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It’s now possible to buy real gold with digital gold, should customers desire, according to an announcement from APMEX.

According to the post, the company has integrated with BitPay merchant services and is now able to receive digital currencies, with buyers receiving the 4% discount usually reserved only for cash payments. The post continues by explaining why Bitcoin is a good integration for the company, saying:
"Buyers can make purchases with Bitcoin at any time, from nearly anywhere, just as with most credit cards. International orders become significantly easier as cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is accepted worldwide without conversion. Also, many customers prefer Bitcoin payment because of the anonymity offered by a Blockchain purchase.”
Gold or digital gold
While the site offers crypto holders the chance to diversify into precious metals, many in the crypto world have already seen the price of Bitcoin investments explode over the past weeks. With the price now firmly stabilizing over $15,000, many investors expect still further growth, which may keep them from making the trade.


Ameer Rosic is a serial entrepreneur, Blockchain evangelist and the founder of BlockGeeks, an online education platform. He also is a YouTube personality, crypto-expert and jawline enthusiast.

Ameer Rosic sat down with Stephen Chase, Cointelegraph's VP for Strategic Partnerships, after moderating this year’s BlockShow Asia to talk about his journey from getting kicked out of high school to becoming one of the most comprehensible voices in the world of cryptocurrency, the trials and tribulations of creating an education platform and the undeniable reality of Bitcoin.

CT: How did you manage to find yourself here talking with us about such a new industry?
AR: I stumbled upon this industry about three years ago. I had an underwear company in Hong Kong and I sold my shares for that. Then, my journey started off with the exact same questions like, where can I learn more about this stuff? I understand technology. I am not a developer, but I do understand technology and the most common answer I got was 'go to Reddit' and I forking hate forums, I'm not going to Reddit, I am not spending hours. I wanted someone to just tell me, right? Time is the most important thing to me. I want to conserve my time. So I realized, nothing exists and I've got to create my own and that is where BlockGeeks came from. And then, I love video; I love YouTubing. I've been doing that for about four-five years and I just do it for fun. People think that it's a professional thing, but it is far from it. I do it for fun. There is no business behind it. Whatever I think about, I do it.
Education Platforms With Dmitry Buterin: A Love Story

CT: Not monetarily, but deep in your heart what is the best thing that has happened to you personally since you started this series?
AR: This dates before I started doing Blockchain. For me, I'm a big proponent of education. I never went to high school, I got kicked out. I started doing business when I was fifteen years old. I'm 32 right now, so I've had many.
I love the fact that no matter where you are in the world, with Internet connection and a hand-held device you can get an education for free. For me, my biggest love and what illuminates my heart is the fact that people, out of their own volition, without any authority, without anybody telling them to learn, they willfully learn by themselves.

CT: Have you and Vitalik thought about building a school or educational platform for cryptocurrency?
AR: That's what BlockGeeks is about. I live in Toronto and we have a really robust Blockchain community in Toronto. We have a huge Bitcoin crew over here, we have hyper ledger, and I am lucky enough to know Vitalik (Buterin)'s father Dmitry who is my business partner at BlockGeeks. We are the world's largest online community for training developers. We have 3.5 mln visitors a month and 6,000 students right now. On BlockGeeks we have three full-time Blockchain engineers who are creating curriculum and we're just moving forward.

The Blockchain Educators: Challenging the Future
CT: What is the biggest challenge you've come across with the online training?
AR: I'll tell you exactly what that is. Number one, finding teachers that can teach. And number two, finding teachers that actually know about this space. That was mission impossible. We didn't find anybody. So, what we found was very-very smart engineers that have a love of teaching and we trained them in Blockchain. It's all video based, so we have videographers and they spend every single day making very high-quality courses; study at your own pace, bit by bit.

CT: Have you thought about incorporating a coin or a token of sorts into this educational platform?
AR: Not in BlockGeeks. We are launching a Bounty soon to incentivize students to put their knowledge to good use, but we don't plan to tokenize. For me, I see no need to tokenize BlockGeeks, I see no need to Blockchain it. It actually takes away from the benefit of my students. The reality of Blockchain is that it's slow, it's clunky. I need hundreds of transactions per second and if you're an ERC20 token, you can only do about 70 transactions per second. That's not to say that other platforms can't come around, but the reality is that the technology is not capable, yet. We have a couple of years for this reality to actually catch up with us.

