One of the first questions that anyone interested in mining cryptocurrencies faces is whether to mine solo or join a ‘pool’. There are a multitude of reasons both for and against mining pools. However, if the hash rate distribution across the bitcoin network is anything to go by (and it is) then most miners are opting to join a pool. Here’s what you need to know.

Pros and cons

Pros and consIf you’re deciding whether to join a mining pool or not, it can be helpful to think of it like a lottery syndicate – the pros and cons are exactly the same. Going solo means you won’t have to share the reward, but your odds of getting a reward are significantly decreased. Although a pool has a much larger chance of solving a block and winning the reward, that reward will be split between all the pool members.

Therefore, joining a pool creates a steady stream of income, even if each payment is modest compared to the full block reward (which currently stands at 25 XBTC).

It is important to note that it is important for a mining pool to not exceed over 51% of the hashing power of the network. If a single entity ends up controlling more than 50% of a cryptocurrency network’s computing power, it could – theoretically – wreak havoc on the whole network. In early 2014, many voiced concerns that the GHash.io bitcoin mining pool was approaching this threshold, and miners were urged to leave the pool.

Currency difficulty

In bitcoin’s case, the current difficulty level is so high that it’s practically impossible for soloists to make a profit mining. Unless, of course, you happen to have a garage full of ASICs sitting in Arctic conditions. If you’re a beginner, joining a mining pool is a great way to reap a small reward over a short period of time. Indeed, pools are a way to encourage small-scale miners to stay involved.

What to mine?

Flip coinsOf course, bitcoin is not the only currency out there – it’s easy to find lists of mining pools for your chosen cryptocurrency.

One method of mining that bitcoin facilitates is “merged mining”. This is where blocks solved for bitcoin can be used for other currencies that use the same proof of work algorithm (for example, namecoin and devcoin). A useful analogy for merged mining is to think of it like entering the same set of numbers into several lotteries.

First-time miners who lack particularly powerful hardware should look at altcoins over bitcoin – especially currencies based on the scrypt algorithm rather than SHA256. This is because the difficulty of bitcoin calculations is far too high for the processors found in regular PCs.

If you’re not sure which currency to mine, there is a pool called ‘Multipool’ which will automatically switch your mining hardware between the most profitable altcoin. Multipool updates every 30 minutes, and over time you’ll see balance grow in multiple altcurrencies. If required, the pool does allow you to fix your hardware on just one altcurrency too.

However, Mark from nut2pools.com said of this type of switching pool: “Loyal coin followers hate them because as soon as the difficulty of a coin drops, the profitability of it rises. Then all the multipools swing round, push the difficulty through the roof in a few hours, then leave again. It leaves the loyal coin followers having to mine the difficulty back down again at very low profitability.”

Pool rewards

PaymentsWhen deciding which mining pool to join, you need to weigh up how each pool shares out its payments and what fees (if any) it deducts.

There are many schemes by which pools can divide payments. Most of which concentrate of the amount of ‘shares’ which a miner has submitted to the pool as ‘proof of work’.

Shares are a tricky concept to grasp. Keep two things in mind: firstly, mining is a process of solving cryptographic puzzles; secondly, mining has a difficulty level. When a miner ‘solves a block’ there is a corresponding difficulty level for the solution. Think of it as a measure of quality. If the difficulty rating of the miner’s solution is above the difficulty level of the entire currency, it is added to that currency’s block chain and coins are rewarded.

Additionally, a mining pool sets a difficulty level between 1 and the currency’s difficulty. If a miner returns a block which scores a difficulty level between the pool’s difficulty level and the currency’s difficulty level, the block is recorded as a ‘share’. There is no use whatsoever for these share blocks, but they are recorded as proof of work to show that miners are trying to solve blocks. They also indicate how much processing power they are contributing to the pool – the better the hardware, the more shares are generated.

The most basic version of dividing payments this way is the ‘pay per share’ (PPS) model. Variations on this puts limits on the rate paid per share; for example, equalised shared maximum pay per share (ESMPPS), or shared maximum pay per share (SMPPS). Pools may or may not prioritise payments for how recently miners have submitted shares: for example, recent shared maximum pay per share (RSMPPS). More examples can be found on the bitcoin wiki.

