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Bitfury Brings Lightning Payments to US Payment Gateway HadePay

HadePay now features Bitfury’s Lightning Peach API, allowing merchants to accept Lightning Network transactions.

Bitcoin (BTC) mining and development company Bitfury has entered into a partnership with United States payments processor startup HadePay to allow its merchants to accept Lightning Network (LN) transactions. The news was announced in a blog post from Bitfury’s on March 14.

HadePay implemented Bitfury’s Lightning Peach API to facilitate LN payments, which are significantly faster and cheaper than conventional Bitcoin transactions.

The startup worked with Bitfury’s Lightning Peach team, a dedicated spin-off group of engineers focused on Lightning Network promotion.

As a payments gateway, HadePay already lets clients accept crypto and fiat currencies as well as payments via various services, such as PayPal and Square.

“HadePay’s wide network will now be able to accept bitcoin knowing that the transaction will go through almost immediately,” Lightning Peach head Pavel Prikhodko commented in the blog post, adding:

“The Lightning Network is an essential tool for efficient cryptocurrency payments, and we’re thrilled to be bringing it that much closer to worldwide adoption.”

The move marks the latest push for the LN courtesy of Bitfury, the company having brought the same feature to its first exchange partner, Poland’s BTCBIT, in January.

As Cointelegraph reported, the technology is seeing heightened publicity in 2019, mostly due to the ongoing Lightning Torch transaction relay experiment.  

Passed between network participants, the Torch has seen ownership from figures including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who subsequently pledged to implement LN payments on both Twitter and payments platform Square.

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PwC Partners With BitFury to Create Blockchain Accelerator in Russia

Mining and blockchain software company Bitfury partners with global consulting group PwC to launch a blockchain accelerator in Russia.

Big four consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has partnered with mining and blockchain software company Bitfury Group to create a blockchain accelerator for businesses in Russia, according to a PwC press release today, Dec. 13.

The release explains that PwC has already used Exonum — Bitfury’s open source framework for building blockchain applications — for educational courses and seminars.

According to the release, the main goal of the new accelerator is to meet the “current needs” of the consulting giant’s enterprise clients in Russia. Victor Nelin, an IT consulting manager at PwC’s Russian branch, claimed that BitFury and PwC will provide “fundamentally new” products to companies in different industries within the next few years.

The release also cites a recent PwC study on blockchain implementation in the energy sector. The company believes that blockchain can “drastically” change the modern economy and cut personnel and infrastructure costs with the automation of business processes.

With a revenue totalling over $41 billion for the 2018 fiscal year, PwC is currently the second largest among the Big Four professional services firms.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, in November Bitfury’s Russian branch launched another blockchain accelerator with the Moscow-based Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. As part of the partnership, the university committed to offering blockchain-related courses and additional educational programs.

PwC will also launch its own accelerator to bolster its employees’ knowledge of blockchain via a two-year program starting January 2019. The United Kingdom-based company expects to train as many as 1000 employees.

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South Korean Biotech Firm to Use Blockchain for Genomic Big Data Ecosystem

Public South Korean biotech enterprise Macrogen, the country’s leading gene sequencing service provider, is developing a genomic big data blockchain-based platform together with local tech firm Bigster, according to an August 6 press release.

The new partnership will leverage blockchain tech to create a medical big data ecosystem that would allow for both the secure and private storage and the transfer of large amounts of sensitive genomic and personal information.

As the press release notes, advances in genomics are reshaping the global medical landscape, allowing for individually customized diagnoses, treatment and prevention. Medical big data, which integrates individuals’ genomic, health and lifestyle information, is both highly sensitive and of exceptional value for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

Speaking to local news outlet The Korea Herald, Macrogen CEO Yang Kap-seok commented,

“Despite its wide utility, gene data has been difficult to move around due to privacy protection issues and technological barriers. We hope that our upcoming blockchain-based platform will allow health care genet[ic] and medical big data to be circulated freely.”

Macrogen and Bigster aim to develop the platform by June 2019, and have opted to create a permissioned blockchain that would restrict access to specific institutions such as pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, hospitals, and research institutes.

As Cointelegraph reported this May, a precedent for the use of blockchain for the secure exchange of genomic data has been set by American Nebula Genomics’ cooperation with Longenesis — the latter being a Hong-Kong-based partnership between Insilico Medicine and the Bitfury Group.

In April, US healthcare giant UnitedHealth Group announced it would be implementing blockchain to keep its records up to date in a more efficient, secure and accessible manner.

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Bitcoin Mining Firm Opens Massive Farm In Canada Despite Declining Prices

On July 16th, Hut 8, one of Canada‘s foremost Bitcoin mining firms, announced that the construction of its newest mining facility was complete.

