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The GPU power going into the ethereum network has dropped by 19% in just one month

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The total network hash rate of the Ethereum cryptocurrency is down 19% in just one month. That’s the total power that goes into creating blocks, and it represents the amount of hardware directed towards the GPU-centric algorithm. This sharp drop in network hash rate only underscores the huge impact China’s recent crackdown on cryptocurrencies has had on the industry.

You can see in the graph below (via Etherscan) that the hash rate has stabilized after the recent significant drops. That seems to suggest that this is based solely on the systemic shutdown of graphics card mines in China.

The Chinese government has tried to stamp out cryptocurrency mining in many regions such as Sichuan, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia – those where energy costs have been lowest – due to the sheer resource consumption of these operations. At the same time, the country’s financial institutions have carried out their own, possibly government-mandated, cleanups of cryptocurrency services and trades.

(Image credit: Etherscan)

All of this means that GPU mining in China, where the majority of the world’s graphics card mines are located, is becoming significantly less attractive as a company. This has led to reports of a growing flurry of used graphics cards appearing at prices that are sometimes close to the MSRP.

From the high of 643.81 TH / s in May, we are now seeing the overall network hash rate flattening to 499.55 TH / s. It must be said that this is just a drop to April levels which were still higher than ever but still showing the impact of recent events.

Chances are this is just a procedural pause, an Ethereum pause, before miners settle down anywhere in the world and run HAM at the hash rate and keep increasing it. Likewise, this could be the beginning of the end for Ethereum-based GPU mining, with declining profitability and the threat of a turn to a proof-of-stake instead of a proof-of-work-based graphics card-based process.

Because of this, GPU prices have fallen in China, and we’ve seen signs in Germany and Russia that graphics card costs are starting the long, winding road back to normal.

Ethereum is not the best known cryptocurrency, although it is most inextricably linked to PC gaming due to its hardware requirements. Bitcoin is still the biggie and this crypto is actually taking the unprecedented step of making mining easier and therefore more profitable.

An image of a fake bitcoin with a laptop in the background that is displaying financial data

(Photo credit: Roy Buri, Pixabay)

According to reports, the Bitcoin network is recalibrating its difficulty level roughly every two weeks, and due to mining in China, the time it takes to solve a Bitcoin block has hit the 19-minute mark. This is more than a typical 10 minute completion time that is considered more desirable.

The Bitcoin code has now made it 28% easier to mine a block, theoretically setting the block time back to the 10-minute mark.

That won’t have any impact on GPU prices as these are dedicated ASICs rather than graphics cards that are sent to the Bitcoin mines, but it’s still a fascinating look at what’s happening in the cryptocurrency market as a whole right now .

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Cryptocurrency

US regulators eye the cryptocurrency sector

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In her monthly Expert Take column, Selva Ozelli, an international tax lawyer and CPA, deals with the interface between new technologies and sustainability and presents the latest developments in taxes, AML / CFT regulations and legal questions about crypto and blockchain.

Recently, the headlines in the news have focused on regulatory concerns about the lack of investor protection in the cryptocurrency market, which has soared to more than $ 2 trillion, and the potential risks to financial stability.

National security agencies across President Joe Biden’s administration are grappling with high-profile cases of cryptocurrencies involved in ransomware attacks, intellectual property espionage, sanction violations, bribery of government officials, and tax evasion.

According to a recent report by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, ransomware-related suspicious activity reports filed in the first half of 2021, which are up 30% from full-year 2020, suggest that ransomware is an increasing threat to the U.S. financial sector , Businesses and the public

Biden’s government is weighing an executive order for federal agencies to investigate and make recommendations on relevant areas of the crypto industry related to national security, economic innovation, and financial regulation. The initiative would also aim to coordinate the agencies’ work on digital currencies across the executive branch, with a first White House crypto Tsar serving as the point person.

