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Blue Chip NFTs 101 – How Did Moonbirds Conquer The World In A Bearish Market?

The extreme success of Moonbirds is the NFT story of the year so far. The collection opened up so strongly that it archived instant blue chip status and a place at the top of the charts. The market for NFTs is bearish at the moment, how did the pixeled owls accomplish such a feat? It certainly wasn’t just the art, even though the Moonbirds have a distinctive look and probably make excellent profile pictures AKA PFPs.  Let’s uncover the story. This one has it all; a nascent but powerful organization, crazy numbers, internet legends, an ambitious roadmap, light controversy, and, of course, metaverse plans. Moonbirds: Formal Characteristics There are a total of 10K Moonbirds, they were issued under the ERC-721 standard on the Ethereum blockchain. The mint price for each one was a whopping 2.5 ETH. That means that, at current prices, the Proof Collective made over $70M on that first day. The madness doesn’t end there,  according to CryptoSlam, the Moonbirds have generated $481M in sales so far. That’s 160K ETH from almost 12K buyers. And for every sale on the secondary market, Proof received a 5% cut. According to the Moonbirds official site, the organization distributed those original 10K owls as follows: 7,875: Public sale to allowlist winners 2,000: PROOF Collective Members (1,000 passes) each receive two free mints 125: PROOF wallet for future collaborations, marketing, and advisors All interested parties, including Proof Collective members, were able to enter a raffle to be whitelisted for that public sale. Of course, there was controversy, which we will cover. The Moonbird NFT collection promised the usual, membership to a private group and a Discord server, and future yet-to-be-revealed utilities. A staking mechanism, cleverly named “nesting” and a future metaverse codenamed “Project Highrise.” According to the Moonbird’s site, their “unique take on the Metaverse” will be “a dramatic departure from the existing ‘never-ending’ worlds that feel like a digital ghost town. Ours is uniquely different, and you’ll have first access as a nested Moonbirds holder.”  It’s also worth noting that, “owners of Moonbirds have full commercial art rights for the Moonbird they own.” ETH price chart for 04/30/2022 on Oanda | Source: ETH/USD on TradingView.com What Is “Nesting” And What Can It Do For You? Staking is a DeFi staple. It locks assets and takes them off the market, which benefits all other holders and the project in general. In Moonbirds, the process is called “nesting,” and “the longer you nest your Moonbird, the more rewards you’ll accumulate.” What rewards exactly? That’s not yet clear. And the nesting process is not yet available.  However, the Moonbirds site already lists certain characteristics. Nesting will be “non-custodial (no need to transfer it to another contract) and the holder numbers displayed on OpenSea etc will not be impacted.” Those stats are very important for NFT projects. Holders can’t sell their NFTs while nesting, but they can transfer them. “The intent is to allow holders to move their Moonbirds between their own accounts, e.g. if they compromise their wallet via a rogue signature.” There’s also this vague promise, “as soon as your Moonbird is nested, they’ll begin to accrue additional benefits. As total nested time accumulates, you’ll see your Moonbird achieve new tier levels, upgrading their nest.” Controversy. Of Course. For the level of success that the Moonbirds accomplished, the controversy around them is pretty mild. One could argue that the first two aren’t the Proof Collective’s fault, and the third one is pretty standard practice. Let’s go through them: Their raffle got hit with a Sybil Attack. That means, a person or organization created more than 400 wallets to get as many tickets, or chances to win a whitelist. They earned more than 50 spots. This Twitter user unveiled the whole thing: Looks like someone created 400+ accounts to Sybil Attack the @moonbirds_xyz raffle:https://t.co/HeWT5d8DCP They’ve already sold the majority it looks like. Just at a quick glance they won 20+ One example:https://t.co/UTqYWRkgsG pic.twitter.com/szgJGT5JXO — zachxbt (@zachxbt) April 16, 2022 According to The Next Web, they found “at least 10 hacked Twitter accounts across countries ranging from athletes to politicians posting scammy links that lead you to a fake Moonbirds website. ”Their aim was to get the unsuspecting audience to send them ETH in hopes of getting a non-existent Moonbird. When pressed, one of the Proof Collective founders said, “Oh the spam is terrible! We’re doing everything we can to contain it. Lots of bad actors doing their play.” Oh the spam is terrible! We’re doing everything we can to contain it. Lots of bad actors doing their play. This wasn’t project criticism (which is of course valid) so much as gatekeeping which projects deserve recognition or success. — Justin Mezzell (🥃,🦉) (@JustinMezzell) April 19, 2022 The NFT Ethics account did its best to attack the Moonbirds project, but all they could do was accuse the Proof Collective of wash trading to pump up the price for their other NFT project and of gifting those memberships to influencers. “GaryVee (Gennady), his brother AJ, Beeple and some old friends received the Proof collective for free.” 1/ Some people contacted us to ask our opinion on @moonbirds_xyz that is minting tomorrow for 2.5 ETH, which would take out more than 75 million USD out of the ecosystem. As usual, many are afraid to speak out because they don't want to offend "powerful" Web3/NFT influencers/VCs. pic.twitter.com/YXvAqs8mwn — NFT Ethics (@NFTethics) April 15, 2022 All in all, the controversy is hardly anything to write home about. On the next “Blue Chip NFTs 101” we’ll take a look at the organization behind the Moonbirds, the Proof Collective, and their other NFT project. A membership to the influential group. It might be the NFT with the most valuable utility to date. Feature Image Moonbirds sample from the official website | Charts by TradingView

