Cryptocurrency mining firm Riot Blockchain announced the purchase of an additional 1,000 next-generation Bitmain S17-Pro Antminers on  Dec.12. This completes the upgrade of its Oklahoma City mining facility, following an initial purchase of 3,000 units announced on Dec. 4.

The latest generation of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit miners from mining hardware giant Bitmain represents an approximate 50% improvement in hardware power efficiency compared to the S9 Antminers currently in use by Riot.

The company anticipates that the new miners will generate 440% of the hashrate of the S9s while consuming only 220% of the power.

Riot mined over 1,820 Bitcoins (BTC) in Q3 2019, posting a gross profit margin of 14% (excluding depreciation and amortization), and hopes to increase these figures when its new purchases are deployed in Q1 2020.

Full steam ahead

Assuming full utilization of the Oklahoma City facility’s 12-megawatt available electricity supply, and deployment of the total 4,000 new miners, Riot estimates the aggregate operating hashrate will be around 248 petahash (248 quadrillion hases) per second. 

Riot reportedly paid around $1.35 million dollars for the additional 1,000 S17-Pro Antminers, or approximately $1,350 per rig. The retail price listed on the Bitmain web-store is $1401 per unit, although this is unlikely to include local sales tax.

In April this year, Riot Blockchain announced its intention to launch a regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the United States by the end of Q2 2019. To date, however, this has still failed to materialize.

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Blockchain development studio Lightcurve — a part of the Lisk open-source blockchain application platform — laid off 40% of its workforce earlier this week. Lightcurve and Lisk co-founder, Max Kordek, announced the decision earlier this week on Discord, citing a need for the project to cut costs.

The job losses represent 21 of Lightcurve’s 53 employees, and in addition, the project has canceled the contracts of three employees who were set to join. 

Kordek said that the firm would focus on keeping talent in the research, backend development and developer relations departments while downsizing frontend development, marketing, design and operations. Kordek further explained:

“The reasons were to decrease our burn rate which by a large degree consisted of human resources costs, and to decrease our operational overhead in order to become more agile again.”

The remaining 32 employees will continue to focus on building the Lisk platform from Lightcurve’s Berlin-based offices.

Several blockchain companies feeling the pinch

Lightcurve is just the latest of several blockchain companies to recently announce job losses due to cost-cutting and streamlining measures.

As Cointelegraph reported, blockchain payments company Circle announced a further 10 job losses this week, following a cull of around 30 staff (representing approximately 10% of the firm) in May.

Also this week, Ethereum development studio Consensys announced the closure of offices in India and the Philippines, resulting in 11 job losses.

And last month, blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis reportedly laid off almost 20% of its workforce, totaling 39 staff. According to Maddie Kennedy, Chainalysis’ director of communications, the research and development team was most affected by the cuts.

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A digital Swiss franc would do more harm than good, according to the nation’s government.

Having been requested by the Swiss parliament to examine the potential of creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the government concluded that it would bring risks of financial stability, Reuters reports on Friday.

In a statement following a cabinet meeting, the government said: “Universally accessible central bank digital currency would bring no additional benefits for Switzerland at present. Instead, it would give rise to new risks, especially with regard to financial stability.”

Other nations’ central banks are already actively researching the potential of CBDCs with China recently reported to be planning trials of its digital yuan starting early next year. Sweden too, plans to issue its CBDC in the near to medium term, the government said in the report.

And while digital currencies are touted as having potential to improve payments and strengthen monetary policy while helping reduce financial crime, the cabinet said the real-world benefits may not meet expectations. Further, the negative repercussions of an e-franc could be extensive.

However, the government did say that a role for a digital franc that was confined to use among financial institutions is “a more promising strategy.”

“This would not have the same far-reaching and fundamental implications as universally accessible central bank digital currency,” the cabinet said. A wholesale digital franc from the central bank “could possibly help to enhance efficiency in the trading, settlement and management of securities.”

Incoming European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said on Thursday said her institution should be “ahead of the curve” when it comes to CBDCs, as per another Reuters report.

However, before addressing any technical aspects, the ECB needs to be clear on the objectives of a digital euro, she said.

The Swiss government has taken a relatively cryptocurrency and blockchain-friendly stance in recent years, with its canton of Zug dubbed “Crypto Valley” due to the large number of industry startups that have made it their home. The Facebook-led Libra stablecoin project – the announcement of which has shaken central banks into looking more seriously at building their own digital currencies – is also based in Geneva.

Late in November, the Swiss federal government said it had revised a plan aimed to remove legal hurdles still holding up innovation based on blockchain and would present it to parliament soon.

