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Bitmain Scales Back Texas Bitcoin Mine




Chinese cryptocurrency company Bitmain has suspended its operations in Rockdale, east of Austin. The future of what was billed as the biggest cryptocurrency mine in the country just a few months ago is now uncertain.  The county had recently struggled after two of the largest employers had shut down and the county lost an estimated 30 percent in tax base.

“I’m really disappointed because we had advertised this. We had waited for this. We had wanted this. We had welcomed this,” Milam County Judge Steve Young said. “This was huge, we need some positive news here. We need some jobs here. We need tax base here and this was a step in the right direction.”

Young issued a statement earlier in the day saying all Bitmain employees other than two engineers and the director of human relations had been laid off and all operations had been suspended. Young later said things aren’t as dire as he originally thought and the company has told him it will continue with a less ambitious facility.

“They have spent millions thus far to renovate the buildings,” Young said. “I’m told there are 7,000 or 8,000 servers out there already.”

One reason Young cited for the decision to scale back was the precipitous drop in the value of bitcoin, the cryptocurrency the company focuses its mining efforts on and for which it sells hardware to mine.

When Bitmain announced it was bringing the $500 million investment and 400 jobs to an aluminum smelter outside Rockdale in July, the value of Bitcoin was over $8,000 per coin. Today, it’s less than half at $3,700.

Bitmain officials have declined comment, but in an email to Young shared with TPR, a company spokesman said it had reduced staff not only at the Rockdale site as it has across the company.

“The right-sized team at Rockdale now has the expertise to re-start the project at small scale anytime. Bitmain would like to ramp up the site at a slower pace and scale based on market conditions,” said the spokesman.

The company has reportedly laid off more than half its global workforce and closed its operations in Israel. Young said he was told there are currently five employees at the Rockdale site, down from around 15. Rockdale City Manager Chris Whittaker said he’s hopeful the company continues in Rockdale and there are still positive things happening at the former aluminum smelter.

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Bitmain’s Two Founders to Step Aside as Chinese Cryptocurrency Giant Taps Software Coder as New CEO



Crypto Billionaire

Bitmain Technology, the world’s biggest maker of cryptocurrency mining rigs, is poised to name a new CEO to replace company co-founders Wu Jihan and Zhan Ketuan, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The potential successor is Wang Haichao, who currently holds the position of product engineering director at the Beijing-based company, but has already taken over duties from co-CEO Wu and Zhan in a transition period that started in December, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

There is no timetable yet for Wang to take over the CEO position from Wu and Zhan, who will remain as the company’s co-chairs, one of the people said.

Bitmain declined to comment on the leadership change, which was first reported two weeks ago in local media. Wang could not be reached for comment.

After Wang takes over, Wu and Zhan will move away from the company’s day-to-day business activities but will still make final calls on big decisions, one of the people said. It has been reported that the pair disagreed on certain issues as co-CEOs.

Before Bitmain, Wang worked at Beijing-based semiconductor design house Availink from 2010 to 2017, in roles that included software programmer and product manager, according to Chinese media. He graduated from Beijing’s Tsinghua University, considered to be the MIT of China.

Bitmain, which accounts for 75 per cent of the world’s specialised computers used to earn new units of digital money, is going through tough times amid a prolonged bear market in cryptocurrencies. In 2018 bitcoin, the world’s biggest form of digital money, lost more than 70 per cent of its value. In total nearly US$500 billion has been wiped off the value of the more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies in the market.

In September Bitmain filed an application to publicly list in Hong Kong, following a similar move by smaller Chinese rivals Canaan Creative and Ebang International. However, the city’s market regulator and stock exchange operator are unlikely to approve initial public offerings for any cryptocurrency-related business, citing the lack of regulation in the industry, people familiar with the situation told the Post previously.

Last month Bitmain said it was planning lay-offs amid the industry crunch, though it did not specify the extent of the job cuts.