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Green Mining Company HIVE Secures Deal To Buy A Number Of Intel’s New ASICs

The ESG-focused mining company HIVE is the latest organization to sign a deal with Intel. It joins Block, Argo Blockchain, and GRIID, as the first clients and testers of the giant’s new ASICs. Intel’s Bonanza Mine project is quickly becoming one of bitcoin’s stories of the year. It’s funny that, so far, no one has seen the equipment. The idea of a bitcoin miner made in the US is appealing, though. Plus, the project’s rollout has been masterful so far.  The headline here is that “HIVE owns state-of-the-art, green energy-powered data centre facilities in Canada, Sweden, and Iceland, where we source only green energy to mine.” In a recent press release, the company announced the Intel deal and its intention to expand into the US. “The Company is planning for a 100 MW deployment at one of Compute North’s renewable energy campuses in Texas.”  HIVE self-proclaimed itself “the first cryptocurrency mining company with a green energy and ESG strategy”. The company’s other significant characteristic is that they’re holders. “Since the beginning of 2021, HIVE has held in secure storage the majority of its ETH and BTC coin mining rewards.” That goes in line with new data that shows that miners are quietly accumulating bitcoin as the market bleeds. BTC price chart for 03/08/2022 on Capital.com | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com What Do We Know About HIVE ‘s Deal With Intel? Not much, really. “HIVE has entered into a Supply Agreement with Intel which is one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers, for their upcoming blockchain accelerator.” Notice how HIVE calls the ASICs “blockchain accelerators,” just as Intel did in the company’s blog. Will the name catch on? The press release doesn’t specify how many bitcoin miners will HIVE buy, but, it provides some relevant data:  “These miners are expected to be delivered over a period of one year starting in the second half of calendar 2022, the effect of which, if they are all installed, would be an expected increase of up to 95% in our aggregate Bitcoin mining hashrate from 1.9 Exahash per second.” It also quotes HIVE ‘s president, Aydin Kilic, who about the deal said: “After months of careful planning, we are very excited to take this step forward with a global technology leader like Intel. HIVE is committed to implementing these next-generation blockchain accelerators in its green energy infrastructure.” The ESG aspect of the whole endeavor is another important point here. Bitcoin Keeps Going Greener And Greener Recently, GRIID’s filling with the SEC revealed several characteristics of Intel’s new bitcoin miners. As always, NewsBTC got you the 411: “When the world first heard about Intel’s ASIC ambitions, the company cleverly described the machines as “ultra-low-voltage energy-efficient.” How efficient will they actually be? Tom’s hardware answers: “According to the listing, BMZ2’s performance weighs in at 135 TH/s with 26 J/THs of efficiency. Additionally, the miner is roughly half the cost of a competing Bitmain S19 Pro while being 15% more efficient, rivaling the best hardware on the market from competing companies.” Would 15% really make that much of a difference? If it can rival the S19 Pro, it would. And Intel wouldn’t make this much noise if they didn’t have a winner in their hands, would they? Maybe HIVE ‘s president, Aydin Kilic, can shed some light on that: “Intel’s energy-efficient and high performance blockchain accelerator is expected to reduce our power consumption over current ASIC miners on the market. HIVE will participate in the system development process from design verification, through to the prototype stages, and then factory & test engineering regimens to arrive at a production model; we are well-positioned and excited to undertake the process ahead.” That’s right, the first few clients will help with the testing and development of Intel’s final product. That makes all the sense in the world. Let’s wish them luck, because an ASIC miner made in the US would certainly help break Bitmain’s quasi-monopoly. The bitcoin ecosystem needs more decentralization in that aspect.  Featured Image: HIVE’s logo, screenshot from this video | Charts by TradingView

