VeChain (VET), University of Oxford Introduce Blockchain Evaluation Framework

VeChain (VET), University of Oxford Introduce Blockchain Evaluation Framework

VeChain (VET), a distributed ledger technology (DLT) project that claims to be dedicated to helping users enhance supply chain management and business processes, has joined forces with the University of Oxford to propose an evaluation framework for blockchain consensus algorithms, according to a blog post on August 11, 2020.

Making Blockchain Adoption Easier 

In a bid to make it possible for enterprises to evaluate the overall performance, security, and robustness of blockchain consensus protocols without necessarily implementing them, VeChain (VET) and Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute have rolled out a DLT evaluation framework dubbed AlphaBlock.

As stated in its blog post, AlphaBlock is the product of extensive research carried out by VeChain (VET) and the University of Oxford as part of efforts to support the blockchain industry and provide independent scientific advice.

The team says the primary objective of AlphaBlock is to enable enterprises to objectively evaluate the real performance of any consensus protocol of their choice, instead of just analyzing it theoretically.

Comparing DLT Consensus Protocols 

To that effect, the University of Oxford and VeResearch, a global research grant program from the stables of Vechain, has released a research paper titled AlphaBlock: An Evaluation Framework for Blockchain Consensus Protocols.

In the research paper, the team describes how the AlphaBlock framework was used to evaluate the overall performance of Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) consensus and Nakamoto Consensus (NC) algorithms.

VeChain said:

“The joint research work is aimed at providing a framework for the evaluation of blockchain consensus performance. The proposed framework will be a powerful tool for both academic worlds to quantify the performance of a particular consensus algorithm under various algorithmic settings and network conditions.”

Explaining how AlphaBlock works, the team hinted that the framework uses the topographical graph model to represent blockchain nodes and how they communicate with each other. This way, researchers will be able to find out the total cost and delay of each new block.

The team claims the AlphaBlock framework also allows researchers to accurately evaluate the throughput of a particular consensus protocol by “analyzing how efficient the bandwidth is used, the latency according to the message delay, the block interval and the total number of rounds before a block is confirmed.”

VeChain (VET) has continued to gain traction in various industries across the world. On August 10, 2020, BTCManager informed that Shanghai Gas has expanded its digitization project powered by VeChain Thor.

At press time, the price of VeChain (VET) sits at $0.019706, with a market capitalization of $1.09 billion, as seen on CoinMarketCap.

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EDAG CityBot to Use IOTA Tokens for Digital Payments

EDAG CityBot to Use IOTA Tokens for Digital Payments

At a time when the IOTA development team prepares for Chrysalis, EDAG — a well-known pioneer and innovation driver in the mobility sector, has announced that its CityBot will use IOTA tokens for digital payments as per an update on Aug 11. 

EDAG and IOTA Deal

Envisioning a future city that is clean, worth living, quite, smart, and friendly, the CityBot is more than a concept. At first, it is an extremely intelligent way of demonstrating the potential that can be found in the holistic view of mobility, and further demonstrates new opportunities for urban development.

IOTA said it will be possible for people and machines to exchange payment and data directly with each other. Of note, there will be no intermediary platform thanks to EDAG leveraging an open-source platform. Secondly, there will be no additional fees. 

With EDAG CityBot being a multi-functional, emissions-free, fully autonomous robot vehicle with swarm intelligence, the vehicle can operate round the clock meaning there are ecological and economic efficiencies the bot tags from its continuous utilization. 

It is based on a scalable operating system that combines security and vitally, IoT infrastructure for routing of the robot.

New Business Models and Reliability

From IOTA’s perspective, the CityBot offers new business models thanks in part to the individual utility modules and those that originate from the entire system. 

As efficiency is at the core, IOTA will be used as a base layer for data transmission and as a reliable payment protocol. Specifically, EDAG will benefit from the fee-less structure of IOTA to offer services round-the-clock quickening amortization. 

Platforms such as the Industry Marketplace — which supports IOTA, enable machines to automatically trade digital and physical goods. Exchange data are compliant to applicable industry standards, developed strictly in accordance with Plattform Industrie 4.0.

