1. Bitcoin mining researchers claim new tech ups winning hash chance by 260%
Quantum Blockchain Technologies (QBT), a research company based in the United Kingdom, has developed artificial intelligence-powered algorithms that could significantly increase the mining winning probability of certain ASIC Bitcoin miners, CEO Francesco Gardin said.
Speaking exclusively to the publication, Gardin unpacked how Quantum Blockchain Technologies (QBT) has incorporated AI to enable the smart search of winning hashes as an alternative to conventional random searches.
QBT’s machine learning teams have developed two different algorithmic search methods which reportedly improve performance of ASIC miners by increasing efficiency and winning result probabilities.
“Method A” is said to improve miner efficiency by 10% while “Method B” is set to improve the probability of a miner finding a winning has by 260%.
Gardin said that the company is looking to explore three specific areas, starting with a short term target of increasing mining performance of existing commercial ASIC chips by adding a software AI component running on a mining rig.
The team is also designing a new architecture for ASIC mining chips to optimize Bitcoin mining, which it detailed in a recent patent application.
Meanwhile QBT has a long term goal of using quantum computers to mine Bitcoin using an in-development SHA-256 computation method that can operate on quantum computing systems.
The firm estimates that miners could free up to 8% of logic gates of SHA-256 ASIC chips by pre-processing data used by future blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain, which would make certain logic gates involved in the computation of that data no longer necessary on the ASIC chip.
Although the mining rigs market is dominated by just a handful of ASIC manufacturers, Gardin believes that there are minimal differences, features or distinct advances between hardware aside from differences in hashing rates and power consumption.
2. Perfect storm for undervalued ASICs: Blockstream plans $50M raises to buy miners
Blockchain technology firm Blockstream is looking to raise a target of $50 million to purchase and store mining equipment that it perceives to be undervalued on secondary markets.
Speaking exclusively to Cointelegraph, Blockstream mining sales head James Macedonio unpacked the company’s plans to take advantage of a “huge separation” in the value of Bitcoin and ASIC mining equipment.
Blockstream is partnering with Luxembourg-based digital securities marketplace STOKR to launch the Blockstream ASIC (BASIC) Note. Macedonio said that blockstream will look to initially secure $5 million for its Series 1 BASIC Notes, each valued at $115,000, to buy ASICs at scale, store and then sell them back to the market as demand for hardware picks up into 2024.
The 24-month investment note is set to be available to accredited international investors, while Macedonio said that the firm anticipates seeing returns in 12 to 18 months, factoring in Bitcoin’s next mining reward halving earmarked for April 2024.
Blockstream also notes that BASIC is intended as a Bitcoin basis investment vehicle that aims to “generate a bitcoin-on-bitcoin return”. The company also expects that majority of investments to be made with BTC.
According to Macedonio, the price of ASIC miners — specialized hardware used to mine proof-of-work cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — is nearly 10 times lower than their peak around December 2021.
Blockstream’s team has previously noted that the value of ASIC miners typically correlates to the price movements of Bitcoin, with BTC appreciation leading to an increase in miner prices.
3. Arkansas Bill Takes Aim at Crypto Mining as Other States Deregulate
Cryptocurrency mining has emerged as a complex and controversial legislative topic for lawmakers across the country.
On one hand, the rapid growth of digital mining operations is heralded by advocates for its presumed economic benefits and associated job opportunities. Critics, meanwhile, detail concerns over the environmental impacts of energy-intensive mining activities and their long-term sustainability.
In Arkansas earlier this year, House Bill 1799: Arkansas Data Centers Act of 2023 was passed, relaxing regulations on commercial cryptocurrency mining and prohibiting government from imposing different requirements on cryptominers than other data centers. One state senator raised concerns about procedural aspects of the bill’s introduction and the potential environmental consequences that the legislation could bring.
“The Data Centers Act was passed under a batch of bills, which I am critical of because a lot of people didn’t know specifically what they [were] voting on,” Sen. Bryan King said. “In addition, the energy used by these types of centers is astronomical, especially when you compare it to the minuscule amount of jobs it does create.”
King recently introduced a bill aimed at repealing the legislation, although a committee declined an interim study on the proposal. It will not officially be brought forward for review until the 2025 legislative session, he said, unless his request for a special session is recognized.
Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., appear to share similar environmental concerns about the mining practices. In September 2022, President Joe Biden released a fact sheet on climate and energy implications for cryptoassets. The report revealed that cryptocurrency accounts for 0.9 to 1.7 percent of the nation’s electricity usage. “It could potentially hinder broader efforts to achieve U.S. climate commitments to reach net-zero carbon pollution,” the administration noted.
However, states across the country have passed laws both in support of and against cryptomining. Earlier this year, Montana passed Senate Bill 178 prohibiting discriminatory utility rates for digital mining operations and the taxes on cryptocurrency used as a payment method.
Missouri and Mississippi also attempted measures to curtail state-level regulatory interventions on cryptocurrency mining. These proposed laws included provisions that prevented state agencies from establishing what are termed as “discriminatory rates” for businesses engaged in digital asset mining. Neither bill passed.
Others have not been as willing to accommodate the emerging industry. Last year, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law that temporarily paused the issuance of new permits for fossil fuel power plants that include proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining due to environmental concerns.
Oregon, in a similar move, proposed HB 2816, requiring anyone who “owns, operates or controls high energy use facilities must ensure greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity used by these facilities are reduced to 60 percent below baseline emission levels by 2027.”
Some advocates for the deregulation of cryptomining believe doing so would negatively impact the local economy by causing these businesses to move elsewhere. In a press release last year, Missouri state Rep. Phil Christofanelli articulated this point while introducing a pro-crypto bill, stating, “This industry has great potential to enhance Missouri’s push to create greater economic freedom and ensures my state is open to innovation such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications coming to the market.”
However, King questions whether the rewards of cryptomining actually outweigh its disadvantages.
While Arkansas welcomes new businesses and embraces new technology, King said, lawmakers must also weigh the benefits versus the potential adverse effects on citizens and their communities before implementation.