Srp 17

Japan’s Biggest Social Network LINE Launches $10M Blockchain Investment Fund

Yet another blockchain investment fund is set to launch in South Korea. Messaging giant Line furthers its foray into the field of cryptocurrencies and is dedicated to streamlining early-stage startup investments with a $10 million fund. Additionally, the company announced the successful listing of TRON to its cryptocurrency exchange.


South Korea Sees Serious Investments in Blockchain

Line, the Japanese messaging company harboring over 200 million users announced August 15, that is set to launch a $10 million investment fund through its Korea-based blockchain subsidiary Unblock Corporation.

Silicon Valley Philanthropists Dig Deep into their Crypto Wallets during Fundraising Event

With this initiative, LINE will become one of the very first publicly traded companies to formalize investments in tokens through a dedicated corporate fund. The fund aims to “boost the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.” Furthermore, the announcement also made it clear that the fund is “expected to expand in the future.”

Just yesterday Bitcoinist reported that the government of South Korea has budgeted upwards of 1 trillion won with a “focus on promoting big data and AI, developing blockchain technology to ensure data management security and boosting the share economy.”

TRON Listed on BitBox

Earlier in June, Line announced that it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange through its Singapore-based subsidiary. The venue dubbed BITBOX is already live and has listed TRON to its lists of available cryptocurrencies.

TRON (TRX) has become the very first coin project which has managed to pass BITBOX’s review process carried out by their open-listing committee.

As a celebration for TRX’s listing on the cryptocurrency exchange, a total of 9 million TRX coins will be airdropped to BITBOX’s users in an event which runs until August 22nd.

Speaking on the matter, Youngsy Ko, CEO of LINE’s subsidiary in Singapore, which operates the cryptocurrency exchange said:

Integrating TRON (TRX) with BITBOX will enable us to connect with the world’s fastest-growing blockchain project. […] TRON has a solid tech platform, especially know it has joined forces with BitTorrent.

Tron’s Justin Sun acquired BitTorrent on June 11.

What do you think of Line’s increased interest in the field of cryptocurrencies? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Srp 08

First U.S. Congress Member Reveals Owning Bitcoin, Ethereum

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives, recently disclosed his personal cryptocurrency holdings. The revelation comes amidst rule changes mandating disclosure for members of the House.


Cryptocurrencies Stepping In Congress

Cryptocurrencies have made their way up in the high ranks of US politics. Congressman Bob Goodlatte filed his annual Financial Disclosure Statement on May 10, disclosing that he owns between $17,000 and $80,000 in digital currencies.

The statement was filed just before the House Ethics Committee passed new rules which required the members of the House to officially disclose in their annual reports whether or not they own cryptocurrencies. They also have to report on the holdings of their spouse’s if they amount to more than $1,000. Members of the House also have to report transactions involving more than $1,000 of crypto within 45 days of the event.

According to the statement, Goodlatte has invested in Bitcoin00, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. The Sludge reports that his son, Bobby Goodlatte Jr., is an angel investor in Coinbase. His financial involvement in the company, though, is not disclosed.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives, may become the first member of Congress to disclose that he owns cryptocurrencies.

Things Are Getting Serious

The last few months have marked interesting developments involving cryptocurrencies and politics. In May, fellow Democrats Dave Min and Brian Forde clashed over accepting cryptocurrencies as donations for the 45th Congressional race.

Earlier in January, former Republican Ron Paul said he’s in favor of legalizing alternative currencies so long as they are not used for fraudulent purposes.

Just a few days ago, Bitcoinist reported that a 2020 U.S. Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang will be accepting cryptocurrencies as official forms of donations for his campaign.

While the US Government remains uncertain on its position towards cryptocurrencies and the way they are treated, all of the above signals that they are beginning to have an impact on the American political landscape.

What do you think of Bob Goodlatte’s cryptocurrency holdings? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Srp 03

Crypto.com adds Litecoin to its MCO Wallet App Currency Lineup

Crypto.com, the payments and cryptocurrency platform formerly known as Monaco, has announced the addition of Litecoin (LTC) to its cryptocurrency application, the MCO Wallet App. Litecoin becomes the fifth virtual currency available on the MCO cryptocurrency platform, which is also tied to its MCO Visa card.


