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Nvidia: 'Substantial Decline' in GPU Sales from Crypto Miners

Nvidia saw a “substantial decline” in revenue from cryptocurrency miners, the company announced in its second quarter results Thursday.

The chip manufacturer announced its Q2 results Thursday afternoon, noting that graphic processing unit (GPU) sales due to cryptominers had dropped significantly. Commentary by chief financial officer Colette Kress stated that while “GPU business revenue was $2.66 billion, up 40 percent from a year earlier,” it was “down 4 percent sequentially, led by record performance in gaming, professional visualization and datacenter, offsetting a substantial decline in cryptocurrency GPUs.”

She added:

“Our revenue outlook had anticipated cryptocurrency-specific products declining to approximately $100 million, while actual crypto-specific product revenue was $18 million. Whereas we had previously anticipated cryptocurrency to be meaningful for the year, we are now projecting no contributions going forward.”

Through the rest of the year, she said, “revenue is expected to be $3.25 billion, plus or minus two percent. We are including no contribution from crypto in our revenue outlook.”

The chip producer has seen GPU demand rise over the last year, largely due to cryptominers. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said in March that the company needed to ramp up its production to ensure that both miners and gamers had sufficient graphics cards.

That being said, the company has downplayed the actual impact mining demand has had on its financials. Kress said it was “hard to quantify” how much of its business came from miners versus traditional markets.

During a previous earnings call, an Nvidia representative said the company modeled cryptocurrency profits “approximately flat,” adding that much of the demand for its graphics cards came from the number of “amazing games that are out right now.”

Nvidia image via jejim / Shutterstock

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US Senate to Examine Energy Efficiency of Blockchain

The U.S. Senate is set to take another look at blockchain technology next week.

The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will host a hearing on “Energy Efficiency of Blockchain and Similar Technologies” on August 21, in an effort to better understand how blockchain technology might impact electricity prices and what benefits it can provide, according to a public announcement.

“The purpose of the hearing is to consider the energy efficiency of blockchain and similar technologies and the cybersecurity possibilities of such technologies for energy industry applications,” the announcement said.

Specifically, it continued, the event will ask the question, “should we expect electricity prices to increase from rising electricity demand in blockchain applications?”

The effort also aims to evaluate whether blockchain and similar technologies might soon bring improvements in the online security of energy supply computer systems.

The event will be a full committee hearing, meaning, at least theoretically, all 23 members will be present.

While the announcement included the fact that there would be witnesses testifying, it did not detail who they would be.

This is the first time a Senate committee hearing has explicitly focused on blockchain’s potential role and affects within the energy industry. However, past hearings have covered areas ranging from regulating cryptocurrency startups and initial coin offerings to supply chain use cases.

Capitol Hill image via Shutterstock

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Coinbase Acquires Digital Identity Startup Distributed Systems

Coinbase has acquired Distributed Systems, a San Francisco-based digital identity startup, the company announced Wednesday.

Distributed Systems has already been working on “decentralized identity solutions,” Coinbase Identity project manager B Byrne wrote in a blog post. The startup’s five-person team will join a unit within Coinbase that is dedicated to developing digital identity solutions.

Blockchain can help individuals maintain complete control over their digital identities, ensuring that their personal information remains safe, Byrne said. He went on to write that this could apply to Social Security Numbers for Americans by adding protections for users, as an example.

Byrne argued:

“Every time you want to prove who you are with your SSN, you need to give away a copy of it. That copy has exactly the same power as the original, so when there’s a data breach with copies of your data it puts your identity at risk. A decentralized identity will let you prove that you own an identity, or that you have a relationship with the Social Security Administration, without making a copy of that identity.”

“If you stretch your imagination a little further, you can imagine this applying to your photos, social media posts and maybe one day your passport too,” he added.

That being said, Coinbase appears to be in no hurry to implement digital identity tools. Byrne wrote that the exchange will be “deliberate about how and where we apply this technology.”

The exchange will need to consider issues around anonymity, privacy and the immutability of a blockchain as part of its exploration of the technology, he said.

Coinbase image via Shutterstock

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Bitmain Confirms New Crypto Mining Facility in Texas

Bitcoin mining hardware giant Bitmain is officially setting up shop in Rockdale, Texas, and expects to launch mining operations early next year.

The firm confirmed Monday that it is investing $500 million over the next seven years into a new blockchain data center in the U.S. state as part of its “strategic investment and expansion plans within North America.” The facility will employ 400 residents, and Bitmain also intends to launch educational and training programs for potential employees.

Rumors that Bitmain would open the facility first emerged last month when a local newspaper reported that the company was taking over a former aluminum smelting facility, according to the Dallas News. However, public officials said they could not speak about the project at the time.

