The American company Osprey Mining announced the launch of its new card to mine Ethereum and other alternative cryptocurrencies. The device has attracted the attention of the ecosystem for its electrical efficiency, as well as its high price, which is close to $ 1,600 per unit.
Unlike other graphics cards (GPUs) used to mine Ethereum – such as those from AMD and Nvidia – Osprey’s ECU50 is an FPGA device. This technology is reprogrammable and can be used to do very specific tasks, such as mining the algorithm of a blockchain.
The ECU50 is compatible with Ethereum’s Ethash algorithm, and achieves a hash rate of 41 MH / s with an electrical power of 75 watts. Also, the card has 8GB RAM and a cooling system with 2 fans, as well as a copper structure.
As it is reprogrammable, it is compatible with various cryptocurrency algorithms. In the same way, it can be used as a video card in data centers or for video games. That is, it is very flexible in terms of its functions and miners can adapt the card depending on whether mining is more profitable in one network or another.
Although these features optimize cryptocurrency mining, miners on social networks have criticized the high price of the device. The ECU50 costs $ 1,599 per unit and is warranted for only three months. As if that were not enough, Osprey Mining is a relatively new company, which began its operations in Silicon Valley in 2018.
In contact with CriptoNoticias, professional cryptocurrency miners compared the profitability of this new card with the GPUs that work to mine Ethereum. They agreed that the device has excellent electrical efficiency, offering a power consumption of 75 watts, when one of the most prominent GPUs on the market – AMD’s Radeon 5700 – reaches just a minimum of 200 watts.
However, although the efficiency may be high, the miners indicated that the device is not more profitable than other graphics cards on the market. While ECU50 costs $ 1,599 offering a hash rate of 41 MH / s, video cards like Radeon 5700 cost just over $ 400 and reach a hash rate of 55 MH / s.
If we consult what the profits of these two devices could be in a week of mining, it turns out that the ECU50 generates 1.51 dollars a week, while the Radeon 5700 generates up to 4 dollars a week. In other words, it is much easier to recoup the investment of the Radeon and start generating profits per year, than to recover the more than $ 1,000 invested in the ECU50.
Beyond its cost, cryptocurrency mining enthusiasts are interested in the new products that are hitting the market. Increased competition in the sector, together with companies specialized in mining alternative cryptocurrencies, could be a positive trend that generates better performance equipment for networks such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash or Zcash.
Knowing what is behind cryptocurrency transactions is something that few law enforcement agencies are trained to do. This was what prompted Vytas Zumas, a member of the Goiás Civil Police, in Brazil, to launch BlockSherlock, a platform that compiles tools for the analysis of cryptocurrencies.
Zumas is a professor and contender for the Civil Police and is part of the General Coordination to Combat Organized Crime of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security of Brazil. This coordination is responsible for monitoring crimes with cryptocurrencies in that country.
For this reason, Zumas had in the bookmarks of his browser a series of tools that he used daily for his activities. Realizing the list you had created, you thought it would be practical to organize these tools and make them freely available to the public on a website. That idea was what led to the launch of BlockSherlock.
Seeing that BlockSherlock began to take shape and thinking about the capabilities of other law enforcement agencies, Vytas decided to take it a step further. He contacted Ana Paula Bez Batti, Attorney General for Finance at the Brazilian Public Ministry with the intention of making BlockSherlock official.
The website was launched in August this year and has several important sections. A section dedicated to the block explorers of various cryptocurrencies, another section to visualize the volume of transactions and one in which there are analysis tools for cryptocurrencies.
Highlight the educational nature of the page. In the “Quick Start Guide,” BlockSherlock explains what each of the analysis tools are for. Additionally, it has a User Manual where it shares the characteristics of each portal in greater detail.
Among the intelligence tools shared on the page is Bitaps, a Bitcoin block explorer that also provides information on fees, rewards, nodes, and unconfirmed transactions. Also Orbit, a tool for exploring the network of a blockchain, recursively tracking transaction history.
But there are some resources on the website that are blocked: The guides for Brazilian security forces. It is important to remember that this page also seeks to coordinate organizations that carry out research with cryptocurrencies.
BlockSherlock redirects people to a form where institutional accounts of the Brazilian government can request support from the Ministry of Justice. In this way they seek to connect experts in the area.
It can be seen that the security organizations in Brazil use free software tools available to all audiences. This shows a characteristic of cryptocurrencies: everything is public and can be understood by educating yourself.
The existence of BlockSherlock indicates that, at the moment, the Brazilian government does not have special tracking tools, but uses the same tools as any user. However, Chainalysis has already arrived in Brazil and could be looking for a new space in the surveillance market of the South American country.
According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), advances towards digital payment systems (with currencies that seem to emulate bitcoin) have accelerated substantially so far in 2020 and far exceed the developments made in previous years.
These results are shown by the BIS through the Central Bank Digital Currencies Project Index (CBDCPI) that the agency presented in its most recent report, published this August.
Among the objectives of the study is to assess the progress and motivations for the issuance of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) in different countries, as well as the interest of central banks and citizens for these currencies. Additionally, technical approaches and parameters behind its design were analyzed.
The information to prepare the CBDCPI of the Bank for International Settlements was compiled through a desk investigation, according to the report.
The BIS researchers took into account more than 16,000 speeches by central banks in recent years, from which they analyzed the motivations and characteristics of the different projects. They also tracked Google Trends and Baidu (for China) searches for the term ‘CBDC’ – and related words – between January 2013 and April 2020.
The index shows a remarkable growth in public interest in CBDCs. The progress was evidenced by the increase in searches for information on CBDC projects on the internet worldwide this year. In that sense, it is indicated that these searches considerably exceeded those of Facebook’s Libra project and even those of the main cryptocurrency on the market: Bitcoin.
On this data, the BIS report shows a graph in which it presents the statistics of searches in Google Trends. There is an increase in searches on CBDC.
CriptoNoticias did a direct review on the website to compare searches for the terms “CBDC”, “bitcoin”, “Central Bank Digital Currencies”, and Central Bank Digital Currency in the last 5 years. The results show the highest number of searches for the word Bitcoin. See chart below:
Regarding the motivations for issuing CBDCs, the BIS index indicates that they vary in each jurisdiction.
However, in 2020 the motivation has been unified around overcoming payment problems. Interest has grown since the spread of the coronavirus. The pandemic accelerated the crisis of payments systems worldwide by causing a decrease in the use of cash. Hence the interest in cash-like retail CBDCs (they work like cash).
The report also mentions a survey conducted at the end of 2019 by the BIS Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures.
The consultation shows that financial inclusion has been one of the main motivations in most countries. Additionally, in advanced economies, central banks seek to promote security and soundness alongside domestic payments. In emerging economies, the desire is to achieve greater financial stability.
The fear of losing control of the global monetary system has been raging among bankers since 2019, as the public begins to turn its gaze to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Fear increased with the proposals for anchored cryptocurrencies or stablecoins. The report admits that Facebook’s Libra project represented a turning point for central banks.
All these elements, added to the crisis generated by the pandemic, caused a turn in the position of central banks on CBDCs in 2020. The report refers to how the positive mentions about central bank digital currencies became notorious this year, such as as reviewed by a recent analysis published in CriptoNoticias.