US becomes largest bitcoin mining center after China crackdown: Market wrap

US becomes largest bitcoin mining center after China crackdown: Market wrap
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Updated 13 October 2021

US becomes largest bitcoin mining center after China crackdown: Market wrap

US becomes largest bitcoin mining center after China crackdown: Market wrap

RIYADH: The US has overtaken China to account for the largest share of bitcoin mining in the world, according to data released by Britain’s Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance on Wednesday.

China’s share of the power of computers connected to the global bitcoin network, known as the “hash rate,” had fallen to zero by July from 44 percent in May, and from as much as 75 percent in 2019, the data showed.

Miners elsewhere have taken up the slack, with mining rig manufacturers shifting their attention to North America and Central Asia, and larger Chinese miners moving as well, though this process is fraught with logistical difficulties.

As a result, the US now accounts for the largest share of mining, some 35.4 percent of the global hash rate as of the end of August, followed by Kazakhstan and Russia.

Use of Chinese yuan

Binance, one of the world’s largest exchange by trading volumes, will stop the use of the Chinese yuan on its peer-to-peer trading platform, the latest move by major global cryptocurrency exchanges to cut their ties with mainland Chinese investors following an intense crackdown on the sector.

It will remove the Chinese yuan section of its consumer-to-consumer platform on Dec. 31 this year, and mainland Chinese users will have their accounts switched to “withdraw only mode,” Binance said in a statement.

Binance’s origins lie in China, though it emphasized in a statement that it withdrew from mainland China in 2017, the time of a previous regulatory crackdown.

Also on Wednesday, OKEX, another major cryptocurrency exchange with its origins in China said in a statement it had shifted its core business to international markets since 2017 and stopped promoting and providing services to the mainland China market.

Regulation

Regulators need to work quickly to put in place a set of rules for cryptocurrencies, given the sector’s rapid growth and the time it takes to agree on new standards, Bank of England Deputy Gov. Jon Cunliffe said on Wednesday.

“Regulators internationally and in many jurisdictions have begun the work. It needs to be pursued as a matter of urgency,” Cunliffe said in a speech at the SIBOS conference.

Last week, global regulators suggested that the safeguards they apply systemic clearing houses and payment systems should also be applied to stablecoins.

“It took two years to draft this measure, during which stablecoins have grown 16-fold,” Cunliffe said.  

 

Trading

Bitcoin fell by 2.04 percent to $55,698.90 at 5:41 p.m. Riyadh time on Wednesday while Ether traded at $3,492.32, down by 0.44 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.

“Current market cap of Bitcoin reaches 1 trillion once again, while approaching $55,000 and more,” Abdullah Mashat, managing director of a private Saudi retail company, told Arab News.

“Price movement showed again exceeding 50 percent in the past 3 months following recovery from the mining ban in China which affected more than two-third of the Bitcoin network,” he said.

 

 

 

 


UAE banks' assets to grow 8% in 2022, says banking official

UAE banks' assets to grow 8% in 2022, says banking official
Getty Images
Updated 13 sec ago

UAE banks' assets to grow 8% in 2022, says banking official

UAE banks' assets to grow 8% in 2022, says banking official
  • The UAE economy will reap benefits from the world fair Expo 2020 for about eight years

RIYADH: Emirati banks' assets are expected to grow 8 percent in 2022, the head of the UAE Banks Federation Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair told Al Arabiya on Sunday.

The UAE's economy will grow next year by 5 percent and the return of tourism activity will support the growth of assets to this level, he said.

The UAE economy will reap benefits from the world fair Expo 2020 for about eight years, he said. "Expo 2020 restored trust in UAE's economy," he said.

Expo 2020 opened its doors in Dubai this month.

The Central Bank of Emirates's support of 250 billion dirhams ($68 billion) had a significant impact in mitigating the impact of the Corona pandemic on the economic sector and individuals, and overcoming that phase, Al Ghurair said.


He added that the UAE economy and banks are currently reaping the fruits of the support of the UAE Central Bank.

Al Ghurair revealed that 95 percent of the UAE banks have refunded the support amounts and have the ability to support the economy and individuals without the need for support from the Central Bank.

The banking sector dealt with doubtful loans during the past two years and in 2021, noting that the levels of allocations for these loans will return to their normal levels next year, between 1.5 and 2 percent.