CT: Who would you ideally like to work with on your platform to better serve your consumer?
AR: On our platform, ideally we're doing something right now like that. We're doing scholarships, so we are trying to work with the biggest companies in the Blockchain space like L4V or Venture Fund. We are launching a huge scholarship for people who can't afford to it. Even though we are trying to make it as affordable as possible--it's only fifty dollars a month for all access to our courses, full Q&A, support from our teachers. We try to make it as affordable as possible, so you tell us why you can't afford it and tell us what you want to learn and you're in.

Expanding the Bitcoin Family: Take the Red Pill
CT: What do you want the world to know about how they should look at cryptocurrency and how they should look at Blockchain?
AR: My advice for people is that no matter who you are whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're working nine to five, whether you're a mother, whether you're a father, whether you are somebody in the bureaucratic government. Take your time to just understand one aspect that you care about. Most people try to understand everything, they try to become an expert. I tell people 'try to understand one thing; understand that Bitcoin--if you could even just understand--that Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and a cryptocurrency has these features,' that is a huge step forward. Then with that knowledge, you can go down the rabbit hole.

The biggest problem in the tech world: show me the code!
CT: How can we create a social cause pool, almost off of your scholarship idea, with all of these companies that are involved with Blockchain technology?
AR: Funny you should say that what I want to do and I have to figure out the reputation system and we're working on this, we want to build our own LMS. At the end of the day, I'm a fintech company and I know many companies. Regardless of the Blockchain space; the biggest problem in the tech space is a lack of really good developers. A certification doesn't mean you're a good dev, nothing--I mean, congratulations you have a forking PDF. I want to see your GitHub portfolio, I want to see how many questions you answer on stack exchange. I actually want to see the work that you've put in. Just show me, show me you're a developer, show me the code.

I was thinking of this a while ago. Companies need really good developers. Imagine we need to go to Africa, I am a firm believer that I don't need to be there. I shouldn't be there. I should just give you, who is there, the opportunity to do your best, that's it. You don't have the same opportunity as I do and I get that, but I should not forking be there. I don't want to be in your way, there is no reason for me to be in Africa. I just need to give you the opportunity. So, imagine we have a system where, let's say I'm in Kenya and I really want to do coding and I have very basic skills of coding. I can go to somewhere maybe like BlockGeeks where I put my portfolio, my profile saying 'listen, I want to learn about this, I don't have the financial means, and I'm willing to go through a process to get hired ‘cause that's what I want.'


Bitcoin has sustained its phenomenal rise and already surpassed the $18,000 per token level as of Dec. 7, 2017.

Because of this, the leading virtual currency’s market capitalization (cap) has also swelled to a new record high of $305 bln, surpassing that of payments technology firm Visa, whose market cap is currently pegged at $254.74 bln.

In his tweet, Pension Partners Director of Research Charlie Bilello said that Bitcoin’s cap has already surpassed that of Visa’s. Visa is currently the biggest electronic payment processor in the world with a revenue of $8.9 tln and 141 bln transactions annually.

 Charlie Bilello @charliebilello
Bitcoin's market cap just passed Visa's.

Yes, that Visa:
Largest electronic payment processor in the world
$8.9 trillion in 141 billion transactions per year
Across 160 currencies and over 200 countries$BTC.X $V
    Bitcoin’s continuous growth and adoption
    With its continuous phenomenal rise in the past few days, a growing number of people are paying increased attention to Bitcoin. Due to its constantly changing price increases, it has already become hard to keep monitoring the price of the cryptocurrency. It seems that in just a split second, the price crashes through another milestone to post yet another record high.

    Majority of the players in the industry also agree that the upward trajectory of Bitcoin’s price will continue in the near future.