At the end of June, Bitmain had 2,594 full-time employees including some 840 engineers, according to its IPO prospectus. Currently the company has over 3,000 staffers and is planning to let at least a third of them go, a person familiar with the company’s personnel changes said.

Wu and Zhan, who founded Bitmain in 2013, hold 21 per cent and 37 per cent of the company respectively, according to the IPO prospectus. Under a dual-class share structure, they both have 10-1 voting rights over ordinary shareholders.

Wu, who studied economics and psychology at Peking University, rose to fame on Twitter, where he has 115,000 followers, after lashing out at trolls who attacked his stance on how bitcoin should be developed. The 32-year-old is a vocal supporter of bitcoin cash, the biggest offshoot of bitcoin which split in two last year.

Zhan, 39, who also goes by Micree, is a graduate of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the technical mastermind behind Bitmain. He led the company’s recent foray into the field of artificial intelligence chips under the brand Sophon.

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GXChain Officially Realized On-Chain Decentralized Governance



Blockchain technology

On December 19, 2018, GXChain, one of the three most influential public chain programs in China, officially announced its first 21 TrustNodes chosen from the GXChain TrustNode Voting Campaign. Since the official start of TrustNode Voting campaign on November 6, 2018, it has drawn attention from hundreds of well-known institutions in blockchain industry, including, LinkVC, 8BTC’s Timestamp Capital, significant blockchain security verification service provider — CertiK, Spark Blockchain Incubator, Slow Mist Zone, Huobi Pool, influential blockchain community — EOS LAOMAO, Gravity Pool, GX-Harvard from Kennedy School of Political Science, and Blockchain Laboratory of Stony Brook University, USA.

Not only does the launch of the first 21 TrustNodes symbolize the progress that GXChain team made from a centralized governance team to a decentralized community, but also pushes GXChain into a new historical chapter. China’s Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID), under the Country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, announced a new update of its Global Public Blockchain Technology Assessment Index (GPBTAI) on Dec 20, 2018. GXChain replaced BitShares in third place with a score of 117.5 in this assessment, which is the highest position GXChain ever got since getting into the ranking.

At 7:41 pm on December 19th, GXChain’s core team officially handed over GXChain’s on-chain governance rights to 21 TrustNodes selected by the community. GXChain came into its new era of community governance. The first block after the handover is produced by CertiK-GXC, a node operated by the world-renowned blockchain security agency CertiK. This block embodies the consensus of GXChain community and opens its future way of on-chain governance in a long term.

The 21 TrustNodes are the key players in GXChain ecosystem. TrustNodes are responsible for transaction verification, transaction accounting, block packing and confirmation on GXChain. The rewards of a TrustNode comes from production and broadcast of blocks. The amount of income is determined and voted for approval by the GXChain committee. Blocks on GXChain are the infrastructure of on-chain services on GXChain, including its network, storage and computing.

The top 11 TrustNode candidates automatically become members of GXChain Committee, which is the core organization of on-chain governance. The primary responsibility of GXChain Committee is proposing and voting for the modification of global parameters of GXChain. The global parameters include dynamic parameters of the blockchain, such as block size, block interval; the number of TrustNodes; the number of rewards to TrustNodes for producing blocks; the number of active committee members; various transaction fees like transfer fee and assets issue fee; smart contract establishing and calling rates, etc.

GXC-Prophet team, currently ranking the first among all TrustNodes, mentioned the reason for participating in GXChain TrustNode Voting Campaign: “We believe that GXChain will become the No.1 influential public chain of data economy, and we want to be a part of this exciting and promising project; in addition, we had lots of chances cooperating with GXChain team before the TrustNode election. We witnessed its progress, and knew the team is diligent and reliable. We hope Prophet can grow with GXChain together.”

GX-CertiK, whose supportive team is CertiK, currently ranks top 5 in TrustNode voting. They also expressed their confidence and commitment towards GXChain ecosystem: “CertiK will deeply participate in the ecosystem of GXChain community, fully exert its influence to promote the further globalization of GXChain, and help to provide safe and reliable blockchain data economic services for more organizations and individuals.” CertiK is a formal verification framework to mathematically prove that smart contracts and blockchain ecosystems are bug-free and hacker-resistant.

