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News Summary 4/5: Ronin, Yield Curve, Bitcoin, Intel, and FC Haka

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Ronin network suffered a record-breaking $620 million hack. The yield curve is inverting in the U.S. – what does it mean for investors? Bitcoin number 19 million has now been mined. Intel unveiled a new Bitcoin mining chip. The partnership of Bitcoinkeskus and FC Haka brings Bitcoin to the Finnish Veikkausliiga.

Ronin network hacked for over $620

The first news item is about hacking. An unpleasant record was set in the crypto industry when Ethereum’s side-chain Ronin was hacked a week ago. The losses were worth around $622 million at the time of the hack; 173,600 ETH and 25,500,000 USDC.

Crypto hacks can be roughly divided into two types: exchange hacks and hacks targeting applications and/or blockchain infrastructures. The latter are almost always related to the DeFi sector.

The recent case was a hit to a token bridge. Such attacks have become the most profitable for hackers in recent months. Many remember the Wormhole hack in January ($320 million) and the Poly Network hack in August 2021 ($600 million).

Ronin is a pretty unknown blockchain to the general public. It is an Ethereum sidechain created for the Axie Infinity NFT game. Below is a link to an article by Decrypt about the hacking.

As mentioned above, the target of this attack was a token bridge. This literally means a bridge between the Ronin and Ethereum blockchains. It allows Ether (ETH) and other tokens on the Ethereum platform to be transferred to the Ronin network.

The reason for the hack was the lack of decentralization. The Ronin network has only nine validators and five of them must confirm the bridge transactions. However, four of these validators are run by Sky Mavies, the developer of Axie Infinity. Hence, it was enough for the hackers to hit Sky Mavies and one other of the network’s validators.

Many have criticized Sky Mavies for not having the know-how to create such a complex ecosystem in the first place.

 

The two aforementioned hacks ended happily for investors. The Poly Network hacker recovered the funds, while in the Wormhole case a VC firm compensated the losses. This is not the case with Ronin, unfortunately.

The hacker has started transferring funds to the Tornado Cash mixer, which he uses trying to disguise their origin. What the end result of this process will be is entirely another matter. The authorities have effective methods to trace the origin of the money from the other side of the mixer.

Axie Infinity users’ funds are currently locked in the Ronin network. It remains to be seen whether Sky Mavies will be able to compensate for the losses. It is likely that the company would have to sell its Axie Infinity tokens as OTC to raise the funds.

Many experts have long warned about the risks of token bridges. Most probably Ronin is not the last hacking of a kind.

The yield curve inversion is a warning for investors

We have covered macroeconomics in several news articles in 2022. There is a good reason for this, as the macro changes are reflected in the stock market, which in turn drives the price of Bitcoin. At least for now.

Everyone has been talking about Fed’s interest rate changes in the past months. This operation was successfully launched in March. The markets even rallied positively since then. In time, the effect will turn negative when interest rates rise to a sufficient level.

Yield curve inversion was the hot topic last week. This generally refers to the situation where the yield of a 2-year U.S treasury bond rises above the yield of a 10-year bond. Under normal circumstances, a longer bond maturity always means a higher interest rate.

The image below is from the St. Louis Fed website and shows the difference between these rates (10yr minus 2yr).

fed-yield

The grey bars are showing recessions. As you can see, the inversion of the yield curve has predicted every recession in the last 40 years.

There is also a logical explanation for this. If investors want a higher interest rate for a short-term loan, they see an increased risk in the near future. This, therefore, means a weakening economy and an upcoming recession.

The last time the yield inversion occurred was in 2019. The ensuing recession was short-lived in spring 2020 – thanks to the historic money printing by the central banks. A global pandemic came at a perfect time from the central banks’ point of view. It provided an excuse to medicate the recession that would have hit even without the pandemic. The recession was effectively postponed for a couple of years with debt money.

Unfortunately, we are now paying for the stimulus packages in the form of record-high inflation. If the economy goes into recession on top of that, the end result could well be the stagflation (high inflation + high unemployment + economic downturn) that everyone fears.

An inversion of the yield curve has usually meant a recession in just over a year. It, therefore, predicts the future with a slight lag. This prediction should be taken seriously. It is yet another risk factor in the market, which can also have a significant impact on cryptocurrency prices.

