Oregon’s Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners

Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners

Mining

Over the past few months, quite a few bitcoin miners have been flocking to regions in North America in places such as Vancouver, and multiple states in the U.S. throughout the Midwest. Now, according to the state of Oregon’s regional press, miners are starting operations in the area because of concentrations of cheap hydropower.

Also read: Ross Ulbricht Denied Post-Conviction Relief Extension

Oregon’s Burgeoning Surplus of Energy Attracts Bitcoin Miners

Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin MinersAccording to local reports, cryptocurrency miners are finding themselves traveling the ‘Oregon Trail’ for cheap and reliable electricity. Terrence Thurber operates the biggest mining operation in the state called Oregonmines in a small town called Dalles. There are roughly 12 more mining operations in the Oregon, and Robert McCullough of Portland General Electric (PGE) says more facilities are on the way. However, McCullough is not too impressed by the mining movement staking claim in Oregon.

“We may well become the center of crypto-mining in the world,” the PGE consultant McCullough told the local press.

We may find our burgeoning surplus of energy will make us quite a capital for useless servers solving useless puzzles. It’s not as if we have a huge amount of employment attached. It’s not as if you’re going to have a big staff and a lot of smart people working on it.

Hard to Put a Quantity Value on Freedom

Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners
Oregonmines monthly power bill is roughly $75,000. 

Thurber’s bitcoin mine is an industrial-sized operation with over 2,750 mining rigs humming away in a warehouse with no windows. The 33-year-old college dropout moved to Oregon three years ago from Costa Rica to start the mining facility. One of the biggest reasons miners like Thurber are attracted to Oregon is because of the Columbia River hydropower system. The hydro-powered electricity costs 3 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, a price significantly cheaper than most of the states in the U.S. Thurber believes the area is great for mining and thinks cryptocurrency mining operations will continue to have good fortune.

“This is the future,” Thurber explains. “The sooner people get on board, the better off they’ll be. It’s a ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’ situation.”

It’s hard to put a quantity value on freedom — Cryptocurrencies will liberate your personal money flow.

New Money Coming In

Thurber says the location is also helpful because the facility is close to a major metro, and weather patterns are favorable. The Oregonmines founder says his operation is also providing new jobs in the area as well. The operation has fifteen employees right now, and roughly eleven of them are working full time.

“Dalles was not exactly popping with activity when I got there,” Thurber details.

My jobs are all new jobs with new money that’s come in.                    

Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners
Cascade Divide.

Another miner in the region is Jeffrey Henry who operates a facility 130 miles away in a town called Bend. Henry started his mining facility Cascade Divide in 2014 and also offers space in the warehouse for other miners. The former Time Warner cable engineer says he rents space to both traditional miners and government agencies.

Additionally, Henry’s mine is strengthened by 18-inch thick concrete walls and a generator with over 2,200 gallons worth of diesel fuel. Henry believes other miners should be cautious of earthquakes and tsunamis as they could lead to significant downtime.

“Some of these cryptocurrency miners just bought old warehouses, and that’s what we’d call a ‘retrofit,’” Henry explains.

Literally, the whole world outside could shut down, and we could keep running for four days like nothing happened — That’s what’s important for state and local governments and companies.

Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners
Cascade Divide.

Not Everyone Is Pleased With Miners Flocking to Oregon

However, not everyone in Oregon is pleased with the miners flocking to the state. The PGE consultant McCullough says these mines offer “little benefit” to Oregon. McCullough thinks cryptocurrencies do not provide the same value other traditional data centers provide like Google’s data servers.   

“It will get bigger as our energy prices continue to decline, until it all crashes — Building a server farm uses the same equipment and the same electricity, but produces something of use to society,” McCullough concludes.

What do you think about mining operations setting up in the Oregon region for cheaper electricity? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Oregonmines, and Cascade Divide. 


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Market Analysis Report (23 Feb 2018)

Venezuela Orders Government Services to Accept Any Cryptocurrency

Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has ordered the country’s consular services, as well as several other services and gas stations, to accept any cryptocurrency including the nation’s own currency, the Petro. This announcement was broadcasted nationwide from the Miraflores Palace and also reported on the website of the Superintendency of Cryptocurrencies. The president said:

“I order the payment of consular services in all embassies and consulates of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the world, and all consular services in the country, in the Petro currency or in any cryptocurrency.”