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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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This post is part of CoinDesk’s 2019 Year in Review, a collection of 100 op-eds, interviews and takes on the state of blockchain and the world. Anthony Pompliano is the co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital.

Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano is one of bitcoin’s biggest boosters. His Twitter feed is a hurricane of crypto-news, self-promotion and inspirational quotes for hodlers of heavy bags. He ends every week with a summary of bitcoin’s biggest accomplishments, always including the un-ironically cheerful: “bitcoin still not dead.”

This past year, Pomp served as crypto’s ambassador to traditional finance in appearances on CNBC’s Squawk Box. He also defended bitcoin against notable skeptic Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary. Just this week, he called out Mark Cuban for saying bitcoin has “no chance.”

Pomp’s playing the long game. Not only will bitcoin survive, but it will become the world’s reserve currency, he believes (optimistically).

CoinDesk caught up with Pompliano to discuss the year in crypto, how to strike successful investments, and the ups and downs of being a public figure in crypto.

You’ve been a prominent figure in the space for a while now. In your opinion what were some of the most pivotal moments in crypto for 2019?

If you go back to the beginning of the year, I think the most significant events were the bottoming of the bear market, Libra and the significant advancements made in China. However, I think the most significant advance in crypto was made in institutional adoption, which doesn’t mean institutions like banks coming aboard, but institutions like university endowments, hospital insurance the real asset allocators. They have come in in a material way.

Why are these players coming around to crypto now?

I think there is a separation between blockchain and bitcoin, and they’ve gotten comfortable with blockchain. There’s still discomfort with bitcoin. It’s becoming clear we’ll have an automated world, and in order for that to happen you’ll need digital assets. Blockchain is just the way to keep track, it’s an accounting system. I think that’s why we’ve been successful raising capital. There’s a belief in blockchain fitting into other technology trends that investors are already buying into. This isn’t anything different. It is actually just enhancing trends people are already buying into.

There’s a stark line in the sand between Libra and bitcoin. That’s helpful because it shows the value of bitcoin for people.

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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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As the year and decade come to an end, cryptocurrencies once again outperform other major asset classes.

Despite trading significantly down from their record highs of late December 2017, large-cap cryptocurrencies had a phenomenal year and remain one of the greatest investment success stories of the decade.

Cementing themselves as the world’s leading asset class for yearly performance, cryptocurrencies have risen well above annualized returns of the U.S. equities, commodities and bond markets for 2019.

Ryan Alfred, President and co-founder of Digital Assets Data said large-cap crypto assets possess significantly higher returns versus traditional markets for this year.

“Looking back at the performance of the top ten large-caps (Bitwise 10) in comparison to other major asset classes, we can see their special signature,” Alfred said.

Crypto versus traditional assets

Credit: Digital Asset Data

As seen in the chart above, research provided by Digital Assets Data shows how this year’s performance of the top 10 cryptos by market capitalization fared against other major asset classes such as gold, oil and equities.

Of course, 2019 didn’t start out that way. Back in February, the top 10 crypto began a fairly dismal run, resting well below all other traditional asset classes when viewing their return on investment figures. However, sentiment began to pick up significantly in March and by mid-year, cryptocurrencies were far out ahead of other the other assets.

That gap has begun to narrow as stocks, bonds and commodities begin to increase their lead. Yet cryptocurrencies remain significantly ahead of all other asset classes as the year comes to a close.

Much of this rally is courtesy of bitcoin (BTC). The world’s first cryptocurrency is currently up 100 percent since the year began. Meanwhile, Ether, the world’s second-largest crypto is up 35 percent year-to-date, though  XRP is down 25 percent from where it traded on Jan. 1.

The big picture: Crypto’s success story

In the year before the decade began, the world was in the throes of a financial crisis. Since then, stocks have rebounded. From its March 2009 market meltdown lows to now, the S&P 500 has gained a respectable 369 percent. Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has also had a good run, up 326 percent in that same time period.

Bitcoin Price Index

However, BTC has blasted those figures, rising well above a staggering 12 million percent (yes, you read that correctly) over a one-year-shorter time frame, beginning March 2010. That’s when the price of 1 BTC was around $0.05, data taken from Messari shows.

Crypto’s success can likely be attributed to its most defining characteristics: high volatility and liquidity, allowing market participants to quickly and easily trade between digital and fiat currencies.

Lorenzo Pellegrino, CEO of Skrill, a cross-border payments platform utilizing crypto, said digital assets resembled a nascent market. Prices bouncing around in a frantic manner enable the asset class to outperform all others based on irrational sentiment and low barriers to entry.

“As it (crypto) matures we should start to see increased stability and the core fundamentals will become more apparent,” Pellegrino said.

Disclaimer Read More

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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