Chainalysis, the company that works to track crypto transactions, has completed their second fundraising round. Led by venture capital firm Accel, a total of $30 million was raised. Chainalysis Doubling Down in London One of the first moves they will make with the cash injection is to double their employees in London. Accel’s London-based Phillippe Botteri gains a board seat at Chainalysis as a result. The city is optimal for its proximity to top universities that increasingly recognize cryptocurrency as a technology poised to reshape the way people exchange value across the world. The office will position us to work
In what is bound to be pleasing to the ears of U.S. President Donald Trump, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has sided with the hardline stance that the leader of the world’s largest economy has taken amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Speaking with CNBC, Sawiris agreed with Trump’s well-known sentiment that China has been taking advantage of the United States and other countries. “President Trump is right about that: This has been a long time where we closed eyes on China raping us.” Sawiris has expressed his fondness for Trump in previous interviews. Sawiris Sides with Trump on Trade War,
On February 12, Ernst and Young (EY), the monitor of the QuadrigaCX case, released its first report with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. In it, EY stated that the exchange “inadvertently” moved $370,800 in Bitcoin to a cold wallet controlled by CEO Gerald Cotten, who passed away. The report of the monitor read: “On February 6, 2019, Quadriga inadvertently transferred 103 bitcoins valued at approximately CAD $468,675 to Quadriga cold wallets which the Company is currently unable to access.” “The Monitor is working with Management to retrieve this cryptocurrency from the various cold wallets, if possible.” Throughout the past
Over the last few years, certain cryptocurrency networks have tried to block ASIC mining with many fruitless attempts to forge ASIC-resistant protocols. Multiple cryptocurrency developers have attempted to brick ASIC miners, but with scant success. A perfect example is the privacy-centric digital currency Monero, a project that has tried to fork the software multiple times in order to gain ASIC resistance. Monero developers have once again failed in that respect as a recent analysis shows more than 85 percent of the Monero network is currently dominated by ASICs.
In April last year, XMR developers forked the Monero software in order to block companies like Bitmain and Innosilicon from developing XMR-based ASIC miners. The end result was the birth of three other Monero forks with each project claiming to be the original version. Monero also forked again in October last year with another attempt to implement “Cryptonight variant 2” which was supposedly less ASIC friendly. A few months later on Feb. 7, a researcher published an analysis of the XMR network which detailed once again the protocol’s hashrate was dominated by ASIC machines.
The analysis was written by a pseudonymous critic who used nonce forensics to figure out whether or not XMR’s nonce distribution processed at random numbers. In the blockchain world, a nonce is a random number that is employed just once in cryptographic communication and many patterns can be analyzed from queried data sets. For example, the BTC network exerts a 32-bit (4-byte) field, a value that is customized by miners so that the hash is less than or equal to the current target of the network. ASIC miners produce patterns, which are easily identified and distinct when looking at data sets.
ASIC miners do try to hide by mimicking nonce selection with patterns that resemble non-ASIC machines. The April XMR fork that produced an extremely controversial four-way split saw large mining farms rejoin the network in just three days. The author notes, though, that miners had realized how to obfuscate nonce patterns. “ASIC manufacturers had learned from past mistakes and implemented random nonce picking,” the analysis explains. The report also adds that after the October fork last year, XMR developers had some success with the new Cryptonight variant, but ASIC miners quickly returned on “December 31st, 2018 near block 1,738,000.”
“At the time of writing the network hash rate has increased to 810 Mh/s or 255 percent since the first signs of the ASICs at the end of December 2018, or approximately 40 days ago,” the study explains.
The report further details:
With the given numbers and methodology we can finally conclude that the current network hashrate likely consists of 85.2 percent ASICs (5400 ASIC machines) and some die-hard GPU miners and botnets.
ASIC Resistance Continues to Fail
The Monero network is not the only project that has failed to thwart ASIC miners. In May last year, the Bitcoin Gold (BTG) protocol felt threatened by ASIC miners after the creation of the Equihash-based Antminer Z9 mining rig. Not too long after that, the BTG network was hijacked by a 51 percent attack and double spends. Similarly, another project that has tried to avoid ASIC domination is the Zcash protocol, but as of May 2018, research detailed that 30 percent of the network was mined by ASIC machines. Ethereum users last year were also concerned when Bitmain released its Antminer E3, a miner that processes the Ethhash (ETH) hashing algorithm. One Ethereum proponent explained at the time that “a regularly scheduled PoW change, like Monero” was needed.
ASIC resistance promises have continuously enticed manufacturers to produce machines that mine these coins. Another great example is when Sia network developers attempted to brick companies like Bitmain from creating Sia-based ASICs. Of course, the ASIC resistant endeavor met with disaster and the developers created the Obelisk algorithm. Ironically, ASICs rigs that mine Obelisk today are the most profitable ASIC mining rigs on the market and a decent machine will rake in $42 a day. Old school veterans will also never forget Charlie Lee’s attempt to create an ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency when he developed the Litecoin (LTC) network’s scrypt algorithm. When LTC first launched, ASIC resistance was supposed to be one of the project’s greatest benefits, but not too long after the launch, it turned out to be minable by application-specific semiconductors.