Read more here

France Cracks Down on Unregulated Cryptocurrency Futures Trading

In a statement released yesterday, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) said that it had observed a variety of online trading platforms launch cryptocurrency-based derivatives such as binary options, contracts for differences (CFDs), and Forex contracts. The agency, which attributed this development to the “recent cryptocurrency boom,” said that it had concluded that cash-settled cryptocurrency contracts qualified as derivatives, making them subject to AMF oversight. The agency stated:

“The AMF concludes that a cash-settled cryptocurrency contract may qualify as a derivative, irrespective of the legal qualification of a cryptocurrency. As a result, online platforms which offer cryptocurrency derivatives fall within the scope of MiFID 2 and must, therefore, comply with the authorisation, conduct of business rules, and the EMIR trade reporting obligation to a trade repository.”

Read more here

Shuttered Exchange BitFunder Founder Charged With Fraud

The US securities regulator has charged the now-shuttered BitFunder with attempting to hide information about a major hack. Meanwhile, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York simultaneously charged BitFunder founder, 37-year old Jon E. Montroll of Texas who also ran digital wallet service WeExchange Australia, with two counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. He faces decades in prison for the combined charges.

The combined charges levied against the exchange and Montroll include operating an unregistered securities exchange, defrauding investors and “making false and misleading statements” about the “unregistered offering of securities.” The SEC’s New York regional office director, Marc Berger, said:

“We allege that BitFunder operated unlawfully as an unregistered securities exchange. Platforms that engage in the activity of a national securities exchange, regardless of whether that activity involves digital assets, tokens, or coins, must register with the SEC or operate pursuant to an exemption.”

Read more here

Learning Automated Crypto Trading Strategy: 4 Steps to Earning

In February, Cryptense, a full-stack Blockchain company, introduced a new decentralized platform for creating and executing cryptocurrency trading strategies automatically: Kryll.io. The company has also came up with an explainer on how you can earn big using its solution.

Drag ‘n’ drop strategy blocks

The first step to earning online with Kryll platform is to create a strategy depending on your preferable markets, the cryptocurrencies you are interested in, and your level of involvement. The strategy can be very simple or extremely advanced – it’s up to you to decide.

Kryll offers functional blocks that can help you. One of them, Market Trends, provides market information including price fluctuations, demand versus supply analysis, machine learning based market predictions and other options. In your strategy you can also include your preferable trading actions, such as buying, selling, splitting amounts into subsets, and many others.

Kryll’s most interesting feature is Signals, a combination of recent tips coming from professional traders, Telegram channels or social networks. Notifications by text messages or emails will inform you on the latest market developments, for example, if BTC, Ripple, ETH or other currencies are growing and receiving positive feedback on Twitter.

Proof-test your strategy

How can you test the strategy that you have built to see if it is right for you and your purposes? The best way to do so is testing your strategy against the market. Kryll allows you to safely execute your strategy before using it in the real world. Using the test environment in the platform, you’ll be able to test over the previous six months of recorded data.

Another option is to test the strategy as it was actually running on the market. This option will show how your brainchild performs in the real-time trading environment and, at the same time, will protect you from real world losses in case of mistakes.

As soon as you are confident enough with your chosen strategy, you can start implementing it to build some confidence. For example, you can buy a new coin at a market price and then optimize it using the tools Kryll provides.

Trading 24/7, night or day

If your strategy proves to be successful, the time is right to use the best Krylls feature, which is 24/7 trading. Kryll.io supports exchanges around the globe, including Bittrex, Poloniex, Coinbase, Cryptopia, Binance, HitBTC, and many others. The company also has several dedicated servers in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Cryptocurrencies are bought and sold on many various exchanges and sometimes at different prices. It’s possible to profit from the very tiny fluctuations between buy-price quotations. Kryll founders promise their software will allow to execute trading strategies in the most efficient way.  

There are many risks associated with trading, and you might be worried of cyber security, especially if you are executing your strategy automatically. Luckily, Kryll’s servers are under permanent DDOS protection. The startup founders also plan to have an external security audit every quarter.

Sharing with the community

With Kryll, you can earn while sharing your knowledge and ideas with other people on the platform. “We think collective intelligence is a huge asset that’ll make all of us more successful in the trading market,” the company said in its white paper.

The platform will offer a marketplace section where users can share their strategies for a fee. People with excellent insights can help their fellow traders and generate some profit at the same time.

