Study: Crypto Coverage in Media Peaked Following Market Slump

A recent study by blockchain-oriented research firm Clovr found that cryptocurrency coverage in the mainstream media spikes when the market drops off. The analysis tracked the correlation between coverage on crypto values over the past five years and the sentiments of published materials.

Crypto

Source: Clovr

In the course of its research, Clovr surveyed 48 mainstream U.S.-based and international media outlets for pieces covering cryptocurrency from Jan.1, 2013, to July 31, 2018. All articles were analyzed using sentiment analysis tool Valence Aware Dictionary and sEntiment Reasoner (VADER) and the Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK) library in Python. The analysis included the full text of 7,527 online news articles.

In the last weeks of 2017 crypto coverage in the media spiked following a sharp drop-off in cryptocurrency, which was attributed to a confluence of factors such as strong performance of altcoins, and Bitcoin (BTC) holders selling off their coins to pay for holiday purchases. The same trend was reported in May and June 2018, when a further drop in crypto values was followed by a temporary increase in articles. The study further reads:

“As recently as 2016, positive articles far exceeded negative ones, both in terms of volume and intensity. As coverage surged in mid-2017, however, articles expressing negative sentiment grew more common. This trend was fueled in part to grim prognostications by the likes of Warren Buffett and Mark Cuban, who guessed that ‘a bubble’ was underway.”

Clovr

Source: Clovr

As for news sites that covered digital currency most often, Clovr notes Forbes and Business Insider, where “a combined 1,335 articles from these two outlets alone were more positive than the overall median sentiment of the sampled articles, while only 413 of their articles fell on the negative side.”

CNBC released almost 1,000 crypto-related articles during the analysed period, with 52.9 percent being positive and 47 percent being negative. At the same time, American far-right news website Breitbart News along with left leaning American news organization Raw Story cumulatively published 91 negative articles and just one positive piece. The average sentiment of Reuters, USA Today, and Gizmodo articles reportedly decreased substantially over time.

As previously reported, BTC use for commercial payments reduced significantly this year, according to a study by Chainalysis. Although Chainalysis recognizes a growing stability of BTC, the value of Bitcoin payments reportedly slumped from $427 million last December to $96 million in September 2018.

Scaling Ethereum: Four Developer Working Groups Formed to Work on Ethereum

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Ethereum’s developers have been working on many different approaches which could potentially help scale the

smart contract

and decentralized application (DApp) development platform.

At present, the platform’s development team is considering moving forward with Ethereum 1x – which is a proposed upgrade that may be able to improve the performance of Ethereum’s network more quickly than the other

blockchain

scalability solutions.

According to the latest discussions and conversations between Ethereum’s developers at DevCon4, the planned upgrades may go into effect by June 2019. However, any future changes made will first have be approved by the Ethereum community members.

Ethereum 1x May Be Launched On Separate Blockchain


Afri Schoedon

, the release manager at Parity Technologies (the developer of one of the main Ethereum clients), said that the Ethereum 1x upgrade may be tested using a separate blockchain platform.

Currently, there are many Ethereum community members who would prefer that the Ethereum 1x software update be activated on the main Ethereum blockchain itself. These members, who are mostly developers, also want the Ethereum 1x update to be performed sooner than June 2019.

Notably, Schoedon told

Coindesk

that the DApp platform’s developers now think that the

Ethereum 2.0

upgrade will have to be postponed until 2020. Schoedeon noted:

[The Ethereum development team] started panicking and saying, ‘Hey we really need to find intermediate solutions’.

According to the Berlin-based software programmer is what created a sense of urgency among Ethereum developers – as they now appear to be looking for more near-term scalability and performance improvement solutions. In order to further coordinate the ongoing efforts to scale Ethereum, there will be an open discussion held

today at 14:00 UTC

.

Commenting on the need to be cooperative and also openly discussing the different approaches recommended for future Ethereum upgrades, Shoedon said:

We need to to be very sensible about how we do this. We need to be very inclusive with everyone in the community and be very open and transparent about talking about all the ideas and discussing what might be the best approach.

Curbing The Growth Of The “Ethereum State”

According to discussions held DevCon4, there are four different working groups that are involved in the ongoing developments related to Ethereum 1x.

Alexey Akhunov

, an Ethereum core developer, is in charge of one of these groups and has been trying to introduce storage rent to the Ethereum network.

Storage rent is a mechanism that helps to curb the growth of the “Ethereum state” – which refers the collective state of all active applications (on Ethereum) and all the user accounts running on its blockchain network.