Leader in IoT

IOTA is the face of the Internet of Things (IoT) and is the most dominant platform. Even though it is plagued with controversies ranging from unhealthy hacks and the presence of a central coordinator, it continues to gain traction as data becomes the new oil.

The calls for automation and security means IOTA must be scalable and completely decentralized, a feat that will be achieved once Coordicide is executed.

Early this month, BTCManager reported that IOTA was one of the innovative platforms to participate in the EUR 80 billion European Union research program dubbed the CityxChange project.

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Venezuela Mulls Tax Payments in Its Controversial Petro Cryptocurrency

Venezuela Mulls Tax Payments in Its Controversial Petro Cryptocurrency

Officials in Venezuela are mulling the payment of citizen taxes using the Petro cryptocurrency despite criticisms of it not being backed by a public blockchain, as per local reports Tuesday.

Taxes Paid in Crypto Coming to Venezuela

The Bolivarian Council of Bolivarian Mayors and Mayors signed this Sunday the National Tax Harmonization Agreement in 305 municipalities of the country, placing the sovereign cryptoasset El Petro as the unit of account for the payment of taxes and sanctions, in order to protect the productive sector and the Venezuelan people from “distorted prices.”

The President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro Moros, said that he supports the signing of this agreement, adding he hopes it would fare well for all municipalities to favor the economy and development, in order to achieve the necessary income for the action of the municipalities in the states.

The consortium announced they will levy steps to ensure no citizen is taxed twice as a result of using the Petro, and in fiat.

Rodríguez, the vice president of Venezuela, classified this agreement as “historic,” adding it was achieved after unified efforts of the mayors and the ruling of the Constitutional Chamber of the TSJ.

Use-Cases Created

The vice president explained that a single registry of municipal taxpayers will be created, which will function as a digital tool for consultation, information exchange and monitoring of companies with branches in different municipalities, to verify any declaration presented in one Mayor’s Office as declared and paid in another. to avoid double taxation of the industrial sector. 

It could also be used later as an instrument for crossing information with the national tax system. This unique registry will be created and administered by the Bolivarian Council of Mayors and Mayors, the report noted.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez further commented:

“It is the simplification of procedures, making the State’s administrative activity at the service of the people more efficient, of the economic sectors that stimulate economic activity in the productive and commercial areas, framed in this week of flexibility that began on Monday.”

Petro Remains Controversial

The announcement comes a month after the Venezuelan government said almost 15% of all fuel payments at petrol stations across the country were made using the Petro (PTR). It marked the widespread use of its cryptocurrency.

As BTCManager reported earlier, the members of the Venezuelan assembly had declared the national cryptocurrency is illegal under the laws of the country. They believe that the move by the President and his cabinet to issue a state-owned cryptocurrency is further proof of the administration’s ineptitude and a glaring reminder of the sorry state of affairs within the country.

The group also faulted plans by the government to make businesses and retirement accounts to accept the petro.

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China’s Digital Yuan Will Go Live in Hong Kong’s Greater Bay Area

China’s Digital Yuan Will Go Live in Hong Kong’s Greater Bay Area

China’s ambitious digital currency project, the so-named digital yuan or DCEP, will see test runs at Hong Kong’s Greater Bay Area in the coming weeks, according to local reports on August 12.

Greater Bay Area to Benefit

The Greater Bay area – an amalgamation of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Macau – is a $2 trillion economy, courtesy the swards of fintech, engineering, and banking institutions in the district. The digital yuan is a market fit in that regard, the report noted.

The news comes as the DCEP app was said to undergo the final stages of beta testing in Shenzhen last week, a representative told local publication Southern Daily.

China wants to turn the Greater Bay Area into a buzzing economic hub, with the digital yuan featuring as a major focus. However, existing legal and financial systems make that a challenge, in addition to the lack of customs and finance regulations.

A bank representative of the People’s Bank of China in Shenzhen said financial institutions and firms in the region dealing with “high volumes of cross-border trade would be first on the list of companies piloting the platform.”

