Čvn 02

ASUS Releases Crypto-Mining Motherboard Supporting 20 GPUs

· June 1, 2018 · 8:00 pm

Altcoin mining has gained huge popularity over the past year as people use high-end GPUs to secure networks, and major computer part makers are taking notice, developing products for this emerging market. Now a manufacturer has released a motherboard that can support 20 GPUs.


Better Hardware for Miners

ASUS announced the H370 Mining Master earlier this week, boasting the ability to support a whopping 20 graphics cards. This motherboard is specifically built for cryptocurrency miners, and the design was done in a way that allows for much more efficient connectivity by letting USB riser cables plug directly into the PCB ports rather than PCIe.

H370 Mining Master

This motherboard aims to make maintenance on fickle GPU mining rigs much easier, as the company stated that this new format is much better than adding GPUs via PCIe. This motherboard also has drastic improvements to diagnostics, an essential tool for miners.

The mining industry already has a razor-thin profit margin, and if your cards aren’t hashing what they’re supposed to be hashing, you’re losing money. High uptime is one of the top concerns for all miners.

Price Spikes for PC Hardware

Ever since the initial big altcoin boom in early/ mid-2017, GPU shortages have been commonplace for most popular online retailers. As manufacturers struggle to keep up with demand, GPU prices have risen hundreds of dollars for top-of-the-line hardware. Gamers have been outraged as well, as they’ve been unable to get the components needed for the latest, and most graphics-intensive, games at reasonable prices.

Cryptocurrency mining rigs

Along with the price gouging, however, cryptocurrency mining has opened a huge potential market for existing hardware manufacturers. Rumor has it that NVIDIA and AMD are working to build their own cryptocurrency mining ASICs to compete with current Bitcoin mining companies. The addition of two major tech giants would definitely provide some much-needed market competition.

Are you mining any coins on your home PC? Are you interested in a motherboard that supports a whopping 20 GPUs? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of ASUS, Amazon, and Shutterstock.

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Kvě 14

Nvidia Expects 2/3 Decrease in Sales to Crypto Miners in The Next Quarter

· May 13, 2018 · 7:00 pm

Nvidia announced that they had a successful 1st quarter in terms of sales, in part due to the fact that cryptocurrency-related sales boosted their revenues by 10%. Despite the good news, Nvidia expects that the sales generated by cryptocurrency enthusiasts will decrease by over ⅔ over the 2nd quarter, which ends in 2 months.


Nvidia’s Growing Business: Did Crypto Sales Help?

Nvidia’s Thursday release of their Q1 financial reports has shown that their revenues have gone up from $1.9 billion in Q1 of last year to a staggering $3.2 billion during this year’s first quarter. The latter figure is a ~$300 million dollar increase in revenue compared to the figures reported in Q4 of last year.

The other statements and figures given by Nvidia in their earnings call were also positive but did not meet all analysts’ expectations, as the price tumbled over 2.5% during after-hours trading. Jim Cramer, a popular financial analyst and personality, quickly jumped on analysts’ statements, calling them “total joker chowderhead analysts,” in an attempt to call off their allegedly unrealistically high expectations of the company.

The 10% in revenue growth since Q4 was quickly attributed to cryptocurrency mining sales which became so prevalent in the latter half of 2017 and the start of 2018. Hardware sold by Nvidia to miners over Q1 was revealed to have generated $289 million for the market leader in the computer hardware industry.

Taking a tally of the company’s profits overall, the $289 million generated by cryptocurrency sales have accounted for just around 9% of Nvidia’s total sales during the first fiscal quarter of the year. Considering the worldwide impact which Nvidia has, a 9% portion of the company’s revenues is quite substantial.

Nvidia’s Q1 cryptocurrency miner sales were actually above the expected amount, with a quantitative financial investment firm, Susquehanna, and its analysts expecting that sales brought in by the cryptocurrency industry would amount to a relatively small $200 million in a best-case scenario. This means that the figure revealed by Nvidia execs was over 44% higher than the anticipated figure. A welcome surprise, that’s for sure.

Is The GPU Mining Market Slowing?

Despite this good news, Nvidia expects for the $289 million made by sales to miners to drop by over ⅔ by the end of Q2 of this year.

Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s CEO, acknowledged the help cryptocurrencies had on Nvidia’s profits in a statement made during the earnings call with CNBC. Huang stated:

Crypto miners bought a lot of our GPUs in the quarter and it drove prices up,

For those who are unaware, the demand for GPUs over the course of the past year for mining purposes has caused the PC enthusiast community to go into an outrage over the current high prices, not to mention the lack of supply.