Curbing the growth of the Ethereum state is imperative because its network has become overcrowded – which has made it difficult for new users to join the platform. Some members of the Ethereum community have recommended that users be charged a fee if they want to store smart contract data on the the network’s blockchain. This could help slow down the large amount of data that is being added to the Ethereum blockchain.

Code Optimization Could Increase Speed Of Block Propagation

Other Ethereum community members have suggested that a certain portion of smart contract data be processed off of the main chain. There’s also an Ethereum 1x-focused working group that is considering archiving old blockchain data – which may no longer be needed.

A third group of Ethereum developers, known as “the simulation group”, have been “analyzing the issues that happen through the blockchain when block size grows or when the latency increases,” Akhunov noted. This may be quite useful – as it could help developers perform code optimizations that might significantly increase the speed of block propagation on the Ethereum network.

If blocks can be relayed more quickly, then Ethereum miners may be able to help process a larger number of transactions per block – which could earn them more in transaction fees, Akhunov explained.

The fourth Ethereum 1x working group is looking for ways to decrease the costs associated with issuing smart contracts. Proponents of this idea believe that it may help balance out an expected increase in costs for storing smart contracts on Ethereum’s network

ASUS Partners with Quantumcloud to Allow Crypto Mining Through Idle GPUs

Taiwan-based computer hardware giant ASUS is the latest player in the block to join the cryptocurrency mining party. According to a report by Hard Fork, published November 29, 2018, ASUS is persuading gamers to mine cryptocurrencies when their gaming systems are not in use.

Partnership with Quantumcloud to Develop Mining Software

Per sources close to the matter, ASUS gamers will be able to mine digital currencies online by using their idle graphics cards. Cryptocurrencies mined can later be encashed through popular payment gateways like PayPal or WeChat. To that effect, the company has joined forces with blockchain technology provider Quantumcloud, which will provide it the crypto mining software.

ASUS claims the entire mining process is GDPR-compliant, which entails that the 3rd party software provider (Quantumcloud) will not store any sensitive customer information.

However, in the announcement, no details were provided in that what cryptocurrencies will be available to mine through the idle GPU cards. Further, there was no clarity with regard to the amount of cryptocurrencies which can be earned, nor any information on the commission which might be charged by ASUS or Quantumcloud for offering the service.

With that said, gamers should not get their hopes up of becoming millionaires overnight.

“You won’t get rich quick, but you can earn some easy money with your idle GPUs,” Quantumcloud says on its website.

Moreover, according to a press release shared with Hard Fork, it is not even guaranteed that users of the crypto mining software will make any earnings or profit. The companies warned the users to conduct their own cost versus benefit research before putting their idle GPU cards to use.

Surprising Move Amidst Declining Mining Profits

It would be fair to say that not many anticipated the move by ASUS to integrate crypto mining functionality in their GPU cards.

Since the Q1 2018 euphoria of cryptocurrencies, the mining business has witnessed a continuous decline.

For example, GPU manufacturing company Nvidia reported stellar results on May 14, in which crypto sales accounted for almost 10 percent of its Q1 2018 revenue. However, things took a downturn real quick as the company’s Q3 earnings report validated the withering demand for crypto mining GPUs.

The plummeting demand for GPUs also reflected in AMD’s Q3 2018 financial report. The American semiconductor manufacturer company had almost negligible sales of blockchain-related graphics processing units in Q2 2018.

Sirin Labs Launches Blockchain-Centric ‘Finney’ Smartphone

On Nov. 29, Sirin Labs announced the commercial launch of its new blockchain smartphone known as the Finney. According to the cellphone creators, the Finney offers “secure and state of the art mobile technology” alongside an embedded cold storage cryptocurrency wallet.

Also read: Bloxroute Joins the Block Size Debate With New Block Propagation Service

People Can Now Preorder the Finney Smartphone

Sirin Labs has launched its flagship product the Finney phone, a mobile device named after the late Bitcoin developer Hal Finney. News.Bitcoin.com originally reported on the Finney phone back in May when it was revealed that Foxconn, the company that manufactures iPhones, helped Sirin Labs produce the new blockchain mobile device. This week, Sirin Labs announced the phone can now be purchased on the company’s official website for $999 and the product will also join the Amazon Launchpad program in January.

Sirin Labs Launches Blockchain-Centric 'Finney' Smartphone
The Finney mobile device specifically designed for cryptocurrencies can now be purchased for $999.
Sirin Labs Launches Blockchain-Centric 'Finney' Smartphone
The Finney phone’s pop-up touchscreen.