Virtual Currency Variety & Increased Use of LTC

The introduction of Litecoin adds to the platform’s original currencies which are Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), Binance Coin (BNB) and Crypto.com’s own MCO.

Users of the MCO Wallet App have adopted it for trading and tracking these currencies. According to Crypto.com, Litecoin has been added to the basket as an alternative that expands users options, brings variety and extends the platform’s use case.

In the official announcement for the new addition, Kris Marszalek,  Crypto.com’s co-founder and CEO said:

“By listing Litecoin on the MCO Wallet App, we are deepening both the functionality of the app for users and transforming into a go-to, intuitive cryptocurrency exchange platform. We look forward to continually and regularly expanding the variety of cryptocurrencies available to our platform users. Our support of Litecoin marks an essential step in this process as we strive to broaden the audience of cryptocurrency spenders and investors.”

The addition is also being celebrated by Litecoin, which is viewing the partnership as an opportunity to cast a wider net for users of the cryptocurrency.

Crypto.com’s application and metal Visa card represent additional touch points for people adopting Litecoin as a means of everyday transactions.

The announcement from Crypto.com also quoted Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin who said:

“Litecoin Foundation and Crypto.com share a common vision of accelerating the development and adoption of cryptocurrency. As Litecoin moves towards widespread acceptance as currency for a growing number of merchants, I’m excited to see Litecoin support added to the MCO Wallet App and the MCO Visa Card. We look forward to advancing the mission to expand cryptocurrency use together with Crypto.com by helping more users buy and spend Litecoins in their day-to-day lives.”

Crypto.com, the payments and cryptocurrency platform formerly known as Monaco, has announced the addition of Litecoin (LTC) to its cryptocurrency application, the MCO Wallet App.

BUILDING ON THE NEW BRAND

Despite being mired in controversies revolving around product revisions and premature partnership announcements in the past, Crypto.com appears to be building on its new brand and identity.

It’s also something that a new currency listing (which it says happens after careful review and consideration) could symbolize.

The adoption of a new name and brand that has a clearer tie to the cryptocurrency space, the addition of new currencies and ultimately the opening up of options for current and potential users might all indicate a new chapter for Crypto.com.

Is the addition of Litecoin enough to add to more value to the MCO Wallet App and the MCO Visa Card? Are there any other currencies that should be added to this platform? Please share your comments below.


Image courtesy of Crypto.com, Shutterstock

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Čvc 31

Vitalik Buterin: ‘There’s Too Much Emphasis on Bitcoin ETF’

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by means of market capitalization, Ethereum, noted that the community is placing too much attention towards Bitcoin ETFs. Instead, he reiterated on the importance of creating ways of facilitating smaller, retail investments into the market.


Following the recent Bitcoin ETF saga, the co-founder of Ethereum outlined that the public is placing too much emphasis on cryptocurrency exchange-traded-funds (ETFs), when, instead, the focus should be on making means for smaller investments.

Why Not Both?

Buterin makes the case that Bitcoin ETFs are better for “pumping price,” while offering tools for small-time investments in the cryptocurrency market would streamline quicker actual adoption.

However, it’s also worth noting that by drawing a line of the kind, Buterin is also tapping into the two use cases of the world’s first and foremost cryptocurrency. As some users have pointed out, both BTC and ETH can function as investments and mediums of exchange. As such, a potential ETF would play an important role reinforcing the former, while the means for small-time cryptocurrency purchases would facilitate the latter.

Needless to say, Buterin’s tweet has received a fair amount of attention. The overwhelming majority of people, though, are seemingly sharing the belief that both are equally necessary for the success of the industry, in general.

The Race for Bitcoin ETFs Heats Up

ETFs: a Hot Topic

Bitcoin ETFs have become a widely discussed topic in the past few days. CBOE Global Markets filed an application for a VanEck/SolidX commodity-backed Bitcoin ETF on June 2. As Bitcoinist reported, it has fairly high chances of getting approved. Unfortunately, according to legal expert Jake Chervinsky, the SEC is likely to take its time and come up with a formal decision in early March 2019.