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Biden Loves Intel’s Plan To Produce Semiconductors. What About Bitcoin Mining?

Intel played a big role in President Biden ’s State of the Union address. He highlighted the company’s plan to manufacture semiconductor chips in Ohio, and said, “Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America.” Was he secretly approving Intel’s plan to produce ASIC bitcoin miners? Or did he not know that those semiconductors are an integral part of those machines? Make no mistake, semiconductor chips or integrated circuits are an integral part of almost every technological device around you. And Intel is a huge company with many products and many clients. Those semiconductors Intel is planning to produce will go everywhere. However, there’s no denying that ASICs are a big part of the company’s future plans. Recently, NewsBTC quoted Intel’s CEO Pat Gelsinger saying: “Intel is about to bring forward a blockchain chip that’s dramatically better. That is orders of magnitude better in terms of power performance. So, we’re helping solve the climate issue.”  Exaggerations aside, Pat Gelsinger was a big part of President Biden ‘s State of the Union address the other day. What Did President Biden Say About Intel? One of Biden ‘s big success stories was Intel’s $20B investment in Ohio. The plant they plan to build will manufacture semiconductor chips. There’s a global shortage for those, and more than 170 industries depend on them. Nowadays, China, South Korea, and Taiwan are the main producers of integrated circuits. And those factories are working full time to fulfill an ever-increasing demand. Enter Ohio. As The Columbus Dispatch put it: “Intel plans to employ 3,000 workers at an average salary of $135,000. The project is also expected to create 7,000 construction jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs.” They also quote President Biden channeling his inner poet: “If you travel 20 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, you’ll find 1,000 empty acres of land. It won’t look like much, but if you stop and look closely, you’ll see a ‘field of dreams,’ the ground on which America’s future will be built.” And then and there, he mentioned Pat Gelsinger by name, as the man to make it happen. President Biden didn’t mention bitcoin mining, though. BTC price chart for 03/03/2022 on Bitstamp | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com The U.S.’s Plan To Manufacture Semiconductors The global chip shortage presents an obvious opportunity, and the U.S. wants to take advantage of it. Intel´s play is part of a bigger move. In the article “Bitcoin Mining And The Global Semiconductor Shortage Are On A Collision Course,” security expert Shinobi informed us: “The United States Senate has recently passed the “U.S. Innovation and Competition Act,” which will spend $52 billion dollars on increasing domestic semiconductor fabrication capacity, and the “CHIPs for America Act” being introduced in the Senate to create income tax credit for semiconductor companies.” So, Intel is going to benefit from all of that. Plus, they´re going to use those semiconductor chips to aggressively step into the bitcoin mining business. A business traditionally controlled by Chinese companies Bitmain and MicroBT. Can Intel compete with them? According to a recent SEC filing NewsBTC reported on, they can: “When the world first heard about Intel’s ASIC ambitions, the company cleverly described the machines as “ultra-low-voltage energy-efficient.” How efficient will they actually be? Tom’s hardware answers: “According to the listing, BMZ2’s performance weighs in at 135 TH/s with 26 J/THs of efficiency. Additionally, the miner is roughly half the cost of a competing Bitmain S19 Pro while being 15% more efficient, rivaling the best hardware on the market from competing companies.” To better understand the plan, let’s quote Shinobi once again: “The dynamics of who can and can’t produce semiconductors in general is already coming to the forefront of politics as nations realize the importance of minimizing reliance on foreign actors to maintain such capacity. It is only a matter of time before how these issues relate to Bitcoin mining starts to come to their attention as well.” President Biden And Intel Are Not Playing Around As you can see, both President Biden and Intel have an ambitious game plan. Is bitcoin mining a part of the plan? In Intel’s case, the answer is an obvious yes. On the other hand, Joe Biden didn´t even mention the topic in his speech. It was always there in the background, though. At least according to us. Let’s close with another quote from Biden ‘s State of the Union address: “I have a better plan to fight inflation. Lower your costs, not your wages. Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America.” That’s great, but… about that “plan to fight inflation”… what about stopping the rampant money printing? Featured Image: President Biden’s State of the Union address, screenshot from this video | Charts by TradingView

