Autor Cointelegraph By Griffin Shenkel

Intel to reveal new energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASIC at next ISSCC

Reports indicate that Intel, one of the largest computer processor manufacturers, intends to reveal a new “Ultra-Low-Voltage Energy-Efficient Bitcoin Mining ASIC” known as Bonanza Mine at the upcoming IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in February 2022. Intel submitted a patent in November 2018 outlining similar ideas for “high-performance Bitcoin Mining.” It is suspected that the processes described in the patent could make their way into the product being shown off at the ISSCC.According to the patent, the ASIC behind the Bonanza Mine will be able to finish calculations just as effectively as other ASICs while eliminating the need for repeated or redundant computations. This system is proposed to reduce overall power consumption by approximately 15%. The processors used for mining crypto are notorious for being subject to shortages and diminishing sales. Intel would become a competitor against companies like Bitmain, with a proposed Ether ASIC still pending release and Nvidia, a company that was also struck by multiple instances of declining chip sales. Demand for crypto mining has been rising steadily despite constant processor shortages and inconsistent production costs. Representatives from Intel seemed confident in regards to entering the crypto mining industry and with the new chip, commenting:”Intel has done design work around SHA 256 optimized ASICs for several years beginning with pathfinding work done in Intel Labs.”At the time of publication, it is unclear whether Intel will release the Bonanza Mine for retail sale or if it will be strictly for industrial or research purposes. Regardless, this could potentially catapult Intel into becoming a main competitor within the crypto-mining industry.

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Cathie Wood’s ARK ETF reportedly buys 6.93M shares of SPAC merging with Circle

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest has reportedly purchased 6.93 million shares of the special purchase acquisition company, or SPAC, that is merging with Circle, for $70.6 million through the company’s ARK Fintech Innovation exchange-traded fund (ETF). This purchase would represent a new position for the ETF, according to MarketWatch. Ark Invest’s ETFs have a history of bold purchases within the tech industry as indicated by their move to buy $80 million in Robinhood shares after the prices dipped back in October 2021. Wood is also bullish on crypto despite passing on buying the first Bitcoin futures ETF that same month. Circle is the principal operator of USD Coin (USDC), which is currently the second-largest stablecoin in terms of market capitalization. Circle announced its intentions to go public in July 2021 through a SPAC with Concord Acquisition Corp in a merger that would see the company valued at $4.5 billion. The merger was originally planned to finalize by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, with the company being listed on the NYSE with the ticker “CRCL.” The move to go public came about as a response to the increasing concern posed by regulators regarding stablecoins. Regardless, the move was applauded overall by the crypto industry. Vladimir Vishnevskiy, co-founder of Swiss wealth management firm St. Gotthard Fund Management AG, noted as such and said; “[USDC] has been around since 2014, and is another example of an established player being rewarded for their input into the ecosystem.Stablecoins are still under regulatory scrutiny in the United States as lawmakers question the market’s transparency and reserve backing. U.S. lawmakers are currently looking to introduce new legislation on crypto within the coming weeks. 

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NFT sales and blockchain games continue to grow despite the recent market slump: Report

January 2022 continues to be rough for crypto investors as current markets see turbulent fluctuations in the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Some have attributed the slump to recent federal intentions to introduce new rate hikes, and the political turmoil in Kazakhstan which significantly lowered the hash rate of bitcoin. On Jan. 14, the price of Bitcoin dipped below $42,000 as traders continued to hold out hope for bullish signals. NFT trading and blockchain games on the other hand seem to have resisted the dip. According to reports from DappRadar, NFT transactions continued to increase amidst declining crypto prices. The report stated that “the number of UAW connected to Ethereum NFT dapps grew by 43% since Q3 2021.” Numbers from the report also show that the money generated by NFT trading went from $10.7 billion in Q3 2021 to $11.9 billion in the first ten days of 2022. Recent developments in the NFT space such as the launch of the LooksRare marketplace may have also contributed to this growth. The report also stated that “blockchain games continue to be widely used”, and noted that they “represent 52% of the industry’s usage.” Expanding metaverse developments alongside the growing success of the play-to-earn model have also strengthened the case for blockchain games to continue growing throughout 2022. The growing interest in NFTs and blockchain gaming during this market slump can partially be attributed to Chinese audiences, which coincides with the recent announcements from China that say that the country will begin developing its own non-crypto NFT industry. According to DappRadar’s report, “China is now the country with the most extensive user base…increasing 166% from the numbers registered in November.”Even though the United States is now second in terms of overall traffic, the country still saw 175,000 new users in the NFT ecosystem, a growth of around 38%. This comes in part from the growing interests among younger audiences as millennials and generation Z start to account for a higher percentage of traffic. DappRadar reported that “30% of its traffic came from users from this age group… [with millennials] growing from the 36% observed from last year.”

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Gemini acquires BITRIA to push crypto into the wealth management industry

Crypto exchange Gemini announced Thursday that it had agreed to purchase Bitria, a San Fransisco-based start-up that provides traditional portfolio management tools for use in crypto investments. The goal of Bitria is to provide a platform for traditional asset managers and financial advisors to use in helping their clients invest in cryptocurrencies. Gemini said that it seeks to integrate Bitria’s Separately Managed Accounts and its Digital Turnkey Asset Management platform into its own exchange capabilities. The integration is intended to give advisors access to more than 70 different cryptocurrencies through Gemini’s exchange as well as giving them access to their client’s portfolios all through a single interface. Other features include portfolio rebalancing, tax-loss harvesting, data connectivity and fee collection.Similar to Coinbase’s acquisition of FairX, this acquisition comes as financial advisors attempt to meet the rising demand for crypto investments from their clients. Even though the popularity of cryptocurrencies has skyrocketed, traditional financial advisors often tend to have limited access to this ecosystem. A June 2021 survey from the Financial Planning Association and the Journal for Financial Planning found that 49% of advisors have had clients ask about cryptocurrencies since the start of 2021. According to Dave Abner, the Global Head of Business Development at Gemini: “Many financial advisors would only have access to one or two tokens through closed-end funds and spot crypto ETFs.”Back in December 2021, Gemini announced that it would be expanding into new territories through a partnership with Columbia’s largest bank, Bancolombia. At the time, a Gemini rep stated that the collaboration would serve “as an important step toward the strategic expansion of Gemini’s presence in Latin America.”

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OpenSea competitor LooksRare exceeds $394M in sales

Daily volume on NFT marketplace LooksRare has already exceeded $394 million following the platform’s official launch on Jan. 10.The platform was able to bring in this customer base by offering only 2% fees on basic sales and zero fees on private sales, compared to competitor OpenSea’s 2.5% fee on every transaction. The project also allows traders to earn rewards in the form of its native LOOKS token for buying and selling NFTs. The premier NFTs that have taken LooksRare by storm are the Meebits collection, which come from LarvaLabs — the same creators behind Cryptopunks and Autoglyphs. Meebits are currently the top collection on the market at the time of writing, according to data from DappRadar. It’s worth noting that DappRadar has included a disclaimer to highlight the potential wash trading going on with Meebits on LooksRare. Other traders have similar suspicions of wash trading. A number of repeated false transactions have been recorded by journalist Colin Wu. According to Wu’s report: “Transaction volume of Meebits has reached 52,771 ETH. Whales are constantly repeating transactions to obtain Tokens.” Another point of skepticism arose on Wednesday when a Meebit NFT sold for $49.5 million in Ethereum. Traders are claimed that this trade was fraudulent, citing that the combination of LooksRare’s zero percent royalties and the implementation of LOOKS rewards incentivizes wash trading.

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