Bitcoin’s Plunge Was Foreshadowed by Miner Inventory Data

China ComputerWorld: Prophecy of a Ferryman

Since early 2013, digital currency market though has been low but this has offered new opportunities for the chip manufacturers of this industry. During the last decades of 18th century to the first decades of 19th century owing to the gold rush in the US a large number of the stakeholders and the land speculators become millionaire overnight. The opportunity to mine the gold in the mountains across rivers attracted the miners in flock. Later the management studies disclosed that in the spate of ‘rush for gold’the business with the most lucrative perspective had constantly been ignored---The Ferry. The case studies pointed that whenever the river interdicted the crazy gold miners there was an abrupt rise in ferry business. In 2013 a hit in the Bitcoins (a kind of digital currency), miners, buyers, investors hype have let Bitcoin market reach a remarkable high and set a new trend of money transfer through Bitcoins instead of currencies. Afterwards especially in the last hour of 2013, some incipient security faults of Bitcoin transactions started to surface. Added with the phenomenon of sudden rise and fall of the Bitcoins led to the consequences into the ban on bank-account-to-bank-account transactions of Bitcoins in China. On May 2014, the US Securities and Exchange Commission released a notice that the investment risks in virtual currency are mounting high. The tightening regulatory and unstable market has made a many Bitcoin merchants lose money. However, this collective "heat” has brought new opportunities for the chip suppliers. Redefining Financing Li Feng, the CEO of Gridseed, graduated from Department of electrical engineering, Tsinghua University. Like many young entrepreneurs in IT field, he also beat the path in Internet, mobile, games, animation, hardware, and other fields of this business. For 15 years, Li Feng has gained the experience of product design, marketing, strategic planning and project management etc. that has laid the foundation for his success in the chip industry. At the beginning of 2013, Gridseed team entered the chip design field of the digital currency. "At that time, our main business was to design the mining machine chip for digital currency" Li Feng said. "At the beginning of the establishment, our team didn't imagine the Bitcoin currency market would suddenly be heated to such an extent that within half a year the Bitcoin would catch the eyes of even a layman in China." In January 2013, one Bitcoin was worth 100 RMB, & later in October 2013, the Bitcoin transaction leaped to 8000 Yuan. Being different from the traditional money the central bank, government organizations, and enterprise support or the credit mechanism were not interested to show their pendency through the Bitcoin transactions. Noticeably, the requirement of the network agreement torrent file for the bitcoin transactions is based on the password encryption, and the complex algorithm. The whole process of the transaction involved the professional knowledge of computer. Therefore, from the first few years of the 2013, most of the faithful users of the Bitcoins in China have been the IT professionals and the students. When the bitcoin exchange rose to RMB 8000 it attracted the attention of a many crazy investors and also the elderly people raised the greed to make money in China. Sky is the limit for the bitcoins and it has been impetus to the development of the industry chain. A large number of IT professionals and entrepreneurs have plunged into the Bitcoin market with a madness to dig the ‘gold’. While mining, a bitcoin miner would do calculations through the mining device (computer hardware) to produce bitcoins or do confirm the transactions through Bitcoins. Bitcoin miners would get a currency as a reward for the confirmation of the transactions and also a new bitcoin. “For the high efficiency mining output there is a specific requisite of the mining hardware set up and software support. These devices are considerably expensive.” Li Feng added. Li Feng envisaged the lucrative perspective on doing research and development on the mining chips and founded Gridseed Company. Nevertheless, as a start-up-company the shortage of funds was inevitable and when Li Feng is already engaged in Bitcoin business he acknowledges the fact that the bitcoin niche making is the most difficult part of the financing. In the entire bitcoin production chain; including the research and development, and manufacturing of the mining devices, mining transactions and applications, the most lucrative among these to draw the venture capital have been the transactions and the payment processes. The reason is simple; the chip manufacturing is at the most upstream of the industry, the investment return rate is very low, and when there are those who do not want to pay then the restrictions on the transaction is quite obvious. Time is the most important aspect for a business to grow. Due to the surge in the Bitcoin market since October 2013, Gridseed does not need foreign investment to run independently. In December 2013, Gridseed introduced the GC3355 mining chips and in January 2014, they started using the chip with dual mining capacity for Bitcoins and Leticoins. The unique colorful USB (called, Chrysanthemum) was available in the market. Since then the company has entered into the positive loop. “In one month we have already bought more than one lakh pieces of this device and most of them have been sold to the overseas market. To my amusement some of the big mining industries have already bought more than thousand devices.” Lifeng added. In fact, in this competitive era of digital machine some of late entrants have used a different approach to solve shortage of their fund related problem. “Now there are some of the industrialists who are engaged in pre-sale through the method of ‘procurement production’. Lifeng explained. ‘Procurement production’ is a situation when a customer with a partial or full payment of a piece of device to the seller reserves a piece of device in their name before it is manufactured. But this way the whole risk is imputed on the miners because the degree of the difficulty of the mining of bitcoin is increasingly becoming tougher and therefore if the device were delivered considerably later then the date of manufacturing this would certainly bring loss to the miners. “Keeping the interest of the miners in mind bitcoin mining devices would be traded on stock.” Lifeng convinced the reporter. ‘Biting’ Chip With Internet ‘Taste’ After resolving the funding barrier, Lifeng and team had to face another more difficult barrier. Traditional chip companies could not keep up their pace with that of the industry of the digital currency. For example, the computing capacity of the Internet is increasing by each second and in order to cope up with the Internet industry the bitcoin chips research and development, and the replacement cycle needs to be faster. As a customary, the replacement of a chip was required per year but now we need to update these chips every 3 to 6 months. Ever since the Gridseed was established owing to the shortage of production workers and the sales staff, research and development at Gridseed was not able to reach the customers directly. Once the chip was produced the authorized dealers were contacted immediately for sale, and the mining production company did directly sold it too. This method did not give the chip industry any chance to understand their customers and the need of the end users. This could also be true that the retailers and the distributors did not integrate with the end users and therefore it was hard to control the listing cycle. Li Feng recommended that the pace of the chip industry must go hand in hand with the Internet industry. However the chip industry and the Internet industry are the two sides of a coin. Internet is developing fast rapidly. If an Internet product or an application is left online then that could be modified with each feedback given by the online users. But in case of chips, unlike Internet industry once it is packed and is sold one could not get a chance to upgrade the chips again. To keep the pace and to shorten the replacement period; Gridseed engineers have worked till four O’Clocke in the morning for the entire month during the spring festival. Lifeng though agrees that relying on long working hours is not the long time solution. Last November, Li Feng decided to let the Gridseed take complete control of the production supply chain. In simple terms the Gridseed would have the agency to hardware design, mass production and rapid scale deployment. “The feedback mechanism on the Internet and rapid designing of the chip production, provision of services are the potential enterprise of competence in the future”. He said. The chip production, research and development, packaging and other process have to be taken into account with equal weightage. The time is capital and must be converted into cash. Li Feng introduced that in most cases we need to give three sets of hardware solution but mostly one of them would be used and rest two would go in vain. This simply means the enterprise would face risks since the research and development of the chips though would not bet finished but the later procedures would already be accomplished and leading the wastage of the residual devices. With the due course of time Gridseed has enriched experience and have learned to regulate the production chain and supply the best product to the market. Gridseed already uses its TSMC account and therefore has the authority to operate the chips independently. Each industry has its own pattern of development. Although the digital currency is at its low in the market but with the scrutiny of Chinese state regulatory system and the Internet transaction and up gradation of the payment mode, I believe that the digital currency mining industry through Internet based chip would stand stable and would carry on the path of the development.
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