In the meantime, a Winklevoss-proposed rule change was met with swift disapproval from the SEC. The Commission refused to allow the listing of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust on the Bats BZX Exchange.

Bitcoin (BTC) 00 has also been quite dynamic. Over the past week, the world’s first and foremost cryptocurrency rallied to a two-month high upwards of $8,300. Following the announcement of the SEC regarding the disapproval of the Winklevoss-backed Bitcoin ETF, the price took a substantial dive, losing over $400 in a matter of minutes. The price has since recovered.

What do you think of Buterin’s opinion on Bitcoin ETFs? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of the Bitcoinist Archives.

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Čvc 29

Binance Partners With Libra Credit to Offer Loans to BNB Holders

Binance Labs has invested in cryptocurrency loans company Libra Credit who will offer fiat and cryptocurrency loans to BNB holders using their coins as collateral. 


The latest venture by the investment arm of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, will take advantage of a growing demand for the liquidity of crypto-assets. Binance Labs is a social impact fund which incubates and invests in cryptocurrency and blockchain projects.

Libra Credit is branded as a decentralized digital asset financial services platform, and it has a primary focus on lending. Its initial coin offering (ICO) with the coin (LBA) ended May 5, 2018, having raised $26 million. Libra is planning to launch both a desktop lending platform and a mobile application for borrowers.

Cryptocurrency Loan Market Grows

This latest partnership is one of a growing number of cryptocurrency loan services appearing. The loans enable cryptocurrency investors to use their coins as collateral in the same way as a property is used in conventional borrowing. Lenders can still take advantage of increases in the value of their coins and retain final ownership but can borrow other currencies, including fiat, to use for further projects.

Earlier this week Mike Novogratz’s merchant bank Galaxy led a $50 million round of funding for the cryptocurrency lender BlockFi, which provides loans of up to $10 million against Bitcoin and Ethereum investments.

CoinLoan, an Estonian startup,  also launched a loan service, this time connecting users who wish to become either lenders or borrowers and securing the transaction between matching and agreeing participants.

Bitcoinist interviewed P2P lending platform INLOCK back in June 2018, to understand how its platform allowed cryptocurrency investors to continue to HODL while also unlocking their funds.

Bitcoinist interviewed P2P lending platform INLOCK back in June 2018, to understand how its platform allowed cryptocurrency investors to continue to HODL while also unlocking their funds.

Further Expansion From Binance

Binance is quickly expanding its massive share of the cryptocurrency market. Business Korea this week reported the exchange plans to enter the South Korean cryptocurrency market.

Despite a rocky start to 2018 for cryptocurrencies, Binance is on track to make net profits of up to $1 billion dollars USD this year. The disclosed exchange confirmed profits of $300 million in the first six months of 2018.

The cryptocurrency-backed loans market could be enormous, given the market capitalization of cryptocurrencies, and the few barriers for borrowers who often don’t need to provide the credit history and earnings information conventional lenders require.

What is your opinion on cryptocurrency-backed borrowing?


Images Courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Čvc 25

Founder of Two Closed Cryptocurrency Services Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges

The operator of two now-defunct cryptocurrency services – BitFunder and WeExchange – has pleaded guilty on charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice.


Jon Montroll, 37, also known as Ukyo, has pleaded guilty to securities fraud and obstruction of justice in front of the U.S. Magistrate Judge James Cott in Manhattan according to Reuters.

Shadow Brokers Threaten Release of Further Hacking Tools

Sneaky Moves

According to the prosecutors, Montroll, who is from Saginaw, Texas, operated the cryptocurrency storage and exchange service WeExchange Australia PTY LTD. He also operated BitFunder.com – a platform which allowed users to sell virtual shares of businesses for bitcoins.

The prosecution stated that in the interim between 2012 and July 2013, at the least, the defendant deceived investors in WeExchange by taking their bitcoins, selling them for fiat currency and eventually spending them on personal expenses.