According to the phone’s specifications, the mobile device has a 6-inch touchscreen display and is powered by an octa-core processor with 6GB of RAM. Finney runs on an operating system called Sirin OS, which is a fork of the Oreo software Android 8.1. The cryptocurrency features within the phone can be seen by using a second touchscreen that’s attached to the phone’s body. Sirin has explained that this is how the Finney device’s extra layer of security works because when the pop-up screen is used, all actions performed by the Sirin OS are encrypted. The Finney creators state that the second touchscreen has a firewall between the main operating system and claims the process makes the phone much harder to compromise. The cryptocurrency side-software has a program known as token conversion service (TCS) so the mobile phone’s owners can swap coins like BTC and ETH.

Additionally, the phone has a 12-megapixel rear camera and a selfie camera with a design that’s very similar to the Solarin phone. The Solarin is another design created by Sirin Labs, but the Solarin carbon titanium 128GB version is a whopping $13,800 plus tax. The Finney model also comes with 128GB of storage and can be expanded upon with a micro-SD card. Lastly, the mobile device accepts a nano-SIM and can connect to traditional Bluetooth, NFC, and wifi networks. “Sirin Labs is also looking for strategic OEMs to implement Sirin OS in additional consumer devices,” the Barcelona-based company explained on Thursday.

The Finney Smartphone Has a Competitor

The new Finney cellphone is not the only mobile device specifically designed for blockchain security. Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer High Tech Computer Corporation (HTC) is also producing a cryptocurrency-centric phone. HTC has said the new “blockchain-powered” product will use a modified version of the Android operating system. The HTC Exodus 1 is also available for preorder on its website by reserving the phone with either BTC or ETH funds. At the moment the HTC Exodus 1 is priced at around 0.15 BTC or roughly $600 at the time of publication.

Sirin Labs Launches Blockchain-Centric 'Finney' Smartphone
The HTC Exodus 1 blockchain phone.

With the new Finney phone launch, Sirin Labs has explained that the company is planning to open two flagship concept stores so the public can get an inside glimpse at the blockchain mobile device. According to the Finney manufacturer, the first concept store will open in London in December of this year and then another location in Tokyo in January of 2019. Sirin Labs emphasized during the announcement that the London store will also act as a blockchain academy for individuals in the community looking to learn about cryptocurrency solutions.

What do you think about the Sirin Labs produced Finney phone? Let us know what you think about blockchain-centric mobile devices in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service.
Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images via Sirin Labs, the Finney phone, and HTC. 


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Oldest Swiss University Awards Honorary Doctorate to Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin

The University of Basel has granted an honorary doctorate to Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin, according to an official statement on the university’s website today, Nov. 30.

The Faculty of Business and Economics of Switzerland’s oldest university has awarded Buterin for “outstanding achievements in fields of cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and the design of institutions,” as the university noted in a recent tweet on the official Twitter account.

Photo

The honorary doctorate of the faculty of economics is awarded to Vitalik Buterin by dean Prof. Dr. med. Aleksander Berentsen. Source: Universität Basel

The honorary degree was granted by dean Aleksander Berentsen, Professor of Economic Theory and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics during the university’s annual celebration “Dies academicus” that took place on Friday, Nov. 30.

The University of Basel specifically noted Buterin’s “groundbreaking” contribution to promoting the idea of decentralization, as well as “equal participation in the digital revolution.” The faculty emphasized that Buterin “wrote his scientific papers without a degree and commitment to a university.”

In July 2018, Buterin criticized centralized exchanges, stating that such institutions should “burn in hell.” The software developer argued that the crypto community should confront the idea of the “stupid King making power,” and confirmed his strong positive stance toward decentralization.

In early November, Buterin revealed some details of the upcoming upgrade to the Ethereum network. Dubbed “Serenity,” the upcoming Ethereum 2.0 will reportedly embrace multiple Ethereum projects that have been collected since 2014. Without specifying the expected date of the upgrade, Buterin only claimed that it was “really not so far away.”

Launched in summer 2015, Ethereum is a major cryptocurrency, as well as a public blockchain platform featuring smart contracts and providing а basis for decentralized applications (DApps).

The major altcoin is the third top cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, having recently lost its position as second to Ripple (XRP). ETH saw its all-time high of $1,400 in mid-January, which was followed by a massive sell-off this year. Ethereum is trading at $112.72 as of press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

ETH

Ethereum price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index

Cyber Security Firm Check Point Research Reports of ‘Evolving’ Monero Cryptojacker

Cyber security firm Check Point Research has found that the KingMiner cryptojacker targeting cryptocurrency Monero (XMR) is “evolving,” according to a company’s blog post published Nov. 30.

