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This week’s biggest crypto mining news — 03/04

Lugano to adopt BTC as legal tender, Europe dismisses Bitcoin mining ban, and more

#1: New York Bitcoin mining moratorium bill gathers support

A New York state proposal to suspend fossil fuel-powered proof-of-work mining for three years across the state has won support from two other Assembly members.

Members Amy Paulin and Ken Zebrowski threw their names along with 43 other co-sponsors of Bill A7389B.

CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to the three-year suspension of mining at former fossil fuel power plants, the bill would require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to assess the state’s crypto mining industry. The assessment would determine the impact on water and air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill would require a majority of Assembly members to sponsor it in order to be sent to the Governor for final approval into law. There are currently only 45 of the 150 Assembly members sponsoring the bill, so it still has a long way to go before it becomes law.

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#2: Lugano, Switzerland will make bitcoin legal tender

The city of Lugano, Switzerland, will make bitcoin legal tender and allow citizens to pay for public service fees or taxes in bitcoin, city director Pietro Poretti co-announced in an event livestreamed on Thursday alongside mayor Michele Foletti and CTO of Tether Paolo Ardoino.

The city has already worked with over 200 merchants to propel the adoption of bitcoin and Lightning payments.

Photo by Antonio Sessa on Unsplash

“This is probably the most important thing of this project,” Ardoino said, referring to “Plan ₿,” a city initiative being sketched and worked in collaboration with Tether to attract wealth, smart minds, and opportunities. Tether’s stablecoin USDT will also become a legal tender in the city.

Plan ₿ involves the creation of a physical venue in the heart of the city to function as a hub for Bitcoin and blockchain startups interested in making the city their new home, as well as the go-to place for networking events and hosting Bitcoin meetups and workshops.

Poretti said the city would “roll the red carpet” for Bitcoin businesses and enthusiasts, welcoming visitors and prospect relocators with a business-friendly environment featuring minimized bureaucracy and the ideal conditions for a company to thrive.

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#3: Europe will not ban Bitcoin mining

Photo by Emmanuel Burdin on Unsplash

In the European Union, it was previously discussed that since Bitcoin and Ethereum use the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism, which consumes a lot of electricity and has a negative impact on the environment, it’s time to ban the mining of these cryptocurrencies.

However, it was decided to abandon this idea following the new version of the bill on digital assets.

Technically, Bitcoin slowed down on Wednesday after two days of active strengthening, and on Thursday morning, it rolled back to 43.1K, losing 2.2% in the last 24 hours.

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#4: Intel’s second-gen miner’s efficiency second only to Bitmain’s S19 XP

The new miner will reach 135 terahash/second (TH/s), a measure of computing power, at an electricity efficiency of 26 joules/terahash (J/TH).

This makes it more efficient than Bitmain’s latest model, the Antminer S19 Pro+ Hyd., which delivers hashrate of 198 TH/s with an efficiency of 27.5 J/TH.

The second-gen Intel miner doesn’t beat out Bitmain’s Antminer S19j XP, however, which can be as efficient as 21.5 J/TH, reaching 140 TH/s of hashrate.

Power efficiency is crucial for bitcoin miners, as energy is one of their biggest operational expenses. It is unclear whether Intel will be selling exactly the same mining rigs to all of its customers.

Its supply agreement with Griid includes design materials, which indicates that the miners’ rigs could be tailor-made for or by the clients using Intel’s mining chips.

Jack Dorsey, whose company Block, formerly known as Square, is also buying Intel chips, has said they are designing an open source mining system based on “custom” silicon.

The chip giant’s entrance into the mining rig game is expected to break a supply side dominated by a few companies.

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#5: Can Russia use cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to evade sanctions?

The point of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is to have a form a money unregulated by the government.

“Ukraine’s financial system is obviously in shambles,” said Cesare Fracassi, University of Texas associate professor of finance and director of the Blockchain Initiative. “All the banks are closed, the ATMs are closed and, therefore, there is no way for people to access their financial resources.”

Thanks in part to social media, people have donated about $12 million worth of cryptocurrency to the Ukrainian government. At the same time, Ukraine and the U.S. are asking crypto users not to send currency to Russian users.

The unregulated system could be used as a way around current banking sanctions against Russia, according to President of Texas Blockchain Council Lee Bratcher.

“Because it is a decentralized technology, there’s no way we can stop Russians from using it, Russian citizens or the Russian government,” said Bratcher.

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