The marketplace will also feature chats on different strategies, where people are able to interact, collaborate and give advices to each other. Users will rate strategies featured on the marketplace according to their efficiency.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Islamic Republic of Iran to “Control and Prevent” Growth of Cryptocurrencies

Islamic Republic of Iran to “Control and Prevent” Growth of Cryptocurrencies

Regulation

جمهوری اسلامی ایران‎ The Islamic Republic of Iran has apparently changed course on cryptocurrency, or perhaps it has clarified its real position previously mischaracterized by the press. It’s increasingly difficult to get a real handle on the official status of crypto in the Persian homeland.  

Also read: How To Regain Control From Nanny Zuck

Iran to Control and Prevent Cryptocurrency

Hamed Jafari reported as soon as two weeks ago, Iran was considering issuing “a local cryptocurrency, a cryptocurrency consortium with specific countries and regulating the already established cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.” Not more than last week, International Business Times insisted “a half dozen contenders” in Iran were vying to bring the country its first set of initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Indeed, Iran under the weight of international sanctions seems to be a perfect breeding ground for cryptocurrency. Paypal, Mastercard, Visa are all forbidden. Its fiat currency continues to fall against the dollar to all-time lows even as its regime struggled recently to reform interest rates and forgive loans. Crypto might be a way around pretty brutal financial conditions. Reports last year seemed to suggest the country was considering as much.

Islamic Republic of Iran to “Control and Prevent” Growth of Cryptocurrencies
Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi

Iran Front Page, however, an independent news aggregation site, is throwing cold water on region some by insisting the Iranian central bank never recognized bitcoin as legal tender. The banker also said it had no intention of “actively facilitating Bitcoin transactions.”

Local Crypto?

Indeed the bank is reported to have explained how “wild fluctuations of the digital currencies along with competitive business activities underway via network marketing and pyramid scheme [tactics] have made the market of these currencies highly unreliable and risky.” Additionally, Iran’s central bank is said to be looking at a way to “control and prevent digital currencies in Iran.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean ICOs can’t take place, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence Iranians are interested in cryptocurrency even if their government is not. Enthusiasts’ hopes were not entirely dashed as reports also explained the country’s technology minister confirmed rumors about a local cryptocurrency, state backed. Islamic Republic of Iran to “Control and Prevent” Growth of CryptocurrenciesAfter further warning about the “high risks of making investment in” cryptos such as bitcoin, saying Iranians might lose “their financial assets” as a result, “Iran’s [Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)] Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi also declared on Wednesday that Iran’s Post Bank is working on a locally-developed cryptocurrency, which needs to be tested by the ICT ministry.”

What do you think about Iran’s plans? Are they viable? Let us know in the comments section.


Images courtesy of Pixabay.


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Market Analysis Report (22 Feb 2018)

Bafin Clarifies Stance on ICOs as More Citizens Ask About Tokens

Germany’s financial regulator Bafin has clarified its position on Initial Coin Offerings. Bafin admitted it was receiving many inquiries about the status of tokens and cryptocurrencies distributed to investors through ICOs. The federal agency advised interested parties to refer to regulations applicable to traditional financial instruments and comply with current requirements.

In an advisory letter, Bafin provides some basic definitions of ICOs and related terms. The regulator’s objective is to educate the public about cryptocurrencies, tokens, which are typically generated using distributed ledger or blockchain technology, and ICOs, that are used to raise funds for startup projects.

Read more here

Ripple Is Releasing Two New White Papers For Peer Review

Announced yesterday, San Francisco-based startup Ripple is releasing two new white papers for peer review – one describing XRP’s consensus algorithm in a more formal way and the other outlining a way to improve the diversity of connections of each node, the software users run to relay and verify transactions on the network. The move shows that Ripple is ready and willing to invest in the core infrastructure supporting its cryptocurrency.

In an interview, Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas, sought to stress how the papers open up the possibility of further building a network effect around the tech. Thomas stated:

“This is the first time we’re releasing peer-reviewed academic papers. Obviously, it opens the door for future research. After this, I expect you’ll hear much more about us interacting with academia.”

Read more here

Tesla ‘Cryptojacked’ By Hackers To Mine Cryptocurrencies

Tesla, the electric car manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California, is the latest corporation to fall victim to ‘cryptojacking’, according to a newly released research from cybersecurity firm RedLock.