The other factor to consider is how much the pool will deduct from your mining payments. Typical values range from 1% to 10%. However, some pools do not deduct anything.

Starting to mine with a pool

Having decided which currency to mine and which pool you’ll work for, it’s time to get started. You need to create an account on the pool’s website, which is just like signing up for any other web service. Once you have an account, you’ll need to create a ‘worker’. You can create multiple workers for each piece of mining hardware you’ll use. The default settings on most pools are for workers to be assigned a number as their name, and ‘x’ as their password, but you can change these to whatever you like.

Credit: Coindesk

MOGU is also pronounced as “蘑菇🍄” in Mandarin. Founded in January 2015 and with a valuation of more than 100M (as of May 2017), MOGU has sold an estimated 5000 smart routers to date.

Their mission is to make internet affordable, accelerated and accessible through their disruptive smart-router technology. Our home routers usually sits idly up to 18hours per day, with the Mogu Smart Router™ it will be able to use this downtime to perform big data revenue generating tasks. So the Mogu Smart Router™ user receives a portion of the revenue for the work completed by their router in the form of Mogu Token.

On the 17th of August during BLOCONOMIC 2018, Mogu’s Head of Business Development, Sam Hourigan shares with us some of MOGU’s missions and goals.

“We are moving towards everything as service. So, we want to inspire the dreams as developer of the world and bring what is tightly controlled industry into a more open industry to allow people to get access to data services.”

He also added,

“Decentralized nature is very important to us and it’s bringing power back to the people. We really want to build a community that’s able to step into our future and with our smart router, it is cheaper and more effective to access data. And also we pay the owners of each router for the use of the server services that we provide. So, as we are processing the server services through each one of the routers, we are giving back to the people who owns it. Which means it’s part of our community and moving forward it’s not about the corporate, but its everyone in the world.”

Not only that,

He shares some of his point of view on the differences of the Blockchain scene in Malaysia and Australia.

“I think on the public scale, Malaysia especially all over Southeast Asia, I think there’s a lot more public sentiment supporting the technology. And I think Malaysia has got a population that is more technology driven and technology adapt. Australia is a resources economy on agriculture and we are trending towards property and construction economy now as well.  And this is somewhat stifling our ability to accept new level technologies.”

Credit : Coins300

It seems iPhone users won’t have access to the crypto collectible craze anytime soon.

The news comes after forthcoming video game War Riders was featured on the Coinbase Wallet iOS app and then quickly withdrawn. In War Riders, players drive around an apocalyptic wasteland, building up armies of vehicles – vehicles represented by non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, on a blockchain.

According to screenshots obtained by CoinDesk, a Coinbase staffer told Cartified, the company behind the game, via Discord:

“Quick heads up – we will be removing from the iOS version as we’re not able to highlight dapps that facilitate purchase of digital goods.”

The Coinbase spokesperson explained that War Riders was the only app listed within the wallet that sells NFTs.

Notably, CryptoKitties, the famous decentralized application (dapp) for buying and breeding digital cats, isn’t even featured. Although War Riders and others remain listed on the Android version of the Coinbase Wallet app.

Stepping back, Apple has long had a complicated relationship with crypto in its app store. Coinbase was itself removed for a time early on (but that was a long time back). Plus an early game that allowed users to earn bitcoin for playing was also removed.

Viktor Radchenko, CEO of Trust Wallet, tweeted about the same problem in June.

“Experience with Apple is just terrible,” he told CoinDesk via Telegram. “No communication from there on how to work with NFT’s or even with cryptocurrencies.”

Yet, within Apple’s app store review guidelines, there’s no specific language forbidding NFTs precisely. Radchenko said Apple has indicated they are forbidden under its “In-App Purchase” rules.

Neither Apple nor Coinbase have responded to repeated requests for comment.

Featured dapps

The controversy started Monday after Coinbase enabled native hosting of the dapp’s NFTs on its app.

