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Power Consumption for Bitcoin Mining Is Now Ranked 61st in the World

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Bitcoin Miners
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Bitcoin prices have been towering in the past couple of weeks. This is cause for celebration for users who have heavily invested in the cryptocurrency; but, it appears the value of bitcoin is not the only thing that has hit the roof in 2017. Bitcoin mining energy consumption has also reached new heights.

A research study conducted by PowerCompare—a U.K.-based company for energy comparison tariff—found that the average power used to mine bitcoins this year has already gone beyond the annual energy consumption for some 159 countries. In particular, the global average power spent on bitcoin mining has far outstripped the energy consumption in Ireland and a couple of African countries.

This new study was based on data from Digiconomist, whose current estimation of power used to mine bitcoin hovers around 30.14 TWh annually. This figure is way above Ireland power consumption that currently stands at 25 TWh yearly.  In fact, recent research from Dutch Bank ING found out that one bitcoin transaction consumes sufficient electricity to power an average household for a whole month.

At this rate, if bitcoin miners were a single country, it would be positioned 61st in the world based on power consumption, comparable to Slovakia and Morocco. PowerCompare has already predicted that if the trend continues, bitcoin mining will expend the entire world’s electricity by February of 2020!

Why bitcoin mining is increasing power consumption levels

What makes bitcoin mining an energy black hole?

Apparently, it is the computational requirements that process the complex cryptographic problems that miners must solve to be rewarded with the cryptocurrency. Just like other notable cryptos such as Ethereum and Litecoin, Bitcoin depends on miners to validate transactions performed in their respective blockchains.

To verify transactions, miners are required to solve complex mathematical problems, which on becomes increasingly difficult as more and more miners join the mining bandwagon. The more byzantine the cryptographic problems, the more the processing power that is needed to solve them.

In the case of bitcoin—the most popular cryptocurrency—a multitude of miners now make it absolutely necessary to use ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) which consume considerable amounts of electricity. At present, ASICs have been designed to provide far more efficient computations, both in terms of the hash rate and power consumption when compared to CPU or GPU mining.

But the ASICs haven’t really resolved the hurdles of power consumption.

Ideally, the use of ASICs meant that the total time required to validate new blocks drastically reduces too. This hasn’t happened because of the way the bitcoin protocol was conceived. Apparently, the mining difficulty in bitcoin ensures that the total time taken for generation of new blocks must be kept constant.

As a matter of fact, the Bitcoin network automatically alters the difficulty level for bitcoin mining to ensure the discovery of new blocks every 10 minutes by miners based on two factors. First, there is the global block difficulty that forces valid blocks to have a hash value that is below the target to ensure the difficulty level is maintained.

Second, the number of miners that are actively participating in the mining process has been soaring, meaning the difficulty level has remained constant for a while now. Also, the mining difficulty automatically adjusts after every 2016 blocks on the Bitcoin network. Depending on how many users were actively mining – together with their combined hashpower—and the time it takes to find the 2016 blocks, the difficulty can either go up or down.

As the mining difficulty increases, miners should acquire more powerful hardware to accommodate for the adjustment which again increases the computational electricity. It is also worth noting that there is no maximum mining difficulty that has been set for the Bitcoin network. There is a possibility that the mining difficulty will continue to rise until all the Bitcoins are mined have been mined by the year 2140.

This means that power consumption in Bitcoin is not likely to decrease in the near future.

Challenges of mining Bitcoins

Here are some challenges of Bitcoin mining:

#1: Environmental hazards

The massive growth of cryptos has set up an exponential demand for processing power. The inordinate amounts of power required to mine bitcoins make it an environmental hazard since much of the earth’s electricity is still generated from greenhouse-gas-generating fossil fuels. This implies that bitcoin mining could be contributing to the climate changes and global warming.

#2: Stumbling block for mass adoption

The bitcoin cryptocurrency was conceived as a decentralized, peer-to-peer and trustless currency free from regulations of government agencies and financial institutions such as banks. Unfortunately, the adoption rate is discouraging. This can partly be attributed to the high energy consumption costs.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the HINUI (Hamilton Institute at the National University of Ireland) found that the cost of Bitcoin mining on the commodity hardware at present far exceeds the price of the rewards. In fact, Bitcoin mining has now been left to the big players who have the money to buy expensive ASICs with some of them leasing their hardware to small players in the so-called cloud mining.