Cryptocurrency mining rigs

It is now clear that 2017 and early 2018 saw a multitude of cryptocurrency mining operations, individuals and corporations alike, buying as many GPUs as they could get their hands on. Although retailers did their best to prevent GPU shortages, by implementing restrictions on buyers, in the end, many mining companies still got their hands on the equipment.

Despite the rush of last year’s market, the GPU mining market has been slowing down as mining costs have gone up while profits have been decreasing, not a combination you want to see as a miner. As hype for GPU mining begins to subside, prices and supply for graphics cards will begin to return to numbers which resemble the MSRP prices.

This is not the only bad news for GPU miners worldwide. Bitmain’s announcement of 3 brand new ASIC miners which run on the Equihash, ETHhash, and Cryptonite algorithms have threatened the existence of the GPU mining industry. These ASICs provide an exponentially higher hashrate per dollar and watt of energy compared to traditional GPU processes.  However, ASICs have been rejected by a large majority of the cryptocurrency community as many see ASICs as a threat to the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies.

The GPU mining community has been quick to jump on the announcements of the ASICs, calling for developers of GPU-mineable coins to fork away from ASICs. Despite the cries of the community,  Ethereum and ZCash’s developers have chosen to abstain or delay a fork away from ASIC miners.

With the threat of ASIC miners looming not too far in the distance, it is understandable to see Nvidia’s expectations that its cryptocurrency profits will take a beating. But the future could still be bright for Nvidia as they move into an era where technology use will become increasingly prevalent. In fact, Jim Cramer even called Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s CEO, the “Einstein of our era.”

Will BitMain shutdown the GPU mining industry? Do you think that Nvidia has a future as a mainstay in the cryptocurrency GPU mining industry? Please let us know in the comments below.


Images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/@Nvidia Corporation, Shutterstock, and Twitter/@business.

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Kvě 12

Bitcoin to Reach $64,000 in 2019, Based on Mining Economy, Says Fundstrat

· May 11, 2018 · 7:00 pm

Based on analysis of the bitcoin mining economy, the world’s most well-known cryptocurrency could reach as high as $64,000 USD by the end of next year.


Bitcoin Miners Do the Selling

According to independent research boutique Fundstrat, which provides market strategy and sector research, the bitcoin mining boom could potentially send the dominant cryptocurrency by market capitalization to upwards of $64,000 USD by the end of 2019. States the company’s head of research, Sam Doctor, in a report:

We believe the current path of hash power growth supports a BTC price of about $36,000 by 2019 year end, with a $20,000-$64,000 range.

Bitcoin is infamously volatile, creating FOMOers and naysayers on what feels like a weekly basis. Nevertheless, Fundstrat believes the economics behind bitcoin mining create key support levels — since bitcoin miners are less likely to sell their rewards during market downturns, and more likely to cash out during bull runs. Explained Doctor in a conference call to CNBC on Thursday:

The primary net sellers, in our view, are bitcoin miners, and the rest are transactions between investors.

Fundstrat has estimated that the current cash break-even price Antminer S7 models is $6,003 USD per bitcoin. The newer and more powerful Antminer S9, however, features a much lower break-even point at $2,368 USD. Both popular pieces of bitcoin mining hardware are manufactured by Bitmain, which boasted an operating profit between 3 billion USD to 4 billion USD in 2017. Doctor said:

The release of the next generation of rig hardware should trigger a new round of capex as well as hash power growth, which could accelerate if BTC price appreciates.

According to CBNC, Fundstrat co-founder Tom Lee is the only major Wall Street strategist to cover Bitcoin.

Lee previously predicted last July that Bitcoin may reach $20,000 to $55,000 by 2022. At the time of that prediction, bitcoin was trading at $2,540. Lee also noted that bitcoin could become a viable substitute for gold.

Do you think bitcoin can reach upwards of 64,000 USD by the end of next year? Do you think the miners’ break-even point is indeed a key support level? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Twitter/@fundstratQuant, Twitter/@@fundstrat.

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Úno 21

Tesla’s Amazon Cloud Account Hacked to Mine Cryptocurrency

· February 21, 2018 · 10:30 am

Tesla, the automotive company, was the victim of a cryptojacking attack as their Amazon cloud account was compromised and used to mine cryptocurrency.


Even the largest and most technologically advanced companies can be vulnerable to being hacked. Case in point is the pioneering electric car company, Tesla, owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk. They were recently the target of a cryptojacking attack that saw their Amazon cloud account compromised and used to mine cryptocurrency.