KingMiner was purportedly firstly detected in mid-June, subsequently evolving in two improved versions. The malware attacks Windows Servers by deploying various evasion methods to skirt its detection. Per Check Point data, several detection engines have registered significantly decreased detection rates, while sensor logs have shown a growing number of KingMiner attacks.

The firm has been monitoring KingMiner activity over the past six months and concluded that the malware has evolved in two new versions. The blog post further explains:

“The malware continuously adds new features and bypass methods to avoid emulation. Mainly, it manipulates the needed files and creates a dependency which is critical during emulation. In addition, as part of the malware’s ongoing evolution, we have found many placeholders for future operations or upcoming updates which will make this malware even harder to detect.”

Check Point has determined that KingMiner uses a private mining pool to bypass any detection of their activities, wherein the pool’s (API) is turned off and the wallet is not used in any public mining pools. The attacks are reportedly widely spread around the world.

According to the company’s findings, the malicious software attempts to guess passwords of the servers it attacks. Once a user downloads and executes the Windows Scriptlet file, it reportedly identifies the relevant Central Processing Unit (CPU) architecture of the device and downloads a payload ZIP file based on the detected CPU architecture.

The malware eventually destroys the relevant .exe file process and deletes the files themselves, if older versions of the attack files exist. Check Point also notes that the file is not an actual ZIP file, but rather an XML file, which will circumvent emulation attempts.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, Russian internet security company Kaspersky Labs has found that crypto mining malware became increasingly popular among botnets in 2018. During the Q1 2018 cryptojacking “boom,” the share of cryptojacking malware downloaded by botnets, out of total files, hit 4.6 percent — as compared with 2.9 percent in Q2 2017.

Botnets are reportedly therefore becoming increasingly viewed as a means of spreading crypto mining malware, with cybercriminals increasingly viewing cryptojacking as more favorable than other attack vectors.

Bitmain Launches Crypto Index for Investors, Provides Data on 17 Digital Assets

Chinese cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain has just released its own cryptocurrency index. Going forward, the firm will provide market data for 17 of the largest digital assets by market capitalisation.

Bitmain Crypto Index Will Track 17 of the Most Popular Digital Assets

One of the planet’s largest producers of digital currency mining hardware has just published an index of cryptocurrency prices. Bitmain announced the move via its website, BTC.com, earlier today.

According to the post, Bitmain’s new price index has been tailored to institutional and individual investors alike. It stated:

“The index tracks the performance of the largest and most liquid digital currency in the market and is denominated in US dollars.”

The index draws its price data from the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the planet. To help decide which trading venues are eligible to inform the service, Bitmain analyse each based on its: reputation, regulatory compliance, price transparency, stability, and trading volume.

The exchanges making the grade thus far are: Bitfinex, Binance, Bitstamp, Bittrex, GDAX, Gemini, Huobi, Itbit, Kraken, OKEX, and Poloniex.

Bitmain will provide visitors to the index with real-time price updates by the second, along with a daily reference price. This latter feature will be updated at 10 a.m. (GMT +8) each day.

The coins chosen by Bitmain are: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), EOS, Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), XRP, Dash, IOTA, NEO, Monero (XMR), Cardano (ADA), Tron (TRX), Icon (ICX), Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and OmiseGo (OMG).

In addition to the 17 single digital currency indices, Bitmain has also created a combined index of the leading 10 cryptos. This will be known as the Bitmain Large Cap 10 Index (BLC10). In the words of the Chinese firm itself, the BLC10 will be:

“A comprehensive index of market capitalisation weights, totalling more than 90% of the market’s digital currency market value, covering currency classes, decentralised platform classes and anonymous digital asset classes.”

Related Reading: How Much of the 20% Surge of Bitcoin Cash is Affected by Bitmain IPO?

Bitmain Still in Choppy Waters

In other recent Bitmain news, the Chinese mining hardware manufacturer has just had a class action lawsuit brought against it by one of its U.S. customers. The case claims that Bitmain had redesigned their ASIC cryptocurrency mining chips to earn mining rewards and transaction fees for the company rather than the users themselves.

Filing the complaint is an LA resident called Gor Gevorkyan. However, the action is on behalf of all Bitmain’s U.S. customers. Gevorkyan believes this is around 100,000 individuals. He is hoping to sue the mining giant for over $5 million.

However, the lawsuit is just the tip of the iceberg with regards Bitmain’s current troubles. Its plan to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has exposed some dubious figures relating to the company’s inventory. This has prompted a full restructuring of its board of directors.

All the while, the once undisputed leader of the hardware manufacturing industry is slipping behind technologically to other companies also building ASIC chips.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Salaries for Blockchain Developers Drop By 50% Due to Crypto Market Crash

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During 2017 and early 2018, there were many companies that expressed an interest in exploring the potential benefits of using blockchain technology to streamline their business processes.

