Shortage of Graphics Cards Intensifies in Russia as Cryptocurrency Mining Becomes More Popular

There is still a large shortage of graphics cards in various parts of the world. Things are getting out of hand in Russia, that much is evident. A new article shows how cryptocurrency mining in the country is picking up. As a result, the shortage of video cards becomes a lot more apparent. It is unclear if this situation will grow worse over time. For the manufacturers, this is good news, though.

About two weeks ago, it became apparent cryptocurrency mining is intensifying all over the world. Given the recent price surges of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, that is to be expected. Not everyone wants to buy specific hard to mine cryptocurrency. Instead, a lot of people are reverting to using graphics cards. This has become somewhat of a problem for the global supply of these products, though. Russia seems to be affected the most by this development right now.

Graphics Cards Supplies in Russia are Drying up

As we have seen over the past few weeks, prices for graphics cards are skyrocketing. That is only normal, as demand is intensifying as well. In Russia, GPU’s are up by as much as 80% in price. This affects both retail and second-hand prices. Some people are buying hundreds of graphics cards at once, which puts a lot of strain on the available supply. Manufacturers such as AMD and NVIDIA will not be too bothered about this sudden demand, though.

A lot of media outlets still think people buy graphics cards to mine Bitcoin. That is not the case, as GPUs have been incredibly inefficient for some time now. Instead, users will mine Ethereum, Litecoin, ZCash, or even Monero. All of these currencies can be mined easily with graphics cards. Users will still need a proper motherboard which supports as many graphics

Australia: Firms Should Help Authorities Hack Encrypted Messages

Australia is the latest country to announce plans for mandatory decryption powers against services such as Telegram and WhatsApp.

Senator: ‘All Communication Will Use Encryption’

Stating concerns surrounding terrorism monitoring, Attorney-General George Brandis said that “more than 40%” of intercepted messages were encrypted.

“Within a short number of years, effectively, 100 per cent of communications are going to use encryption,” local publication The Age quotes Brandis.

This problem is going to degrade if not destroy our capacity to gather and act upon intelligence unless it’s addressed.

While he added the government would no longer pursue legislation forcing firms to include “backdoor” features to allow state hacking, requiring participation in assisting inquiries may be stepped up in future.

The law, the Senator said, should be “sufficiently strong to require companies, if need be, to assist in response to a warrant to assist law enforcement or intelligence to decrypt a communication.”

Hacking Versus ‘Protection’

Lawmakers will look at updates in the context of international data-sharing, gathering ideas from Australia’s intelligence partners.

Reacting to the idea, industry officials appeared supportive. Former Australian Signals Directorate deputy director Mike Burgess told The Age:

I personally want to live in a world where reasonable people and companies would say, ‘You know what? Under the rule of law, and with the right oversight and a warrant, communications can be listened to when it’s needed to protect us.

While disturbing to users of encrypted messaging platforms, schemes to crack them are by no means limited to over-zealous policymakers responding to perceived terrorism threats.

Russia Mulls Blanket Bans

Across the globe in Russia, encrypted consumer tools are also currently subject to investigation, with authorities publicly calling for an outright ban on the anonymous use of services such as Telegram.

In a May interview with RNS, Telegram

Russia and China May Digitize Their Currencies With Ethereum

An increasing number of central banks and governments are working on digitizing their national currencies. China and Russia are investigating the potential of Ethereum as the base protocol for a digital Yuan and Ruble respectively.

Currently, the Royal Chinese Mint, the subordinate unit of China Banknote Printing and Minting, is testing Ethereum and its ERC 20 token standard to digitize the renminbi (RMB) or the Chinese yuan. As ConsenSys’ head of global business development Andrew Keys revealed in his blog post, the Royal Chinese Mint is at the forefront of research and exploration into digital money.