The researchers found that hackers had infiltrated Tesla’s Kubernetes console (a system for containerized apps that was originally designed by Google) which was not password protected. The hackers were mining for cryptocurrency from within one of Tesla’s Kubernetes pods.

The team noted some sophisticated evasion measures that were employed in this attack. Unlike other crypto mining incidents, the hackers did not use a well known public mining pool in this attack. Instead, they installed mining pool software and configured the malicious script to connect to an unlisted or semi-public endpoint. This makes it difficult for standard IP/domain-based threat intelligence feeds to detect the malicious activity, they explain.

Read more here

Crypto Market In The Red Despite Bitcoin Transaction Fees Dropping, Dominance Rising

While Bitcoin (BTC) dominance is up and Bitcoin transaction fees are down, the crypto market is seeing an overall downturn by press time, Wednesday, Feb. 21, with all of the top 30 coins on CoinMarketCap in the red.

Bitcoin dominance, or BTC’s market cap as a share of the total market cap for all cryptocurrencies, is at a monthly highly today of around 39.4 percent, corresponding with the recent sharp drop in Bitcoin transaction fees.

A year ago today, BTC had about 86 percent market dominance, a figure that has been falling on average ever since, despite its short rise up to 66 percent in early December.

Percentage of Total Market Capitalization

Bitcoin transaction fees had seen all-time highs in January 2018, rising to about $37 for a fee that would have your transaction mined fastest, on the next mined block.

Historic daily average Bitcoin transaction fees

However, Bitcoin’s last transaction fee as recorded by Blockchair was $0.36/kB at 3:11pm UTC, Feb. 21, a 6-month lows for the leading cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), a well-known Bitcoin hard fork that took place August 2017, has positioned itself as superior to Bitcoin in part because of having lower transaction fees than BTC. Bitcoin Cash’s last transaction fee recorded at by Blockchair at 3:28pm UTC is in fact slightly lower than Bitcoin at $0.22/kB. However, other transactions made this afternoon showed fees of as high as $0.91/kB.

Crypto investor and evangelist Roger Ver, arguably the most well-known and active proponent of BCH, tweeted last week about the benefits of BCH over BTC, calling Bitcoin, “slow, expensive to use, and unreliable for transactions.”

Twitter user UFoundMe commented on the tweet on Feb. 18 with an image capture showing the average fees of BCH and BTC converging:

Bitcoin is currently trading at around $10,675, down about 9 percent over a 24-hour period by press time.

Bitcoin Cash is down a little more than 14 percent over a 24-hour period, trading around $1,302 by press time.

Total market cap is around $457 bln, down from last week’s high over $500 bln.

Global Charts

Support for the Bitcoin scalability upgrade Segregated Witness (SegWit), which is designed to make transaction fees slower and transactions times faster on the Bitcoin network, was added to the latest Bitcoin Core client version released on Feb. 15, 2018. SegWit support was also added to major exchange Bitfinex today, Feb. 21, and scheduled to be released on the exchange and wallet platform Coinbase by mid-next week.

How South Korean Government Prevents Officials from Insider Crypto Trading

How South Korean Government Prevents Officials From Crypto Insider Trading

Regulation

South Korea currently has no law against government officials insider trading with the knowledge of cryptocurrency regulations. The case against an employee of the country’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) accused of crypto insider trading has come to a standstill without grounds for punishment. However, the government has worked out a plan to prevent future occurrences.

Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

No Applicable Law Currently

The issue of insider trading using the knowledge of the government’s cryptocurrency regulations became prominent last month when an FSS employee was accused of crypto insider trading. The FSS has an active role in creating crypto regulations as well as inspecting banks for crypto-related money laundering measures.

How South Korean Government Prevents Officials From Crypto Insider TradingThe employee invested about 13 million won on July 3 of last year and sold more than half of his holdings on December 11, Chosun described. Then, on December 13, the government announced a set of strict regulations, including a ban on crypto trading for minors and foreigners.

Guilty or not, there is no law to punish government officials for insider trading of cryptocurrencies. While employees are prohibited from stock trading using insider knowledge, a senior FSS official was quoted by Edaily explaining:

Currently, there are no provisions in the regulation on virtual currency.

New Code of Conduct Could Help

How South Korean Government Prevents Officials From Crypto Insider TradingThe rules applicable to stocks do not apply to cryptocurrencies since they are currently not recognized as financial assets in Korea. To prevent future insider trading, Korean prime minister Lee Nak-yeon ordered the creation of a new Code of Conduct to address crypto trading by public officials.