He added:

“Considering the large-scale cross-border adoption of DCEP in the future, Guangdong might be one of the most important markets.”

Xiao Lei, a financial analyst at Southern Daily, said the bay area has a well-developed business environment, a large population, and a wide range of international trade, all of which will help push with the adoption of DCEP.

China’s Digital Currency Push

China had, in the past, identified digital currencies and blockchain technology as a cornerstone of its economic strategy in the years ahead. The country even listed the latter in its “Five-Year-Plan” published in 2019.

Other developments include a blockchain-based government and supply chain verifiability in Chinese ports while adding the digital yuan to the list of payments accepted by national applications such as ride-sharing service DiDi and food delivery apps.

But that’s not all. A Chinese representative said last month that the development of an East Asian stablecoin – including powers like Singapore – would not be far, as BTCManager reported.

Shen Nanpeng of Sequoia Capital noted, at the time, that cross-border trade between Hong Kong, Japan, China, and South Korea will be bolstered by a digital currency, backed by the state-issued HKD, yen, yuan, and won respectively. “Such a move would promote economic cooperation in a post-COVID-19 world,” he added.

In previous announcements, the PBoC said that DCEP would be launched in time for the 2022 Olympic games tentatively scheduled to be held in Beijing, as noted by Decrypt. However, an official time table for the launch has yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, the race for a state-backed cryptocurrency rages on.

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Altseason Narrative Strengthens as Altcoin Market Cap Breaches Multi-Year Resistance Level

Altseason Narrative Strengthens as Altcoin Market Cap Breaches Multi-Year Resistance Level

The total altcoin market capitalization has crossed $140 billion, possibly signaling the beginning of a new altseason. 

Altcoin Market Cap Breaks Resistance

According to a tweet by cryptocurrency analyst Rekt Capital on Tuesday (August 11, 2020), the altcoin market has crossed a major resistance level, going above $140 billion for the first time in two years. This break above a multi-year resistance level after consistently maintaining support could mean the start of a sustained altseason period.

Despite the rise, the altcoin market cap is still more than 70% away from its January 2018 all-time high of about $540 billion. Altcoin token prices took massive hits during the 2018 bear market with many “coins” losing up to 90% in value. 

Most of these tokens have so far failed to engineer any sustained price recovery leaving early investors still in the red. If the altcoin market capitalization breaks above the upper resistance channel at 4180 billion, it could be the trigger for a parabolic advance in altcoin token valuation.

The last time the altcoin market cap rose above $180 billion, the crypto market was in the middle of a major bullish advance back in 2017. Many existing tokens at the time set record prices as the initial coin offering (ICO) hype drove retail investors in search of quick gains.

DeFi and Staking Setting the Pace of 2020 Altseason

Decentralized finance (DeFi) has been the major narrative in the crypto market in 2020. Although its centralized counterpart has dominated the crypto scene for a long time, recent activities in the decentralized space show DeFi’s gradual hold of the sector in a short time. 

As reported by BTCManager this August, the DeFi market cap crossed $8 billion. The current market cap stands at over $11 billion according to data from CoinGecko, with Chainlink occupying the top spot at almost $5 billion. 

Different factors such as the yield farming craze contributed to the surge in the DeFi sector. However, some analysts warn that the yield farming mania could jeopardize the growing DeFi market. Other projects like Compound and  Balancer that offer users the opportunity to supply liquidity to the protocol in exchange for high rewards also contributed to DeFi’s growth. 

Apart from DeFi, the move by several major altcoins like Ethereum and Cardano to proof-of-stake (PoS) is raising expectations for staking rewards. The anticipated ETH 2.0 update will see Ethereum move from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm to PoS. Recently, the Ethereum Foundation set up a security team ahead of the Ethereum staking upgrade. 

Also, Cardano’s project developer IOHK partnered with Coinbase Custody back in July. The collaboration will see ADA holders store and stake their tokens on the Coinbase Custody cold storage, offering security to ADA holders.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum Thought Leaders Fight It Out over “SupplyGate”

Bitcoin, Ethereum Thought Leaders Fight It Out over “SupplyGate”

Over the past week, Bitcoiners insisted that Ethereum’s total supply is impossible to calculate, however, those in the Ethereum community disagreed and say its relatively easy. It resulted in a huge debate of sorts, termed “SupplyGate” by those in the space.

