AMD Earnings Release Reflects Boom In Cryptocurrencies

AMD earnings release

Summary:

  • The AMD earnings release posted at the closing bell on Tuesday, July 25 topped analyst expectations
  • Adding onto the strong quarterly performance, management is anticipating robust results from the third quarter and fourth quarters as well.
  • After hours and next day trading have propelled AMD shares as much as 10%

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:$AMD) released their 2Q17 earnings results at the closing bell on Tuesday trading.

Put into perspective, analysts estimate AMD to report a break-even Earnings Per Share (EPS) on revenues of $1.16 billion. AMD far surpassed analyst expectations by reporting Earnings Per Share (EPS) and revenue figures of $0.02 per share, and $1.22 billion.

As AMD’s earnings release for 2Q17 exceeded analyst expectations, shares of AMD have surged more than 10% in after-hours trading, and are now up 7% from its previous day close in intraday trading.

However, Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst of Moor Insights and Strategy, is especially optimistic about AMD, as he believes there’s still more room for the tech company to grow.

“AMD has a lot to look forward to, as none of their actuals incorporate sales of EPYC server parts, only limited sales of the new Radeon Vega and none of the Ryzen notebook parts.” Moorhead added that AMD’s positive operating profit was merely “icing on the cake.”

AMD’s management has also come out with guidance figures, expecting year-over-year growth in the third quarter to reach about 15%. When the 15% premium is applied to revenue reported in 3Q16, we arrive at an implied revenue of $1.50 billion for the quarter, which far surpasses the $1.39 billion analyst consensus that Thomson Reuters has reported.

Management has also provided annual revenue guidance, suggesting that growth could reach mid to high-teen percentages, which is an improvement from the low-teen percentages that were last expected. In contrast, Thomson Reuters had previous full-year revenue growth projections of about 12.8%

Although AMD’s revenue forecasts are rather optimistic, they’re supported by management expectations of a year-over-year decline in inventory for 2017. AMD noted during its earnings call on Tuesday that it’s ramping up production in order to replenish inventory that has been depleted by a surge in demand.

Shares of AMD rallied in the booming wake of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, when AMD reported to CNBC that it had received an influx of demand for its graphics cards. At the time, the company’s RX 570 and RX 580 models were running on extremely short supply, with major computer hardware retailers often sold out.

Although cryptocurrencies have recently experienced some volatility in value, CoinDesk reports that Bitcoin has still more than doubled in value this year, while Ethereum is up 2,400% year to date. In order to mine these cryptocurrencies, miners must use graphics cards from Nvidia or AMD, with the latter delivering superior performance.

Although digital currency mining was a key topic during AMD’s earnings conference call with Wall Street Tuesday evening, management has voiced that they are still prioritizing its core gaming market. However, the company does intend to closely monitor the digital currency market.

Featured Image: twitter

More Crypto Bans: Lloyds Shuts Down Credit Card Purchases

Crypto Bans

Following recent announcements by JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C), customers will not be allowed to purchase cryptocurrency on their credit cards. Lloyds Banking Group, the largest bank in the United Kingdom, has now joined its American counterparts in the “anti-crypto campaign”.

>>J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America Ban Credit Card Crypto Purchases

Credit cards issued by Lloyds — including those from Halifax, Bank of Scotland, and MBNA — will be blocked from making crypto purchases through an online blacklist that will flag sellers. However, customers will still be able to buy cryptocurrencies with their debit cards for now.

According to a CNN report, this decision was made by the U.K. bank to “protect its customers” from making speculative buys on volatile assets like Bitcoin.

In addition to Lloyds, financial services firm Virgin Money has also placed a cryptocurrency ban on its credit cards. Similar to Lloyds, Virgin was concerned with customers accumulating large amounts of debts following sharp declines in the cryptocurrency market.

Currently, the boundaries set against cryptocurrency are getting more and more rigid. Not only are banks now placing stringent rules on these digital assets, entire nations have also been cracking down heavily as well, most prominently China, South Korea, and more recently India.

On Friday, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said his country would “take all measures to eliminate the use of these crypto assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.”