    Because of Bitcoin’s phenomenal growth, major players in the financial industry are slowly turning to the virtual currency to benefit from its popularity. Among the players are the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the CME Group, which already announced that they will be separately launching Bitcoin futures products within the next few weeks. These moves are expected to further propel Bitcoin’s price to new record highs.


    AngelList Co-founder Naval Ravikant has claimed that Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies have what it takes to solve the money problems of different kinds of people around the world. He added that the general public is looking for potential alternative places to store their money and watch it grow.

    In his presentation at the Token Summit II that was held in San Francisco, California on Dec. 5, 2017, he talked about the phenomenal trading performance of the leading digital currency Bitcoin and the other virtual currencies and the reason behind it. He claimed that Bitcoin’s staggering upward movements are driven by the people’s hunger for an alternative investment that meets their needs.

    He claimed that the fear by some market observers that Bitcoin is nearing ‘bubble’ territory is unfounded. However, he has not ruled it out entirely, but he claimed that the fiat currencies are also a bubble that never pops.
    "Money is a bubble that never pops. It's a consensus hallucination."
    Other highlights of Ravikant’s speech
    Ravikant also told attendees at the event that some of the things in the digital currency industry have been overhyped. He cited as an example the very high regard shown by industry players in the concept of decentralization. He also claimed that there are lots of virtual tokens that are being traded at very high values but don’t deserve it. He, however, did not name any tokens.
    "One indicator we are in a very frothy environment is we have a lot of tokens trading at very high values that are junk. Right now, I think the market isn't distinguishing quality."
    In his presentation, the AngelList co-founder also cited some virtual currencies that he is interested in and the reasons why he likes them. Among them are Bitcoin, for storing value, Zcash, for an easy transaction, Basecoin, for a stable unit of account, and Tezzies, for access to the Tezos smart contract platform.


    Bulgarians have lost all of their bitcoin exchanges overnight thanks to a sudden banking crackdown. In a well-orchestrated operation, Bulgaria’s major banks swung into action and blocked the accounts of multiple cryptocurrency exchanges.

    Bulgarian Bankers Battle with Bitcoin
    Cryptocurrency exchanges, like their crypto-loving customers, have an achilles heel: a reliance on legacy banking. Moving bitcoin around is easy. Moving fiat currency in and out of an exchange is often much harder – especially when you’ve just had your banking facilities withdrawn. On December 7, the blanket ban was reported on a Bulgarian bitcoin forum, whose moderator wrote:
    We expected this to happen, but not so fast. It seems that the panic of the financial system is quite large.
    Bulgaria, like its neighboring Balkan states, is a tech-savvy country that has embraced bitcoin and the financial freedom it brings. Its legacy banking system seems to have acted against the exchanges out of resentment and self-interest rather than due to orders issued at state level. In the same forum thread, the CEO of one of the affected changes replied:
    UBB [bank] informed us a few days ago that they were closing down our accounts for trading in cryptocurrencies. After a conversation with one of the bank’s bosses, I realized it was the decision of the bank’s owner, it was not for regulation.
    As it stands, all of the country’s exchanges are either offline or severely restricted in terms of the service they can offer, with many displaying notices explaining the situation they find themselves in. Affected exchanges include Cix.bg, Crypto.bg, and Cryptobank.bg. The latter is still trading, but can only accept funds via ewallet.
    Bankers Have Shut Down All of Bulgaria’s Bitcoin Exchanges
    It Never Rains, It Pours
    Cryptobank’s shutdown is a double blow for customers of the exchange, coming in the same week that Cryptobank.bg suspended ethereum trading due to “the Cryptokitties game that blocks transactions and passes quickly to send four times as much gas”. For Bulgarians seeking to stock up on cryptocurrency,Localbitcoins.com displays a limited number of sellers based in Sofia and Plovdiv, and there is still access to exchanges in neighboring countries via sites such as Bitcoin.de.

    Bankers Have Shut Down All of Bulgaria’s Bitcoin Exchanges  

    Bulgaria is by no means the only country to be affected by banking clampdowns on bitcoin. The stench of fear from the financial world’s old guard is almost palpable, as bitcoin’s inexorable rise heralds the shape of money to come.