Ethereum Supply Sparks Questions

How to quickly and easily calculate the supply of ether tokens has become a huge question in the cryptocurrency space. For the uninitiated, there’s no upper limit – unlike Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies – on the total supply of Ethereum, a point that is starting to irk Bitcoiners.

The Ethereum community can’t figure out what the total outstanding supply of the asset is, said co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital Anthony Pompliano, on Monday, stating it was a “major problem” that showcased ether was “not good money.”

It started when Micheal Goldstein commended on Arcane Research CIO Eric Wall’s Twitter thread; “Can they articulate how to easily and independently verify the monetary supply of ETH?”

Eric Wall claimed ETH maxis are more articulate and refined than Bitcoiners. The latter pointed to Etherscan – a public platform – when asked to provide total Ethers in circulation. 

Pierre Rochard, a Bitcoin developer, requested a script for self-verifying, but the Ethereum support said it was “too trivial” to do Pierre proposes bounty for the script. Later, someone else put together a supply script in Javascript, which did not match to Etherscan’s figures.

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, then stepped up and posted a screenshot of the website as supply proof, causing Bitcoiners to mock the 26-year-old for not being able to provide a basic script/ answer for the simple question: How many ETH anyway?

Over time, the Ethereum community gave up trying to calculate the figure and stated it was not required anyway. Bitcoiners, on Twitter, laughed that off, stating “supplyGate” mattered.

Ethereum Devs Speak up

Ethereum developers have since chimed in with their thoughts on why the ether supply is difficult to calculate. Ben Edgington of Teku, an Eth 2.0 client operator, said people were “not particularly interested” in finding out the supply of Ethereum, he said.

Ethereum core developer, Martin Holst Sweden said the current total supply was about 112 million ETH, which approximately corresponds with data from Coinmarketcap, Etherscan, and other aggregators.

Holst Swende claimed to have a “mechanism” to arrive at a calculation but said:

“The degree of importance one places on knowing the exact figure at some specific block is obviously subjective. I personally see it as more important that it can be calculated, which it obviously can, fairly easily.”

The Ethereum community had earlier called for a reduction in the issuance of new ETH to near zero. Over 10 million ether were generated by mining firms and miners in 2017 alone, an almost 10% increase in its total supply.

Meanwhile, the issuance reduction proposal, named EIP 1559, seeks to introduce a mechanism that burns part of a transaction fee and takes it out of circulation.

Until then, SupplyGate rages on.

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EMURGO and Moonstake Partner to Drive Cardano (ADA) Staking Activities in Asia

EMURGO and Moonstake Partner to Drive Cardano (ADA) Staking Activities in Asia

EMURGO, a founding member of the Cardano protocol, is partnering with Moonstake to build synergies that will help drive blockchain staking activities, broaden awareness of Cardano, and accelerate industry adoption of staking within the Cardano ecosystem as per a press release on Aug 11.

Moonstake and Emurgo Partnership

Moonstake is a blockchain and a staking technology company with eyes on the Asian market. It was established specifically to build a staking pool protocol to meet the increasing demand for the service and to be one of the largest staking networks in the region. 

With the two joining hands, EMURGO and Moonstake will conduct a technical evaluation in line with the upcoming full-scale implementation of ADA staking pools for compatibility checks.

Their signature product, Moonstake Web wallet, supports the basic function of crypto wallets driving usage and utility. Besides, it is equipped to support the staking of different digital assets including Ontology (ONT), Harmony, and soon ADA. 

Commenting on this development, Mitsuru Tezuka, applauded Cardano saying the protocol is bringing a new standard to technology. Their partnership, he adds, will bring a new era of staking in Asia.

“Cardano brings a new standard in technology – open and inclusive – to challenge the old and activate a new age of sustainable, globally-distributed innovation. We believe the partnership with EMURGO will create a new era of staking across Asia.”

Cardano Decentralization through Shelley Mainnet

Smart contracting extends the functionalities of single-purpose blockchains like Bitcoin. Through Cardano, physical assets can be tokenized and secured in a transparent network. Cardano is emerging as a worthy competitor for Ethereum. 

Just recently, the Shelley mainnet was launched enabling staking pool operators to receive ADA coins delegated from coin holders. The Shelley mainnet marked Cardano’s decentralization. At the moment, there are over 600 staking pools. In a Proof-of-Stake platform like Cardano, this high level of participation translates to better security thanks to satisfactory decentralization. 

Currently, Moonstake operates three validators in Cardano ADA pools but plans to add more with time in line with their general objective of being the largest staking network in Asia. Already several of their partners and users have expressed their desire to stake through their wallet once ADA delegating functionality is fully-enabled.

Early July, BTCManagereported of Cardano’s partnership deal with Coinbase Custody for secure staking.

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Elrond (ERD) Brings Decentralized Identities into Its Ecosystem with Ontology (ONT) Partnership

Elrond (ERD) Brings Decentralized Identities into Its Ecosystem with Ontology (ONT) Partnership

Elrond (ERD), has inked a partnership with Ontology (ONT) to enable its users to seamlessly access the latter’s decentralized identity framework and data management features.

Bringing Decentralized Identities to Elrond Ecosystem

In a recent blog post, Elrond CEO, Beniamin Mincu, announced that the network had joined forces with Ontology, a high-performance blockchain that focuses on solving issues pertaining to identity security and data integrity.

According to the announcement, Elrond and Ontology will jointly develop interoperability solutions to bridge the operational gap between the two protocols.

Specifically, the aim is to enable seamless transmission of information originating on the Elrond network to the broader Ontology ecosystem. This will allow Elrond users to add their Elrond addresses to the ONTO wallet and bind them to their ONT ID.

Once an interoperable bridge has been established between the two blockchains, users will be able to authenticate against an Elrond application using their Ontology ONT ID. In addition, the bridge will facilitate the hassle-free movement of assets between the two blockchains.

Commenting on the development, Beniamin Mincu, noted,

“This integration enables shorter time to market for applications looking to deploy complex business logic onto the Elrond blockchain. The Ontology identity framework decreases the effort required for implementing comprehensive identity & access management processes in applications built on our mainnet.”

Ontology Co-founder, Andy Ji echoed similar sentiments saying that collaboration will bootstrap the adoption of Ontology decentralized identity solutions for enterprises seeking to leverage the highly-scalable and robust Elrond network.

Elrond Network Continues to Expand

Elrond is a rapidly growing high-throughput, decentralized blockchain architecture that promises to solve some of the long-existing pain points of distributed ledger technology (DLT), including scalability.

Elrond successfully launched its highly-anticipated mainnet on July 30 after recording a peak of 260,000TPS on its testnet which involved over 1,500 nodes in 29 countries, and 50 shards.

As far as its technical infrastructure is concerned, Elrond leverages Adaptive State Sharding and Secure Proof-of-Stake (SPoS) which helps it scale transactions and sets it apart from the vast majority of other scalable blockchain projects.

At press time, Elrond’s ERD token trades at $0.023 with a market cap of over $317 million, as seen on CoinGecko.

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MicroStrategy Becomes First Listed Company to Hold Bitcoin as Reserve Asset

MicroStrategy Becomes First Listed Company to Hold Bitcoin as Reserve Asset

The “Bitcoin (BTC) as a hard asset” narrative is spreading beyond retail investors to the corporate world as MicroStrategy purchases 21,454 BTC worth over $250 million.

Nasdaq-listed MicroStrategy Buys $250M in BTC

The Nasdaq-listed MicroStrategy announced the news of Bitcoin treasury allocation via a press release issued on Tuesday (August 11, 2020). According to the announcement, the $1.2 billion firm bought about $250 million in BTC.

