Iran Issues Operating Licenses to Over 1,000 Cryptocurrency Miners

The Iranian government has reportedly issued more than 1,000 licenses to cryptocurrency miners in the country ever since it started to regulate the industry last year. According to local media reports, the licenses the licenses were issued by the country’s Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade.

An official with Iran’s ICT Guild Organization – an Iranian NGO representing information and communications technology (ICT) sector – Amir Hossein Saeedi Naeini revealed the state of the country’s cryptocurrency mining industry, local Financial Tribune reported Friday.

In an interview with the Ibena publication, he stated that cryptocurrency mining is a new industry but miners have been attracted to it in Iran due to low electricity costs. According to data, miners are charged $0.11 for one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy, whilst during the peak summer season (June to September) the charges are higher at $0.46 per kWh.

Previously, the government accused crypto miners for using subsidized power after getting ahold of approximately 1,000 bitcoin mining machines in two abandoned factories allegedly using government-subsidized electricity.

Following that, the government issued a directive and is now providing electricity to them at the export rate, citing that subsidized energy put pressure on Iran’s national grid, causing a 7% increase in energy consumption in the country. This, in turn, significantly raised the operating cost of digital currency mining businesses in the country.

“The electricity price offered to miners will be equal to the average Rial price at which Iran exports its electricity to other nations, or to 70% of the average Rial price at which the country ships off its natural gas,” according to a directive from the government.

In the meantime, Amir Hossein Saeedi Naeini stated that studies have shown that the crypto mining industry had the potential to add $8.5 billion to the economy of the country. However, he further explained that the cost of electricity was a major challenge for crypto miners in Iran.

Whilst a number of large and industrial farming mines have already been set up, the high electricity tariffs plus stringent regulations have made the sector less appealing for small investors. As such, few licensed mining farms are currently active in Iran. He then suggested that making changes to the electricity rates could help boost the crypto mining industry by allowing all miners to operate, and it could also help generate more revenue.

Due to the criticism from the ICT Guild Organization regarding the high tariffs, the government has responded and stated that discussions are underway to set more favorable terms for crypto miners.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government officially recognized cryptocurrency mining as an industry only in August 2019 after months of deliberation. Notably, Iran does not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also been discussing creating a unified cryptocurrency for Muslim countries with leaders of other Muslim nations.

Cryptocurrency Mining Giant Bitmain Announces South America Partnerships

Cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain has announced that is expanding its distribution in South America by partnering with two digital asset mining consulting firms.

In a press release from December 12th, Bitmain confirmed the appointment of Fastblock and Bit5ive – two cryptocurrency mining firms – as the official Antminer distributors in South America.

According to the news, Fastblock will serve as the primary distributor in Brazil. Founded in 2013, the firm provides major crypto mining services, including selling, hosting and supporting crypto mining hardware.

Bernardo Schucman, co-founder and CEO of Fastblock, has expressed great excitement at the opportunity to work alongside Bitmain, stating:

“We are excited to be bringing our blockchain knowledge from managing over 20 mining plants since 2014 to Antminer customers in the region. We are also able to guarantee the best prices and have a highly skilled team that can advise on the most cost-effective solutions for any mining project.”

Meanwhile, Miami-based Bit5ive will be distributing Antminers to over 30 countries in Latin and Central America as well as the Caribbean.

Robert D. Collazo Jr, Bit5ive co-founder and chief executive, stated that that the official distributor license will help strengthen the trust South American miners have in Antminer’s sales process. He further added that the team at Bit5ive looked forward to its partnership with Bitmain.

Following the announcement, Bitmain excecutive Irena Gao commented on the new partnerships and its decision to expand in the South American market, explaining:

“South America continues to be an important region for the cryptocurrency mining sector. Our collaboration with Fastblock and Bit5ive will help us to build on the relationships we have with the mining community on-the-ground and instill trust in the sales process of Antminers.”

Based in China, Bitmain is the largest manufacturer of ASIC-based Bitcoin mining chips. In addition to that, it is also the only company making the 7 nano-meter-based mining chip which is considered to be very efficient.

In the meantime, following multiple failed attempts in Hong Kong, Bitmain filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.

The news comes amidst new reports, which reported that Bitmain’s market share by hashrate had dropped from around 70% to 66% from June to early December 2019. The figures were reported in a study, called “The Bitcoin Mining Network” published by London-based digital asset manager CoinShares. Concurrently, Bitmain’s own estimations allege that the company’s market share accounted for 75% of the global crypto hardware market as of 2017.

Bitmain Unveils US Mining Facility for Digital Assets

Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain has unveiled a new US facility which they claim to be the largest mining facility for Bitcoin (BTC) in the world. Bitmain established the new mining facility with the aim to make it the largest digital asset mining facility across the globe.

According to a press release published on October 21st, Bitmain revealed their new US facility in Rockdale, Texas. The facility stands on a 33,000 acre land owned by Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). It has been built to a current 25MW capacity, with a 50MW facility remaining under construction. According to Bitmain, the site has been designed to expand its overall capacity six times over to 300MW in the future.

The facility had been developed with the help the Rockdale Municipal Development District and Canadian technology firm DMG Blockchain Solutions, for streamlining its operations at the new venue.

Clinton Brown, Rockdale lead project manager for Bitmain, has stated upon the news release:

“We are excited to launch this facility, which is significant to Bitmain’s global expansion plans. The stable and efficient energy resources in Texas are fundamental to the inevitable scale of growth for the cryptocurrency mining industry.”

DMG, which will provide hosting and management services for the Texas facility, will collaborate with Bitmain to expand the facility’s capacity and ensure the efficiency of the site’s mining operations.

In addition to that, both companies have stated they will work closely to establish the facility’s on-ground team together with the local workforce commission – the Rockdale MDD.

