NEW YORK, Feb. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The excitement around cryptocurrencies continues to grow across the board, and it is driven by several factors. Tesla's purchase of USD 1.5 Billion worth of Bitcoin has pushed the price of Bitcoin to new highs, and signs that other companies are warming up to cryptocurrencies are now more abundant. For example, just last week, Mastercard announced that it would begin supporting select cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, on its payment network. Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President of digital asset products at Mastercard, explained that "we are preparing right now for the future of crypto and payments, announcing that this year Mastercard will start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on our network. This is a big change that will require a lot of work." Overall, the price of Bitcoin more than quadrupled in 2020 and is up more than 60% since the start of this year. Snipp Interactive Inc. (OTC: SNIPF) (TSX-V: SPN), Ebang International Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: EBON),
Canaan Inc. (NASDAQ: CAN), HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (OTC: HVBTF), Argo Blockchain Plc (OTC: ARBKF)
The proliferation of cryptocurrencies in the more mainstream business infrastructure is often misunderstood by the public yet is also larger than most perceive. According to a report by Allied Market Research, in a filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the retailing giant Walmart applied for a patent to use a digital coin tied to a traditional fiat currency, which could allow for cheaper and faster transactions as well as loyalty features. In 2018, Intel won a patent for "Bitcoin Mining Hardware Accelerator with Optimized Message Digest and Message Scheduler Datapath". In the filing, Intel outlined a method by which it could augment the existing bitcoin mining process, consuming less electricity, thereby, spending less money in the process.
Snipp Interactive Inc. (OTC: SNIPF) (TSX-V: SPN) announced last week that, "the addition of new and innovative reward offerings to its SnippRewards incentive platform that address today's hottest trends playing out in financial markets. Snipp now offers its clients two cutting edge financial rewards as incentives to its end customers.
a. Bitcoin Gift Cards:
Bitcoin gift-cards make it easy for our clients to award their customers with a cryptocurrency. By using a familiar and traditional gift-card system, anyone of any age can easily receive Bitcoins as a gift, a promotion incentive as well as exchange points in a loyalty program for Bitcoins. With a Bitcoin gift-card, you can receive Bitcoins just like you would traditional gift-cards and in addition, securely deposit them into your crypto wallet or set up a new wallet for those who are not familiar with how crypto currencies work. The SnippRewards platform today already supports cash-back offers through a variety of different mechanisms. These have been developed through Snipp's integration with various leading fin-tech companies. Our infrastructure and technical partnerships enable clients globally to offer cash back incentives in over 45 currencies. Cash-back offers are supported today on the SnippRewards platform via traditional bank Wire Transfers, Online transfers across multiple leading industry payment systems, Digital and Physical checks, Retailer Gift-Cards and more. Our rewards portfolio spans over 1300 brands and is growing as we complete integrations with various partners. By adding a layer of crypto currency enabled incentives, Snipp will further enable not only our existing clients but also attract a new genre of clients to the Snipp platform that are looking to create fun, exciting and relevant incentives in the future.
b. Stock Ownership Gifts
Stock-ownership gifts makes it easy for our clients to provide Stocks as an incentive to their customers. It allows our clients to give their loyal customers something truly unique - a gift-card redeemable for stock ownership. As Snipp's incentive platform now supports factional ownership of stock, our clients can now provide stock ownership rewards as incentives to their customers from as low as $5. Illustrative use cases include Baby Care and Food Brands that incentivize purchase of their products with a view of supporting parents saving for college, encouraging healthy eating among children and many more such brand associations. As our partner platform supports custodial accounts for children, it would also enable an easy way for parents to set up, monitor and educate children on responsible investing early in life.
'The team has been working diligently on the necessary integrations to enable financial rewards such as these over the course of the last year anticipating that fundamental changes are taking place in the world of financial markets and payment mechanisms', said Atul Sabharwal, Founder of Snipp, 'Given all of the news around increased retail participation in the stock market along with Tesla's recent announcement that they will accept Bitcoin payments for their cars and their significant investment in Bitcoin; this new offering from SnippRewards represents a timely completion of our development and integration with our partner financial networks. We are constantly looking to support innovative offerings for our Fortune 500 clients as well as build our catalogue of incentives to enable our clients to be able to leverage the power of our platform globally. In addition, as blockchain technologies become more permeated into the fabric of our society, this offering is also a small step we have taken to profitably support our blockchain initiatives and strategy as they pertain to the promotions, incentive and loyalty industry.'"
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Ebang International Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: EBON) announced earlier this month that the Company has completed the designing of a chip for simultaneous Litecoin (LTC) and Dogecoin (Doge) mining as an addition to our current portfolio of cryptocurrency mining chip designs. The Company believes the new design will allow the Company to construct high performance cryptocurrency mining machines superior to other mining machines currently on the market. Mr. Dong Hu, Chairman and CEO of the Company, commented, "The completion of the designing is a credit to our increased investment in R&D in recent years. We have made tremendous efforts to build up our R&D team and accelerate product iteration and innovation. In the future, we will focus on developing more mainstream cryptocurrency mining machines, and we are considering designing more mining chips compatible with multiple cryptocurrencies. We believe it will help increase our revenue from the cryptocurrency mining business and optimize our product offering structure along the blockchain industry value chain."
Canaan Inc. (NASDAQ: CAN) announced last week that its revenue visibility has improved substantially in 2021 as a result of attaining purchase orders totaling more than 100,000 units of bitcoin mining machines from customers in North America. Many of those purchase orders were placed with prepayment and will likely occupy the Company's current manufacturing capacity entirely for the full year of 2021 and beyond. With those fully committed purchase orders, the Company now enjoys a much higher degree of revenue visibility and more precise forecast. As such, the Company is able to leverage such information and additional liquidity to conduct its component purchases, production scheduling, warehousing and logistics.
HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (OTCQX: HVBTF) reported last month an agreement to expand the footprint of their Sweden GPU mining data centre by an immediate 2 MW at an estimated cost of US$ 9 million, by the end of April 2021. By the end of 2021 we are planning a 30% increase in our Ethereum mining capacity. The immediate expansion of the operating footprint would be accomplished through an infrastructure re-fitting of a portion of its existing facility in Boden, Sweden at an estimated cost of US$ 250,000 and the purchase of new generation GPU chips and associated mining rigs to house them at an estimated cost of US$ 8.75 million. These new generation chips are expected to be more efficient than currently available GPU chips on the market while consuming less electricity, which should lead to continuing positive gross margins.
Argo Blockchain Plc (OTCQB: ARBKF) announced last week that it has entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) with DPN LLC of New York, initiating the acquisition of 320 acres of land in West Texas, USA, with access to 800-megawatts of electrical power where Argo intends to build a new 200mw mining facility in the next 12 months. When completed, the facility will provide Argo with electricity at some of the lowest rates in the world, with the majority of its power coming from renewable sources. "We are incredibly excited about this agreement," said Argo Blockchain CEO Peter Wall. "It gives Argo tremendous control over our mining operations, as well as significant capacity for expansion. In addition, we have been able to secure access to some of the cheapest renewable energy worldwide in a location where innovation in new technologies is encouraged and incentivized."
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