As different organizations throughout the world began to look into how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could be used to either save operational costs and make transactions more transparent, the demand for blockchain developers increased significantly.

Declining Cryptocurrency Prices Also Affecting Blockchain Job Market

However, the sharp decline in the prices of blockchain-based cryptoassets has also affected the job market in the digital asset industry.

According to a research report published earlier this year, the demand for blockchain-related jobs had increased by 636.83%. During Q2 2018, there were many firms in the IT services sector, fund & securities industries, and computer software industry that had been looking to recruit professionals who had experience working on blockchain-related projects.

Last month, however, the Tsinghua University and BlockData released a report which revealed that the demand for blockchain-focused jobs had dropped by up to 50%. An excerpt from the report reads:

It is worth noting that [there have been significantly fewer] initial coin offerings (ICO) [that have been launched] since March, and the entire market has gradually become more [critical of new projects]. The [crypto] industry is paying more attention to [real] developments. The … demand for core technologies developers now exceeds the supply. However, the demand for market and operation talent has decreased.

Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba Interested In Hiring Blockchain Professionals

Although the salaries for blockchain-related work may have dropped during the past three months, China-based IT giants including Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have all been looking to recruit blockchain developers.

According to job listings on large recruitment websites in China, there are many fintech companies that want to hire people that can help them develop blockchain-based solutions.

As CryptoGlobe reported in early September, both the supply and demand for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related jobs in Asia had been on the rise.

The dramatic increase in digital currency prices during 2017 and the excessive hype created by media outlets caused many firms in healthcare, logistics, and the finance sector to begin exploring use cases for blockchain technology. Due to the rise in the number of DLT-related projects, recruitment firm, Robert Walters, had found that there had been a 50% increase in the number of blockchain and crypto-related jobs.

More Companies Looking For Blockchain Developers, Fewer Seeking Jobs 

The managers of Indeed.com, a US-based employment-related search engine for job listings, had reported in mid-November 2018 that there were signficantly fewer people interested in blockchain and crypto-related jobs.

Indeed.com’s management revealed that online job searches for blockchain, bitcoin (BTC), and crypto-related roles had dropped by 3.06% during the time period from October 2017 to October 2018.

While there may not be as many job seekers, there seem to be many more firms in need of distributed ledger technology (DLT) developers. In fact, the number of job listings for crypto and blockchain specialists increased by 25.49% between October 2017 and October 2018.

New Report Finds 80% of Bitcoin Mining Running on Renewable Energy

Bitcoin mining Renewable Energy Trading Comes to Thailand – Power Ledger and BCPG Setting the Pace Mining

New Report Finds 80% of Bitcoin Mining Running on Renewable Energy


A new report from CoinShares into Bitcoin mining suggests the practice is likely loss-making for the majority of miners at current prices.


Average Miner ‘Running At A Loss’

In a ‘whitepaper’ which received high praise from cryptocurrency figures, CoinShares examined various facets of mining, which has seen increased prominence in recent weeks as Bitcoin price 00 dropped to lows of $3500.

“Among our findings is an estimate that since May, the market-average, all-in marginal cost of creation, at ¢5/KWh, and 18-month depreciation schedules has increased from approximately $6,500 to approximately $6,800,” researchers reveal in their introduction.

This suggests that, at current prices, the average miner is either: running at a loss and unable to recover capex, mining at electricity costs closer to ¢3/KWh, depreciating mining gear over 24-30 months, or paying less for mining gear than our estimates.

Bitcoin Mining is 80 Percent On Renewables

As Bitcoinist reported, miners have appeared to experience considerable economic difficulties due to price depreciation regardless of the base price of electricity in their location.

Scenes allegedly showing Chinese miners dumping unprofitable units en masse hit social media last week, amid claims the dry season had pushed up hydroelectricity costs which were adding to miners’ headache.

The Bitcoin mining difficulty is set to decrease, not increase, for the first time since December 2, 2011.

Going forward, CoinShares says, mining will continue to focus on the cheapest possible sources of mostly renewable energy.

“Based on historical data on energy mix and locations of cryptocurrency mining operations in China, we have shown that contrary to the common narrative, the vast majority of global Bitcoin mining capacity (minimum 77.6%) is running on renewable energy,” the researchers conclude.

Responding, Saifedean Ammous, the author of ‘The Bitcoin Standard,’ agreed with the findings, adding he would be publishing his “first in-depth analysis of the (economics) of bitcoin mining” Friday.

What do you think about CoinShares’ Bitcoin mining research? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock