches Flow for Developers
Now you’ve probably heard of Dapper Labs. They’re the company behind the incredibly popular blockchain game CryptoKitties, which had people trading virtual kittens, some of which reached an incredibly high value - and showcased the commercial potential of cryptocurrencies.
I recently covered the fact that Dapper Labs was working with UFC to release digital collectibles related to the latter. It gained a lot of attention, and rightly so, as UFC is highly popular and the partnership is a real opportunity for Dapper Labs.
Along with the UFC partnership, we got to know more about Dapper Labs Flow Playground, which is a separate platform upon which developers can build their own applications. It uses the company’s own blockchain, called Flow, as opposed to Ethereum, which was what CryptoKitties was launched on.
A new language called Cadence was created for Flow, making it easier for developers to create and launch tokenized assets, as well as in designing smart contracts.
The amount of traction it has picked up in such a short span of time is incredible, as in addition to UFC, Warner Music has also said that it would work with Dapper Labs to launch tokenized assets.
I see a lot of potential in this platform. If it does make it easy for developers and companies to launch digital assets of their franchises on the platforms, there’s a lot to be gained here. We know how popular trading cards and collectibles are in the real world.
Indeed, sports too is a great opportunity for blockchain growth and many teams have taken initiatives to look into the technology for it.
5. Microsoft Backs Enterprise Protocol Being Developed by ConsenSys and EY
Enterprise solutions and involvement is picking up in the blockchain - and this will be a huge boost to adoption.
ConsenSys and big four firm EY have announced that tehey are working on a new enterprise-focused protocol called Baseline, that will help enterprises connect with Decentralized Finance (DeFi) services - without having to publicize sensitive company information.
The protocol has received support from 12 organizations, including Microsoft, AMD, MakerDAO and Chainlink. It will focus on the “compartmentalization of information” to help sync information while protecting private information.
Apparently, the vast majority of the work has already been finished, with it now transitioning to a state where Microsoft will become more involved and the other organizations supporting it. I single out Microsoft because their involvement in the blockchain space has been something to behold, consistently growing and in different areas too.
DeFi is already widely considered to be a cornerstone of the crypto market and is growing at an incredible rate and seeing much support.
6. Brave Growing Fast as Ever, Hits 12.2M Monthly Users and 4M Daily Users
We’ll end with a story about a token and project that is almost universally appreciated: Brave.
Brave CEO Brendan Eich on Twitter showcased some impressive stats through the Brave Transparency feed, which provides tons of data related to the Brave Browser and the associated Basic Attention Token (BAT).
Brave has been doing exceptionally well over the past year, growing its user base incredibly, receiving rave reviews and releasing a slew of new features. And none of this is slowing down. The tweet also mentions that Brave has gone up to 12.2 million monthly active users and 4 million daily active users.
For more data on BAT, check out Batgrowth.com.
Just another milestone for the Brave Browser in its quest to revolutionize the browsing, content creation and digital advertising experience.
That’s all for today, folks. More to follow next week, obviously, as the crypto space never sleeps.