>>Cryptocurrency Regulation Might Be Discussed at Next G20 Summit

With these bans, owning cryptocurrency in arguably two of the biggest western countries, has become more difficult.

Perhaps people will now start to invest more cautiously in cryptocurrency if they can’t use “borrowed money”. 

Who will be next to join the crypto bans? Only time will tell.

Featured Image: Twitter

BlackRock Keeping Cryptocurrency Under “Close Review”

BlackRock

BlackRock, the world’s largest investment company with over $5 trillion in assets under management, has become the latest prominent figure in the financial world to take a “not now but maybe later” approach to the fast-expanding cryptocurrency industry.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday, Isabelle Mateos Y Lago, Chief Multi-Asset Strategist at BlackRock, said that although the firm is not classifying cryptocurrency as “an investable asset” yet, it is keeping it under “close review” as it’s both new and interesting.

“The fact that interest has persisted despite these repeated hacks, despite regulators waking up and trying to catch up with this new development and gradually weeding out all the illegal uses suggests there really is something to it. Clearly, it is evolving very fast.”

She also reiterated that any G20 regulations would not change anything overnight, but it is a step towards maturity for the asset class.

>>United Kingdom Planning to Roll Out New Rules for Cryptocurrency Regulation

BlackRock

Her comments today are somewhat of a contrast to those made by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink a few days ago. At the 2018 World Economic Forum meeting held last week, when asked whether he’s ready to invest in this space, Fink described cryptocurrency as “more of an index of money laundering than anything more than that.”

But at the same time, Fink conceded that blockchain is “a real technology.”

>>Tax Season: Will You Have To Claim Your Cryptocurrency?

“There are lots of ways to get in; the question is, are they safe?” continued Mateos Y Lago when asked about blockchain and ICO investment opportunities. “If you’re a venture capitalist, yes there are ways, but if you’re a regular investor, it is a very hard thing to do because you can’t really put a fair value on any of these ICO’s or investment.”

However, she did conclude by acknowledging that this is a “space worth watching.”

Featured Image: Twitter

2014 Bitcoin Investor Tim Draper Has Made $120 Million Profits

investor tim draper

A flashback to 2014 will remind us of when billionaire investor Tim Draper predicted that Bitcoin price will reach $10,000 by the end of 2017. As of today, November 27th. 2017, Bitcoin is sitting at $9,771.  

Since 2014, Draper has been one of the most active investors in the cryptocurrency market, alongside Barry Silbert of Digital Currency Group. Within the past three years, Draper has funded both regional and international Bitcoin businesses, including the $1.6 billion Bitcoin brokerage and wallet platform Coinbase, $160 million South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit, and Bitcoin service provider Coinplug. In other words, Draper has been one of the most successful early-stage investors in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market.

Draper stated in an interview in 2014: “I’m very excited about Bitcoin and what it can do for the world. Bitcoin is as big a transformation to the finance and commerce industry as the internet was for information and communications. If Bitcoin were here in 2008, it would be a stable source for our world economy. Everybody should go out there and buy a Bitcoin. Every investor who’s a fiduciary should at least be partially involved in Bitcoin because it’s a hedge against all the other currencies. There’s a whole ecosystem being built that’s going to make commerce much easier with much less friction.”

Draper has secured a $120 million profit from his bulk purchase of 30,000 Bitcoins in 2014.

Featured Image: facebook

Credit Suisse Former Exec Launching His Own ICO

Credit Suisse

Former Executive of Digital Banking and Platform Management at Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, is in the final preparations of launching an initial coin offering (ICO).

Marco Abele spent most of his career in the banking industry and just recently left this August. He is now at the forefront of his startup called Tend, which is an ethereum based marketplace for “timesharing” luxury assets.

As Abele explained in a statement, “Many people today are finding that there is more value in experience than ownership and that it is about access to fine things, not just possession of them. At the same time, conventional investments have become uninteresting for the modern generation. That makes meaningful, special assets increasingly desirable and hence valuable.”

Tend is aimed for individuals with wealth between $100,000 and $1 million who are overlooked by the private banking sector and underserved by the bigger retail banks. Abele estimated this group is in close numbers to 350m on a global scale.