    The Eastern European country’s banks have given cryptocurrency exchanges short shrift, but it’s likely they’ll be more accommodating when their government come to cash out its bitcoin gains. In May, a series of raids by Bulgarian law enforcement resulted in the seizure of over 213,000 BTC. Today, that haul has swollen to be worth $3.5 billion – or 6% of Bulgaria’s GDP.

    Do you think banks should have the right to cut off bitcoin exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


    It seems almost too much to imagine, but the market cap for Bitcoin alone has now reached over $300 bln. The combined market cap for all cryptocurrencies is quickly closing in on $450 bln.

    Just two weeks ago the market cap for all cryptocurrencies crossed the $300 bln mark, with Bitcoin holding strong dominance of that market. However, since that time, Bitcoin’s meteoric rise has left the rest of the market in the dust, with its own market cap nearly doubling in the past two weeks.

    Bitcoin Price

    The price rise to over $17,000 has been the cause of the market cap growth, as substantial amounts of money have entered the marketplace. The prospect of Bitcoin entering futures markets both in the US and abroad has provided a reason for institutional investors to participate in a significant way.

    While cries of a bubble continue to be made public, others such as investor Mark Yusko suggest that the price has only just begun to rise. Bitcoin’s continuous front-page coverage in mainstream media only helps. Even if the coverage is negative, it gets people thinking about the currency.

    At press time, Bitcoin was trading on GDAX at $17,340.


    Keith Ellison’s first hint that bitcoin was poised for a breakthrough was over the summer when a friend planning her nuptials sent an unusual text.

    “She wanted to know whether to accept the wedding band’s offer of a discount in exchange for bitcoin,” said Ellison, a Manhattan Beach investment analyst, who advised the friend to decline.

    Given the way bitcoin’s value was rising, there was no guarantee the friend would be able to afford the band when the bill eventually arrived.

    “A lot of people are getting caught up in the mania,” said Ellison, who bought one-third of a bitcoin in July for about $1,000 and has seen it appreciate more than five-fold. “Even random wedding bands are encouraging people that likely know nothing about bitcoin to pay in bitcoin.”

    Once the domain of technologists, libertarians and criminals, bitcoin has crossed into the mainstream, attracting interest from all walks of life with its soaring returns — while reviving memories of the dot-com bubble of the turn of the last century.

    Bitcoin, a form of digital money unadministered by a central authority, shot past $16,000 apiece Thursday, up from about $1,000 at the start of the year. It was going for about $220 in early 2015 — meaning anyone who invested a mere $13,000 in bitcoin back then would now own $1 million in the emerging currency.

    Returns like that are why investors are flocking to bitcoin to hold like stores of gold rather than use for frequent payments.

    Others are getting into the business of mining bitcoin, the digital equivalent of printing cash in which a group of computers solves encrypted math problems to verify bitcoin transactions. The energy-intensive process poses a problem for bitcoin’s ability to scale up and handle massive numbers of transactions, but not serious enough to discourage the cryptocurrency’s supporters.

    “There’s a lot of excitement that this thing we all believed in and thought could be a game changer is now entering the mainstream,” said Brian Klein, a partner at the Century City law firm Baker Marquart, who started evangelizing the potential of cryptocurrencies as early as 2013. “If it really succeeds, there’s no reason to think the price couldn’t rise to $1 million in 10 years. It got to $15,000 much quicker than anyone anticipated.”

    Klein admits there’s also a chance bitcoin could nosedive — it’s been prone to wild swings, including on Thursday. But as an attorney who represents many early adopters of the cryptocurrency, he expects bitcoin to stabilize after some growing pains.

    Klein’s expertise has made him a favorite among friends and acquaintances looking to pick his brain about bitcoin. Some previously skeptical friends have told him they regret not investing in bitcoin earlier. One colleague even reported that his house cleaner had inquired about buying bitcoin.

    The frenzy has tested bitcoin exchanges struggling to keep pace with demand and prices. Coinbase, the world’s biggest exchange, said Thursday users were struggling to log in and that the platform was running slow due to record traffic.

    Interest is expected to grow even more after bitcoin futures contracts will become available for trading later this month. That’s been met with some criticism by brokerages who say regulators haven’t fully assessed the risks of the new products.

