The Unknown Giant: A First Look Inside BW, One of China’s Oldest and Largest Miners

Bitcoin Magazine
The Unknown Giant: A First Look Inside BW, One of China’s Oldest and Largest Miners

BW, a dominant Chinese bitcoin mining company with approximately 8 percent of global mining power, is positioning itself to step out of the shadows of relative obscurity and into the spotlight — a spotlight powered by efficient, clean and incredibly inexpensive hydroelectricity. Not only is it preparing to take a more active role on the Bitcoin world stage, but it is also planning to release a host of new products and services in the coming months, including the 14 nanometer chips and miners.

“We are very excited about the advances we’ve made,” Virgilio Lizardo Jr, Head of International at Bitbank told Bitcoin Magazine in an exclusive interview. “The chip promises to be the cutting edge technology that BW prides itself in producing. We will also be offering the 14nm chip in a miner for consumers. The power, efficiency and noise reduction benefits aims to introduce a new standard to the industry.”

More details about this new technology will be forthcoming the weeks ahead.

BW was co-founded by LK Group Limited and CHBTC on Aug. 10, 2014. BW stands for Bi Wang which in Chinese literally means “Coin website.” Wenjie Zhai, one of the very first Bitcoiners in China and the CEO and founder of LK Group, is the current CEO of BW. Songxiu Hua, the founder of Bitbank, CHBTC.com, and Jua.com, acts as the CTO of BW although he is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company; his primary role is to offer technical advice and website consultation.

In 2015, BW joined the Bitbank family of Chinese Bitcoin companies with a focus on combining bitcoin mining resources in order to find greener and more efficient ways to mine. Over the years, Bitcoin has drawn criticism for its consumption of energy. The electricity required to run and cool mining equipment is costly, in terms of both economic and environmental resources.

BW points out that mining anything — metals or bitcoin — has an environmental impact. But by harnessing the plentiful hydroelectric power that is available in remote regions of China, BW’s bitcoin miners are able to put that green energy to use in a way that creates a far smaller footprint than any other form of mining. Furthermore, because of the power source’s rural locations, BW is able to get the electricity — much of which would otherwise go to waste — at a very low rate.

“Hydropower offers a long-term, low-cost and stable source of electricity with the potential to increase the amount of miners in the future,” says BW. “The mining farms are located in rural developing areas. By investing there, this contributes to the local economy by creating new jobs in the area….These areas are surrounded by natural beauty and an abundance of water and we work hard to keep it this way for future generations to enjoy.”

Besides taking a leadership role in preserving the natural environment, BW also wants to protect the Bitcoin environment. As it expands, and as more Chinese miners begin to take advantage of plentiful and cheap hydroelectricity, BW is mindful of the potential for centralization of Chinese mining.

In China, “most of the miners are Bitcoin enthusiasts who see the potential of Bitcoin and want to do their best to help the development of Bitcoin,” says BW. “This includes being aware of how much percentage of the network we are part of and being responsible stakeholders in the ecosystem.”

The company also credits the Chinese government with being a supportive partner. “The government has been encouraging of Bitcoin mining companies because Bitcoin is a technology that combines elements of hardware and software. They have observed the benefits and profits it has produced and have been supportive of this.” Recently, Bitbank received a grant of 50,000 Yuan and office space in a new innovation and high-tech zone built in the city of Zhongshan, Guangdong province. The city plans on investing 67 million Yuan over the next 5 years on the initiative.

At a time when the Bitcoin protocol is in a state of flux, as developers debate scalability options and the future of block sizes, BW is playing the part of the cautious observer; at the same time, as the fifth-largest mining pool in the world, it has also decided to take on more of a leadership role in the Bitcoin community.

“Though Chinese miners have greatly contributed to the development of Bitcoin, we feel that there is a wall between China and the rest of the community. Perhaps even a ‘Great Wall?’” says BW. “There are many factors that contribute to this: language, culture, distance, etc. At BW we would like to work towards helping to increase communication and cooperation in the community, especially when it comes to China.”

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Billion Dollar Mexican Retail Company Famsa Accepts Bitcoin
Grupo Famsa, one of the largest household appliance-, electronic products- and consumer products-focused retail company in Mexico has begun accepting bitcoin payments with a partnership with BitPay, a leading bitcoin payment processor.