Tesla car

Security Not up to Snuff

A hacker, or group of hackers, hijacked an IT administrative console belonging to Tesla that had no password protection. The cybercriminals then used sophisticated scripts to begin mining for cryptocurrency.

The hack was discovered by RedLock, a cybersecurity firm. Apparently, researchers for RedLock were tracking down which groups had left their Amazon Web Services credentials openly exposed on the internet. One of the groups that RedLock found was Tesla.

Of the hack, a Tesla spokesman says:

We maintain a bug bounty program to encourage this type of research, and we addressed this vulnerability within hours of learning about it..

The impact seems to be limited to internally used engineering test cars only, and our initial investigation found no indication that customer privacy or vehicle safety or security was compromised in any way.

Crafty Hackers

RedLock notes that the hackers exposed an Amazon “simple storage service” (S3) bucket that held telemetry, mapping, and vehicle servicing data for Tesla. It appears that individual information was not accessed, but the CEO of RedLock, Varun Badhwar, says that they “didn’t try to dig in too much” and instead alerted the car company.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Badhwar says that the hackers were pretty crafty in hiding their tracks. They made sure to lower the CPU usage demanded by the Stratum software they were using for cryptocurrency mining. This allowed the mining to be virtually undetected. The hackers also kept their internet addresses secret by hiding behind the services of a content delivery service, CloudFlare.

Overall, it is unknown what cryptocurrency the hackers mined for. The current popular choice is Monero. The amount of cryptocurrency mined by the hackers is also unknown.

For their efforts, RedLock were given $3,133.70 by Tesla as part of the company’s bounty program to reward outside hackers who find flaws in their system. The amount is a reference to 1337, which is old hacker slang for elite.

Tesla is not alone in being the victim of cryptojacking. RedLock estimates that 58% of businesses that use public cloud services have exposed “at least one cloud storage device” to the public. Of that amount, the cybersecurity firm says a full 8% have had cryptojacking incidents.

Do you think companies like Tesla can do more to protect themselves from cryptojacking attacks? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Flickr/@Maurizio Pesce, Pixabay, and Flickr/@JD Lasica.

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Led 04

Over 860,000 Have Signed Up to Mine the Venezuelan Petro

· January 4, 2018 · 6:30 am

President Nicolas Maduro announces that 860,811 young people have registered to mine the Petro, the new national cryptocurrency of Venezuela.


Paper Virtually Worthless

Economically, Venezuela has been in terrible shape for a number of years. The failed socialist policies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro have destroyed the national economy, caused massive hyperinflation, and led to a humanitarian crisis where food and medicine are in short supply.

In such times, many have turned to mining Bitcoin in order to survive, but such individualistic practices are not supported by the national government. Maduro declared last December the creation of a national cryptocurrency called the Petro, and he recently announced that 860,811 young people have registered to mine the new virtual currency.

Mandatory Registry and the Creation of the Petro

It was just last month that Bitcoin miners had to join an online registry in order to legally keep mining. Some argued that the registry offered legal protection to miners. However, some cynical folks thought that such a registry would just serve to give the state a list of names and places to keep tabs on and, possibly, eventually confiscate mining tech. There have been quite a few reports of police and government authorities seizing mining computers and using them for their own gain.

Into the economic maelstrom of woe came a new hope. President Maduro announced in December 2017 the creation of the Petro cryptocurrency. This new virtual currency would allow the country to help negate the effects of US-led sanctions and would be based on the country’s stock of gold and diamond holdings, as well as over 5 billion barrels of oil. In his announcement of the Petro, Maduro said:

Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency … the ‘petro’, to advance issues of monetary sovereignty, make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade … This is going to allow us to move toward new forms of international financing for the country’s economic and social development.

Crude Oil to Support Venezuela’s Petro Cryptocurrency

Tapping the Youth

It appears that Venezuela is going full-bore on mining Petro. Supposedly 860,811 young people have signed up to begin mining the cryptocurrency. The government seems focused on incorporating young people into the project, probably due to their increased familiarity with the crypto world. These young people are going to be tasked with setting up mining farms.

Of this project, President Maduro notes:

We are going to call them, a special cryptocurrency team, to set up mining criptomenoda farms in all the states and municipalities of the country.

So it appears that the government will be setting up their own mining farms. One wonders how many confiscated computers are being used for such an endeavor. Of the over 860K signups, it’s reported that 300,000 are already in “productive tasks,” whatever that means. It would be interesting to see how many of the over 860K signups also appeared on the mandatory registry list.

What do you think about the Petro mining project? Will the coin achieve any level of value? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Shutterstock

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