Abele told City AM, “People are looking for more real investments that reflect passions or interests.” Which means investors would rather own a piece of art or a vineyard, so they could gain an investment over time but also be able to use it.

Under Swiss securities law, his token offering will be structured very much like a bond.

A pilot for this platform is in its final stages and is aiming to have over 100 users by Spring of 2018, to begin its testing phase. The long-term annual goal for that year is 400 users.

Featured Image: twitter

Ethereum’s Founder Lays Out “Modest Proposal” At Devcon3

Ethereum's Founder

What is a ethereum’s founder, a 23-year-old hacker, supposed to do after he’s created a multibillion-dollar cryptocurrency?

In day one of Devcon3, Ethereum’s annual conference, Vitalik Buterin unveiled the future plans for this project. In what he would call a “modest proposal,” Buterin disclosed he has been quietly working on long-term plans for the future of the blockchain. It’s better described as a three-to-four year agenda for the technical development of ethereum.

At the heart of this concept is a far-down-the-road technical alteration named “sharding,” which was always expected to be in the protocols plans but at the conference, he proposed his most solid strategy for this technique yet.

The biggest questions/concerns among most developers, is the scalability of ethereum and this new “roadmap” addresses that and other issues yet to be solved. Buterin, also addressed the potential expensive storage costs that nodes might face, as the system expands. He added that to the list of things needing to be solved as his plans scale.

The talk was what most developers anticipated it to be but he encouraged them to think about these issues extensively.

“The amount of activity on the blockchain is orders of magnitude larger than it was just a couple of years ago,” he said, indicating the daily transaction rate now at 5,000 per day and the more than 20,000 nodes are now part of the ethereum network. With the growth it’s at, he believes it to be running at its limits currently.

Buterin stated:

“Scalability is probably problem number one … There’s a graveyard of systems that claim to solve the scalability problem but don’t. It’s a very significant and hard challenge. These are just known facts.”

All about the details

Buterin believes that the “sharding,” is the best solution for the scalability issues.

It’s an idea of partitioning data into subcategories so that each node on the network has to hold only a small amount of data at once. Rather, the overall vision is that the base math would hold the system accountable and if completely necessary, nodes could rely on other nodes for data.

Currently, researchers are exploring their options as to how to execute this efficiently, so that nodes aren’t sending false information back and forth.

Buterin’s proposition to these potential complications is aimed to solve scalability and governance.

He presented a rough outline as to what it would look like in his presentation, splitting the blockchain into two of these “shards.” The main shard is the first part and would contain ethereum’s current network and then the other shards are what he calls other “universes.”

Most importantly, he believes the separation of the blockchains would permit more aggressive changes on the smaller share and smaller more cautious changes of the main network. Ethereum still would hold its platform stability but the developers are able to test newer changes more quickly on the other shards.

Or as Buterin said, “Other universes where all this stuff we’ve been working on these last few years can be rolled out much much faster.”

Smaller changes

There were other changes in Buterin’s roadmap that he didn’t focus on as much, such as upgrades to the EVM and the potential of running ethereum in a web browser. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), is the technology that compiles all the smart contract code and communicates it to all the nodes. eWASM, the very down-the-road process, would focus on the potential to eventually one day be able to run ethereum in a web browser and ensuring the EVM has been implemented in the other blockchains.

More information should be emerging on ethereum’s future, as the rest of the four-day conference is stacked with all-day presentations.

Featured Image: twitter

Ethereum’s Swarm Moves On To Third Proof of Concept

Ethereum's Swarm

Announced today at Devcon3, Ethereum’s Swarm, a decentralized storage branch on the ethereum network, revealed their plan to move on to their third proof-of-concept stage.

Victor Tron, Swarm’s lead developer, spoke at the conference today and announced the proof-of-concept is completely compatible with Geth and Whisper, the project’s messaging protocol. This accomplishment for Swarm brings ethereum closer to its “holy trinity” in which three systems create a complete alternative to the internet.

Tron highlighted that their work aligns with the wider concept of ethereum. Their goal is for the users of the platform to be able to store its content and create/share folders with one another, similar to that of the google drive.

This third stage is also testing a new privacy layer, in which their lead developer states it will keep ethereum invulnerable to impulses of authorities.

