Crypto News Headlines (19-Apr-2023)

Major United States-based technology company Intel has reportedly announced plans to discontinue its line of Blockscale Bitcoin mining chips as part of efforts to cut costs.

According to an April 18 Reuters report, the semiconductor chip manufacturing company will stop taking orders for the Blockscale 1000 Series ASICs by Oct. 20 and end shipping roughly in April 2024. Intel reportedly said the move was aimed at a strategy of prioritizing the manufacturing of certain chips to outside customers, cutting overall costs.

Intel launched the Blockscale mining chips in April 2022, saying at the time the ASIC hardware would have a hash rate of up to 580 gigahash per second, with each chip capable of being combined and merged into a single mining unit. Mining firms Argo Blockchain, Block, Hive Blockchain Technologies and GRIID Infrastructure were among the first companies to integrate the technology into their operations.

The tweet spurred speculation that the notable venture capital firm could launch its own Optimism-based layer 2 blockchain. A16z crypto’s CTO tweeted: “not an L2.”

By Brandy Betz

The native token of the Optimism blockchain, OP, rallied after an engineer at the crypto arm of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) tweeted out a picture of an orange circle, accompanied by “coming soon.”

The color of the circle in the tweet matched that commonly associated with the a16z logo. Earlier this year, Coinbase teased the impending announcement of its Optimism-backed layer 2 network – called Base – by first tweeting out a blue circle.

The similarity of the images led to trader speculation that a16z may have plans to launch its own layer 2 blockchain, sending the OP token about 3% higher.

In February 2022, the California-based technology company Intel made headlines when it announced its plan to create “energy-efficient accelerators,” or ASIC technology, to contribute to the development of blockchain technologies. Later that month, at the 2022 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), the company unveiled the Bonanza Mine BMZ1. At that time, Tom’s Hardware author Paul Alcorn stated that Intel was also developing a second iteration of the Bonanza Mine ASIC, known as the BMZ2.

Moreover, in March 2022, it was reported that mining firms such as Hive, Argo, Block, and Grrid were buying bitcoin mining chips from Intel. On Tuesday, Tom’s Hardware reporter Alcorn spoke to Intel about the project, and it appears that Intel is discontinuing its bitcoin accelerator production, also known as “Blockscale chips.” Alcorn further notes that “no future generations have been announced.” An Intel spokesperson stated:

As we prioritize our investments in IDM 2.0, we have end-of-lifed the Intel Blockscale 1000 Series ASIC while we continue to support our Blockscale customers.

Bitcoin’s price dropped by over 4.5% Wednesday morning in the space of a few hours, reaching new weekly lows of $29,158, per data from CoinGecko. At present, Bitcoin is trading at around $29,275, down over 2% on the day.

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies fell at a similar pace with Bitcoin, dropping by 3.7% over the last 24 hours to $1.27 trillion. Ethereum (ETH) also broke below its $2,000 psychological level, and is currently down 6% in the last 24 hours, trading at $1,975.

While there were no immediate catalysts to explain the price crash, gold also experienced a 1.57% drop around the same period, suggesting that the declines can be correlated.

Data from Web3 developer backend Alchemy shows that despite the latest chapter of crypto winter that has unfolded over the past few months, developers are resilient in their efforts to deploy decentralized applications (dapps).

According to the firm’s Q1 2023 Developer Report, developers installed an average of 1.9 million Ethereum SDKs per week, a 47% increase year-over-year. Additionally, 788% more wallet SDKs were deployed since Q1 of 2022 – an all-time high for installing wallet infrastructure.

Although non-fungible tokens (NFTs) trading volume has decreased 82% year-over-year, it has increased 126% since the last quarter of 2022. As for decentralized finance (DeFi), trading volume on decentralized exchanges (DEX) is down 38% since Q1 2022, but it is on the rise in the new year, and has seen a 43% increase since Dec. 2022.

The United Kingdom could lay out digital asset regulation within 12 months, a British lawmaker claimed, saying the country wants to capitalize on the benefits that blockchain can bring to the private sector and economy.

In an April 17 CNBC interview, Andrew Griffith, the economic secretary to the U.K. Treasury, said the long-term vision is to “let firms make the most of the opportunities from crypto assets” with sound crypto regulation.

For the first time in “decades,” Griffith claimed, the U.K. government is now well-positioned to regulate crypto in a “pragmatic” and “proportionate” manner. He also appeared to make reference to the U.K.’s exit from the European Union:

“I think over the next 12 or so months is the window. We’ve got this great asset in the U.K., we’ve got control back of a rule book — not something the U.K. has had for decades — so we’ve got the ability to move in an agile and proportionate way.”

The U.S. Supreme Court might provide crypto companies with a way to fight the Securities and Exchange Commission in court, according to Jason Gottlieb, a partner at law firm Morrison Cohen LLP.

At a time when the SEC is widening its view of what it considers a “security” and thus subject to its regulatory oversight, “We’re going to see crypto companies trying to push back against the SEC,” Gottlieb told CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” on Tuesday.

In March, the SEC charged crypto exchange Bittrex with violating federal laws. The exchange, which plans to close its U.S. platform on April 30, said it would take the regulator to court if the agency did not make a “reasonable settlement offer.”

Chainlink (LINK) rose to a six-month high on Tuesday, as the global crypto market cap rebounded from Monday’s decline.

LINK/USD rallied to an intraday high of $8.66 in today’s session, a day after trading at a low of $7.97.

Today’s surge in price saw chainlink climb to its highest point since November 8, when it traded at a peak of $9.48.

Looking at the chart, one of the catalysts of today’s surge in price was a breakout that occurred on the relative strength index (RSI).

At the time of writing, price strength has moved beyond a ceiling at the 68.00 mark, and is now tracking at 72.93

This is the strongest reading for the index since February 2021, which could mean that a reversal is on the cards.

It has been almost a year since your favorite China watcher wrote anything meaningful about the Chinese crypto community. The truth of the matter is that China’s covid lockdown made it difficult for anyone who’s not living in Asia to truly understand its market, people, and overall sentiment.

So I was surprised to feel the pro-crypto excitement at last week’s “Web3 Festival” in Hong Kong. The big news was a major policy announcement from the Hong Kong government, indicating its desire to make the island a happy place for crypto companies to come and set up shop—within limits of course. The crypto thaw here gave players across CeFi, DeFI, NFTs, Protocols and Games a reason to reunite and celebrate in Hong Kong. The conference was one of the biggest ever here.

The past hour has caused a bloodbath within the cryptocurrency industry as most of them took a massive beating.

This saw a whopping $160 million worth of liquidated leveraged long positions in less than sixty minutes, the bulk of which came from ETH traders.

According to data from Coinglass, the total amount of liquidations throughout the past hour alone is $164 million.

Given that 98% of these came from leveraged long positions, only $4 million was from short sellers. The bulls took a beating.

The bulk of the liquidations in the past hour came from ETH positions which account for around $36 million.

Bitcoin remains a close second with about $27.6 million, followed by DOGE and XRP.

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