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Intel Announces Mining Chips’ First Clients: BLOCK, Argo Blockchain, and GRIID

Intel ’s play to get into the bitcoin mining market might end up being the story of the year. In a post titled “Blockchain and the New Custom Compute Group,” Raja Koduri reveals a little of the company’s playbook. At Intel, he’s the senior vice president and general manager of the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group.  Related Reading | Jack Dorsey’s Block To Democratize Bitcoin Mining With Open Source Mining System In the article, Koduri says, “we are focusing our efforts on realizing the full potential of blockchain by developing the most energy-efficient computing technologies at scale.” Intel’s play is deeper and harder than previously thought. They’re going all-in in the blockchain business. With a twist that every corporation is claiming for.   “Today, we at Intel are declaring our intent to contribute to the development of blockchain technologies, with a roadmap of energy-efficient accelerators. Intel will engage and promote an open and secure blockchain ecosystem and will help advance this technology in a responsible and sustainable way.” That’s right, they’re tackling the problem “in a responsible and sustainable way.” And they’re calling the mining chips “accelerators” for some reason. Will the name catch on? “Intel Labs has dedicated decades of research into reliable cryptography, hashing techniques and ultra-low voltage circuits. We expect that our circuit innovations will deliver a blockchain accelerator that has over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining.” This new line of Intel products responds directly to the ESG crowd. The bitcoin-consumes-too-much-energy FUD people. Soon enough, they’ll have to face Intel ’s PR machine.  How can bitcoin consume too much energy if Intel’s product “has over 1000x better performance per watt than mainstream GPUs for SHA-256 based mining”? BTC price chart for 02/14/2022 on Kraken | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com Who Are Intel ’s First Clients? We can’t prove it, but, all of these companies probably knew years ago about Intel’s plans to release a bitcoin mining chip. Again, Raja Koduri: “Our blockchain accelerator will ship later this year. We are engaged directly with customers that share our sustainability goals. Argo Blockchain, BLOCK (formerly known as Square) and GRIID Infrastructure are among our first customers for this upcoming product. This architecture is implemented on a tiny piece of silicon so that it has minimal impact to the supply of current products.”  When NewsBTC analyzed Intel’s chip announcement, we summarized the situation as: “This could be huge. Intel plans to enter the Bitcoin mining space with a cleverly marketed “ultra-low-voltage energy-efficient” ASIC chip. Considering that the chip shortage severely delayed the next generation of ASIC miners, this is tremendous. And, more importantly, it opens up the door for Bitcoin miners manufacturing in the USA. And in the rest of the Western world, even. ” After that, we analyzed the situation’s implications: “Now, the open-source Bitcoin miner that Jack Dorsey’s Block is working on makes a lot more sense. Theoretically, the silicon chip is the only part of an ASIC machine that can’t be bought in a hardware store. With that problem solved, by no less than an industry leader with immense manufacturing power, the sky’s the limit. If this whole thing materializes, expect a huge leap forward in the further decentralization of Bitcoin mining.” Notice how Block is one of the first clients. And how Intel had the energy-efficient ASIC chip marketing ready from the get-go. And how Koduri even addressed the chip shortage in the last line there. Intel’s Bonanza Chip’s Future Reading between the lines, it’s clear that this is not a secondary project for Intel. They have high hopes for this low-energy chips play. Here, Koduri discusses the Custom Compute Group: “The objective of this team is to build custom silicon platforms optimized for customers’ workloads, including blockchain and other custom accelerated supercomputing opportunities at the edge. Onward, we aspire to leverage technologies from our zetta-scale computing initiative to deliver energy-efficient solutions.” Related Reading | Green Energy: In NY, Bitcoin Mining Saved The Oldest Working Hydroelectric Plant You read it here first, Intel ’s play to get into the bitcoin mining market might end up being the story of the year. This is not financial advice, though. Featured Image by geralt on Pixabay | Charts by TradingView