The proof-of-concept is testing also a brand new privacy layer, which Tron said is key to keeping ethereum resistant to the whims of authorities.

Tron told CoinDesk in an interview, “If you operate it on Swarm, there’s no way for a jurisdiction to take that down because it’s this obfuscation method. Nodes can plausibly deny that they have the content. This is a very important feature because it’s censorship-resistant basically.”

The hottest topic surrounding Devcon3 is scalability and Tron’s newest proof-of-concept will test what happens when ethereum’s network when it grows to tens of thousands of nodes.

Swarm’s newest version is set to launch sometime after the conference.

Featured Image: Depositphotos/© kwanchaidp

Blokur: Raises $1.2 Million In Hopes Of Progressing on Expanding the Music Industry

Blokur

The days of anxiously driving to the store to pick up a newly released CD, are over, according to Blokur.

With a million ways to stream music for free within in a split seconds producers, artists, and agencies are falling behind. Blokur, hopes to give money and power back to these groups. It’s essentially a rights management firm that uses the ethereum blockchain to record music rights.

Phil Barry, Blokur’s founder, started out first making electronic music as “Mr. Fogg” and ended up setting up his own label before founding the startup. The former Senior Product Innovation manager of Universal Music Group, Andres Martin-Lopez, has joined as the Chief Technical Officer and recently raised $1.2 million in seed funding. With this funding, they are planning on doubling their team while scaling their number of clients, with the help of Digital Currency Group, Ascension Ventures, media entrepreneur Remy Minute, and Innovate UK.

Presently, Blokur works with 3,000 music publishers and 10,000 songwriters, and its five-person team has already collaborated with Will.I.Am, Imogen Heap and Radiohead.

Synchronizing data

The first step in order to make sure publishers and musicians get paid what they’re due is consolidating information so that a consistent set of data can be added to the ethereum blockchain.

According to Martin-Lopez in an interview with CoinDesk:

“Reconciling all these different data sources, we’re using smart algorithms to resolve inconsistencies in the data automatically, and we’re capturing the data and writing a state on the blockchain for each individual’s music rights.”

If that sounds complicated to you, that’s because it is. Every record company, publisher, musician, music rights non-profit has its own list of the people, bands, song titles, and purchases. In many instances, those records have errors, with misspelled names or incorrect capitalization in band names, all errors that can lead to right holders not getting paid.

Blokur’s systematic foundation is based on machine learning software that helps the company catch these minor mistakes, and then fixing them on a new list that can be added to the blockchain. According to Martin-Lopes, this system makes music rights management as much as 70 percent more efficient.

In addition to the removal of inconsistencies, Blokur tracks the percentage stake each right holder has in a specific piece of music. They plan on paying them directly with cryptocurrency.

Growth

With music industry contributing $704 billion to the US economy in 2016 alone, Blokur, is starting to gain some strong competition as plenty of blockchain entrepreneurs have a piqued interest in this profitable space.

Even with its seasoned team, others in the market have advisers and founders with equally solid backgrounds. Viberate, a slovenia-based blockchain-based marketplace has two high profile advisors: Pinterest chief scientist Dr. Jure Leskovec and Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem. Ujo is a blockchain-based platform for music and Imogen Heap is leading its development.

After releasing its first beta project earlier this year to help music publishers manage composition right, Blokur plans on launching a commercial product very soon.

Currently, the company is negotiating deals with several large publishers and collecting data from early adopters on how to improve the platform.

Martin-Lopez, in an interview with CoinDesk states:

“We understand the problem that needs to be solved, and we’re using these participants to try to help us solve that problem.”

Featured Image: twitter

Devcon3 Cancun: Ethereum Gearing Up For Its Annual Conference

Devcon3

Set to start in Cancun, Mexico on November 1st, Ethereum is set to put itself to the test at its annual developer conference, Devcon3.

At one point, Ethereum was the most active and flourishing cryptocurrency market, in the last few months the excitement for this project has calmed down a bit. Despite its brief and sudden growth of the protocol rising to $29 billion in value, ethereum could possibly be underperforming opposite its own high expectations. Surprising as well considering the hundred of ICO projects that have or are planning on launching using the ethereum technology.

