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This is How Institutional Players Help Bitcoin Mining Industry Grow

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This is How Institutional Players Help Bitcoin Mining Industry Grow 101
BitRiver’s crypto mining farm. Source: Adobe/hlxandr

Institutional players are entering the cryptoasset mining industry, prompting the creation of enterprise-grade solutions, but also offering new solutions for existing challenges, according to Igor Runets, founder and CEO of BitRiver, a Russia-based mining services provider that is now open to approaches from strategic investors.

Runets and his business partner had started a fund for Bitcoin (BTC) mining back in 2016, but geopolitical issues of the time, which prevented the purchased mining machines from being located in Russia, forced him to face a dilemma: declare bankruptcy on the data center dedicated to those devices, or buy it and convert it into a colocation business. He told Cryptonews.com that he chose the latter, thus forming BitRiver. “Soon after the data center started generating profit, I raised money from international investors,” said Runets, claiming that they are today “the largest datacenter that offers Bitcoin mining colocation services in Russia and Central Asia, and are operating profitably.”

The CEO, however, has noticed some trends becoming more prominent lately, saying that,

“One of the main trends in the mining industry is the entrance of institutional players and, as a result, the introduction of new enterprise-grade services for the mining industry.”

As examples, Runets gave companies such as Digital Currency Group starting a subsidiary, Foundry, to offer financial services to miners, as well as financial services company Charles Schwab purchasing shares of cryptoasset mining companies, thus joining major companies like Fidelity and Vanguard.

A main challenge in the industry today, said the CEO, is timely delivery of ordered mining hardware. Customers of major mining hardware maker Bitmain, for example, have been experiencing delays because of internal management issues at the company, he said.

However, here too institutions might bring a solution.

“As mining becomes more institutionalized, institutional players are also offering new solutions to existing challenges in the mining industry,” Runets said, giving an example of a recently announced partnership between Foundry and MicroBT, a China-based major crypto mining hardware manufacturer, as the latter aims to increase its market share in North America and improve supply chain efficiencies for North American buyers of its mining machines.

More capital and products for novices

In line with this, in the near future, BitRiver plans to increase their product offerings for institutional investors globally, specifically those who are not familiar with cryptocurrency mining. “These products provide such investors the experience of traditional investment products without the need to get into the nitty-gritty of bitcoin mining economics,” said the founder.

Meanwhile, their Bratsk data center is currently in operation, but there are other sites too, which are “in varying states of development.” BitRiver is utilizing over 70MW of power to mine cryptocurrencies at Bratsk, while they are “in the process of scaling this up to the maximum capacity of the site i.e. 100MW.”

That said, the company is open to strategic investors.

“We are in a stage of rapid growth and are simultaneously working on several highly lucrative sites in different stages of development both in Russia and abroad; all these plans require capital. Consequently, we are open for strategic investors that would allow us to grow even faster.”

Meanwhile, the demand for BitRiver services has been lower than last year, which the CEO said is due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the uncertainty around Bitcoin halving. But businesses are recovering after the onset of the pandemic, and the demand is increasing again, he said, adding that the company signed “some major contracts with new clients in the recent months.”

Speaking of the pandemic, the travel restrictions also affected the company as new clients have been unable to visit the data center before hosting large quantities of machines with BitRiver, as was a common practice before.

A law to ban token rewards for miners is ‘likely’

Recent reports claimed that the Russian Ministry of Finance wanted to ban crypto miners from receiving token rewards, which might result in a ban on the circulation of cryptoassets in Russia. Runets commented that,

“We believe that such a law will likely come into effect but we do not see any risks for our business and our ability to host foreign clients. This law was designed specifically in a way that allows the hosting business.”

Almost all of the company’s operation is dedicated to colocation, with the CEO being a customer as well, he said, adding that he doesn’t own “a large amount of miners – less than 1MW.”

The largest percentage of BitRiver’s operation that any client owns is about 20%, while the smallest is roughly 0.1%. “We work mostly with large scale miners,” Runets said.

Most of the clients are based abroad, in over 20 countries currently, and mostly in Japan, USA, and the EU.