19 million bitcoins have been mined

There was an important milestone reached in Bitcoin mining a few days ago. As the headline says, bitcoin number 19 million has been mined!

 

As many readers already know, the maximum number of bitcoins is limited to 21 million. Of these, 19 million (~90.5%) have now been mined. Only two million remained to be mined in the future. At the same time, we get a good reminder of the power of exponential growth.

The bitcoin number 20 million will be mined in about four years, in 2026. About 13 years from now, in 2039, 20.9 million bitcoins are mined. The remaining 0.1 million bitcoins will take 100 years to mine! This is difficult to understand for a human brain accustomed to linear growth.

At the same time, Bitcoin’s hash rate has continued to break new records.

hashrate

The exact value depends on whether raw values or averages are used. The picture above shows a 30-day average.

The hash rate and the price of Bitcoin have historically grown hand in hand. The last six months have been a different story, with cryptocurrencies falling alongside the stock market. When will the Bitcoin price catch up with the hash rate and also reach new ATH levels?

We have also some mining news from Norway.

The popularity of Bitcoin mining is growing in Norway, where a large amount of hydro energy is available. According to a new study, Bitcoin mining in Norway is currently done 100% with renewable energy.

Hydroelectric power plants far from settlements are perfect partners for mining farms. In addition, the cold climate of Norway is great. Norway has currently 0.77% of the global has rate. It sounds small but it’s 10 times higher than the ratio of Norwegians to the global population.

Intel unveils mining chip

More news related to cryptocurrency mining! Intel is a well-known brand to anyone interested in computers. It has been the dominant processor manufacturer in the PC market for decades. Now the company is set to turn its attention to Bitcoin mining, which has so far been dominated by China’s Bitmain.

Intel is well placed to succeed in the mining sector. It is one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers. The difference with Bitmain is that Intel has its own semiconductor production facilities. Bitmain has to order chips from other suppliers. Bitmain’s supplies have also been affected by the shortage of chips due to the pandemic.

Yesterday, Intel released a chip for Bitcoin mining called Blockscale.

A chip is the brain of an electronic device. Therefore, Intel is going to manufacture the “brains” of Bitcoin miners, but not assemble a finished miner like Bitmain.

Bitmain’s popular Antminer S19 Pro is currently capable of a 110 TH/s mining rate with 3250 watts of power consumption. A single Intel Blockscale chip offers 0.58 TH/s at a power consumption of 4.8-22.7 watts, and 256 of them can be connected. This means 148.5 TH/s mining power at 1228-5811 watts.

Intel’s chip is therefore quite competitive with the Antminer. Deliveries will start in the third quarter of 2022. Clients will be in particular U.S. mining companies such as Argo Blockchain.

Bitcoinkeskus.com becomes FC Haka’s partner

As the headline tells, Finnish cryptocurrency-related website Bitcoinkeskus.com has signed a historic deal this spring. The site will be one of FC Haka‘s main partners for the 2022 season. FC Haka is one of the most traditional and successful teams in the Finnish Veikkausliiga. This is the top level of Finnish football.

The partnership was officially announced on Friday last week when FC Haka’s new shirts were revealed.

Although the announcement was made on April Fool’s Day, this partnership is real. History was written at the same time, as this is the first Bitcoin-related sponsorship in the Finnish football league. This year, the word Bitcoin appears for the first time in the Veikkausliiga.

The orange color of Bitcoin also stands out well, as Bitcoinkeskus is the only non-black and white logo on FC Haka’s shirt.

Why did Bitcoinkeskus enter into such a partnership? Sports sponsorship is a very good alternative to traditional print and online advertising. Global giants such as FTX and Crypto.com have invested hundreds of millions in sports sponsorships in recent years. For example, Crypto.com was recently announced as the main sponsor of the World Cup.

Cryptocurrencies are increasingly appearing in sports. Now also for the first time in Finland! This is a really big step forward for Bitcoinkeskus. It proves how far this project has come in 4.5 years. It’s also great to be involved in supporting Finnish sports and a traditional football club.

Hopefully, the sponsorship will stimulate discussion and get new Finns interested in cryptocurrencies. The more cryptocurrencies are visible in the everyday lives of people, the better!

The season also got off to a great start as FC Haka beat Ilves 2-1 in the opening game!

Bitcoinkeskus.com and AboutBitcoin.io are owned by the same company.

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