As the market crashes, many Chinese Bitcoin mines are said to be closing down and their hardware is being sold off for scrap. Photo: iStock
Countries with cheap electricity have emerged as major hosts of cryptocurrency mining. Photo: iStock

Chinese miners listen to the canary in the coin mine: A video posted on Reddit, that shows a small mountain of Bitcoin mining hardware being junked for scrap, seems to sum up the sector right now. China has an extensive mining community, but with the cost of operations rising and the price of Bitcoin falling, increasing numbers of miners are said to be giving it up. Despite the recent crypto price swings, much of this is related to the high cost of electricity and even operators in far away locations, such as Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, where power used to be cheap, are reportedly now quitting.

Singapore hosts first Bitcoin trial: A courtroom drama – of sorts – is underway in the Lion City as crypto “liquidity provider” B2C2 sues Bitcoin exchange operator Quoine over a “unilateral reversal” of seven trades on its platform. B2C2 is seeking 3,085 Bitcoins from Quoine which, even in this market, is worth more than US$14 million. The original trade was made in April last year when B2C2 placed orders to exchange Ethereum for Bitcoin on Quoine’s exchange platform. B2C2 alleges that the Bitcoins were credited into its account that day but the trade was reversed the next day by Quoine, which allegedly then deducted the trade proceeds.

University of Tokyo launches blockchain course: The University of Tokyo is launching a blockchain course in association with Japanese banking giant Sumitomo Mitsui (SMBC) and the Ethereum Foundation. SMBC and Ethereum, along with other Japanese corporate sponsors, have donated US$800,000 to the University’s graduate engineering school to help fund the course that will run until October 2021.

Temasek’s ‘experimental pods’ to study blockchain and AI: Temasek, Singapore’s state-backed investment giant, is launching a series of initiatives that will explore artificial intelligence and blockchain. Temasek will create a number of so-called “experimental pods” working groups that will explore long-term opportunities in the sectors and has also recently invested in London-based Eigen Technologies, that “automates the extraction of data,” along with R3, a US-based distributed ledger research and development consortium made up of more than 200 global banks and finance firms.

European blockchain association to start next year: A new blockchain association is being formed between major European banks and the European Commission, the EU’s executive body. BBVA and Banco Santander are among the major institutions joining the European Blockchain Association initiative that will focus on blockchain best practice and standards, data protection and privacy management.