That was the first day War Riders got native support for its NFT on Coinbase, meaning users could not only find the game by name, but also, should they purchase an NFT, it would show up in the Coinbase Wallet, according to Vlad Kartashov, CEO of Cartified.

By late Tuesday night, Kartashov informed CoinDesk that War Riders was no longer showing up as “featured dapp” within the Coinbase Wallet at all.

While Cartified is not officially describing the gameplay yet, it’s currently selling premium vehicles, of which there are only 30,000 premium vehicles of a maximum 1,180,000 vehicles throughout the whole game.

According to Kartashov, it’s not for a lack of interest that the game got removed.

“We have a very thriving community on Discord, and people have already been forming clans even though clans have not been announced officially,” he told CoinDesk.

Plus, the game itself seems well suited to attract fans of post-apocalyptic games, even those that are tired of the same old, same old design.

“These vehicles will also be modernized and will not be from the 70s like it is in the most post-apocalyptic games,” he said.

Another token

Beside the NFT, War Riders’ players will also use an ERC-20 token called benzene (or BZN) within the game as money. BZN will be released to players through caches that will be algorithmically generated by the game within its world.

But there’s a twist here. BZN will function as a more traditional cryptocurrency outside the game, but players that acquire the token within the game must use their vehicles to safely get the BZN back to their garage in order to use it in the real world. Other players will be able to steal it on the way.

Its premium NFTs will also come with full “tanks” of BZN, so it will be on the market in small quantities before the game goes live.

Speaking to Cartified’s mission for BZN, Kartashov said, “No BZN will ever be for sale. There’s no ICO or anything like that. We are only selling non-fungible tokens.”

Cartified is only running an NFT pre-sale right now. Buyers are not yet receiving the actual tokens.

Kartashov has not been able to get any more clarity about the specific objection from Apple to his app, but concluded:

“I’m not sure what’s exactly bad with people wanting to play games.”

Credit : Coindesk

As South Korean lawmakers discuss regulations and guidelines for the cryptocurrency sector, a group of domestic blockchain experts will establish a new society to study the legal aspects concerning the decentralized technology.

Dubbed the ‘Blockchain Law Society’, the new organization will officially launch this Friday, August 24, according to a report from local publication Yonhap. The collective will see a group of blockchain experts vying to propel studies on the legal aspects surrounding blockchain technology and promote it for various applications in a number of sectors.

“Blockchain Law Society was founded not only to study blockchain technology from a legal aspect but to promote interdisciplinary collaborations between diverse areas, such as economics, computer engineering (and) field business,” the working group said in an announcement this week.

The organization added it would invite experts from numerous areas beyond the technology sector including prosecutors, judges, professors and other industry experts to carry out academic and legal studies of the technology as well as proposing legislation for regulating the crypto and blockchain sector domestically.

The new collaborative society comes to the fore at a time when South Korea’s government announced a 1 trillion won budget($918 million) for a big push in developing big data, AI and blockchain technology in 2019.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT is also promoting blockchain education within Korea’s youth, proactively encouraging and training young graduates and students to understand the decentralized technology.

Earlier this month, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) – the country’s financial watchdog – threw its support in backing blockchain technology to fundamentally power stock trading without a centralized ledger. Korea’s shipping industry has also held a successful 7-month pilot of imports and exports from Korean shipping ports on a blockchain developed by Samsung SDS, the IT subsidiary of electronics giant Samsung.

Credit : CCN

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has announced the successful trial of a blockchain ticketing system for last week’s Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.

In a post on its website, European football’s governing body stated that a blockchain-based Android and iOs app was used to deliver tickets to mobile phones of fans attending the game which held in Tallinn, Estonia.

Ticket Safety and Revenue Breakthrough

For years, UEFA has battled with the problem of fake or duplicated tickets which can lead to lost revenue and fan safety concerns due to overcrowding and rioting. The 2007 UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan in Athens, Greece was a high profile example of ticket counterfeiting and racketing causing an event management failure on game day.