Going further, in July 2013, Montroll also solicited investments in a security which he conveniently called Ukyo.Loan – a derivative of his screen name, Ukyo. He promised investors that they would be able to earn daily interest and that they could redeem their respective shares at any given moment.

It All Came Crashing Down

The prosecutors stated that in 2013, hackers managed to succeed in withdrawing roughly around 6,000 bitcoins from the WeExchange platform. Needless to say, this left Montroll unable to pay what he owed to his investors in Ukyo.Loan, BitFunder, and WeExchange.

However, Montroll failed to disclose the hack and kept on soliciting investments. Moreover, he lied under oath in 2013 and in 2015 about the precise moment when he had learned about the hack and about additional matters.

Ukyo’s case is far from being the only one involving major cryptocurrency-related frauds. On July 13, a Greek court ruled to extradite Alexander Vinnik, who was accused in a $4 billion BTC money laundering scheme, to France.

What do you think of Montroll’s pleading? Let us know in the comments below!


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Čvc 23

Gary Gensler: From CFTC Chair to Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Educator

Gary Gensler was chairman of the U.S Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) between 2009 and 2014, right after the global financial crisis. Today, Gensler is part of MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative, lecturing students on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.


Gensler was instrumental in dealing with some of the cleanup from the global financial crisis of 2008. He implemented new regulation whilst at the U.S CFTC for the unregulated swaps market which played a central role in the crisis. His work at the U.S CFTC was successful and the new oversights were implemented in advance of other regulators taking actions to mop up after the crisis.

Teaching Blockchain and Cryptocurrency at MIT

After leaving the CFTC Gensler became finance chairman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and bid. Gensler has now joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management and lectures on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Bullish on Blockchain

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Gensler confirmed he is “bullish” when it comes to blockchain, describing it as mimicking the distributed nature of society. However, his past work at the CFTC has left him with a “sober” eye on fast-growing financial technology.

Despite not being directly involved in U.S politics right now he has agreed to help both Republicans and Democrats in matters of cryptocurrency regulation.

Regulators Need to Bring Clarity

Regulators Need to Bring Clarity

Speaking at the MIT Technology Review’s Business of Blockchain conference in April 2018, Gensler said that government officials needed to look to regulate the larger cryptocurrencies as well as new ICO tokens.

“The SEC and regulators need to bring clarity,” said Gensler, many cryptocurrencies “are operating outside of U.S. laws.”

Gensler was quoted in a subsequent debate over Ripple describing it as a “noncompliant security” due to its centralized distribution model.

The CFTC is Better Placed to Regulate the Sector

Last week, July 19, 2018, Gensler spoke at U.S Congressional hearings on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies giving five reasons why he believes blockchain technology can make a real difference in the financial sector.

Gensler said blockchain lowers costs and risks and can give stability and prevent illicit activities if regulated. But, the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and U.S CFTC have a role to play as the ICO market is ripe with scams and fraud and there are gaps in U.S law, especially when it comes to exchanges.

Gensler also believes the U.S CFTC is better placed to regulate cryptocurrency markets.

Do you agree with Gensler? Who is better placed to regulate cryptocurrencies in the U.S, the CFTC or the SEC? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Flickr

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Čvc 22

A Shipwreck, a Sunken Treasure, and a Possible Crypto Scam

A South Korean company has claimed to have discovered the 113-year old wreck of the Russian battleship Dmitrii Donskoii, reportedly containing more than $100 billion worth of lost gold. While the matter of who actually has salvage rights remains contested, a cryptocurrency exchange has emerged, offering to “share profits” from the wreck with its users.


A $100 Billion Dollar Discovery?

According to reports by Reuters and The Telegraph, on July 19, 2018, South Korea-based Shinil Group announced that it had discovered the wreck of the Dimitri Donskoii – a Russian Imperial Navy cruiser believed to have been sunk in 1905 after battling Japanese warships.

