Bitfury Secures $80M in Private Funding Round

Cryptocurrency mining firm Bitfury Group has closed a Series C, $80 million funding round led by EU-based Korelya Capital. The round also included crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, Lian and Jabre Group, Dentsu Inc., Armat Group and others.

Bitfury is a diversified blockchain company known for its expertise in developing high-performance computing technologies, processing capabilities and advanced blockchain-based solutions for companies and governments, including the development of a blockchain-based land registry in Ukraine. The funding round will be used by the company to enrich its software and hardware development, as well as explore other technologies that are emerging alongside the blockchain.

“This private placement enables Bitfury to expand our existing areas of focus, including securing the Bitcoin Blockchain, as well as hardware and software development – and broaden our financial strategic options. It also enables us to concentrate on adjacents such as high-performance computing, including emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI),” CCO John Mercurio told BitcoinLinux.

Valery Vavilov, CEO and co-founder of Bitfury, said the success of the round was a reflection of the company’s achievements and its ability to meet the needs of “adjacent market segments in high-performance computing.”In correspondence with BitcoinLinux, Vavilov stated:

“We are very pleased with our successful private placement, which enables us to expand our work designing ground-breaking blockchain solutions to governments, businesses, and institutions around the world. Strong support from the investor community also allows us to concentrate on adjacent businesses such as high-performance computing, including emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.”

Bitfury made headlines last week when word broke out that the company may be considering going public. When BitcoinLinux asked if this private funding changes the prospect of an IPO, Mercurio responded with the following:

“Bitfury is continuously evaluating financing options to support its development strategy, and the IPO is one alternative. But no decision has been made and ultimately it will depend on a number of factors, including the capital markets environment.”

At a time when cryptocurrency miners are being criticized for the energy consumption required to secure public blockchains with high security requirements, Bitfury has made a commitment to using renewable energy. It has also created standard processes for reducing the consumption of energy in its data centers by using immersion cooling technology. In September 2018, Bitfury announced a bitcoin mining chip called the “Clarke” ASIC chip, which it claims offers the “strongest performance among bitcoin mining chips and is unparalleled in efficiency,” via a Medium post. The company also has plans to integrate Clarke into its range of existing mining products and on its mining farms across the world.

In addition to the Clarke chips, the company also launched its latest computing servers dubbed the Bitfury Tardis. Both the chip and the server will be included in the company’s product offering, the Bitfury BlockBox, per reports on its release.

Founded in 2011 and recognized as the largest, non-Chinese company that provides hardware for bitcoin mining, Bitfury is also known for pioneering the hybrid algorithm Flare on the Lightning Network, which ensures that payment routes can be found as quickly as possible.

This article originally appeared on BitcoinLinux.

No, Bitcoin is Not Going to Melt the Planet


As Bitcoin adoption increases, a new study published Monday by Nature Climate Change warns that energy-demanding Bitcoin transactions would easily sling the global temperature past the 2-degree threshold set under the Paris Climate Agreement. But, is it true that Bitcoin is this energy inefficient that the mainstream media portrays?

While Bitcoin’s precipitous rise has been stunning, many are still ignorant of the Bitcoin phenomenon saying it is still too arduous, complex and even too libertarian. Add this to the border-less and global nature of Bitcoin, and we quickly have a regulatory concern that different governments are not willing to take a risk on. Initially, the very objective of Bitcoin was to create a better alternative to fiat and even if adoption is still low, that objective is still in line. And encouragingly, governments are beginning to embrace blockchain formulating new laws that classify Bitcoin as commodities, subject to taxation.

The Bitcoin Mining Energy Debate

But even in the face of increasing adoption, scientists are raising the alarm. Complementing this are trackers such as the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index relaying estimates on the prodigious amount of energy required and raising awareness of “how unsustainable proof of work systems is”. The creators of these trackers go on to say it is not the amount of energy that the network uses but the realization that most of these mining rigs are powered by coal-fired generators from China.


Bitcoin Energy Consumption Statistics


According to BECI, each transaction requires 812 KWH translating to an annual demand of 73.12 TWH. This is around 404.89 KG of Carbon-dioxide per transaction that is pumped to the atmosphere edging the global temperature closer to the 2-percent threshold.

Researchers said greenhouse emissions from Bitcoin mining rigs was around 69 million metric tons in 2017. However, that was not enough to propel Bitcoin to the mainstream as it contributed a mere 0.033 percent of the world’s cashless transactions.

At this rate, scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa said it was enough to push global temperatures above pre-industrial levels assuming the same energy sources, which is mainly coal, were used.

Bitcoin Miners are Green Energy Promoters

Regardless, Bitcoin maximalists are desirous and working towards an ecosystem that is crypto powered insisting that it is better and will slowly eat up the $8.7 trillion of political money called fiat.

Supporters, such as Eric Masanet of the Northwestern University, insist that the recent study is “fundamentally flawed” laying out fact that the global energy is actually de-carbonizing and more efficient rigs are in the pipeline. Besides, he adds that it is hard to predict rates of adoption, future efficiencies and sources of energy of which the study bases its conclusion on.

Furthermore, making the basis of this study shallow, is the is the assumption that Bitcoin would in the future act as a medium of exchange. Though novel and ideal, it is likely that Bitcoin will end up as an investment vehicle acting as a store of value.

Additionally, since Bitcoin is a global phenomenon, environmentalists shift away from the energy intensity drum beating to the realization that while Bitcoin mining is concentrated in China, there are other geographies like Iceland that make use of 100 percent renewables like geothermal and wind energy.

According to Katrina Kelly-Pitou, Strategy Manager at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy, energy production can increase without negatively impacting the environment. She adds that even if Bitcoin market cap is to increase hundred-folds, it would still be more energy efficient than traditional banking systems.

“Even if Bitcoin technology were to mature by more than 100 times its current market size, it would still equal only 2 percent of all energy consumption.”

Bitcoin and Blockchain Here to Stay

It’s increasingly becoming clear that Bitcoin is here to stay. Needless to say, Bitcoin is ingenious and potentially transformative, but at the same turn adopters cannot turn a blind eye to the negative effect of Bitcoin’s energy requirements. Considering that there is a direct relationship between adoption and energy demands, blockchain promoters and enthusiasts are always on the innovation front researching and implementing new energy efficient technologies.

After all, it is the miner’s responsibility to stay profitable even as energy requirements and fossil fuel prices sky rocket. In fact, the need of efficiency is so strong transportation costs are incurred as miners migrate from time to time to new jurisdictions with more favorable energy rates. This is why the miners are charting new territories, advocating for the need of green energy sources, and are not the axis of evil as the study implies.

Image from Shutterstock


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