Commenting on the decision, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor remarked:

“This investment reflects our belief that Bitcoin, as the world’s most widely-adopted cryptocurrency, is a dependable store of value and an attractive investment asset with more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash. Since its inception over a decade ago, Bitcoin has emerged as a significant addition to the global financial system, with characteristics that are useful to both individuals and institutions.”

Saylor’s remarks echo the sentiments espoused by Bitcoin proponents in arguments highlighting the crypto’s place as a hedge against uncertainties in the mainstream market and negative interest rates by central banks. Indeed, the MicroStrategy CEO went on to state: “MicroStrategy has recognized Bitcoin as a legitimate investment asset that can be superior to cash and accordingly has made Bitcoin the principal holding in its treasury reserve strategy.”

Apart from recognizing Bitcoin’s potential as a hedge against inflation, the business intelligence firm revealed that it settled on BTC as its preferred choice due to the assurance of significant returns on investment. Indeed, Bitcoin has been the best-performing asset of the last decade and is currently up more than 60 percent year-to-date.

Several Bitcoin proponents were quick to react to the news with the likes of Grayscale’s Barry Silbert and VanEck’s lauding the move. Several commentators identified the implication of a public company hedging with Bitcoin as an endorsement of BTC’s status as a haven asset.

Institutional Bitcoin Adoption on the Rise

The news of MicroStrategy buying $250 million in Bitcoin as a treasury reserve asset is the latest in a series of positive adoption developments from institutional investors. Earlier in August, Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs appointed a new global head of digital assets only weeks after telling clients that BTC was not a good investment bet.

Businesses owning Bitcoin as a marketable investment on their corporate balance sheets is likely an indication of a wave of institutional interest. Such deep pockets entering BTC positions could be the propelling force for the largest crypto by market cap setting a new all-time high.

As previously reported by BTCManager, crypto research platform Messari predicts that a 1% allocation of institutional funds in Bitcoin could cause a massive parabolic advance for BTC. Such a move could see Bitcoin reach a spot market price of $50,000.

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Stocks of Riot Blockchain and Marathon Patent Surge Amidst Bitcoin’s Bullish Movement

Stocks of Riot Blockchain and Marathon Patent Surge Amidst Bitcoin’s Bullish Movement

Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ: RIOT) and Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ: MARA), two of the very few crypto mining firms listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange are experiencing a significant surge in their share prices as the price of bitcoin (BTC) continues to rally, according to reports on August 10, 2020.

Nasdaq-Listed Bitcoin Mining Firms See Green 

The price of bitcoin has increased by over 200 percent since its March lows, ushering in a new sense of enthusiasm into the hearts of “hodlers” of the flagship cryptocurrency, while also helping bitcoin miners and related businesses to generate massive gains.

Per sources close to the latest development, the stock price of Riot Blockchain, a NASDAQ-listed cryptocurrency mining and distributed ledger technology (DLT) company has risen by 97 percent in the last 12 months, while that of Marathon Patent Group has surged by a massive 128 percent.

The COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in renewing the interest of both retail and institutional investors in bitcoin as a store of value and asset class amidst the rising U.S. debt crisis which has been worsened by the global health crisis.

Commenting on the matter, Ryan Watkins, bitcoin analyst at Messari noted that it’s natural for mining stocks to surge during bitcoin bull runs as “investors are pricing in a bull market, which could cause revenue to balloon.”

Crunching The Numbers 

Established in  2000, Riot Blockchain claims to be focused on building, supporting, and operating blockchain technologies. The firm’s crypto mining capacity sits at 357 petahash per second, and its market capitalization is $142.65 million. 

On August 11, Riot Blockchain released its financial results for Q2, 2020. In the report, the firm claims its revenue increased to $4.3 million from $3.8 million in the same six-month period last year.  Also, Riot has revealed that its mining margin also increased to 33.5 percent from 20.5 percent during Q2 2019. 

What’s more, Riot’s daily trading volume has also witnessed a significant spike, rising from less than $5 million in July, to an ATH of $58 million in August.

On the other hand, Marathon Patent Group was founded in 2010. The company manages a mining capacity of 19 petahash per second. Marathon’s daily trading volume reached an all-time high of over $225 million on August 3.

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