Under existing ticketing systems, counterfeit tickets can result in the accidental admission of thousands of extra supporters, in contravention of stadium safety regulations. This potentially could cause the nightmare scenario of a crowd stampede or a breakdown of law and order if fans riot due to not being admitted into the ground.

Current systems also enable touts to buy up hundreds or even thousands of match tickets as soon as they become available online, with the intention of reselling them on matchdays outside the stadium, sometimes for several times their face value.

This leads to a situation where many dedicated fans cannot access tickets because touts are able to execute computerized ticket purchases much faster than them,

To solve these problems once and for all, UEFA’s new match ticketing system aims to provide a secure framework for ticket distribution, so as to cut out touts and counterfeiters. The system distributes 100% of available match tickets to registered fans through a blockchain-based app that is available on Android and iOS.

The system combines a ticket distribution system functioning on a blockchain framework with mobile Bluetooth devices at stadiums that integrate with smartphone Bluetooth devices in order to grant entry to users.

The system has previously been trialed at several events including the 2018 Europa League final in Lyon between Atlético Madrid and Marseille, where it was used to distribute 50% of the tickets available to the general public.

Following the success of those tests, the system was implemented for all tickets available to the general public in the 2018 Super Cup, which saw a meeting between Champions League winners Real Madrid and Europa League winners Atlético Madrid.

UEFA says that it will continue to develop the system with a view to deploying at at future events.

CCN earlier reported that English Premier League side Wolverhamption Wanderers signed a sleeve sponsorship deal with CoinDeal for the 2018/18 season, as the global football industry increasingly takes to the blockchain.

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On August 1, 2017, the bitcoin protocol underwent a hard fork which split the network in two and gave birth to “bitcoin cash.”

Why did this happen and what are the consequences?

Tired of the infighting and perceived lack of progress on bitcoin’s scaling debate, and unhappy with the decision to go ahead with the SegWit upgrade (which would increase block capacity – but not its size – by restructuring how transaction data was stored), a group of community participants developed an alternative bitcoin with different characteristics. The new version increased the block size from 1MB to 8MB.

It also excluded SegWit, which some felt was no more than a temporary patch to bitcoin’s scaling problem. Some were also worried that the second layer networks that SegWit enabled (at time of writing these are still in development) would deflect transaction volume from the main network and diminish bitcoin’s importance.

A further difference in the bitcoin cash protocol is the difficulty adjustment mechanism. To maintain a relatively even flow of blocks, the bitcoin protocol adjusts the difficulty factor of the hash puzzle (how hard it is to find the nonce that produces a hash within the specified parameters) every 2016 blocks. With bitcoin cash, the difficulty adjustment is much more agile, adjusting every 600 secondsaccording to the amount of computing power on the network.

This gives the new protocol a fighting chance at survival. If miners don’t mine a coin, it dwindles away. With bitcoin’s price so much higher than that of bitcoin cash, the latter would only be profitable to mine if it were much easier to do so. In other words, the value of the coin may be lower, but a miner would successfully process blocks more frequently, and collect more bitcoin cash tokens as a reward.

Trading

Bitcoin cash can be purchased at a wide range of big-name exchanges, with Bitfinex, GDAX, HitBTC, Bitstamp and Poloniex handling over 90% of the US$ volume.

After some initial confusion, most exchanges have settled on the ticker symbol BCH, although a few still use BCC (which is also used to denote Bitconnect, even more confusing).

At time of writing, over half of bitcoin cash volume comes from trades out of bitcoin. Most of the demand from fiat currencies comes from the US dollar and the South Korean won.

You can follow bitcoin cash price movements on CoinDesk’s price tracker.

Upcoming fork

On May 15, bitcoin cash’s protocol is due to upgrade via a hard fork (which means that the whole network will need to enable the new version to be able to continue participating).

The upgrade will further increase the size of the blocks, from 8MB to 32MB, and will introduce a more sophisticated smart contract capability as well as other features such as the expansion of its time stamping, asset creation and rights management function.

Now what?