“Pandora Papers” by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published its Pandora Papers, which leaked nearly 12 million documents from law firms and other organizations around the world exposing the previously unknown owners of 29,000 offshore companies with US $ 32 trillion in assets worldwide – Dollars hidden from taxes or regulatory oversight in tax havens.

The owners of these companies include celebrities, politicians and criminal figures from the underworld from over 200 nations. The leak has already started investigations into corruption and tax evasion against several government officials around the world.

Meanwhile, a report from the World Economic Forum explains how blockchain technology can help reduce corruption in governments.

Related: CFTC renews: What Biden’s new agency picks for crypto regulation

OFAC. of the US Treasury Department

In a first such case, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently targeted Suex, an over-the-counter digital currency broker, for its alleged role in laundering revenue from ransomware attacks. The effort was part of an effort by the entire government to combat ransomware and disrupt criminal networks and crypto exchanges that play a role in ransom laundering. The aim is to improve cybersecurity in the private sector and to increase the reporting of incidents and ransomware payments to US government agencies. This includes both the Treasury Department and law enforcement agencies under the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Framework (AML / CFT) as digital currency is the primary vehicle for facilitating ransomware payments and related money laundering activities.

Following this case, OFAC published an “Updated Notice of Potential Sanction Risks to Facilitate Ransomware Payments”. The updated recommendation emphasizes that the US government remains strongly advised against paying cyber ransoms or extortion demands and that it recognizes the importance of improving cybersecurity practices to prevent or mitigate such attacks.

Related: Compliance with the sanctions for transactions in fiat and cryptocurrencies is the same

OFAC also updated the advisory to emphasize the importance of reporting and working with relevant government and law enforcement agencies in the event of a ransomware attack to understand and combat ransomware attacks and malicious cyber actors receive a voluntary self-disclosure credit for attack victims if a sanction nexus is later determined. Please visit the Government’s Stop Ransomware website for more information.

Given the financial risks posed by ransomware and money laundering that represent digital assets around the world, participants at the G7 meeting in June pledged to work together to address this escalating risk as a matter of urgency and speed by adopting the AML standards of the Financial Action Task Force for digital assets implement and enforce virtual asset service providers.

Related: Are ransom payments in cryptocurrency tax deductible?

Intellectual property and cryptocurrency espionage

In other recent cases and reports, cryptocurrency has been involved in intellectual property espionage. Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which prevents US citizens from exporting technology and intellectual property to communist countries, when he held a cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency conference in 2019 at a North Korean conference Blockchain presentation held as part of the plea deal, Griffith could face up to 6 1/2 years in prison if convicted in January 2022.

Jonathan Toebbe, a US Navy nuclear engineer who held a top-secret security clearance and specialized in naval nuclear propulsion – and had access to military secrets – was charged in October with attempting to provide information about the construction of American nuclear submarines Passing on someone he thought he was a representative of a foreign government in exchange for cryptocurrency that violates the Atomic Energy Act, the Justice Department said.

Cybereason, a provider of mission-oriented protection against cyberattacks, has released a new report entitled “Operation GhostShell: Novel RAT Targets Global Aerospace and Telecoms Firms,” ​​which exposes a highly focused cyber espionage operation against global aerospace and telecommunications companies. The report, which follows the company’s “DeadRinger” report released in August, reveals a newly identified Iranian actor named MalKamak who was behind the attacks and has been in office since at least 2018. MalKamak uses a previously unknown, sophisticated remote access Trojan known as “ShellClient” which bypasses antivirus and other security tools and uses the cloud service provider Dropbox for command and control.

Related: The United States is updating its crypto AML / CFT laws

According to a study by Slovak security provider ESET, a cyber espionage group called FamousSparov has targeted hotels, international governments, international organizations, engineering firms and law firms for at least 2019. The group used a known Microsoft Exchange vulnerability – which was also exploited by suspects Chinese hackers and fraudsters who want to mine cryptocurrency – to attack their victims, who include the US Republican Governors Association. While ESET didn’t associate FamousSparov with any particular nation, it found similarities between its techniques and those of SparklingGoblin, an offshoot of the Winnti Group – which is affiliated with China – and DRBControl.

