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Must-reads for Nov. 6, 2018: Bitfury’s billion, crypto’s energy costs, and Pomp get dumped

These are the crypto stories you should be following today

Billionaire Novogratz Invests in Cryptocurrency Firm Bitfury (Bloomberg)
Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital has joined Naver Group of Korea in an $80 million round of funding for Bitfury. The company “sells gear used to mine cryptocurrencies and develops blockchain technology for clients including the Ukrainian government,” notes Bloomberg’s Ruben Munsterman and Ruth David. That puts its valuation above $1 billion. “If it conducts the IPO in the next two years, Bitfury will seek a valuation of $3 billion to $5 billion,” concluded Munsterman and David.


Quantification of energy and carbon costs for mining cryptocurrencies (Nature)
Another day, another Nature study on the impact of cryptocurrency mining. A week ago, the publication stirred the pot saying Bitcoin mining will wreck the planet. But this more recent piece seems more grounded, perhaps because it’s dealing with the here and now. “From 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2018, we estimate that mining Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Monero consumed an average of 17, 7, 7 and 14 MJ [millijoules] to generate one US$, respectively. Comparatively, conventional mining of aluminium, copper, gold, platinum and rare earth oxides consumed 122, 4, 5, 7 and 9 MJ to generate one US$, respectively, indicating that (with the exception of alumin-ium) cryptomining consumed more energy than mineral mining to produce an equivalent market value,” write Max J. Krause of the Oak Ridge Institute, and Thabet Tolaymat. In other words, it takes more energy to mine crypto than for an equivalent amount of, say, gold or copper (though, interestingly, not aluminum). The disclosure at the end of the piece notes that Krause owns some crypto, though under $5,000 worth.


Plans for digital currency spark political crisis in Marshall Islands (The Guardian)
Hilda Heine is the South Pacific’s only female leader but she’s on the verge of being thrown overboard thanks to her push for a digital currency. The currency, called the Sovereign (“Sov”), is being spearheaded by a startup called Neema but that the International Monetary Fund is criticizing company. “In the report the IMF said the Israeli start-up charged with issuing Sovereign had not made plans for ‘transaction monitoring, reporting of suspicious transactions, compliance monitoring, and sanctioning of compliance failures’. It said all cryptocurrencies were at risk of being misused for ‘money laundering and terrorist financing’ purposes,” the Guardian’s Eleanor Ainge Roy. As this is the Guardian, the term “Israeli start-up” appeared three times in the relatively short article. Anyone care to guess why they felt the need to repeat it?


‘Off the Chain’ Crypto Podcast Apparently Blocked on Apple iTunes (CoinDesk)
A former Snap and Facebook executive has made himself quite a business touting Bitcoin but now it appears Apple iTunes has had enough of his podcast. Anthony Pompliano—a.k.a. “Pump” “Pomp” (it’s easy to make that confusion with him)— “tweeted Monday that he had released a podcast last week and it has since been ‘taken down’ by the tech giant. The podcast, Pomp added, discussed the ‘ultimate argument’ for bitcoin, and had been trending at number four in the U.S. investing category before it was ‘mysteriously’ disabled,” writes CoinDesk’s Yogita Khatri. Yeah, that’s a total mystery.

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Lawrence Lewitinn, CFA was the founding editor in chief of Modern Consensus. Disclosure: Lewitinn owns no cryptocurrencies in his portfolio.