At the same time, GXBean, another top-ranking TrustNode candidate, also supports and contributes to the development of GXChain ecosystem actively on social media.  The GXChain TrustNode Voting Campaign is continually open to register and participate in. If you’re interested in becoming a TrustNode candidate, please read GXChain TrustNode Candidate Technical Guide published by GXBean for more information.

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Gold Backed Crypto Exchange Offers Safe Haven for Crypto Investors




GOLD.IO Seeks to Develop Decentralised & Self-Regulating Community Exchange Turbulence in the global markets is nothing new but the cryptocurrency community has faced an unprecedented 18-month period of flux.

The need for a fully decentralised, stable, self-regulated and community-led exchange that can offer investor confidence amidst a chaotic global economy has never been stronger.

Setting the Gold Standard with Crypto’s Founding Principles.

With a scalable inter-blockchain and decentralised exchange the GOLD.IO platform is not only self-regulated and led by its stakeholders, but asset linked – offering exchange investors unrivaled portfolio security.

Gold has always set the market standard and has benchmarked traditional finance for centuries, so why should the cryptocurrency market be any different?

As a commodity, it has weathered many a financial storm and continues to do so today. Aside from a little price volatility it has consistently retained its market value, and with an unstable geopolitical, crypto-economic outlook the precious metal can provide a safe port for crypto assets.

In short, a gold-linked and backed exchange offers not only security of your assets but a piece of mind – the world has been through tougher times than we face today, but gold has always survived the course.

GOLD.IO – Providing a Defensive Asset Protection to your Investments.

With a team of over 30 experienced developers, GOLD.IO has simply put a sister chain of the EOS Project which has the mission of creating a Decentralised Exchange (DEX) of smooth inter-block communications that not only eliminates persistent market influences but has the unique benefit of being backed by a commodity asset class.

Combining the proven power of gold as well as a growing community that is not only self-regulated but also stakeholder-led – GOLD.IO is also seeking to develop a fully-fledged Decentralised Autonomous Community (DAC) based on the founding principles of the blockchain. The DAC will serve as regulatory oversight of the exchange with all stakeholders enjoying full voting rights, a say over project development and more importantly the ability to define their profits.


Gold Backed Tokenomics Offers Trading Efficiency & High Liquidity.

With global stock volatility at best and a downward trajectory at worse – according to Goldman Sachs the markets are gripped with a fear of what may come in the coming year, a gold-linked exchange, with inherently high liquidity can part-mitigate investor risk.

With no independent or fair exchange yet to provide what GOLD.IO can, the benefits of the platform as a market leader are clear but the real magic comes with the EOISO blockchain system itself – it eliminates third-party manipulation and offers a unique architecture to ensure users remain the custodian of their gold. Join The Power of GOLD!

Join the Gold Renaissance Today!

For all media and industry queries, please contact us via our website or chat to us today – we are keen to hear from you!

To find out more about us please visit our website – as leaders in the decentralised exchange space we want to work with you!

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Crypto Exchange Takes on Behemoths With Physical Bitcoin Futures




The contest is heating up to gain market share in one of the most closely watched products in the world of cryptocurrencies: physically delivered Bitcoin futures.

While the owner of the New York Stock Exchange is expected to start offering such contracts shortly and Eris Exchange LLC plans to follow, the firm that says it was first to market has spun off from its previous owners and will provide the derivatives on some of the largest digital coins to Asian retail investors beginning next month.

Started last year as CoinfloorEX, then a unit of the U.K. Bitcoin exchange Coinfloor, the platform will now be called Coin Futures and Lending Exchange, or CoinFLEX. The venture is owned by a consortium including famed early crypto advocate Roger Ver and Trading Technologies International Inc., which develops trading software for brokers and money managers. Coinfloor, the U.K.’s oldest Bitcoin exchange, will also retain an equity stake.