By utilizing the ERC 20 token standard, the Royal Chinese Mint is essentially considering the possibility of releasing unique tokens that are compatible with the Ethereum network; an Ethereum-compatible token would grant higher liquidity and interoperability.

The Royal Chinese Mint is currently “concentrating on the research and exploration of the forefront of digital money, taking part widely in innovation and practice in the fields such as digital currency, mobile finance, smart-city construction and Internet-based finance; it also actively promotes the application of blockchain technology in finance and related fields,” wrote Keys.

Apart from the Chinese government, Russia is also looking into Ethereum and its potential in the finance sector. Although technical specifications and details of the Russian central bank’s national digital currency project remains undisclosed, in 2016, the Bank of Russia announced the development of an Ethereum-based interbank blockchain prototype called Masterchain. Some of the largest commercial banks in Russia participated in the pilot test, and the Bank of Russia’s Deputy Governor recently expressed her optimism toward cryptocurrency.

“Regulators of all countries agree that it’s time to develop national cryptocurrencies, this is the future. Every country will decide on specific time frames. After our pilot projects, we will understand what system we could use

Bank of Russia planning its own digital currency

During the past few years, the popularity of digital currencies has grown exponentially. Bitcoin can be considered as a perfect example to prove the above mentioned fact. The value of Bitcoin overtook the value of Gold at the beginning of this year. The price hike of this digital currency continues along with time and we will be able to see it breaking records in the near future. This fact is applicable for all the cryptocurrencies that exist out there in the world. For example, the price of Ethereum reached from $5 to $200 within a short period of time.

Initiatives taken by the Central Bank of Russia

The Central Bank of Russia has got a clear understanding about the increasing demand for digital currencies. As a result, it has got the need to promote digital currencies among people who live within the country as well. As the first step, the Central Bank of Russia is looking forward to develop its own digital currency. We are not too sure about the practicability of the decision that has been taken by the Central Bank of Russia. In fact, the world is filled with digital currencies and we need to see how a new currency can compete with the established currencies such as Bitcoin. However, the senior officials from Central Bank of Russia have already come to a conclusion that they will be planning to come up with a digital currency.

An official announcement about this new initiative was made by Olga Skorobogatova, who is currently serving as the Deputy Chief of the Central Bank of Russia. He recently appeared at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he delivered a speech about the new initiative that is taken by the bank.

According to TASS, which is the state owned news service

Bitcoin Lottery Startup TrueFlip Banned in Russia

The Bitcoin-based lottery TrueFlip was banned in Russia and is now planning to take the case to court.

TrueFlip Lottery Banned in Russia

Bitcoin-based lottery TrueFlip announced that its website was classified as prohibited in the Russian Federation. Although the website operators do not agree with this decision, TrueFlip complied with and blocked access to the website in the region.

The project’s official statement reads:

TrueFlip complies with the law, and we will point that out to the public and the nation state. We have sent a letter to Roskomnadzor clarifying the faultiness of such interpretation as the law defines a lottery as one implying monetary or commodity-based winning. Officially, cryptocurrency is neither money, nor a commodity.

The notice sent by Roskomnadzor, a federal entity supervising and overseeing media in Russia, explains that the decision to blacklist the TrueFlip website was fueled by the lottery-based nature of the website, given that said games are banned across the entire country, except in a few designated locations. The notice reads:

Within 24 hours after receiving from the hosting provider a notification of inclusion of the domain name and (or) the Internet web-site page link in the Register, the Internet website owner shall take measures to remove the information prohibited and (or) limit the access to the  Internet web-site containing information prohibited for distribution in the Russian Federation.

Bitcoin Websites Banned in Russia

Although Russia is taking steps to create a new legislation focused on cryptocurrencies, which could possibly see Bitcoin and others recognized as digital goods, it’s still far from a safe heaven for Bitcoin companies, many of which have seen their websites prohibited in the region for no apparent reason.

Roskomnadzor, who can ban websites without a need for a court ruling, has a long record of banning of