Under the auspices of Shinil Group, a team of experts from South Korea, Britain, and Canada discovered the wreck on July 15. Through the use of submersibles, the team was able to read the name on the sunken vessel, positively confirming its identity as the Dmitrii Donskoii.

In a statement announcing the find, the company noted:

The body of the ship was severely damaged by shelling, with its stern almost broken, and yet the ship’s deck and sides are well preserved.

The ship is believed to have sunk with 5,500 boxes of gold bars as well as 200 tons of gold coins in its holds – a claim which the Shinil Group says it will prove when it releases footage of the discovery’s findings at a press conference next week.

Shinil Group representative Park Sung-jin spoke with Reuters, saying:

We believe there are gold boxes, and it’s historically proven.

He further described the boxes as “tightly lashed” – an indication that they contain “really precious stuff.”

If the claims bear out, the value of the sunken treasure would be well over $100 billion at current market value.

Discovery of a Lifetime or Cryptocurrency Scam?

Salvage Rights Still Up in the Air

While the identity of the sunken ship may have been confirmed, the issue of who actually has the salvage rights is far from certain. In addition to Shinil Group, there are at least two other contenders vying for the claim. The government-run Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) claims to have discovered the wreck in 2003, while the now-bankrupt Don-Ah Construction company claims to have found it in 2001.

Muddying the waters even further, Yevgeny Zhuravlev, head of Russia’s Vladivostok’s military history museum on the Pacific Fleet has said that under international maritime law, the ship belongs to Russia.

A South Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries spokesperson told Reuters that ownership of the wreck would need to be agreed upon by a number of agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has reportedly not discussed the issue with the Russian government.

Regardless of who ultimately winds up with salvage rights to the Dimitri Donskoii, if any treasure is found, at least half of it would automatically be handed over to the Russian government. If Shinil Group is found to have been the first to discover the vessel, Park says that the company’s intention is to donate 10% of the remaining treasure to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s job creation initiatives, as well as helping to fund other inter-Korean development projects.

Discovery of a Lifetime or Cryptocurrency Scam?

In a surprising twist to this already confusing story, two websites have emerged, both with apparent ties to the discovery of the Dimitri Donskoii and its sunken treasure.

The first website is a newly launched cryptocurrency exchange named Donskoi International Exchange, which promises to share the profits from the wreck by giving out Shinil Gold Coins (SGCs) to users of the platform. The second website – which Bitcoinist uncovered during the course of its own investigation – appears to be promoting an upcoming ICO for the aforementioned Shinil Gold Coin. Both websites share logos and a nearly identical design, and both claim to be operating under the Shinil Group.

Interestingly, both websites’ share the same webhost and list the same registrant and administrative contacts in their respective WHOIS data which can be viewed here and here. The address listed for both domain names belongs neither to Shinil Group or the websites’ host, but rather that of a shopping mall in Seoul, Korea.

South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Services issued a statement on the matter which said:

Investors need to be cautious as it’s possible they could suffer massive losses if they bank on rumors without concrete facts regarding the recovery of a treasure ship.

Park told Reuters that Shinil Group is in no way affiliated with the exchange and Bitcoinist has reached out for comment regarding the ICO but has yet to receive a reply.

Do you think the sunken treasure exists? Who will ultimately claim salvage rights? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of PRNewswire

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Čvc 16

Germany’s Lufthansa Airline to Award Hackers at Unibright Hackathon

One of Europe’s largest airlines, Lufthansa AG will reward blockchain developers participating in an event partnership with Unibright, the “Hackathon without a single line of code” at the Pillar Unconference 2018.


The second #PillarUnconference, also known as the “Woodstock of Crypto,” begins July 15th, 2018, in Vilnius, Lithuania, and is set to attract a wide mix of the cryptocurrency and blockchain community including entrepreneurs and developers. The conference includes workshops, a “devcon” track for blockchain and smart contract developers, and a number of hackathons.

No Coding Needed

Lufthansa, by far the biggest non-crypto brand represented at the conference, has partnered with enterprise blockchain company Unibright to offer awards to the best developers, and indeed non-developers, competing in the “Hackathon without a single line of code.”