In July, the US government blamed China for the exploitation of the Microsoft Exchange Server attacks and for the first time also accused the Chinese government of using criminal hackers in the attacks, and released a report warning of China’s ongoing attack on the defense , Semiconductor, medical and other industries to steal intellectual property.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Wolkenstein Özelli, Esq., CPA, is an international tax attorney and certified public accountant who regularly writes on tax, legal and accounting issues for Tax Notes, Bloomberg BNA, other publications and the OECD.

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This major cryptocurrency project is suing the SEC

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In a reversal of the script, a leading cryptocurrency project and its co-founder are suing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The lawsuit was filed on Friday by Terraform Labs, the company behind Terra’s decentralized financial protocol, and its co-founder Do Kwon, who confirmed in the filing that he and his company had submitted subpoenas from the SEC at the Messari crypto conference last month in New York were served city. Terra’s Luna cryptocurrency is currently the eleventh largest by market capitalization.

According to the lawsuit filed on Friday, Kwon and Terraform Labs are denying the SEC subpoenas after dialogue about the Mirror Protocol, a decentralized financial protocol on Terra that allows users to trade “synthetic” assets that track the price movements of. track real assets like Netflix or Tesla stocks. The SEC has been increasing its pressure on crypto firms that may offer unregistered securities. CoinDesk first reported the lawsuit aimed at overturning the subpoenas.

Do Kwon, co-founder and CEO of Terraform Labs, speaks to Yahoo Finance.

But the company’s lawsuit not only denies the subpoena and required testimony from Kwon, a South Korean citizen and resident, but also claims the SEC broke its own rules and hired an outside private litigation service company to call the subpoena at a crowded conference “intimidate and embarrass them in public”.

“The SEC’s behavior here violated not only its service rules, but also its rules that require it to keep formal investigative orders confidential,” the lawsuit said.

The story goes on

The filing also documents a five-hour Webex call on July 8, during which Kwon answered questions from SEC attorneys about how Terra’s mirror protocol worked. A later request by the SEC for documents that the company said were either too broad or non-existent “proved the SEC’s misunderstanding about the nature of the mirror protocol itself.”

As Yahoo Finance has previously documented, Terra is one of the premier Decentralized Finance (DeFi) projects. While the SEC’s investigation appears to focus on Terra’s synthetic asset-focused mirror protocol, the project also powers a decentralized stablecoin that differs from cash-backed competitors. Instead of storing cash and assets as collateral, Terras Stablecoin UST is backed by its own cryptocurrency, Luna. As money poured into the UST, the price of Luna (LUNA1-USD) has skyrocketed – it is now more than 6,200% year-over-year.

Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs, will be introduced as the speaker Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit: The Way Forward where he will be joined by Ava Labs President John Wu for a panel on DeFi hosted by Zack Guzman of Yahoo Finance at 12:40 p.m. EST.

Zack Guzman is an anchor for Yahoo Finance Live and a senior writer covering crypto, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

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What first bitcoin futures ETF means for cryptocurrency industry

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The value of Bitcoin (BTC) exceeded $ 66,895 for the first time in its history.

Chesnot | Getty Images

This week marked a milestone for the cryptocurrency as investors began trading the first US publicly traded Bitcoin futures fund, outpacing other ETF launches, and another followed on Friday.

These funds invest in bitcoin futures contracts or agreements to later buy or sell the asset at an agreed price, rather than directly in bitcoin.

The new products allow trading through regular investment accounts and bypass the hassle and security concerns of cryptocurrency exchanges.