Once again, Monero developers are faced with a decision of whether to continue trying to fork off so ASIC miners cannot dominate the network. The threat comes at a time when ASIC mineable networks with very low hashrates are extremely susceptible to 51 percent attacks and reorganizations. With lots of studies detailing how easily ASIC farms command these protocols, the question remains: is ASIC resistance just a cat and mouse game that’s destined to bring little more than fleeting results?
What do you think about the research paper that explains ASIC miners control more than 85 percent of the XMR hashrate? Do you think developers should continue fighting ASICs or is ASIC resistance a waste of time? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, MoneroCrusher, Pixabay, and Jamie Redman.
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Two American public sector pension funds have reportedly backed a new cryptocurrency industry venture capital fund with a large tranche of a combined $40 million investment. The deal is being hailed as a show of confidence in the field from some of the most conservative types of investment managers.
Anthony Pompliano, Partner at Morgan Creek Digital, the asset management firm backed by multi-billion dollar investment advisor Morgan Creek Capital Management, has announced a new $40 million crypto venture fund anchored by two public pensions. In typically defiant terms, ‘Pomp’ as he’s known on crypto Twitter declared: “The institutions aren’t coming. They’re already here.”
The two funds providing the main backing for the Morgan Creek Blockchain Opportunities Fund are said to be the Fairfax County Police and the Fairfax County Employees’ pension plans. Other participants reportedly include an insurance company, a hospital system, a university endowment fund and a private foundation.
The new fund is said to be structured like a traditional venture capital fund and will mainly invest directly in the equity of companies involved in the digital assets industry. However, the fund will also reportedly hold a small portion of its capital in cryptocurrencies. Morgan Creek has already made investments in companies such as Bakkt, Blockfi, Coinbase, Realblocks, Harbor, Open Finance Network, Cityblock Capital, Namebase, Good Money, and Digital Assets Data.
Every Pension Fund Should Buy Bitcoin
Morgan Creek Digital has been working on opening up the cryptocurrency market to pension funds for a while now. In August 2018 it launched the Digital Asset Index Fund, which was designed to provide endowments, foundations, pensions, wealthy families, and sovereign wealth funds access to broad-based crypto investment exposure.
In December, Pompliano wrote in a Medium post that “every pension fund should buy Bitcoin.” Explaining how this could be made to happen, he wrote: “It will take time for pension funds to get comfortable with investing in Bitcoin. We need to educate multiple stakeholders and demystify this nascent industry. When one makes the decision, it will create a cascading effect that leads to hundreds of them jumping in. Bitcoin has the potential to save us from the current pension crisis. We just need one or two courageous individuals to make the first move.”
What do you think this investment by pension funds means for the cryptocurrency ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Even though I am in Acapulco, and the sun is oh so alluring, I still found time to do an episode with Dan Spuller from the Chamber of Digital Commerce to talk about the upcoming Summit. We also got an update on the recent work being done in DC on behalf of the Blockchain community by Dan, Perianne, and their team. Co-Host Joshua Scigala was able to join, which was great as he has been tied up with fundraising and speaking publicly at a variety of conferences for Vaultoro. We mentioned the upcoming release of Proof of Love as well, releasing on Valentine’s Day
About the Guests:
Daniel Spuller is the Director of Member Services for the Chamber of Digital Commerce. Prior to joining the Chamber, he held senior-level positions in North Carolina’s Department of Commerce and Department of Transportation.
Since 2012, he has been an advocate of decentralized digital assets, bitcoin, and blockchain technology. He was instrumental in facilitating negotiations between the Office of the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks and the Chamber of Digital Commerce. The Chamber was successful in driving a multi-stakeholder campaign leading to the passage of America’s first comprehensive blockchain-related legislation through the North Carolina Money Transmitters Act of 2016.
Spuller most previously served as Administrative Officer to the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, overseeing the integration of toll technology interoperability between states, and the electronic collection of $41 million+ in revenue on the first toll road in America built exclusively to use only cashless-collection technology. He was later was appointed by North Carolina’s Secretary of Transportation to serve as a member of the NCDOT Autonomous Vehicle Roadmap Project.
In 2014, Spuller co-founded the Cryptolina Bitcoin Expo, North and South Carolina’s conference dedicated to the bitcoin and blockchain industry. The conference won accolades from across the community, and welcomed hundreds of industry professionals to Raleigh and Charlotte in 2014 and 2015.
Voyager, a brokerage startup that helps users easily find the best prices for Bitcoin and other crypto assets, has gone public in Canada on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSX-V) through a reverse merger reportedly worth $60 million. The privately-held company co-launched by ex-Uber CTO Oscar Salazar acquired publicly-traded company UC Resources Ltd. Voyager entered a share-purchase agreement with the former mineral exploration company, which led to the formation of a newly merged venture, dubbed Voyager Digital (Canada) Ltd. Voyager is now trading on the TSX Venture Exchange. For us, going public just made sense to bring transparency to our business and
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 372 points (1.48%) Tuesday. A bipartisan deal to avert a second government shutdown drove Tuesday’s rally. The deal secures border funding, but Republicans and Democrats dispute what’s in it. Donald Trump says he’s “not happy” about it but will probably sign it. U.S.-China trade hopes also gave the stock market some lift today. Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut oil production was another factor. Dow Surges by Nearly 400 Points The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared nearly 400 points Tuesday, closing 372 points (1.48%) higher on news of a bipartisan agreement between Republicans and Democrats