#3: Rise of illegal piracy

In order to work around the hurdles of power-intensive requirements of bitcoin mining, some users have resorted to using dirty tricks to obtain the computational power from other people’s machines. A recent study published by Futurism found that Pirate Bay has covertly been testing a Javascript mining app on their website which allocates a huge volume of their visitors’ CPUs for purposes of mining the cryptocurrencies.

While the website in question was developed to help users in illicitly downloading files such as games, movies, and music, the JavaScript app hijacks the users’ CPUs to mine cryptocurrencies which is illegal.

Conclusion

The rise of bitcoin values is a cause for celebration in the crypto universe. It means that the entire global community is beginning to appreciate the value of cryptocurrencies in the world economy. However, mining energy consumption is soaring at an alarming rate. The quicker we find mechanisms to make bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining electricity use “greener,” the better it would be for the Blockchain technology that is often heralded as the next internet.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 9 rated postsHira Saeed is a tech geek girl with a passion to write on latest technology trends. She is the Founder of Tech Geeks community in Pakistan and also runs her copywriting and social media agency, Digital Doers. Follow her on @heerasaeed.




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Price Holds Steady as Market Dominance Hits 3 1/2 Month High

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The bitcoin price was undeterred by a wider slump in crypto assets Friday, with its share of the total market reaching the highest level since early April.

Bitcoin Price Update

On a 24-hour basis, bitcoin’s price is little changed Friday, with values continuing to hover north of $7,400. Coin values briefly surpassed $7,500 before reverting all the way back to the low $7,400 region.

The largest digital currency by market capitalization booked most of its gains in the span of 24 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. The uptrend followed a week-long consolidation where markets successfully defended the $6,000 price floor. A confluence of support later emerged near $6,400, propelling a short-term rally toward $7,000 and, eventually, a high near $7,600.

Bitcoin is on track for weekly gains of nearly 19%. Trade volumes have surged 40% week-over-week, including a peak of $6.8 billion.

Bitcoin Dominance Index

Bitcoin’s strength relative to other cryptocurrencies is exemplified by its growing share of the overall market. As of Friday, bitcoin accounted for 45.4% of the total market capitalization for cryptocurrencies, its highest since early Aprilm according to CoinMarketCap. The so-called bitcoin dominance index is up nearly 3 percentage points since Tuesday, when BTC/USD first broke out.

At nearly $128 billion, bitcoin’s market share is nearly three times that of Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by value. Ethereum narrowed the gap to less than half last year, right around the time the bull market began to take off.

As last year’s bull market demonstrated, bitcoin’s dominance index usually declines during a major market uptrend as more capital flows into altcoins. However, the recent rally had the distinction of being largely concentrated in bitcoin. While this may bode well for long-term holders of the digital currency, it can also be viewed as a bearish sign for the overall market. That’s because altcoin price independence is considered an important feature of a healthy cryptocurrency market.

Measured by market cap, cryptocurrencies not named bitcoin (BTC) have gained 10.5% over the past seven days. By comparison, bitcoin’s total capitalization has increased nearly 19%.

Despite bitcoin’s outsized gains, the market is enjoying wider institutional support and important regulatory breakthroughs that could bring greater stability to the asset class. Business Insider and CCN have reported that Coinbase, one of the world’s major crypto exchanges, has scored a major institutional client. Although names have not been disclosed, the client is said to be a $20 billion hedge fund.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 503 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Crypto Update: Divergence Deepens as Altcoins Fall, Bitcoin Flat

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The unusual discrepancy between BTC and the rest of the cryptocurrency market continued today, with the top 10 coins all losing ground with the exception of Bitcoin itself. Tuesday’s surge, which carried the segment to $300 billion in total market cap quickly fizzled out, at least as far as the major altcoins are concerned, but the largest digital currency is still holding on above the strong $7000 and $7350 support/resistance levels.

Altcoins are on short-term sell signals according to our trend model, but Bitcoin is still on a buy signal as the declining trend was broken by the break-out that remains intact, despite the segment-wide weakness.

