AI is the Way for Chinese ASIC Maker in Case of Government Regulation

Bitcoin Miners

Due to the Chinese government’s recent hard-line stance against crypto, ASIC manufacturer Bitmain announced that they would turn to AI development as an alternate revenue source, Bloomberg reports May 17th.

Chinese regulations have included bans on ICOs, a blanket ban on “exchange-like services” and another ban on foreign crypto exchanges.

Bitmain is known for manufacturing the processing chips and miners used to mine for a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, which include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero. The release of Antminer last March led Monero to upgrade so as to preserve their ASIC-resistant nature.

Jihan Wu, Bitmain co-chief exec, told Bloomberg in an interview that because “artificial intelligence requires lots of computations,” it would be a good fit for the company.

“As a China company, we have to be prepared.”

The executive continues.

Bitmain’s recently launched BM1680 chip, released October of last year, is a more cost-efficient alternative to those made by NVidia and Advanced Micro Devices, albeit less powerful.

Wu – predicting that AI chips would in the future account for 40 percent of the company’s revenue – told Bloomberg that Bitmain is “just trying to do something that they cannot take care of well enough.”

Reports show that four-year-old Bitmain made somewhere between #3 and $4 million last year in operating profits, compared to 27-year-old rival, which made around $3 billion last year.

St. Louis Fed Chief: Bitcoin Not Yet A Threat To The U.S. Dollar

Federal Reserve Bank

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis president James Bullard, spoke about the good aspects of cryptocurrency in a “CNBC” interview at the Consensus 2018 conference in New York.

He stated that crypto is “facilitating trade that would not otherwise occur. Some of that’s illegal, but some of that is avoiding costs that would otherwise be there.”

When asked if Bitcoin is a threat to the U.S. dollar, Bullard said “I don’t think so at this point.” He expressed uncertainty whether Bitcoin could reach that point. “My idea is that there’s a lot of currency competition going on right now.”

He further explained:

“The dollar has been the winner historically because it’s backed by the largest economy and a relatively stable policy in terms of low inflation and that’s going to be tough to beat. But a lot of people here want to beat it.”

Bullard was vocal in his belief in blockchain. “We think blockchain technology is very interesting [..] we want to be very engaged and thoughtful as this proceeds.”

On the question if Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis was considering its own crypto coin, he said, “we can certainly look at that as a possibility. And there are different parts of the Fed that look at all kinds of applications of blockchain technology. But I wouldn’t say there’s any plan at this point.”

Top F1 Team Interested In Blockchain

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing, founded by Frank Williams in 1977, is one of the world’s leading Formula One teams. They have won 16 FIA Formula One World Championships. The 114 victories they scored were witnessed by more than a billion people.

In a recent announcement, the team is exploring the implementation of the blockchain technology to gain competitive advantage. Williams Martini Racing is working with enterprise middleware technology provider Omnitude how to adopt blockchain in its day to day operations.

“Omnitude have agreed a multi-year partnership with Williams Martini Racing, which will see branding on the team’s drivers and senior personnel from the Spanish Grand Prix. The company’s logo will also appear on the team environment over a race weekend and on the car for the Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix,” says the team’s official announcement.

Incidentally, Jetcoin became the main sponsor of Sky Grande Prix during Singapore’s Formula One night race in 2017.

Other automakers — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Renault — are working alongside with their blockchain partners to launch Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) aimed to make transportation safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible.

First Of Its Kind Blockchain-based Registry For Container Shipping

Blockshipping Blockchain Container Shipping

Blockshipping, a Scandinavian company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, developing the Global Shared Container Platform (GSCP) – the world’s first freight container registry and global platform for container handling.

The global container shipping industry despite making up to 60% of the world’s sea trade is awash with problems — overcapacity, low rates, security threats, and ever-increasing environmental regulations. An industry this big is being pulled down by inefficiency and other problems inherent to the trade.

To combat this dilemma, Blockshipping is coming up with Global Shared Container Platform (GSCP), a blockchain-based platform which is the world’s first freight container registry and the first global platform allowing all players in the shipping industry to perform a wide range of transactions related to the handling of containers.

The GSCP platform will enable a savings potential for the global container industry of at least $5.7B per year. It is also aimed to reduce the global CO2 emission by at least 4.6 million tons yearly.

The GSCP ICO, starting on May 14 at 2 pm CET, is the first Nordic shipping-related ICO based on a new Danish framework called “The ICO 2.0 Framework” to ensure the highest standards of security, promote open, transparent and honest communication and to make sure that future Danish ICOs are compliant with Danish law.

Two Australian Blockchain Firms Converts Old Coal Plant Into A Bitcoin Mine

Australia Bitcoin Mining

Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) revealed Australian startup IoT Blockchain and mining hardware distributor Royalti Blockchain Group have partnered to start a $190M Bitcoin mining enterprise in an old coal plant in Australia.

They will be turning Redbank power station into a “Blockchain Applications Complex.” This 2-hectare concern will be powered by the nearby Hunter Energy Power Station.

While the Blockchain Applications Complex seeks to obtain guaranteed cut-price electrical power for its operations for the next decade, the Power Purchase Agreement initially runs for five years with an optional five-year extension, for a total of 20 megawatts of power at a cost of $0.11 AUD per kilowatt hour.