Mark Lamb, a co-founder of Coinfloor, will be the chief executive officer of the new business based in Hong Kong. CoinFLEX, will offer futures contracts for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum that can be leveraged up to 20 times.

The exchange will likely draw comparisons with, and seek to take business from, BitMEX, one of the largest crypto trading platforms, which also has a sizable presence in Hong Kong and was co-founded by former Citigroup Inc. trader Arthur Hayes. BitMEX offers leverage of up to 100 times on some of its contracts.

Still a key distinguishing factor in CoinFLEX’s favor is that all futures traded on the exchange will be physically-delivered, Lamb said in an interview. That means when the contracts expire, owners will be given the underlying cryptocurrency instead of a cash payment. That’s an important distinction in the largely unregulated markets where Bitcoin and other digital coins currently trade as some big players say the process for settling a contract in cash could be manipulated.

“Crypto derivatives could become an order of magnitude larger than spot markets and the main thing that’s holding back that growth is the lack of physical delivery,” said Lamb. “Volumes are reduced because of a problem of trust when it comes to cash-settled trades.”

Currently the daily volume of trading in the underlying crypto market is approximately equal to that in derivatives, at around $3 billion, said Lamb. In other markets, futures volumes can be 20 times larger, suggesting there is plenty of room for growth in contracts tied to digital assets, he said.

CoinFLEX will have to compete with Intercontinental Exchange Inc., the owner of the NYSE, which plans to introduce a physically delivered futures contract as part of its crypto venture called Bakkt. Chicago-based derivatives market Eris Exchange is opening a market that will also feature physically delivered contracts on some of the largest tokens.

As part of its futures offering, CoinFLEX will make a big bet on Tether, one of the market’s most controversial tokens that has been dogged by speculation about whether its tokens are backed by the amount of dollars its founders have claimed. A Bloomberg News report last month that offered the clearest indication yet of Tether’s finances suggested such fears may be unfounded.

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Winklevosses’ Cryptocurrency Exchange Says the ‘Revolution Needs Rules’




Gemini Trust Co., the cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2014 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, argues in a new ad campaign that its chaotic sector should protect investors by adopting standard best practices and following regulations. At the same time, not incidentally, the campaign suggests that Gemini already provides shelter from the storm.

Subway, taxi-top and other ads deliver slogans like “The Revolution Needs Rules,” “Crypto Without Chaos” and “Money Has a Future.” A full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday will press the point, according to Gemini.

“We believe that investors coming into cryptocurrency deserve the exact same protections as investors in more traditional markets, adhering to the same standards, practices, regulations and compliance protocols,” said Chris Roan, head of marketing at Gemini.

“In our competitive set there are widely varying degrees of adherence to regulatory guidance from people that oversee the more traditional financial marketers,” Mr. Roan added. Some players are devoted to decentralizing authority over money, a key tenet of many cryptocurrency advocates, while others including Gemini believe there has to be a “bridge” between the old system and a new one, he said.

The ad campaign, which was created by the agency Interesting Development and is Gemini’s first notable effort aimed at retail investors, was timed to capitalize on a recently introduced mobile app, Mr. Roan said. But it arrives on the heels of a brutal year for cryptocurrency values. Allegations of manipulation and fraud in the market are common. The space could arguably use a dose of reputation repair.

Many existing regulations could apply to cryptocurrency but haven’t been applied consistently, said Neha Narula, director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. “There is a huge problem with market integrity, with consumer protection, and we definitely need to make sure that regulations are being enforced where they apply.”

But regulation of the existing financial system sometimes thwarts innovation, Ms. Narula added. “I wouldn’t want it to get to a case with crypto where innovation is stifled because it’s too expensive for them to comply with regulation,” she said.