More from Personal Finance:
The first bitcoin futures ETF starts trading. What to Know Before You Invest
Bitcoin is trading at more than $ 66,000. 3 things to think about before buying
That’s why the cryptocurrency crashes on the weekend

While the new offerings are lagging behind what the industry ultimately wants – ETFs investing in the currency itself – the excitement for initial launch hasn’t slowed.

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (ticker: BITO) had one of the biggest first days on record for ETFs, raking in $ 550 million from crypto-hungry investors. In total, shares worth more than $ 1.01 billion changed hands, according to Morningstar.

In addition, the price of Bitcoin rose more than 4% to $ 64,206.51 on Tuesday, according to Coin Metrics, and climbed to an all-time high of $ 66,900 on Wednesday, beating the previous intraday record of $ 64,899 set in mid-April.

“The original intention [of bitcoin], and certainly still the intent of many, was to try to turn traditional finance on its head, “said Ben Johnson, director of global ETF research at Morningstar.

“Instead, traditional finance has trapped bitcoin in its tractor beam, reeled it in and turned it into something Wall Street will make millions, if not billions, of creating this whole new ecosystem,” he said.

Delayed Bitcoin ETF Approvals

Companies have been vying to release the first U.S. Bitcoin ETF for nearly a decade. But the Securities and Exchange Commission has been slow to adopt the asset as it cites concerns about the lack of regulation and the potential for fraud and manipulation in the Bitcoin market.

“General conservatism was a pattern among US regulators,” Johnson said, pointing to the landscape littered with updated Bitcoin ETF filings, abandoned applications, and other clouds of dust.

Previously, most Bitcoin ETF applications were based on so-called spot markets or invested directly in the currency, explained Stephen McKeon, an associate professor of finance at the University of Oregon at Eugene and a partner at Collab + Currency, a cryptocurrency-focused investment fund.

However, there was a postponement in August when SEC chairman Gary Gensler signaled that the agency may be more open to a futures-backed Bitcoin ETF under the Investment Company Act of 1940, which regulates mutual funds and could offer “significant investor protection.” .

I don’t think the SEC is in any rush to move forward and allow direct investments in Bitcoin through ETFs anytime soon.

Ben Johnson

Director of Global ETF Research at Morningstar

The change resulted in a spate of filings ahead of approvals this week.

With the Commodity Futures Trading Commission overseeing US Bitcoin futures and the ETF wrapper falling under the jurisdiction of the SEC, regulators can offer some investor protection, Gensler said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” this week. But it is still a “highly speculative asset class,” he warned.

While the SEC is expected to approve a handful of other Bitcoin futures ETFs, it is unclear if and when the agency can give the green light to an ETF that invests in the currency itself.

“I don’t think the SEC is in a hurry to move forward and allow direct investments in Bitcoin through ETFs anytime soon,” Johnson said.

What to Know Before You Invest

While interest in Bitcoin futures ETFs is immense, many experts suggest taking the time to learn more about the assets before investing.

“It’s like Christmas in October for high frequency traders,” said Johnson, explaining how massive price volatility could be attractive to certain investors.

Although the funds can have a high correlation with Bitcoin, the asset does not reflect the value of the currency as it tracks the price of futures contracts, which can be unpredictable.

“I think you need to be incredibly careful and expect immense volatility,” said Michael Bisaro, president of StraightLine Group in Troy, Michigan, which is number 92 on CNBC’s FA 100 list for 2021.

There may be a place for it, but it can be “massively dangerous” when it becomes a large part of someone’s portfolio, he added.

However, some counselors say that a little dabbling may not be a problem once retirement and other financial goals are on the right track.

“I have no problem with clients investing out of their budget or their lifestyle,” says Jordan Benold, a certified financial planner, partner at Benold Financial Planning in Prosper, Texas, explaining how some have “fun money” on the side.

However, as more and more crypto-based products hit the market, investors could soon be faced with a dizzying range of portfolios.

“Bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg,” McKeon said. “We will see ETFs with exposure to many different crypto assets in the years to come.”

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