• Bitcoin is in a narrow trading range around USD 7,500 for the second day in a row
  • A new Bitcoin mining facility backed by Winklevoss is being built in the United States
  • China is to embark on the first real-world use case of a central bank digital currency (CBDC)

Bitcoin price has been in an extremely tight range since Sunday, and Asian Monday morning trading has done little to dent the seemingly consolidating phase near USD 7,500. As of right now, it is at a daily low of USD 7,447 but really not far away from a high of USD 7,537 (CoinDesk).

Not much looks to suggest a direction in either way, and the descending price that some earlier suggested could mean that miner capitulation was underway now seems invalidated. And now, with the latest news emerging that a new miner in town is setting up operations in the US, it certainly does seem like the tide is turning and new profitability means a new opportunity for Bitcoin mining.

Based in Denver, Crusoe Energy Systems is actually a power company that converts natural gas to high-energy needs computing, such as Bitcoin mining. It now looks to use its expertise in the field to build a new facility dedicated to Bitcoin mining.

The Block Crypto reports that Crusoe Energy will install 70 units in 2020, each with a capacity of 1 megawatt (MW). The firm’s CEO Chase Lochmiller had earlier told Bloomberg on the weekend that it had already raised USD 70 million in fresh funds — USD 30 million in a first round of equity funding and USD 40 million in a second round of project financing — to finance the new objective.

An existing investor called Bain Capital Ventures and new investor The KCK Group had led the initial funding round. Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Winklevoss Capital and Polychain Capital recorded their participation in the same. New York-based credit fund Upper90 led the project financing round.

The project is backed by Winklevoss Capital, who had earlier participated in the May seed round of USD 4.5 million, led by Bain Capital Ventures.

At the heart of Crusoe’s operations is the growing problem of gas flaring, where energy firms are forced to burn excess natural gas that is released during the extraction of oil. Most oil companies have to do this since they don’t have enough pipeline capacity to store the gas. According to Crusoe, citing the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership, the US flares close to 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas every year. This is otherwise enough gas to power more than 10 million homes.

And now, with all this wasted energy put towards Bitcoin mining, it could be that other oil companies around the world implement similar operations.

Meanwhile, a Chinese paper Caijing has reported that a CBDC pilot for China is to be trialed in the city of Shenzhen before the start of 2020. The test could also include Suzhou city. With the blessing of the central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), four major banks and stakeholders including China Telecom are expected to help test digital yuan payments.

Apparently, they will “rationally select” a pilot area, scenario and service scope, while promoting the introduction and application of the digital yuan. The article explains that the difference with this pilot is that it will enter the real world to seek proof with actual use cases:

“Compared with the previous pilot, this time the central bank’s legal digital currency pilot will go out of the central bank system and enter real service scenarios such as transportation, education, and medical treatment, reaching C-end users and generating frequent applications.”

If the pilot happens, China will be the world’s first debutante in testing a CBDC in such an environment, underscoring the world’s largest economy as a serious player in innovation. The Chinese president had earlier already urged the nation onward to embracing blockchain, so there is little doubt as to the government’s intent on establishing itself as a world leader in blockchain technology.

 

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