Mining Manufacturing Giant Bitmain Closes Israeli Research Center

Justine Pope

Bitmain’s Israel development center is reportedly closing down. Bitmaintech Israel was founded just two years ago in the city of Ra'anana (just outside of Tel Aviv), but will be shutting down and laying off its 23 employees - according to Globes, an Israeli Business news outlet.

Gadi Glikberg, Bitmain VP and leader of Bitmaintech Israel, will also be leaving the company. In a statement to Bitmain’s Israeli employees, Gilkberg said:

The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.

The Bitmain branch in Israel was responsible mostly for research. Their projects included development of blockchain infrastructure, a new mining pool (Connect BTC) and Bitmain's processor chips.

Bear Market Closures

The exact cause of this closure is unknown, but it seems plausible that the ongoing bitcoin bear market is a contributory factor. The declining price of Bitcoin (and Bitcoin Cash) has meant that mining is far less profitable. Since the beginning of November 2018, the BTC chain’s hash rate has dropped by a whopping 31%

Bitmain is the largest Antminer Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) manufacturer in the world, and is also responsible for running one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools, Antpool. Based in China, Bitmain has been making waves all year due to their upcoming IPO. Their ASICs make up about 70% of all worldwide Bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin Cash SV supporter Calvin Ayre had some harsh words for Bitmain. Ayre, owner of CoinGeek, is set to be majority shareholder of Squire Mining, a Bitmain competitor. Via Twitter, Ayre said:

Those Banned From Facebook May Not Be Able to Use Its Cryptocurrency Libra

Facebook’s two days of congressional hearings on the social media giant’s cryptocurrency ambitions seemingly revealed that those who have been banned from Facebook may not have access to Libra.

During the congressional hearing Facebook had to answer some tough questions, and one of them came from Representative Sean Duffy, which asked the company’s cryptocurrency head, David Marcus, who’ll have access to Libra.

The Congressman initially asked Marcus who could use the cryptocurrency, to which Calibra’s CEO answered: “anyone that can open a Calibra account, that can go through KYC [know-your-customer checks] in countries where we can operate.”

Duffy then referenced two individuals banned from Facebook for violating its community guidelines, Louis Farrakhan and Milo Yiannopoulo, and asked whether they’ll be able to use the social media giant’s cryptocurrency.

Marcus ended up replying he doesn’t “know yet,” after seeing Duffy hold a $20 bill and ask hin who can use it. His point was that cash doesn’t discriminate, and that anyone who can hold it can use it.

While throughout the hearing Marcus tried to point out the company will follow appropriate regulations and comply with lawmakers, Duffy responded that a proper answer would be “as long as you abide by the law, you can use Libra.” The fact he didn’t get this answer, Duffy said, gave him “great pause.”

Speaking to The Daily Beast Elka Looks, a Facebook spokeswoman, clarified Marcus addressed the Congressman’s concerns later on in the hearing. She stated:

For Libra, anyone who is engaging in lawful activity will be able to transact on the network. Facebook will have no say. For Calibra, there is no policy in place yet, but we will share it when it is closer to being finalized.

The news outlet adds that Calibra, Facebook’s wallet to send, receive, and hold Libra, doesn’t yet have final terms of service or a privacy policy. All of this means that those who’ve been banned on Facebook may not have access to its cryptocurrency.

As CryptoGlobe covered, Congressman Warren Davidson implied during the hearings Facebook’s crypto is a ‘shitcoin’ as it doesn’t have some of the properties bitcoin has. The Congressman made it clear bitcoin has no central authority that can censor transactions or dilute its value, while Libra has the Libbra Association.