That being said, the newspaper described the new bitcoin mining operation as “the worst-kept secret in the Rockdale area.”

The Chinese mining firm, valued at approximately $12 billion, had already posted preliminary job openings for the move on online employment listings website Indeed.com.

Bitmain’s Rockdale operations joins its planned Washington state facility. This past April, Bitmain received approval for a land lease to set up mining operations in the state, though it faced a backlash from some local residents skeptical about crypto mining, with one claiming it “creates wealth for the owner with no trickle down.”

Beyond expanding operations in the U.S., Bitmain is also reportedly looking to open offices in Brazil, having already successfully created several international bases in which to carry out bitcoin mining operations in both Switzerland and Israel.

Mining image via Shutterstock

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Ripple Taps Bill Clinton to Give Keynote at Upcoming Conference

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will headline Ripple’s Swell conference later this year, the cryptocurrency payments startup announced Tuesday.

The 42nd President of the United States will both give a keynote address and participate in a question-and-answer session, Ripple said in a press release. The conference will take place in San Francisco over the first two days of October.

Clinton “helped usher in a period of extreme growth and adoption of the internet” as president, according to the release. He also oversaw programs which helped communities and individuals gain access to the internet during his presidency.

The release added:

“These learnings are perhaps more relevant now than ever before. Like the Internet boom of the 90’s, we are at an impasse: digital assets and blockchain technology offer a way for value to be exchanged as quickly as information – creating more financial inclusion and economic opportunity. However, with this new technology comes potential for concern, requiring thoughtful policy to protect consumers from risk without hampering innovation.”

The question-and-answer session will be hosted by former National Economic Council director and advisor Gene Sperling, who served under both Clinton and President Barack Obama, and is currently on Ripple’s board of directors.

Bill Clinton image via Anthony Correia / Shutterstock

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South Carolina Ends Cease & Desist Orders Against Crypto Startups

South Carolina’s securities regulator has ended cease-and-desist orders against two blockchain startups, public documents revealed Thursday.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s office, which oversees securities regulation in the state, published two orders explaining that a cease-and-desist filed against blockchain startup ShipChain in May was vacated, and another complaint filed against mining firm Genesis Mining in March removed the company as a respondent. The moves mark the first time such orders were dropped against blockchain startups in the state.

The regulator had claimed that ShipChain’s tokens and Genesis Mining’s mining contracts were both unregistered securities. ShipChain pushed back against this claim in May, saying in a statement that the firm did “not believe [its] tokens are securities.” Furthermore, ShipChain claimed it was unaware South Carolina residents could purchase its SHIP tokens.

On Thursday, deputy securities commissioner Tracy Meyers wrote “the Securities Division of the Office of the Attorney General of the State of South Carolina, after receiving information regarding matters detailed in the Administrative Order to Cease and Desist issued … upon due consideration of such information, finds good cause has been shown to vacate the [order],” referring to ShipChain.

Similarly, Genesis Mining was dismissed from a its own cease and desist order. Swiss Gold Global, which was charged with acting as an unregistered broker-dealer for Genesis Mining at the same time, was not dismissed from the order.

Shipping containers image via Shutterstock

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BRICS Bank Consortium to Research Blockchain Applications

A consortium of state-owned development banks plan to research blockchain technology for international transactions and other products, Russia-based Vnesheconombank said Thursday.

Vnesheconombank, the Brazilian Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of India, the China Development Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa signed an agreement to conduct research on how they can use blockchain research to develop a digital economy, according to a press release.

These national development banks are generally tasked with supporting economic development in a nation. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are also often referred to as “BRICS” as a group of nations with emerging economies.

In the release, Vnesheconombank first deputy chairman Mikhail Poluboyarinov said the BRICS nations’ development banks collaborate “in a range of key areas,” which include improving financial cooperation between the nations and developing credit card financing tools for national currencies.

The research would also examine how to implement any new innovations, he said.

He added:

“This joint work opens new opportunities for Russian exporters, operators of large industrial projects, recipients of investments. The current agreement allows the development banks of BRICS countries to study the applications of innovative technologies in infrastructure finance and bank products optimization.”

Details about the research, including when the banks expect to begin the research project, were not available at press time.

BRICS flags image via Shutterstock

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Swiss Markets Authority Investigates Troubled $100 Million ICO

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) announced Thursday that it is investigating blockchain startup Envion AG for potentially breaking financial market rules with its initial coin offering (ICO).

Envion, which raised $100 million in the ICO earlier this year, has allegedly broken banking laws by accepting public deposits in exchange for its EVN token, despite such transactions not being allowed, according to a FINMA press release.

