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Top Headlines for 1 March, 2022

Binance Freezes Accounts of Sanctioned Russian Users

The world’s biggest crypto exchange, Binance, has reportedly frozen accounts of Russian users that are on the sanctions lists as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The move came after Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov asked global crypto exchanges to restrict service to all Russian users. Fedorov, who also serves as Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, has offered a significant bounty for the crypto wallet addresses of senior Russian and Belarusian officials.

A Binance spokesperson made clear that the exchange will only stop serving Russian users who have been specifically sanctioned. “We’re not going to freeze millions of innocent user accounts unilaterally,” he said. “Crypto was meant to provide greater financial freedom for people across the globe”. The crypto exchange’s Russian language Telegram Group has over 113000 members.

Hack VC Announces $200M Crypto Fund

Hack VC, a venture capital firm, is making a foray into the crypto sector. The firm recently announced a $200 million fund titled “Crypto Seed Fund” to make initial investments in emerging crypto projects.

Hack VC’s “Crypto Seed Fund” will reportedly be led by its managing partners Ed Roman and Alex Pack. The initiative will receive backing from some of the most prominent investors in the sector, including Sequoia Capital, Fidelity, Accolade Partners, Digital Currency Group, Marc Andressen, and Chris Dixon. The VC firm will provide seed capital to a spectrum of blockchain and crypto projects ranging from DeFi protocols and non-fungible token (NFT) tooling to Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs).

Hack VC has already made initial investments in several cryptocurrency-related projects, including NFT-centric identity startup YAT, a play-to-earn game called the Syn City, and a decentralized finance protocol called the GoldFinch Finance. Alex Pack, a managing partner at the firm, explained how the fund has invested tens of millions of dollars into at least 15 crypto startups. In addition to investing in Hack VC’s new initiative, Sequoia Capital also has its own crypto fund offering $600 million to entrepreneurs.

Intel's New Mining Hardware 15% More Efficient, Costs Half

Tom’s Hardware has reported that Intel’s ASIC Bitcoin mining hardware is far more efficient than existing chips.

According to Tom’s analysis, as of 1 March 2022, Intel’s new mining equipment will provide the best price to performance ratio available. The equipment costs roughly half of the industry-leading Bitmain S19 Pro while being 15% more efficient. These metrics, if correct, would place Intel’s latest equipment at the top of the Bitcoin mining hardware food chain, second only to Bitmain’s S19j XP by a small margin.

Intel’s new hardware will be manufactured in the United States and will therefore not be subject to the roughly 25% in tariffs that similar Chinese products must carry. This strategic advantage could make the equipment a preferred option for western miners after its release. Intel’s new hardware would be priced at around $5,625, while the Bitmain S19j Pro costs about $10,000.

Intel senior Vice-President Raja Koduri said, “Our blockchain accelerator will ship later in 2022. We are directly engaged with clients that share our sustainability goals. BLOCK (previously known as Square), Argo Blockchain, and GRIID are some of our first customers for this upcoming product.”