The press release issued by the company states that its new Bitcoin mining facility, located in the small Canadian city of Medicine Hat, has been recently completed, including the recent electrification of 24 “BlockBox” datacenters. Hut 8 revealed that this operation was completed two months ahead of its September 2018 deadline, as a result of their “employees hard work” and help from third-party entities.

With these new installations, Hut 8 now operates 40 BlockBox datacenters in Medicine Hat and 17 in the nearby city of Drumheller, with each of these datacenters requiring 1.2 MW of electricity at full power.

According to the firm, 66.7 MW of energy of “fully-funded operating power” can output a staggering 487.5 petahashes per second. Andrew Kiguel, President, and CEO of Hut 8 gave a statement regarding the new facility and state of his company, noting:

With 66.7 MW of aggregate operating capacity, we believe we are the largest cryptocurrency miner in Canada and the largest publicly-traded cryptocurrency miner by operating capacity in the world.

Hut 8 Still Sees Successful Start to 2018 Despite Declining Prices 

Despite seeing Bitcoin prices fall by nearly 70% since the start of the year, and mining profits fall even further, Hut 8 still has managed to procure nearly 1,900 Bitcoin since the launch of the firm in December. At current market values, Hut 8’s Bitcoin stash totals to a value of over $14.1 million U.S. dollars.

It has become apparent that BitFury, one of Bitmain’s main competitors, was integral to the success of the company, who provided Hut 8 with powerful mining hardware and essential services. The so-called ‘BlockBoxes’ are reported to output a total of 9 petahashes/second, easily outperforming a majority of other ASIC facilities.

Hut 8’s Publicly Traded Shares Jump 15% 

Hut 8 raised $108 million Canadian dollars from two separate financings at an earlier date last year. But now, the collective value of all of Hut 8’s publicly traded shares, with the ticker HUT.V, is at $252 million, with this price level indicating the market sees this firm as a good investment.

As a result of the aforementioned announcement, coupled with Bitcoin’s most recent price surge, HUT has risen by over 15% in the past three days.

According to CoinTelegraph, unnamed insider sources still expect for the shares of the firm to still reach a target of $7.85 within the near future, despite currently sitting at just ~40% of that price target.

It is currently unclear whether the predictions of these sources will be accurate, but Hut’s influence over the Bitcoin mining industry should not be underestimated.


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Canada: Bitcoin Miner Hut 8 Becomes ‘Largest’ by Capacity After Second Site Opening

Toronto-based Bitcoin mining company Hut 8 has announced the completion of its second mining facility in Canada on July 16, claiming to have become the world’s “largest publicly-traded” operator by capacity.

In a press release, Hut 8 revealed its Medicine Hat farm had been completed ahead of its September deadline, joining its existing operation in the city of Drumheller.

Launched through a partnership with BitFury, which provided the company access to mining hardware and other necessities, Hut 8 has mined around 1,900 Bitcoin (BTC) since its original launch in December last year, the press release notes.

BitFury and Hut 8’s comparative success further diversifies the Bitcoin mining market, which continues to see dominance from the Chinese-owned Bitmain. Hut 8 president and CEO Andrew Kiguel noted in the press release,

“With 66.7 MW of aggregate operating capacity, we believe we are the largest cryptocurrency miner in Canada and the largest publicly-traded cryptocurrency miner by operating capacity in the world.”

Sources familiar with the Hut 8 plans said the company’s trailing share price — currently $2.45 against an initial listing price of $4.70 — would still transform to reach a target $7.85.

Canada has become a challenging environment for large-scale cryptocurrency miners this year. Attempts to engage in the practice in the province of Quebec met with considerable backlash from local politicians, who appeared to criticize the lack of “value” such businesses would give back to the economy.

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Bitfury-Backed Group Mined 800 Bitcoins in Q1

The Bitfury-backed Hut 8 Mining Group mined more than 800 bitcoins in the first quarter of 2018, the company reported Thursday.

In a summary of its quarterly financial results, the company noted it raised $70 million CAD to continue investing in mining hardware, generated nearly $11 million CAD in revenue and is one step closer to opening another facility in Canada. Chief executive Andrew Kiguel said he was “pleased” with the work conducted so far, given that Hut 8 first began operations in late December 2017.

The 828 bitcoins mined in the first quarter of 2018 join another roughly 500 coins mined since December, meaning the company currently has a reserve of more than 1,300 bitcoins, he said in a statement. However, Hut 8 is not done developing its facilities: he noted that the company has begun construction of a new datacenter in the City of Medicine Hat, which will more than triple the company’s mining capacity.