Given the mixed, but one-sided setup, and the lack of bullish follow-through, odds still favor a bearish outcome, and traders should remain cautious with new positions here, even in BTC, the positive outlier. A broad trend change would require a meaningful leadership, and until that develops, a test of t eh June lows remains likely, with the possibility of new lows in the coming week as well.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Bitcoin failed to durably stay above the $7500 level, bulls successfully defended the support zone near $7350, despite the overbought short-term momentum readings. The coin is well above the line-in-the-sand $7000 level and the long-term support near $5850 that was in danger just one week ago.

Although the altcoin weakness makes BTC’s rally suspicious, the short-term bullish pattern is intact, as is the buy signal in our trend model. Further support is found at $6750, and $6500, while primary resistance is still ahead at $7650.

Selling Pressure Apparent in Altcoins

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

All intraday rally attempts have been sold so far in most of the major altcoins, and Ethereum is just holding up above primary support at $450 despite the rally in the beginning of the week. The coin is on a short-term sell signal, and a test of the June lows is likely after the failed break-out. Strong resistance is ahead at $500 and between $555 and $575, while support is found at $420, $400, $380, and $360.

XMR/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Monero has been holding up relatively well in the last couple of days after getting stuck below the $150 level during the Tuesday surge, but the coin is still among the structurally weak majors, being on a long-term sell signal. As the other bearish leaders, NEO, LTC, and Dash are also trading below key long-term levels, we expect the coin to fall back below the $125 support and likely test the June lows in the coming weeks.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The third largest coin Ripple is already testing the $0.45 level after drifting lower ever since the Tuesday rally, and as its relative weakness is still clear, a break below that level seems to be imminent. Below that, the crucial long-term support zone near $0.42 could stop the decline of XRP again, but a move under that could trigger a long-term sell signal.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 297 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Bitcoin

Up to 10% of Gold’s Assets Could Flow Into Bitcoin

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With so much focus on bitcoin as a payment method among regulators, the leading cryptocurrency’s other use case might get overlooked. Bitcoin’s other definition is a store of value, and these days investors are getting more value than they have in a long time even as the price of gold, a rival store of value, tumbles.

Indeed, bitcoin is taking its place as a safe haven and an uncorrelated asset to the broader financial markets. This is why bitcoin it’s been dubbed “digital gold,” because it has taken on some of the key attributes of the precious metal.

The price of gold has been on the decline for the past three months, during which time it’s lost more than 10% of its value to about “$1,228.70 per ounce today for Comex August. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has been in rally mode, in recent days proving once again it can rally hundreds of points in a matter of minutes as it surpassed the $7,000 level. BTC just surpassed the $7,500 level.

Gabor Gurbacs, who according to his LinkedIn profile is the director of digital assets strategy at VanEck/MVIS, believes that bitcoin is going to be the beneficiary of investors fleeing gold as a store of value. He told CNBC: “I would say as a message to investors that bitcoin is a safe haven asset or digital gold, one that trades like a tech stock.”

Gurbacs offered a forecast that takes a different tack from the usual price predictions. He looks at the digital asset in terms of capital flows, and he’s expecting bitcoin’s value to balloon in size. He pointed to the size of the gold market, which is comprised of $7 trillion outstanding in assets. Gurbacs suggests between 5%-10% of that could be directed into bitcoin, adding “investment products are necessary to get there.”

Based on bitcoin’s current market cap of approximately $128 billion and the top end of Gurbacs’ range, gold flows into bitcoin could bolster the cryptocurrency’s value more than threefold, as pointed out by CNBC.

Gurbacs pointed to three requirements for this to happen, all of which he sees a path forward for.

  • “Proper pricing benchmarks and price valuation”
  • Liquidity (he believes there’s “enough liquidity to support ETFs that institutional investors may use in these markets.”)
  • A supportive regulatory framework for digital assets

MVIS has digital asset indices including a Bitcoin Index, which Gurbacs described as an independent and regulated source for the bitcoin price, which is preferred over a site like CoinMarketCap for bitcoin-fueled ETFs and other financial products.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 24 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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