The Korean Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission issued the “Code of Conduct Guide to Cryptocurrency” to the government and public agencies last week. It adds cryptocurrency to Article 12 of the Civil Servant Code of Conduct which, according to Tokenpost, states that:

Public officials shall not use the information learned during their duties to assist in trading or investing in property related to securities, real estate, etc., or providing such information to others to help them trade or invest.

However, the FSS Did Not Get the Memo

How South Korean Government Prevents Officials From Crypto Insider TradingThe FSS, however, is not bound by the new Code of Conduct. According to Edaily, the document was not even sent to the FSS. “This guidance document was sent to the central administrative agency, metropolitan area, basic local autonomous body, city and provincial office of education,” an FSS official detailed. A senior official of the FSS Inspectorate confirmed to the publication, “We did not receive any letters of interest.”

The news outlet explained that this is due to the FSS being under the supervision of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Securities and Futures Commission under the current law.

The Financial Services Administration Innovation Committee explained that “redefining the FSS as a public institution weakens the independence and accountability of supervisory institutions, making it more vulnerable to external pressures such as political parties,” Maekyung reported. Edaily continued:

As the FSS is not a government agency, FSS staff are not covered by the Code of Conduct.

Following media reports, the Korean government issued a statement clarifying that the FSC will inform the FSS of applicable notices “such as the prohibition of virtual currency transactions related to jobs.” An FSS official was quoted by News1 saying, “we will revise our own Code of Conduct through internal consultations,” adding that FSS staff will not be able to use internal information to trade or invest in cryptocurrency.

What do you think of the Korean government’s plan to prevent crypto insider trading? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Market Analysis Report (21 Feb 2018)

Venezuela Says Petro’s Pre-Sale Has Raised $735 Million

Venezuela has announced that the pre-sale of its oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, has attracted $735 million on the first day. The government has also published a buyer’s manual and confirmed that buyers can use hard currencies and cryptocurrencies, but not bolivars. The Superintendent of Cryptocurrencies, Carlos Vargas, stated:

“The presale and the Initial Coin Offer will be made in hard currencies and cryptocurrencies, but not Bolivars. Our responsibility is to put the Petro in the best hands and then a secondary market will appear.”

Read more here

South Korea to Support ‘Normal’ Crypto Trading

South Korea appears to be softening its stance on cryptocurrency trading. According to Yonhap News, Choe Heung-sik, governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, has said the government “will support cryptocurrency trading if normal transactions are made.” According to BusinessKorea, a government official involved with a virtual currency task force said:

“We are positively considering the adoption of an exchange approval system as the additional regulation on cryptocurrencies. We are most likely benchmark the model of the State of New York that gives a selective permission [for exchange operations].”

Read more here

RMIT University Launches Australia’s First Blockchain Course

RMIT, an Australian public research university, has launched Australia’s first university Blockchain course, according to Business Insider Australia. The 8-week course, entitled “Developing Blockchain Strategy”, was designed by RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub and partners with consulting firm Accenture and fintech hub Stone & Chalk. Jason Potts, the director of the Blockchain Innovation Hub, told Business Australia Insider:

“It’s one of those things where a whole lot of different technologies have come together to contribute to it working. Much of this course is designed to help executives and business leaders to understand not just how this new technology works, and understanding what’s actually behind it, but also how it reflects business models and business strategy.”

Read more here

Wyoming Passes Bill To Relax Securities Law For Some Blockchain Tokens

The US state of Wyoming has passed a bill Feb. 19 allowing certain Blockchain tokens to bypass securities regulations if they meet three key requirements as of July , 2018.

House Bill HB0070 was sponsored by seven representatives and five senators of the Legislature of the State of Wyoming. The bill passed the Wyoming House of Representatives unanimously in its third reading with the approval of all 60 members.

The move comes as US regulators at the national level seek to crack down on illegitimate offerings from the cryptocurrency and Blockchain space, placing emphasis on the need to monitor the market for the sake of protecting investors.

According to the new bill, if tokens are offered in Wyoming — or simply to the state’s residents — via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) or otherwise, the tokens will not need to be registered as securities in the state if they conform with the following three statutes:

“(i) The token has not been marketed by the developer or seller as an investment;

(ii) The token is exchangeable or provided for the purposes of receiving goods or services; and

(iii) The developer or seller of the token has not entered into a repurchase agreement of any kind or entered into any agreement, arrangement or scheme with the principal intent and effect of manipulating or attempting to manipulate the price of the token on a secondary market.”