The new facility will launch production in September, he said, adding:

“The City of Medicine Hat site will consist of an additional 40 BlockBoxes. Once operational, Hut 8 will own 57 BlockBoxes, representing a 335 percent increase from current mining capacity, securing our position as one of the largest publicly traded Bitcoin miners in the world, with a total of 66.7 MW of power capacity and 448 PH/s. With this increase in BlockBoxes from 17 to 57, we expect that our daily mining production will increase significantly. We believe our City of Medicine Hat Facility will represent operational excellence and set a new global benchmark for industrial scale cryptocurrency mining operations.”

At existing costs, Hut 8 spends approximately $2,615 CAD per bitcoin mined, according to the report. However, due to bitcoin’s dropping price, it is recording a loss of nearly $4 million CAD on its profit margin. Excluding depreciation, its gross profit is nearly $9 million, the company said.

Datacenter image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Germany’s BaFin Visits National Bank of Georgia to Discuss Crypto Regulations

One of the largest financial supervisors in Europe met with the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) and other members of the finance sector to discuss cryptocurrency regulation, according to a post on the NBG’s site May 18.

According to the post, a representative from Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) met with members of the NBG, the international financial institutions (IFI), private sector, commercial banks, brokers, audit, and legal companies to increase awareness of crypto in the country. At the meeting, the participants had a chance to receive detailed information on the crypto industry from the leading financial supervisory authority of Europe.

In December 2017, Georgia’s NBG took a sceptical stance towards cryptocurrencies, urging citizens to be cautious. The bank told the public that cryptocurrencies do not constitute a legal means of payment, any crypto-related activity is not regulated, and that the NBG bears no responsibility for the subject:

“National Bank of Georgia would like to warn citizens on this matter. Cryptocurrencies do not represent means of legal payment in Georgia. Any sort of activity conducted within this sector is not regulated by legislature and therefore is not a sphere of influence of NBG.”

Georgia is ranked second in the world after China in the number of known crypto mining facilities, according to Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study issued by Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance in 2017.

In April 2016, the Georgian government and leading Bitcoin (BTC) mining hardware manufacturer BitFury launched a project to record land titles on blockchain. By April 2017, the parties had managed to register more than 100,000 titles.

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Justice Department Veteran Backs Bitcoin Crime-Fighting Tool

Blockchain services provider Bitfury has hired an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Justice to lead the American push of its bitcoin blockchain tracking product, Crystal.

Bitfury announced Friday that Michael DuBose, who led the DoJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section from 2000-2011, will be joining the firm as president of Crystal USA, where he will “help introduce Crystal … to U.S. law enforcement agents, financial groups and other key audiences,” according to a company statement.

“I am thrilled to play a key role at Bitfury leading business growth for Crystal,” DuBose said Thursday. “Crystal makes it much easier to identify and track criminal activities on the blockchain, thereby providing a vital service to law enforcement agencies, financial institutions and other groups across the United States.”

Bitfury, which also provides bitcoin mining hardware, first unveiled Crystal in January, offering a way for firms and law enforcement agencies to track transactions on the bitcoin blockchain. The software scores transactions and addresses according to their risk, flagging bitcoin movements that may be associated with illegal activities, for example.

According to Bitfury, the tool can help the authorities speed up their investigations into illicit activities involving the cryptocurrency. The firm’s website says that it took just three hours to find the entity behind the $5 billion WannaCry ransomware attacks last May.

“If law enforcement agencies had had the proper tool to find criminals on the Bitcoin Blockchain,” the company said in a presentation, “they could have quickly cornered the criminals and prevented further global damage.”

Bitfury also markets Crystal to companies, which face potential legal repercussions for accepting bitcoin derived from black market activities. Using Crystal, Bitfury CEO Valery Vavilov told CoinDesk in January, “you can track bitcoin transactions and see if this bitcoin address that you’re getting money from is green or black.”

DoJ image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Australia: Disused Coal Plant To Become ‘Blockchain Applications Complex’

Two blockchain companies have partnered to launch a $190 mln Bitcoin mining operation in a disused coal plant in Australia. The deal was confirmed in an official announcement May 7.

In a statement on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Australian startup IoT Blockchain and mining hardware distributor Royalti Blockchain Group revealed their joint plan to build a mining complex in a disused power station.

Together, they plan on turning Redbank power station into a “Blockchain Applications Complex,” with nearby Hunter Energy Power Station sourcing cut-price power for the project. If the initiative succeeds, it will result in a Bitcoin mining operation spanning two hectares.

Repurposing old energy real estate for Bitcoin mining has become a rapidly-increasing trend in recent years, but has often met with teething problems.

Similar attempts in New York State and across the border in Canada drew criticism from authorities, who considered such projects did not generate sufficient value for the local economy, Cointelegraph reported earlier this year.

The Blockchain Applications Complex, however, seeks to secure its fuel for the next decade of mining in an area of New South Wales around 120 km north of Sydney.

A 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.