The giant mining firm has also affirmed in the press release that it will acquire materials for the on-going construction from local suppliers in the area to contribute to the economy of the region. Furthermore, the company will also purchase energy directly from Rockdale’s electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

According to Sheldon Bennett – COO of DMG and in-charge of Rockdale mining facility – “this mining facility marks a major milestone in the development of the mining farm industry. We are proud to partner with Bitmain, the leading innovator in this sector.”

Aside from supporting the local economy, Bitmain also plans to launch educational programs and training on blockchain technology and mining data center operations in cooperation with the Rockdale school district.

As previously reported, Bitmain’s plans for its Texas facility were first announced in August of last year. At the time, Bitmain stated it had expected to create 400 local jobs within the first two years, citing $500 million as its total planned investment into the economy over an initial period of seven years.

However, at the beginning of this year, local reports alluded that the project was being reduced, with reports of staff layoffs and suspended operations. Adverse market conditions were thought to be the reason for the alleged downscale.

Meanwhile, another Texas-based crypto mining farm – Layer1 – recently secured $50 million from an array of investors with an aim to establish America’s leading crypto mining facility.

Blockstream Unveils Mining Facilities and A Collocation Service

Blockstream, a leading blockchain technology platform based in Canada, has just launched Blockstream Mining, a mining collocation service, along with the mining pool. The company made an official announcement through a blog post published on August 8.

Through the blog post the company revealed two massive data centers for enterprise class collocation services, along with Blockstream Pool, using the BetterHash protocol. This solves a key issue with many mining pools, in which the pool operators determine which transactions to include. Hence decentralization is increased, and potential attacks on the network become much more difficult.

Blockstream’s mining data center will host its clients’ mining activities in addition to Blockstream’s own mining operations.

In addition to that, this collocation service will allow businesses complete mining operations monitoring and control as well as the option to manage them remotely. The blog further denotes that there is a qualified team on deck to handle all the requirements: from the safe shipment of the mining equipment and reliable installation to real-time control and analytics to on-site tech support.

Currently, the service is available only to institutional and enterprise customers. However, the company has stated that operations support, along with more services, geared towards individuals as well as small businesses, will be soon added. The mining facility counts Fidelity Center for Applied Technology and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman as one the first clients of their new mining service.

According to the blog post, Blockstream Mining will provide mining equipment collocation service in the firm’s data centers – Quebec and most recent one, Georgia – as well as all over North America. The data centers account respectively for a combined 300 megawatts of energy capacity. At full capacity, populated with the latest mining rigs, this could account for around 7.5% of the entire network hashrate.

Blockstream CSO Samson Mow has disclosed that the platform’s mining efforts were mostly based on concerns about the network’s future:

“We began self-mining back in 2017 after being motivated by widespread concern that mining decentralization was declining. At the time it appeared that parties involved in ASIC manufacture, hosting, and pool operations were becoming a centralizing force and holding back Bitcoin from reaching its full potential. We figured we could use our Bitcoin expertise to improve the situation.”

Meanwhile, Blockstream has previously raised $90 million from investors including Khosla Ventures, AXA Venture Partners, and Reid Hoffman. The firm has launched a line of varied products and services. For instance, Blockstream has been busy lately, developing its Liquid sidechain project, bringing speed and cost benefits to the Bitcoin network.

Other products made available for customers include Blockstream Green – a mobile Bitcoin wallet, as well as the Blockstream Satellite, which is a 24/7 service enabling users to broadcast and receive Bitcoin transactions and blocks from satellites.

Chinese Mining Company Canaan Reportedly Applies for IPO with the US SEC

Canaan Creative, one of the largest manufacturers of Bitcoin miners in China, has allegedly filed an application for a $200 million initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S.

The news was reported on July 31st via a blog posting on local social media platform – WeChat – by an official account named “IPO Zao Zhi Dao,” claiming that the company had already secretly submitted the application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to people with knowledge of the matter, the Chinese manufacturer is seeking to raise $200 million through the public listing. Despite being less known in the west than its competitors such as Bitmain, Canaan is one of the three main Chinese Bitcoin mining players, the third being Yibang International.

Canaan’s first attempt to go public was during March 2018 when the Chinese manufacturer was seeking to file for a $1 billion IPO on the Hong Stock Exchange. However, the plan was later dropped by the company and the company’s Hong Kong Stock Exchange IPO application became void in November 2018.

Earlier this year, there were reports that Canaan was considering an IPO in New York, although the process was in its early stages. According to SEC’s new rules implemented in July 2017, companies in the US can make confidential filings of any size. The changes were made in an effort to encourage more IPOs. Prior to that, only smaller companies were allowed to file private applications.

In March, it was reported that the firm was considering an IPO attempt on the newly created Science and Technology (Sci-Tech) Innovation Board within the Shanghai Stock Exchange, in addition to its talks with the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.

Notably, in March Canaan Creative had raised additional capital in its latest funding round, however the exact amount was not made public. The funding came from all existing backers as no new investors reportedly came on board. Following this news, this would make Canaan as the first Chinese market participant to successfully take its case to the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, Canaan is not the first Bitcoin (BTC) manufacturer to consider filing an IPO. Cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain had earlier filed for an IPO, however failed to make a bid with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Following that, Bitmain was reportedly considering filing an application in the U.S. with the SEC as of the end of June. Rival mining manufacturer Yibang’s attempt at filing an IPO with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange had also met with rejection.

At the time of Bitmain’s failure in December 2018, many strongly believed that the then highly volatile nature of BTC was the reason which gave regulators cold feet. The month prior to that, mining had suffered as BTC prices plunged, leading to significant shifts as participants attempted to stay financially stable.

Six months later, the landscape had transformed, with Bitcoin seeing a dramatic reversal of fortunes across the mining industry.