Launched back 2014, ethereum supporters had been bound for becoming the first coin to pass bitcoin in its market value. There was big run in June but this passing of top currency never occurred

Source Image: coinmarketcap

Yet, the indications of the protocol struggling are seen only surface level, as described by those that are involved.

Investor, William Mougayar said in an interview with CoinDesk, “I think they are hitting on all cylinders, it’s a real platform with several pieces on top.”

Ahead of Devcon3, its attendees are anticipating a strong showing of technical based talks showing the project’s progress.

There are some who are hoping to get answers on the pace of development. In particular Andrew Keys, ConsenSys’s head of global business development.

Keys told CoinDesk:

“I think it’s time to put up or shut up. We’ve had enough proof-of-concepts. [It’s] time to get things into production.”

With all that said, others had an idea of what they hope the conference won’t be. A developer employed by the Ethereum Foundation, states the event is planned not to be centralized around “ICOs” which has been experienced a backlash as more projects seek to fund their ethereum projects.

Instead, Jameson expects the event to serve as a conversational forum for technical discussions, wth the majority of the time focused on efforts to make ethereum more scalable and private.

Conflict

Although some see Devcon3 as an illustration as to where ethereum is headed, others believe it will be a showcase of its limitations.

There have been several ethereum test-runs as of late but few are actually using the blockchain outside of the testing grounds, as it is currently a work in progress. The most noted testing the blockchain is the United Nations in its global humanitarians efforts.

Ethereum’s controversial upgrade, Byzantium, was one of the largest upgrades to the platform. It brought enhancement to the blockchain but it still lacked a lot that developers were hoping for.

Things that need to be implemented are the long-promised upgrades such as the top-level applications that would make the system easier to use and a more eco-friendly and egalitarian mining protocol.

Loi Luu, Kyber Network’s co-founder disputed that the hard-fork, while successful, didn’t meet many people’s expectations.

“I think many people were not happy with the recent hard fork since it wasn’t significant enough,” he said.

Further, it took longer than anticipated as it was divided into two upgrades to make it easier for its developers and then the fork was delayed to technical issues. There were others that were happy to focus on its positives, more specifically that it finally happened. It lays the groundwork for the bigger projects goals.

Still lots of questions

Ethereum’s current deficiencies will be Devcon3’s main focus. Scalability is one of its biggest hurdles, if all goes according to plan, it would like to take the place of centralized applications such as Twitter.

Luu emphasized the requirement for more examination in this area, expressing anticipation that Devcon3 will focus on this goal.

“Ethereum is getting more mainstream now, people are expecting some scalability solution to be deployed real soon,” he said.

Another noted pressure in the talks of the conference is the need for developers to move fast paced and in line with the expectations of the market.

Featured Image: twitter

Hydra: Incentivizing Against Ethereum Blockchain Hacks

Ethereum blockchain

Is an appropriate amount of incentives enough to push developers into better ethereum blockchain bug reporting?

Announced at Devcon3 Thursday, Hydra looks to do this very thing. This project is being funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and designed by a group of researchers from top academic schools such as Stanford and Cornell.

Hydra stands out in that its contracts are targeted to instantly and programmatically offer those that report the bugs a higher reward than they would get if they were to place the bugs themselves. If a user’s smart contract hack would have rewarded them 120 tokens, they would receive 1,200 tokens instead for reporting the hack.

Currently, there is a problem they are trying to solve with the current smart contract hack incentives that make the hacking far more lucrative than the incentive.

They’ve decided to tweak the incentive based on concepts of crypto-economics, thinking people would be more encouraged to report the bugs if given more of an amount.

A researcher on the project, Phil Daian, states they want to focus on the solution rather than condemning those that commit the hacks.

He said, “Let’s see this as a game. What would a rational attacker do with these systems? Say an attacker finds a bug: would they attack or would they claim the bounty?”

There are many at the conference that are excited and who want to start playing around with the new system. While it was released in its first phase today, Daian stresses it’s still a brand new product and might not be safe yet to store funds. He said, “The code is here for you to play with. But trusting funds with this baby Hydra we’ve spun up – not a good idea.”

Featured Image: twitter