    “This is irrational exuberance,” Royal Bank of Scotland Chairman Howard John Davies told Bloomberg Thursday. “This is a very, very unusual market that shows we’re not in a normal two-way trading market.”

    The burgeoning cryptocurrency industry is starting to draw scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. On Monday, the agency’s new cyber unit froze the assets of Canadian cryptocurrency firm PlexCorps during its initial coin offering — a sort of IPO for cryptocurrencies. The SEC’s complaint alleges PlexCorps falsely promised a 13-fold profit for investors in less than a month.

    In November, the SEC warned celebrities not to promote initial coin offerings on social media. Stars such as DJ Khaled and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. have taken to social networks to boost some cryptocurrencies.
    The novelty of bitcoin — and the unseen legal consequences — hasn’t spooked major companies from accepting the tender.

    Last month, accounting firm PwC said it had started accepting bitcoin as payment for services. That follows a slew of other companies that had embraced the currency earlier.

    E-commerce firm Overstock.com Inc. began accepting bitcoin as a form of payment in January 2014. The Salt Lake City company’s chief executive, Patrick Byrne, said at the time that the cryptocurrency appealed to him because it was free of government meddling. The company has since begun accepting other cryptocurrencies such as ethereum.

    Expedia.com accepts bitcoin for hotel bookings, and technology giant Microsoft allows customers to trade in bitcoin at current market value and add it to their Microsoft account to be used to buy things in the Windows Store or stores that have Xbox games, Xbox music or Xbox video. Even the Sacramento Kings accept bitcoin to pay for team merchandise and tickets.

    The clamor and skyrocketing values for bitcoin have naturally sparked fears of a bubble akin to the one marred by pseudo-internet companies nearly two decades ago.

    Bitcoin advocates argue that crash was short-lived and that the internet remains indispensable — along with companies such as Amazon that survived the crash to become one of the biggest companies in the world.
    For some new adherents, the lure of potential fortune far outweighs the risks.

    Jeanne Macbeth, an Uber driver and production manager at a Christian missionary magazine, said she would soon leave Southern California for Washington state to go to school. She’s hoping to work with a former Tesla employee who quit the electric car company to mine cryptocurrencies full-time.

    She noted that electricity prices were lower in Washington, making it far cheaper to mine bitcoin.
    “It does seem to be a moment to get in on the ground floor,” said Macbeth, 32. “It’s kind of like investing in Amazon in 1999.”
    The language of digital money
    Cryptocurrency: Any digital money that is created, controlled and transferred using computer encryption. Most popular cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum, are not issued or backed by a central government, though some governments have tinkered with creating digital currencies of their own.

    Bitcoin: The original cryptocurrency, created in 2009. The currency traded for a few hundred dollars per coin for most of the past few years but has seen its price skyrocket this year, climbing from about $1,000 to upwards of $15,000 — with a few deep plummets along the way.

    Blockchain: An accounting tool that underpins bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and that is thought to have numerous applications outside of cryptocurrency, such as logging stock and real estate transactions. The blockchain is a "distributed ledger" — that is, a transaction record that is not managed by a central government or bank but run publicly online.

    ICO: An initial coin offering, or the sale of a new cryptocurrency to investors. Sometimes these offerings are structured as sales of coins that can later be used to purchase goods or services from the company issuing the coins. But ICOs to this point have been largely unregulated and investors may find the "coins" they purchase are worthless.


    Bitcoin has breached the $US 16,000 mark, extending the digital currency's record-breaking surge.

    According to Coindesk.com, Bitcoin reached $US16,050.83, having soared over 50 percent in a week.

    The new high comes days before the launch of Bitcoin futures on two exchanges, including the world's largest futures exchange, CME.

    Spread betting firm CMC Markets said the rise had all the symptoms of a bubble market, warning "there is no way to know when the bubble will burst".

    Critics have said Bitcoin is going through a bubble similar to the dotcom boom, whereas others say it is rising in price because it is crossing into the financial mainstream.