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U.S. Online Retailer Overstock to Pay Ohio State Business Taxes in Bitcoin



Bitcoin core

Online retailer and blockchain technology pioneer announced that it will become the first major U.S. company to pay a portion of its Ohio state business taxes in bitcoin using the state’s new cryptocurrency taxpayer platform,

Overstock plans to pay its commercial activity taxes (CAT) in Ohio this February using the recently-launched platform, which allows taxpayers to pay state business taxes with bitcoin. Ohio is the first U.S. state to offer a cryptocurrency payment system for state business taxes.

“We applaud Overstock for becoming the first national brand in America to register to pay taxes via cryptocurrency. Their embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time and we’re proud to have them join,” said Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Overstock became the first major retailer to accept cryptocurrencies for purchases on its website in 2014. That same year, the company also founded Medici Ventures, its wholly-owned blockchain subsidiary focused on applying blockchain technologies to existing industries to eliminate middlemen, democratize capital, and rehumanize commerce.

“We have long thought that thoughtful governmental adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies (when accompanied by non-restrictive legislation over these technologies) is the best way to ensure the U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy,” said Overstock CEO and founder Patrick M. Byrne. “We are proud to partner with forward-thinking governments and officials like Ohio and Treasurer Mandel to help usher in an era of trust through technology for our nation’s essential financial systems.”

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1SG Launches on Kryptono Exchange and Exchange



Zebpay Stops

2018 saw the reign of stablecoins amidst a volatile cryptocurrency market. As stablecoins continue to gain traction as a digital asset, many are excited to witness further development of this venture especially in the coming new year.

Mars Blockchain is pleased to announce the launch of its very first stablecoin, 1SG, on the most prominent crypto exchanges in the world – Kryptono Exchange & Exchange. The fiat-collateralised stablecoin will be available for trading on the platforms from 1 January 2019 onwards.

With the launch of 1SG on Kryptono Exchange & Exchange, the convenience of using this stablecoin is ascertained. Users of 1SG no longer have to worry about the security of their crypto-assets, or the difficulty of trading with cryptocurrency and fiat.

As its tagline goes, Kryptono Exchange is the most “comprehensive crypto platform for everyone everyday.” It is currently ranked top 30 exchange on Coinmarketcap with a monthly volume of over $500M USD and is expected to act as the perfect middle man to provide the necessary escrow services for users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies and fiat through peer-to-peer exchanges. Exchange operates on advanced distribution cluster architecture and is able to process millions of transactions per second to enable huge volumes to transact seamlessly and fuss free. The Exchange is also internationally appealing and supports more than 20 different languages.

Now, users can keep their cryptocurrencies safe through both exchange’s air-tight security measures and trade freely without worrying about potential complications.

Mars Blockchain is thankful to have the opportunity for 1SG to be listed on Kryptono Exchange & Exchange. It is a crucial step in securing the stablecoin’s identity on the cryptocurrency market and marks 1SG’s entry into the international arena. More importantly, these partnerships would offer Mars Blockchain a stronger global network, bringing them a step closer to fulfilling its mission in bringing frictionless spendability to the doorstep of 1SG users.

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DX.Exchange and Fingenom Group Announce Strategic Partnership



ICO Guidelines

DX.Exchange announced that it has engaged AlgoZ, a Fingenom Group company, to provide market making services and additional liquidity solutions on its exchange. DX.Exchange has retained AlgoZ to provide liquidity services on all cryptocurrency pairs listed on the exchange, providing institutions and individuals with continuous liquidity on its platform. DX.Exchange is supposed to go live on January 7th , with AlgoZ services provided from inception, ensuring 24-hours of steady liquidity on the exchange.

“We are honored to have been selected to provide DX.Exchange with our proven market making and liquidity solutions, which will help ensure that DX.Exchange traders are provided with consistent and attractive trade opportunities. We see the selection in AlgoZ as a vote of confidence in our services and technology, and looking forward to provide our various liquidity solutions to the DX.Exchange community,” said Mr. Nir Dovrat, Co-CEO of AlgoZ Ltd.