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Learn more:
Bitcoin Miners Are Using New Strategies to Hedge Risks
Bitcoin Fees Skyrocket, Some Transactions Taking Days, Relief Possible Next Week
Bitfarms Signs a Deal That Cuts Bitcoin Mining Power Costs in Half
Former Gulag in Russian Arctic Bids to Become Bitcoin Mining Hotspot



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FreshKorn Cryptocurrency

As Big Tech stocks get slaughtered, Intel rises from the ashes

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The company is taking steps to address the issue, most notably by stepping up production in America. Intel announced plans Friday to invest more than $20 billion on two new semiconductor plants in Ohio. President Biden will discuss the Intel news later Friday.
Intel shares are up 3% in 2022 while rivals Nvidia (NVDA) and AMD (AMD) have each fallen more than 10%. Intel is outperforming the rest of the chip industry, too. The iShares Semiconductor (SOXX) exchange-traded fund is down 8% so far this year.
Intel CEO: The best way to fix America's chip shortage
Last week, Gelsinger posted a holiday/New Year’s video message on LinkedIn to brag about recent accomplishments. Wearing an ugly Christmas sweater with Intel’s logo on it, Gelsinger said the company’s new Alder Lake chips for PCs have thrust Intel back into a winning position in the chip world.
“All of a sudden, boom! We are back in the game,” he crowed. “AMD in the rear view mirror…and never again will they be in the windshield, we are just leading the market!” he crowed. Gelsinger spent 30 years at Intel as its first chief technology officer and later senior vice president and general manager before leaving in 2009 to take a job at EMC. (EMC has since merged with VMWare and is now owned by Dell (DELL).)

Intel playing catch up to Nvidia and AMD

AMD, under the leadership of CEO Lisa Su, has gained market share primarily in PC chips at the expense of Intel over the past five years. That’s one of the main reasons why AMD’s stock has soared more than 1,200% since January 2017. Intel’s, meanwhile, has gained just 45% while the iShares Semiconductor ETF has surged 300%.

Nvidia’s stock has also been a much better bet than Intel’s during the past five years, so much so that Nvidia’s market valuation of almost $635 billion is nearly three times Intel’s $219 billion.

And Nvidia has been a leading player, along with AMD, in graphics processing chips, a portion of the market that has grown rapidly thanks to gaming and cryptocurrency mining. Intel is now trying to play catch-up in the graphics chip market, and analysts see some hopeful signs for the company’s upcoming Arc family of processors.

New CEOs are benefiting from a long Wall Street honeymoon

Intel’s weak performance compared to AMD, Nvidia and the rest of the sector, is likely a key reason why former CEO Bob Swan stepped down last year to make way for Gelsinger’s return.

Intel now has more momentum. It recently hired a new chief financial officer from memory chip giant Micron (MU), a move that tech investors applauded.
Traders also liked the December announcement that Intel finally plans to spin off self driving tech unit Mobileye, which it bought in 2017 for $15 billion and is expected to go public with a valuation of about $50 billion.

Wall Street analysts are acknowledging the apparent change in the sector’s momentum, too. Piper Sandler’s Harsh Kumar downgraded AMD’s stock Thursday, citing growth concerns and increased competition throughout the chip sector.

And Susquehanna International Group analyst Chris Rolland wrote in a report Thursday that the Arc chips, which will be primarily used for PC gaming, “could heat up” competition with AMD and Nvidia.

“At the right price point,” Rolland noted, Intel may be able to quickly “obtain share in an otherwise supply-constrained market.”

Intel is likely to give investors an update on supply chain issues when it reports earnings for the fourth quarter on Wednesday.



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Bitcoin, ethereum prices tumble as cryptocurrencies continue their downward slide

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And it’s not just Bitcoin, as cryptocurrencies in general have had a dismal start to the year. Bitcoin has fallen over 8% in the last 24 hours, and was trading at $35,479 as of 9:30 am ET, according to CoinDesk. The world’s most valuable cryptocurrency has plummeted over 20% since the beginning of the year. In November it was trading at a record high of $68,990.
Its peers have fared worse. Ethereum, the world’s second most valuable cryptocurency, has fallen more than 12% in the last 24 hour, and was trading at around $2,400 as of mid-morning Saturday, according to CoinDesk. That’s an almost 30% drop since the start of the new year.
Investors are getting jittery about digital currencies and other riskier assets ever since the US Federal Reserve signaled it may unwind economic stimulus more aggressively than expected.
Twitter is rolling out verified NFT profile pictures
Governments are cracking down as well. On Thursday, Reuters reported that Russia’s central bank has proposed a ban on crypto use and mining. Russia is one of the biggest crypto-mining nations in the world, but its central bank said that digital currencies can pose a threat to the country’s financial stability.
The Russian proposal comes just a few months after China launched a full-scale clampdown on cryptocurrency, banning both trading and mining.
Other countries are also flirting with a ban on crypto. In November, India said it was preparing to introduce a bill that would regulate digital currencies, although much is still unknown about that proposal. Earlier this week, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi said that global cooperation is needed to tackle problems posed by crytocurrencies.
However, not everyone is pessimistic. Goldman Sachs said that the price of bitcoin could reach more than $100,000 within the next five years. In a report published earlier this month, the bank’s analysts said they saw strong gains ahead because bitcoin would increasingly steal market share from gold.