The demand for the real estate sector has increased significantly now, after the UAE has proven that it can be relied upon in times of crisis, Al Ghurair said, expecting real estate prices in the country to return to acceptable levels.


Saudi National Bank shares hit highest level since listing

Saudi National Bank shares hit highest level since listing
Updated 19 min 7 sec ago

Saudi National Bank shares hit highest level since listing

Saudi National Bank shares hit highest level since listing

Shares of Saudi National Bank (SNB) hit their highest level since listing, at SR 66 today, on Sunday.

The stock rose 1 percent during the day, with nearly 350,000 shares traded so far, Argaam has reported.


EU rubber stamps S&P Global deal to buy IHS Markit

EU rubber stamps S&P Global deal to buy IHS Markit
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Updated 39 min 7 sec ago

EU rubber stamps S&P Global deal to buy IHS Markit

EU rubber stamps S&P Global deal to buy IHS Markit
  • The companies said Friday they now expect to close the deal in the first quarter of next year

S&P Global Inc. won European Union approval to buy IHS Markit Ltd. after agreeing to sell off commodity price assessment and financial data businesses, Bloomberg reported.

The divestments removed “problematic overlaps” that could have “limited customers’ access to some competitive and reliable data which is essential to ensure fairness of physical trades and financial markets,” the European Commission said in an emailed press release last Friday.

The deal, initially valued at about $39 billion in stock, marries S&P, one of the most famous names in financial markets, with a research company that supplies forecasts to most of the world’s biggest companies.

“S&P Global and IHS Markit expect the proposed remedies to be sufficient to satisfy global regulators, the companies said.

 The companies said Friday they now expect to close the deal in the first quarter of next year.

The deal has sailed past the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority regulators, who also said they will clear the deal if concerns are addressed.


Saudi central bank mulls blockchain use, says no to phasing out cash

Saudi central bank mulls blockchain use, says no to phasing out cash
Updated 30 min 32 sec ago

Saudi central bank mulls blockchain use, says no to phasing out cash

Saudi central bank mulls blockchain use, says no to phasing out cash
  • SAMA is one of the first central banks in the G20 countries to experience distributed ledgers and blockchain technologies through the "Aber" digital currency project.
  • The government wants to boost e-payments to 70 percent of total transactions by 2030, the central bank said, as it has no intention of completely phasing out banknotes. 

CAIRO: The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) is still examining some emerging technologies, including distributed ledgers and blockchain, before it makes any decision, according to a report from Al Eqtisadiah.

SAMA is one of the first central banks in the G20 countries to experience distributed ledgers and blockchain technologies through the "Aber" digital currency project.

These efforts are part of the central bank’s push to a less cash-dependent society, as outlined under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

The government wants to boost e-payments to 70 percent of total transactions by 2030, the central bank said, as it has no intention of completely phasing out banknotes. 

SAMA is optimistic it would achieve this goal five years earlier than the 2030 target.


UAE's ADNOC to split water treatment project; costs double to $5bn: CNBC Arabia

UAE's ADNOC to split water treatment project; costs double to $5bn: CNBC Arabia
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 56 min 4 sec ago

UAE's ADNOC to split water treatment project; costs double to $5bn: CNBC Arabia

UAE's ADNOC to split water treatment project; costs double to $5bn: CNBC Arabia
  • The initial plan included an evaluation of the entire project at a projected cost of $2.5 billion

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is to divide a sea water treatment project into two separate projects, with costs set to more than double, to about $5 billion, two sources told CNBC Arabia.

The two stations will be developed in two new locations in Al Mirfa and Al Nouf areas, west of Abu Dhabi city. The first phase is expected to start later this year, the sources said. 

Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Group (SMBC) and Alderbrook will be the advisors.

The initial plan included an evaluation of the entire project at a projected cost of $2.5 billion, but the spiralling costs forced a rethink into dividing it into two projects, the sources said.

ADNOC announced last March that it would include the development, financing, construction, operation, maintenance and ownership of two new independent seawater filtration plants with a full treatment capacity of about 210 million gallons per day.

The project also includes the construction of pumping stations and pipelines necessary to transport treated water to the onshore oil fields, which requires a new infrastructure of pipelines with a length of about 450 km, according to the company's official website.