As with all digital tokens, whether bitcoin cash lasts or not remains to be seen. However, market acceptance has been increasing since the launch, with some large retailers accepting payments in the cryptocurrency. What’s more, key industry participants such as Coinbase and Circle have recognized that demand has exceeded their expectations. And an increasing number of crypto hedge funds are including BCH in their holdings, in response to investor demand.

CRedit : Coindesk

Hong Kong is seeking to attract worldwide talents with specialties in innovative technologies including blockchain via a special immigration policy.

The Hong Kong government released a talent list on Tuesday that covers a range of 11 professions that are now eligible to receive bonus marks when experts in these areas apply for the city’s Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS).

One of the areas is dedicated to “innovation and technology experts in, but not limited to, … artificial intelligence, robotics, distributed ledger technologies, biometric technologies and industrial/chemical engineering, etc.”

Launched in 2006, the QMAS allows successful applicants to enter and settle in the Chinese special administrative region without having to first secure a job offer from a local employer.

“The Scheme is a quota-based entrant scheme. It seeks to attract highly skilled or talented persons to settle in Hong Kong in order to enhance Hong Kong’s economic competitiveness,” according to the program’s description.

The scheme’s selection process requires applicants to meet several prerequisites before being awarded points under one of the two points-based tests: General Points Test and Achievement-based Points Test. The points are further used for competing with other applicants each year.

“For applicants who meet the specifications of the respective profession under the Talent List, bonus marks will be given under the General Points Test of the QMAS,” the government said in the announcement.

To be qualified in the innovation and technology area, blockchain professionals need to hold a bachelor or above degree with experience in notable firms in the filed and knowledge of how to apply blockchain in financial services.

The effort comes at a time when the Hong Kong government is taking the lead in adopting blockchain to boost the city’s competitiveness in financial technology.

As CoinDesk previously reported, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s de facto central bank, is set to roll out a distributed ledger network among several banks in the region to facilitate transactions in trade finance.

Credit: Coindesk

Slovenian bitcoin mining marketplace NiceHash has announced that it has successfully reimbursed 60 percent of all funds stolen in last December’s hack, which saw 4,700 BTC worth approximately $65 million stolen from the firm.

Seventh Reimbursement

The news was announced in a post on its Twitter account, where it was revealed that the seventh reimbursement of its repayment program was completed on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

In a press release on its website, the platform also revealed that wallet users who were registered on the NiceHash platform before the Dec. 6 hack can log in to their account, where they will see an “old balance” tab under the wallet section on their dashboard.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

NiceHash@NiceHashMining

Dear NiceHash users, seventh reimbursement of the Repayment program to all users is complete! 🙌

You can read our official press release here: https://www.nicehash.com/news/seventh-reimbursement-of-the-repayment-program #NiceHashReimbursement #RepaymentProgram #NiceHashRepayment

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This tab, according to NiceHash, shows users the total bitcoin amount that users had in their wallet prior to the attack. NiceHash users using external wallets at the time of the hack are also included in the repayment program, with such users receiving instructions to view their old balance and monitor repayment progress.

Users Face Massive Bitcoin Price Decline

A major frustration that has resulted from the situation is the substantial loss suffered by users due to the bitcoin price fall earlier this year. At the time of the hack, bitcoin was valued a $20,000, but in the intervening months, the bitcoin price has fallen steadily, currently trading between $6,000 and $7,000 during most of August.

In December, CCN reported that, two weeks after the hack, NiceHash came back online promising to reimburse all users in full via a monthly repayment process. The hack cost NiceHash CEO Marko Kobal his job, as he stepped down in January.

Explaining the move on his LinkedIn page, he said:

“As you are aware, since the recent security breach we at NiceHash have been working round the clock to rebuild our internal systems as well as management structure. I shall now stand aside and allow new management to lead the organization through its next, exciting period of growth – therefore I decided to resign as CEO of NiceHash.”

Slovenian police are still investigating the cyberattack, according to a report by local media outlet STA, citing information from the Ljubljana Police Department. It is expected to be a complicated and demanding investigation because the hackers involved generally do not reside in the country where the crime takes place, and they have several ways to hide their identities.