Recycling outdated real estate for Bitcoin mining has been the trend for year, albeit, with some problems.

Similar attempts in New York State were met with problems as the small US city of Plattsburgh in NY has unanimously passed a measure to ban crypto mining in the town. The ban only affected new applications from Bitcoin miners but no the existing ones.

In Quebec, the government said it is “not interested” in providing cheap electricity to Bitcoin miners via state utility Hydro-Quebec.

“There needs to be added value for our society; just having servers to do transaction mining and acquire new bitcoins, I don’t see the added value.”

First Blockchain Investor Voting Pilot held by Banco Santander

Blockchain Investor Voting by Banco Santander

Madrid, Spain based Banco Santander, one of Europe’s biggest banks, announced that they have become the first company to use blockchain technology for investor voting, in a press release May 17th.

The company partnered with US electronic data services specialist Broadridge Financial Solutions to facilitate an investor ballot at its annual general meeting March 23rd.

JP Morgan and Northern Trust also participated, acting as custodian banks, the press release revealed, along with Santander’s dedicated Blockchain Lab.

Luis Antonio Perez, head of corporate services commented that “The blockchain technology has enhanced efficiency and transparency upon the reception and vote tabulation process, which will result in bridging the gap between all in the process.”

This move is the latest example of blockchain’s slow but steady entry into the voting process, with several governments already examining how the technology could make an improvement over standard procedures.

Russia has announced plans to test blockchain voting at the local level, while conversely, Sierra Leone hit headlines after false rumors hit that it had become the first country in the world to use blockchain voting in its nationwide elections last March. Meanwhile, West Virginia used a blockchain powered system to enable early voting for select voters in ther state primaries.

Santander also launched a pioneering project of its own just last month, teaming up with Ripple to offer a blockchain international payment service for customers in certain markets.

Binance Dismisses Rumor of Company Plan to Build Blockchain Country on Private Island

binance island vector

He Yi, Binance co-founder dismissed the claims of a fintech media platform that Binance has started something called the “Genesis Plan.” The plan was allegedly to build Binance’s own blockchain-powered country on a private island, Chinese local media outfit QQ News reports May 16th.

Chinese fintech media outlet Yibencaijing, had cited “insider sources familiar with the matter,” to corroborate its story. According to their sources, Binance had purchased an island and has plans to trial unprecedented blockchain applications in the crypto paradisal kingdom, where cryptocurrencies would be legal tender.

He Yi’s rebuttal of the claims maintain the company’s vision is indeed to “promote the legalization of the blockchain and crypto industries globally,” but that:

“The article [in question] is maliciously tarnishing the image of Binance and causing regulators in the country to have a bad impression of Binance. To create a country? It is absolutely absurd to fabricate such a story.”

The fintech outfit also cited a known Chinese whitepaper that had circulated earlier this year. Entitled “Republic of Blockchains”, it was a project for a sovereign blockchain-driven country at the frontier of the UN, which would liberate mankind from the centralized nation-state machine, dubbed “a cruel jungle law of mutual distrust.”

Binance is considered the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange going by trade volume. Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng had previously claimed assets worth as much as $2 billion. The company has repeatedly denied claims it’s move to Malta was to escape regulatory oversigh, instead stressing the positive outlook of the island’s robust and transparent crypto regulatory climate.

Fintech Strategist Asks Investment Advisors to Get Smart on Crypto

Financial Advisors

In an interview with CNBC May 16th, Lex Sokolin, Global Director of Fintech strategy at Autonomous Research remarked that investment advisors need to familiarize themselves with crypto and its underlying technology, however skeptical they may be.

Sokolin opined that investors will buy Bitcoin (BTC) whether advisors “like it or not,” so both individuals and financial advisors need to adapt to the phenomenon:

“Cryptocurrency is very controversial, but it’s really here to stay, and the underlying [blockchain] technology is really fundamental to the types of companies that people are building right now.”

However, Sokolin also stressed the volatility of the market, noting that it wouldn’t be a smart move to fill your entire portfolio with cryptocurrencies. He instead suggested that investing in crypto “is a good way to add alternatives to your general allocation, something like 3 [percent] to 5 percent of your portfolio.”

The traditional financial sector has historically viewed the crypto industry with some distrust. Major wall street players such as Merrill Lynch have even banned their financial advisors from buying Bitcoin-related investments for their clients. They even banned clients’ access to the Bitcoin futures contracts offered on CME and CBOE.

This skepticism was mirrored by JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s outspoken dismissal of Bitcoin as “a fraud” last year, a statement he soon claimed to regret, later softening his stance to one of avowed indifference. Dimon said he was, “not interested that much in the subject at all.”

Earlier this year, Wall Street has begun softening its stance on crypto. Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has announced it would offer certain contracts with Bitcoin exposure, before rumoredly offering crypto trading.

Recent news that the New York Stock Exchange’s owner may soon offer swap contracts in BTC may suggest that the major custody and security obstacles to mainstream institutional investment in the crypto space are being slowly overcome. Beyond the US, Japan-based global investment bank Nomura also revealed a digital asset custody solution for institutional clients yesterday.

Blockchain has made similar headlines this week, with Amazon Web Services, the tech giant’s cloud computing arm, announcing that they are launching a partnership with a ConsenSys’ blockchain startup to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms to its clients.