Unibright provides template-based, smart contract enabled, blockchain technologies for businesses. Hackathon participants will use Unibright’s “no-coding-needed” templates to work on visual definitions for real life uses case scenarios provided by Lufthansa. The case scenarios participants will need to create blockchain-based solutions for include asset life cycles of planes and equipment, the airline’s and its partner’s loyalty program, voucher management and even seat and flight booking management systems.

Stefan Schmidt, CTO of Unibright, says that blockchain is at an early stage of “mass adoption,” and that:

By adding real use cases from real enterprises we can really show how blockchain can make a change.

Hackathon without a single line of code

Lufthansa Prefer to Make Real Use of Blockchain

In a clear confirmation that Lufthansa is investigating blockchain-based technology for the airline’s future, Lufthansa will reward the best participants with flights from Vilnius, Lithuania to a follow-up blockchain use-case workshop in Frankfurt. The follow-up workshop will involve winning participants, Lufthansa, Unibright, and technology solution provider Zühlke, and be held later in 2018.

Dr. Jörg Liebe, Senior Director Digital Innovations Hub Airlines and Airline Products at Lufthansa, says that blockchain is often a “buzzword” and that Lufthansa “prefers to make real use of it.” He states:

To really benefit from blockchain technology you need use cases where a distributed ledger brings a noteable improvement to existing processes.

Lufthansa, combined with its subsidiaries, was the largest airline in Europe by fleet size and passengers in 2017. Unibright’s Medium announcement confirms Lufthansa is considering blockchain use cases within the corporation.

British Airways first used blockchain technology last year to manage flight data on a number of international flights in a bid to reduce conflicting flight information.

Should more international companies be looking to get in on events like this to develop blockchain strategies and attract key talent?


Images courtesy of Lufthansa AG, Shutterstock

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Čvc 14

New Power Rates for Cryptocurrency Miners in Upstate New York

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved new electricity rates for cryptocurrency miners in Upstate New York.


Details of the New Rates

In a press release issued by the New York PSC, high-density power consumers like cryptocurrency miners under the Massena Electric Department will pay new utility rates. The new rules approved by the New York PSC aims to protect existing electricity customers while at the same time encouraging miners from setting up shop in the area.

As part of the new plan, cryptocurrency mining operators will be able to negotiate with municipal power authorities in the area. By so doing, utility companies can review the energy demands of miners individually to come up with suitable contracts for each cryptocurrency mining facility.

To qualify for this new rate, miners must exceed a demand of 300kW and a load density of 250 kWh per square foot per year. Also, they must provide proof of benefits attached to their consumption. The new directive is an economic development assistance package that virtual currency miners in the area can enjoy.

Commenting on the new rate plan, chairman of the New York PSC John B. Rhodes said:

As part of our continuing effort to balance the needs of existing customers with the need to attract new companies, we must ensure that business customers pay a fair price for the electricity that they consume. However, given the abundance of low-cost electricity in Upstate New York, there is an opportunity to serve the needs of existing customers and to encourage economic development in the region.

New York Public Services Commission

No Downside for Existing Customers

One significant upside to the new electricity pricing policy is that it does not affect the rates paid by existing customers. Cryptocurrency miners and other high-density power consumers in Upstate New York that do not meet up with criteria will be placed in another pricing category.

Thus, existing customers are shielded from being made to pay a premium on electricity in an area that has one of the lowest utility tariffs in the United States. The new plan comes into effect on July 17, 2018.

Since the beginning of the year, cryptocurrency miners have been trouping into areas in Upstate New York looking to take advantage of cheap power and favorable climatic conditions. However, municipal power authorities weren’t best pleased with the development fearing that their power resources could become stretched.

In March, the New York PSA authorized power authorities in the upstate area to introduce premium tariff rates for cryptocurrency miners. With this new pricing plan, however, miners can rest easy now that they know where they stand.

Should other states that play host to significant cryptocurrency mining activities adopt the decision by the New York PSC? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.


Images courtesy of dps.ny.gov, iStockPhoto

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