Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on the brink of an abyss while Bitcoin Core releases new update

Bitmain
fires entire BCH-focused Copernicus team

A tweet made
by a Chief Strategy Officer at Blockstream and former BTCC Chief Operational
Officer Samson Mow suggests that Chinese Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain followed
up on recent downsizing reports and laid off its entire Copernicus team, which
was working on the development of Bitcoin Cash client.

The firing was apparently done in a candid, quiet way, with
the now former employees given only a week notice to pack up their stuff and leave.
This report comes on the shoulders of two previous Bitmain downsizing news
stories; one suggested that the company closed a major research center in
Israel while the other saw Dovey Wan – a crypto influencer and noted Bitcoin maximalist
– relay information about Chinese LinkedIn posts confirming even more layoffs.

Sources suggest that Bitmain didn’t manage the recent crypto
market downturn very well, mostly because they kept expanding their operations
in a period where interest for crypto mining stagnated. Other projects like ConsenSys,
Steemit and RChain have recently revealed they suffer from similar problems,
and all of them blamed the waning prices of cryptocurrency for their
predicaments.

Bitcoin mining
greener than gaming and many other industries, a study reveals

Recently we’ve heard many Bitcoin deniers criticize the
cryptocurrency for its alleged energy wasting. From Guardian to New York Times,
many news outlets belonging to the “old establishment” failed to realize why
exactly Bitcoin uses as much energy as it does, why that energy usage is good
and why it’s not even that wasteful when compared to some other large-scale
industries. The issue was recently addressed by Coinshares, popular digital
asset management and research platform, who pointed out some of the mainstream
misconceptions about Bitcoin mining.

In a study presented in a whitepaper titled “The Bitcoin Mining
Network: Trends, Composition, Marginal Creation Cost, Electricity Consumption
& Sources”, members of Coinshares Research and Three Body Capital investigated
geographical distribution, composition, efficiency, electricity consumption and
electricity sources, trends in hash rate, hardware costs, hardware efficiency
and marginal creation costs of the Bitcoin mining network.

The study goes on to explain that while Bitcoin mining
certainly isn’t a low energy ordeal, it ultimately comes out much greener than
almost every other large scale industry on the planet. It also found that most
of the mining (77%) is done in areas with large, unused supplies of renewable
energy, meaning that the practice isn’t as big of a waste as some news outlets claim
it to be.

Among other things, the study compares and contrasts Bitcoin
mining against gaming:

“While we find the notion of attacking a value-creating
industry based on its consumption of electricity freely purchased by willing
sellers in the open market rather absurd, if one nevertheless was to embark on
such a spurious line of argumentation we humbly suggest efforts might be better
directed towards other applications of electricity.
For example, there
are approximately 85m PlayStation4, 40m Xbox One and 15m Nintendo Wii U consoles
distributed among global households. Their weighted average gameplay power draw
is approximately 120W. Assuming they are played on a modern 40’’ LED TV drawing
only 40W, for 4 hours a day, and idling for 20 hours a day, at a weighted average
of 10W, these gaming systems alone draw more power (4.9GW) than the entire
Bitcoin mining network (4.7GW).”

You can check out
this interesting study in full here.

Bitcoin
Core 0.17.1 released

Bitcoin greeted its fans, holders and miners with some
positive Christmas news as its Core software saw the 0.17.1 update released.

The software update has been teased for a while now and the
release comes after extensive testing was conducted on multiple operating
systems using the Linux kernel, macOS 10.10+, and Windows 7 and newer. Overall,
0.17.1 is a minor update, bringing mostly hotfixes, bug fixes and slight performance
improvements to 0.17.0.

Most notably, changes have been made on the p2p protocol and
network nodes, wallets, RPC and other API’s, GUI, build system, tests and QA
and of course documentation. Nodes that are running the older version of the
software will have to shut down completely before installing the update. You
can check out the full release (as well as in-depth instructions how to install
it) here.

XRP Is More Decentralized Than Bitcoin And
Ethereum, claims Brad Garlinghouse

Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of San Francisco based startup
Ripple, has focused a lot of his efforts in the past to defend the cryptocurrency
his company made, XRP. Many critics pointed out in…

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