The regulator states:

“Investigations carried out by FINMA to date indicate that, in the context of its ICO, envion AG accepted funds amounting to approximately one hundred million francs from more than 30,000 investors in return for issuing EVN tokens in a bond-like form.”

The enforcement proceedings are only the latest setback for the startup, which has been in limbo for months after its executives began accusing each other of wrongdoing.

The New York Times reported in May that the firm’s chief executive, Matthias Woestmann, had claimed that the founders generated extra EVN tokens as part of a money grab. The founders, on the other hand, claimed that Woestmann had seized control of the firm and breached his contract.

Swiss flag 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.

This article is intended as a news item to inform our readers of various events and developments that affect, or that might in the future affect, the value of the cryptocurrency described above. The information contained herein is not intended to provide, and it does not provide, sufficient information to form the basis for an investment decision, and you should not rely on this information for that purpose. The information presented herein is accurate only as of its date, and it was not prepared by a research analyst or other investment professional. You should seek additional information regarding the merits and risks of investing in any cryptocurrency before deciding to purchase or sell any such instruments.

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AMD Sees Q2 Drop in GPU Sales to Crypto Miners

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) said Wednesday that sales of graphics cards (GPUs) to cryptocurrency miners fell during the second quarter.

The company published its quarterly earnings report late Wednesday afternoon, reporting a 3 percent quarter-to-quarter decline in revenue for its Computing and Graphics segment. The unit brought in $1.09 billion, which AMD said was a 64 percent jump year-over-year. In an earnings call, CEO Lisa Su added that approximately 6 percent of AMD’s revenue came from selling to crypto-miners, down from 10 percent in the first quarter.

Still, that quarterly decline was driven in part from lower revenue from what it called “the blockchain market” – that is, miners who use AMD’s graphics cards for the energy-intensive mining process.

AMD said in its report:

“Computing and Graphics segment revenue was $1.09 billion, up 64 percent year-over-year and down 3 percent quarter-over-quarter. Year-over-year revenue growth was driven by strong sales of Radeon products and continued growth of Ryzen products. The quarter-over-quarter decline was primarily related to lower revenue from GPU products in the blockchain market.”

Further, the GPU maker expects this trend to continue, but it anticipates that sales of other products will offset the decline.

The company expects the decline in GPU sales for crypto mining to continue, though it expects to offset the drop with sales from other products.

“For the third quarter of 2018, AMD expects revenue to be approximately $1.7 billion, plus or minus $50 million, an increase of approximately 7 percent year-over-year, and non-GAAP gross margin to increase to approximately 38 percent, driven by the sales growth of Ryzen and EPYC products, partially offset by lower sales of GPU products in the blockchain market,” AMD said.

During the earnings call, Su said “we’re expecting very little from blockchain” in terms of third-quarter revenue.

“If you update that on a full-year basis, for 2018 blockchain will be lower than what we had previously discussed in our last earnings call. Previously we said mid-to-high single digits … but we’ll watch that develop over the next two quarters,” she said.

AMD image via michelmond / 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.

This article is intended as a news item to inform our readers of various events and developments that affect, or that might in the future affect, the value of the cryptocurrency described above. The information contained herein is not intended to provide, and it does not provide, sufficient information to form the basis for an investment decision, and you should not rely on this information for that purpose. The information presented herein is accurate only as of its date, and it was not prepared by a research analyst or other investment professional. You should seek additional information regarding the merits and risks of investing in any cryptocurrency before deciding to purchase or sell any such instruments.

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Coinbase Launches Crypto Gift Card Service in Europe

U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is now offering a way to let customers purchase retail goods and services using crypto assets, thanks to a new partnership with a digital gift card startup.

According to a report from Bloomberg on Wednesday, Coinbase has integrated its wallet services with WeGift, a London-based online gift card platform, and now allows users to purchase gift cards with cryptocurrency stored in their Coinbase wallets. Currently, the exchange supports bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin and ethereum, with more likely to be added soon.

Based on information provided by WeGift’s website, gift cards purchased by cryptocurrencies can be used in over 120 retailers that accept WeGift, including Tesco, M&S, Uber, Carrefour, Google Play and Costa.

The service is so far only available in the U.K., France, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy.

In 2013, Coinbase also partnered with a New York-based digital gift card firm called eGifter to offer crypto gift cards.

The move comes just months after the exchange secured an e-money license authorized by U.K. markets watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority. As previously reported by CoinDesk, the license gave the company the ability to provide payment services and issue digital cash alternatives in the country, which can then be used to make card, internet or phone payments.

Coinbase 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.