“As we intend on being a leader in the world of cryptocurrency trading, we must ensure our customers receive the best-in-class liquidity solutions,” said Daniel Skowronski, Co-Founder and CEO of DX Exchange. “AlgoZ superior technology and experience in providing liquidity solutions in both traditional and crypto markets, enhance our capabilities and enable us to deliver the high-quality products that our customers demand.”

About DX Exchange: DX.Exchange is the first complete crypto community, that allows institutions and individuals to purchase cryptocurrencies with fiat, trade cryptocurrencies, and convert crypto back to fiat. DX.Exchange is being built on Nasdaq’s market leading matching technology. With over 70 R&D engineers, the global team at DX.Exchange brings extensive experience in UI and financial technology.

About Fingenom Group: Established in 2011, the Fingenom Group is specializing in the development of full infrastructure environment for trading algorithms and the deployment of such algorithms in both capital and cryptocurrency markets. In 2016 the Group established its cryptocurrency operations, and since has become a leading brand, providing various financial solutions such as market making, brokerage and OTC to numerous, including some of the top funded, crypto projects and leading exchanges. With more than 80 employees, of strong backgrounds in computer science, mathematics, physics and engineering, the Fingenom Group works at the intersection of finance and technology.

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Crypto’s 2019 Goal: Technology People Can Use



Bitcoin Severely

“Few tangible uses for Bitcoin (BTC) and its underlying blockchain technology have emerged,” according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article published Jan. 1.

According to WSJ, in 2017 actual crypto development “took a back seat to getting rich.” The article also states that “at the beginning of 2018, the question was whether Bitcoin could live up to the hype of 2017’s manic rally,” and at the end of 2018 the answer was “no.”

Andy Bromberg — the founder of Coinlist — a platform for running regulatory-compliant token sales, explained that the next step for crypto was figuring out “how we can turn this technology into products for people to use.” However, according to the article:

“Bitcoin and the hundreds of other digital currencies that have popped up over the years are still largely usable only by developers.”

Developing apps for the Ethereum (ETH) platform is much less intuitive than for other non-blockchain platforms, according to the WSJ. For Ethereum, there are no developer kits which are currently available to build an app for iOS or Android, so “building a similar app for the Ethereum platform involves developing an entire suite of tools to connect the app to the platform itself.”

Still, WSJ admits that new institutional investors could get into the space when Bakkt will be launched by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The article states that “despite the entry of some established Wall Street players, scammers abound.” This idea is in line with the declarations of Jed McCaleb — Stellar’s co-founder — who recently said that “ninety percent of these projects [that aren’t Stellar, Ethereum (ETH) or Bitcoin] are B.S.”

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Visa to Buy British Payments Firm Earthport for £198 Million



Visa Cards

Visa is paying 198 million pounds to buy Earthport Plc (EPO.L), a British firm that facilitates international transactions for banks and businesses, the U.S.-based payments group said on Thursday.

Visa International Service Association, a unit of Visa, has offered 30 pence for each Earthport share, a price that is four times the stock’s Monday closing price of 7.45 pence. Earthport shares surged in early trading on Thursday and matched the offer price.

The London-headquartered firm said Visa’s proposal was “fair and reasonable” and that it would recommend its shareholders take up the all-cash offer.

Earthport’s shares, listed on the London Stock Exchange’s secondary market, have fallen more than 28 percent this year amid growing losses and expenses, forcing the firm to say last month that “fundamental” change was required in its strategy.

Earthport says it offers a lower-cost alternative to traditional payments systems by allowing banks and money transfer firms to have a single relationship instead of multiple ties with various payments channels around the world.

For Visa, cross-border payments, or transactions that involve parties in two or more countries, represents a growing business. The volume of such payments rose 10 percent in the 2018 fiscal year, Visa said in October.

Earthport, which counts Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Japan Post Bank among its clients, said Visa’s offer was a revised proposal that followed an indicative offer from the U.S. company last month.

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