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Top hedge fund manager warns that market ‘superbubble’ will burst

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Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, & van Otterloo (GMO) said in a report called “Let the Wild Rumpus Begin” that stocks are now in the midst of a “superbubble,” that it won’t end well.

Grantham, who has been running the firm’s investments since it was started in 1977, was similarly bearish at market tops in 2000, and during the Great Financial Crisis of 2008.

“Good luck! We’ll all need it,” said Grantham, whose firm manages about $65 billion in assets.

He noted that US stocks have experienced two such “superbubbles” before: 1929, a market fall that led to the Great Depression, and again in 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst. He also said the US housing market was a “superbubble” in 2006 and that the 1989 Japanese stock and housing markets were both “superbubbles.”
2022 hasn't been good for stocks. But the Biden market is still up 18%

“All five of these superbubbles corrected all the way back to trend with much greater and longer pain than average,” Grantham wrote.

Many investors don’t want to believe that the stock market is overdue for a broader pullback, Grantham argues, especially since the market fell into bear territory — albeit briefly — in March 2020 at the pandemic’s start.

“In a bubble, no one wants to hear the bear case. It is the worst kind of party-pooping,” Grantham wrote. “For bubbles, especially superbubbles where we are now, are often the most exhilarating financial experiences of a lifetime.”

Grantham believes that the Federal Reserve’s moves to cut rates to zero — and then keep them there for nearly two years — is a main cause for the market’s current frothiness. The Fed is widely expected to begin raising rates at its March meeting.

“One of the main reasons I deplore superbubbles — and resent the Fed and other financial authorities for allowing and facilitating them — is the under-recognized damage that bubbles cause as they deflate and mark down our wealth,” he wrote.

Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of hedge fund GMO, is warning that stocks could fall a lot further.

Grantham added that “as bubbles form, they give us a ludicrously overstated view of our real wealth, which encourages us to spend accordingly. Then, as bubbles break, they crush most of those dreams and accelerate the negative economic forces on the way down.”

“To allow bubbles, let alone help them along, is simply bad economic policy,” Grantham wrote, adding that he’s concerned about “the terrible increase in inequality that goes with higher prices of assets, which many simply do not own.”

This isn’t the first time Grantham has issued such a doom and gloom call on the markets. He made a similar proclamation about the end of the bull market in January 2021, calling stocks an “epic bubble.” The market wrapped up 2021 near record highs and with its third straight year of gains.

Rate hikes will deflate a lot of the market’s hot air

Other investing experts share some, but not all, of Grantham’s concerns. Jordan Kahn, president and chief investment officer of ACM Funds, which has a portfolio that both buys stocks and short sells ones that it thinks are overvalued, said there are definitely more opportunities on the short side of the market right now.

Kahn told CNN Business that his long-short fund is only invested about 30% in bullish positions that it expects to go up. He is also worried about what will happen to stocks as rates go up.

Bitcoin tumbles as cryptocurrencies continue their downward slide

“When rates are at zero for a long time, it’s easy to justify almost any valuation, and coming out of 2020 we saw ridiculous prices for stocks,” he said, something he hadn’t seen since 1999. “But as soon as inflation started people question valuations.”

Still, Kahn isn’t as bearish as Grantham. Rather than an epic crash, he foresees a series of what he calls “bubble-ettes,” mini manias in corners of the market such as crytpocurrencies and speculative, unprofitable tech stocks.

“There has been a lot of blind faith,” Kahn said. “There are areas where there has been a lot of speculation and there will be pain there.”



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