HB0070 is one of two cryptocurrency-related projects sponsored by the twelve-member group currently making their way through the state legislative system.As Cointelegraph reported Monday Feb. 19, Wyoming Senate Bill 111 seeks to exempt crypto from state property tax obligations, in place since March, 2014.

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race

Featured

Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have been very active in advertising their services. Several exchanges including Bitflyer, DMM Bitcoin, Tech Bureau’s Zaif and the hacked exchange Coincheck have been tapping into star power and launching TV commercials with original music.

Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

Japanese Exchanges’ TV Commercials

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race
Actress in Zaif’s commercials.

Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have been actively advertising their businesses. Last week, Tech Bureau’s Zaif exchange joined Bitflyer, DMM Bitcoin, Bitrade, and Coincheck in tapping into Japan’s star power to promote its services.

According to CM Soken Consulting, a commercial researcher operated by Tokyo Kikaku Co, “the presence of TV commercials by cryptocurrency exchanges has significantly increased in the past year,” Japan Times reported. “Between Dec. 20 to Jan. 19, TV ads by Coincheck and Bitflyer were aired 819 times in the Kanto region, comparable to major firms such as Toyota Motor Corp, NTT Docomo Inc, and Mcdonald’s Japan.”

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race
Actress in DMM Bitcoin’s commercials.

The news outlet also pointed out that a huge billboard for “DMM Bitcoin featuring a Japanese celebrity coated in gold” is prominently displayed in Shibuya, one of the busiest and most famous shopping districts in Tokyo. “When I was in London I would see ads all over Facebook, but never on TV or in the streets like this,” a 20-year-old British tourist admitted as he stood beneath the billboard.

Kenji Harashima, a senior researcher specializing in financial technologies for the Mizuho Research Institute, was quoted:

Japanese exchanges are the most active in the world. Not only is this the result of tight regulations in China and South Korea, it is also because you can use leverage to make investments.

DMM Bitcoin, Bitflyer and Coincheck “have all advertised on web platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. These same exchanges have also aired TV commercials,” the publication added.

Tech Bureau’s Zaif

Last week, Tech Bureau which operates Zaif crypto exchange started broadcasting a commercial nationwide featuring Japanese actress, model, and singer Ayame Goriki. According to her Wikipedia page, she has been in 37 TV series and has appeared in 7 movies.

The 1-minute commercial also features an original song loosely translated as “Zaif for bitcoin” by a band called “Kaneko Mari & Zaif 2 Da Moon.” Zaif says that the nationwide promotion is aimed at increasing service awareness as well as “improving the image of the industry as a whole.”

Bitflyer

Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, Bitflyer, was the first to run TV commercials at the end of April of last year, according to Japan Times. At the time, the Japanese government had just legalized bitcoin as a legal method of payment.

Bitflyer hired Japanese actress and model Riko Narumi to be the company’s spokesmodel and appear in its commercials.

DMM Bitcoin

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race
DMM FX commercial featuring Laura.

DMM Group started advertising for its bitcoin exchange at the start of the year. The company launched a crypto exchange under the brand name DMM Bitcoin in January which supports 7 cryptocurrencies. Recently, it also launched a mining farm and a showroom in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

DMM Bitcoin’s commercials feature an actress and model known as Laura and another actress called Rika Nakagawa. Laura has also been in other DMM Group’s commercials including those for the company’s foreign exchange arm, DMM FX.

Too Much Ad Spending?

Bittrade and Coincheck crypto exchanges have tapped into star power to advertise their businesses. Bittrade hired Japanese actress Ruriko Kojima to be its face. Coincheck hired popular local comedian Tetsuro Degawa. However, Coincheck’s ads were removed following the hack that cost the exchange 58 billion yen worth of NEM.

“Coincheck executives have admitted that they might have put more priority on attracting customers with ads rather than enhancing security,” Japan Times wrote and quoted SBI Holdings’ CEO Yoshitaka Kitao saying:

The thing that makes me the most angry is that they spent money on commercials that should have been spent on their systems.

The Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA), an industry group with over 150 members including Coincheck, has requested its members to “advertise responsibly.”

What do you think of Japanese crypto exchanges’ advertising strategies? Which ads do you like most? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Zaif, Bitflyer, and DMM Bitcoin.


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