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Bitman is one of the manufacturers that produces the certain type of hardware that is designed specifically to mine cryptocurrencies. They are called ASICs. These Application Specific Integrated Circuits have been used for mining Bitcoin for some time now. This has contributed to the reality of mining Bitcoin now, which is that it’s not profitable to do so on your computer anymore. Now if you want to compete with the other miners to fill blocks and earn rewards, you’ll need to purchase this expensive hardware which is good for mining and that’s it. Gone are the days when you could mine Bitcoin on your laptop and wake up to a decent holding of BTC. ASICs aren’t entirely to blame for this, but they certainly accelerated the outcome.
Now that Bitmain has announced their design that is specifically for mining Ethereum, called E3, there have been mixed views. Some are submitting EIPs, or Ethereum Improvement Proposals that are calling to fork Ethereum in order to render these new ASICs unusable. Much like how the team behind Monero is choosing to deal with this intrusive, centralizing mining hardware.
As news got out that ASICs were being developed for mining Ethereum, Vitalik has commented in the past that perhaps waiting this out is the best option for them. After all they have been working towards implementing a new form of consensus, the proof-of-stake phase called Casper for a long time now. Once this rolls out and Ethereum shifts to proof-of-stake, these ASICs will be pointless.
For now, Bitmain has decided to limit these E3s to one per user and has limited their supply to shipping to only China and Taiwan. The E3s won’t be released until July and they have already sold out.
Ok, now for the big news. May 7 is the big day that the SEC meets to discuss a judgement call on whether or not Ethereum is considered a security.
The thing is, Ethereum did hold an ICO which was open for anyone who was interested to take part. But the coins that were sold in that ICO were mined. Much like how Bitcoin is mined. Since then however, Ethereum has been mined and has proven to be more than just something to be traded. Ethereum is after all a platform that primarily hosts dApps, 53% of Ethereum transactions happen with smart contracts. This is a type of utility that can’t be denied.
If it is declared a security, that means a lot of time spent in court, it could even be years before anything is set in stone.
On a brighter note, one Ethereum co-founder has expressed his on thoughts on the subject: Joseph Lubin has said he feels “extremely comfortable” that Ethereum is not a security.
With all of this news and anticipation we’ve seen the price of Ethereum hit highs it hasn’t seen in months, it has since corrected a bit and at the time of this video the price is at around: $749
What’s perhaps more interesting is the fact that Ethereum Classic has been seeing a somewhat steady rise this past month. Perhaps ETH holders are trying to hedge against an unfavorable SEC ruling?
My own thoughts on this SEC ruling are this: It doesn’t matter. Life will go on. But also I agree with Lubin, I think it’s unlikely Ethereum will be labeled a security. All we have to do now is sit back and see what happens.