Mexican bitcoin exchange Bitso shared the news on its Facebook page :

“Now, customers can buy directly in Famsa with bitcoin, Enabled by our friends BitPay”

Founded in 1970, Famsa has more than 420 stores across 78 Mexican cities and 37 cities in the United States. The company records around $1.1 billion in annual revenue, and more importantly, Famsa provides banking and credit services including personal car financing through its Banco Ahorro Famsa.

Famsa’s integration of bitcoin shows its strong interest in the digital currency and its advantages. As a retail company, Famsa recognizes the inefficiency of credit card and banking payments for costs and security. Bitcoin payments could eliminate a huge portion of their financial management costs.

However, the company hasn’t announced its intentions to integrate bitcoin onto its financial platforms and services at this point.

Famsa’s acceptance of bitcoin follows Mexico’s largest e-commerce platform Mercado Libre’s decision to accept bitcoin payments on behalf of its merchants.

Surprisingly, Mercado Libre has taken the initiative to accept bitcoin on its platform, then distribute the balances to the merchants’ accounts after the transactions have been confirmed by the corporation.

“In MercadoPago we continue improving so your customers can count with more ways to pay you, maintaining your business with a foot into the future. This new payment option is completely transparent to you and your customers. They can utilize bitcoin to pay you and you will receive the payment in an instant,” announced Mercado Libre.


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Chroma.Fund: Rebuilding Wall Street with Blockchain-Enabled IPO Platform

Portland-based blockchain startup Chroma has launched Chroma.fund, the world’s first blockchain-enabled IPO platform to allow anyone to purchase shares of companies without brokers and intermediaries.

The Chroma.fund platform issues digital certificates for stocks on the blockchain network — a transparent distributed ledger which allows both investors and companies to track the purchases of stocks on the platform.

The company is targeting companies that are not large enough to go through an IPO in major stock exchanges such as the Nasdaq.

“We’re targeting a sector that has been locked out of investing in private companies since the 1930s: individual investors who earn less than $200,000 a year,” Chroma.fund CEO and co-founder Marcus Estes told Bitcoin Magazine.

“Large corporations have for years benefitted from their ability to raise money directly from the public. But smaller businesses are forced to rack up credit card bills and bank loans in order to get their dream off the ground. As of today, your local coffee roaster may use Chroma.fund to raise investment from their customers and community. This movement will reshape the entire American economy,” he said.

Each certificate or “bond” issued by the platform represents a pre-defined percentage of a company’s gross revenue. Payments to investors and owners of the bonds issued by the Chroma.fund platform will be received through the company’s payment utility in U.S. dollars. The investors can trade these certificates on a securities exchange that the company plans to launch as soon as they receive approval from authorities.

“The underlying crypto security will also make these bonds tradable, if and when we’re approved to launch a securities exchange,” said Estes.

Rebuilding Wall Street from Scratch

The Chroma.fund platform has one main difference from other blockchain-based crypto security and asset settlement platforms such as Symbiont, T0 and Digital Asset Holdings. While these platforms work to optimize existing financial platforms and banking systems in the Wall Street, the Chroma team is trying to rebuild the Wall Street scratch, and replace traditional financial platforms and settlement systems like the Nasdaq.

“We’re closely watching Symbiont, T0 and Digital Asset Holdings. Each of them could be considered a competitor, if not for one key distinction: They’re selling technology to Wall Street — we’re using Bitcoin to rebuild the system from scratch. You don’t need a broker to invest on Chroma.fund,” Estes told Bitcoin Magazine.

Estes further emphasized the importance of bitcoin and its underlying technology, the blockchain technology in the development of their platform, Chroma.fund. Over the past few months, many platforms seeking to issue crypto security on the blockchain network have emerged. However, the majority of them are still trying to create and develop their own blockchains and issue their own cryptocurrencies, instead of using an existing secure blockchain such as the bitcoin blockchain.

“Using a traditional web application to store investment certificates is a really bad idea. It would be as hard to do well as storing credit cards. The blockchain makes it possible for us to rebuild Wall Street’s complex system of registering ownership of investment securities at a fraction of the institutional cost. Which means we can afford to take smaller companies public. Chroma.fund wouldn’t be possible without Bitcoin,” Estes said.

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