A quote from a press release cited by STA reads:

“Information gathering and other activity are still under way and carried out with the help of international legal collaboration.”

Credit: CCN

The bitcoin price took a major leap on Wednesday morning, spiking nearly $300 in less than a minute to break out of what had been two days of mostly sideways trading for the flagship cryptocurrency.

The incident in question occurred at exactly 1:00 UTC, when BTC leaped from $6,466 to $6,745 during a single one-minute candle on Bitfinex, and the bitcoin price continued to increase from there, rising above the $6,800 mark and peaking at $6,899 before settling back down to a present value of $6,840 at 1:34 UTC.

bitcoin price
BTC/USD | Bitfinex

Early indications suggest that the price action, which came during a period of relatively-low trading volume in the cryptocurrency markets, may not be quite organic. That’s because it occurred at nearly the exact moment that BitMEX, a leveraged cryptocurrency trading platform that handles billions of dollars worth of contracts daily, went offline for scheduled maintenance.

BitMEX@BitMEXdotcom

Scheduled Maintenance to begin in a few minutes at 01:00 UTC.

CamelBusBananaWomp@CamelBus_

the moment @BitMEXdotcom went offline pic.twitter.com/OxppDispgb

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As of the time of writing, BitMEX was beginning to resume services, though it had not yet re-enabled trading. Consequently, it remains to be seen whether the market will sustain these gains throughout the early morning hours.

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Over the past 12 hours, the Bitcoin price has increased by more than 4 percent, rising from $6,400 to $6,700 within a short period of time.

Analysts have attributed the abrupt increase in the price of Bitcoin to the temporary downtime of BitMEX, a crypto exchange widely recognized for its margin trading system that enables users to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum with leverage against the US dollar.

As investors could not log into BitMEX and alter their trade orders, analysts stated that Bitcoin short contracts, which achieved a new monthly high on August 21, were liquidated, pushing the price of Bitcoin up 4 percent.

BitMEX Situation

On August 19, the BitMEX cautioned its users regarding a system maintenance that was planned to be held on August 21. The maintenance was executed as previously planned and the system was down briefly for a couple of hours, disallowing traders from logging into the platform and executing trades.

BitMEX postponed the resumption of its system for several minutes, after some users reported difficulty logging in. Apart from the minor hiccup in the logging in process, the maintenance was executed properly, without major delays.

“Some users are reporting difficulty in logging in. We are diagnosing. We have postponed resumption of trading for 5 minutes to 01:35. We will report back shortly,” BitMEX said on August 21, following up with a short update, “Trading resumption deferred until login is stable. We will report back shortly. Login has stabilized. We encountered a large DDoS upon restarting web services. We will resume trading at 02:00 UTC (in 7 minutes).”

Within hours, the BitMEX trading platform was restored and it resumed its normal operations, enabling traders to execute trades and orders.

But, analysts have said that the surge in the price of Bitcoin demonstrated manipulation in the market by large-scale retail traders that took advantage of the downtime of BitMEX, a period in which investors can no longer short the market, to drive up the price of Bitcoin.

Alex Kruger, a cryptocurrency trader and trading analyst at large FX market maker, said that the BTC price surge on August 22 has shown the concerns of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding market manipulation.

“The BTC lightning +7% breakout during Bitmex’s downtime shows why odds of SEC approving the CBOE bitcoin ETF proposal should be close to zero. Even if no manipulation (that’s debatable) this stresses the importance of BitMEX, a fully unregulated market with 40% market share,” Kruger said.

Last month, the US SEC disapproved the exchange-traded fund (ETF) application filed by the Winklevoss twins, citing an issue with the ETF’s dependance on Gemini, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, as the main source of price.

Market Needs to Mature

For the crypto market to mature, it will need some stability in the market and if it can be affected by minor events like a scheduled maintenance of BitMEX, then the market is still clearly at its infancy, which may decrease the probability of an ETF or any public instrument being approved.

Credit : CCN