    Financial regulators have taken a range of views on the status of digital currencies and their risks.
    The UK's Financial Conduct Authority warned investors in September they could lose all their money if they buy digital currencies issued by firms, known as "initial coin offerings".

    But last week a US regulator agreed to let two traditional exchanges, CME Group and CBOE Global Markets, begin trading in Bitcoin-related financial contracts.

    The announcement from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that it will allow investors to buy and sell "future" contracts in bitcoins - an agreement to buy the crypto-currency, for example, in three months time at a certain price - was seen as a watershed moment for Bitcoin.

    Cambridge Global Payments director of global product and market strategy Karl Schamotta said that move was behind the latest rally: "The perception in households around the world that the CME and the CBOE are providing legitimacy to Bitcoin is really what is driving the massive rally here."

    But Leonhard Weese, president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, said the rise in Bitcoin's value was "mostly motivated by fear of missing out and greed".

    Bitcoins are created through a complex computer process known as mining, and then monitored by a network of computers across the world.

    A steady stream of about 3600 new bitcoins are created a day - with about 16.5 million now in circulation from a maximum limit of 21 million.

    What is Bitcoin?
    There are two key traits of Bitcoin: it is digital and it is seen as an alternative currency.
    Unlike the notes or coins in your pocket, it largely exists online.

    Secondly, Bitcoin is not printed by governments or traditional banks.
    A small but growing number of businesses, including Expedia and Microsoft, accept bitcoins - which work like virtual tokens.

    However, the vast majority of users now buy and sell them as a financial investment.


    A crackdown on organized crime by Bulgarian law enforcement in May resulted in the seizure of more than 200,000 bitcoins – an amount worth more than $3 billion at today's prices.

    According to a press release dated May 19 from the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC), a regional organization comprised of 12 member states including Bulgaria, a total of 213,519 bitcoins were seized that month. Twenty-three Bulgarian nationals were arrested during the operation, and officials said at the time that the arrests and subsequent asset seizures followed an investigation into an alleged customs fraud scam.

    As of press time, the amount seized is worth approximately $3.3 billion, at a price of roughly $15,600, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

    Authorities commented at the time:
    "The offenders choose the bitcoin way of investing/saving the money, because it is rather difficult to be tracked and followed."
    They further alleged that those involved developed a virus which was used to hack into Bulgarian Customs computers, allowing the perpetrators to skip paying fees when transporting goods into the country. The virus was uploaded to government machines by bribed agents, according to the release. operation.

    In all, the alleged perpetrators avoided paying some 10 million leva (Bulgaria's national currency), worth roughly $6 million.

    What remains unclear at this time is what the Bulgarian government is doing with the seized bitcoins.
    According to a report from Bivol.bg, the Bulgarian government declined to release further details, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.

    Notable in the release is a notation that, at the time it was published, a single bitcoin was worth $2,354. The release stated that the total seized value was $500 million – less than one-sixth of its current value today.


    RUSSIA’S recession had taken its toll on Yuri Dromashko, an entrepreneur from the Siberian city of Irkutsk. His property investments had floundered. A karaoke bar was flailing. A venture to make machines that print magnets from Instagram photos failed miserably. “We were all crying,” he recalls. Then in 2016 his brother proposed bitcoin mining. Mr Dromashko acquired servers from China and watched the cash roll in. “It’s almost like you print money out of nowhere,” he says. “It’s the childhood dream.”

    Irkutsk has embraced the digital gold rush. Awash in electricity from hydroelectric plants, the region charges 2.1 roubles ($0.04) per kilowatt-hour, compared with 5.3 roubles in Moscow. That makes “mining”, in which computers solve cryptographic challenges to generate currency, especially profitable. Seminars have proliferated. “Cybercurrency fever has swept Irkutsk,” declared a local television station this month. 

    This week the price of one bitcoin hit $12,000, up 1,485% on the year. Mr Dromashko says he spends about 4m roubles per month on electricity, but easily recoups that. “Selling drugs and guns wouldn’t generate such profits,” he says. (“Though I haven’t tried,” he clarifies.)

    Some see cybercurrency as a path to self-sufficiency. Dmitry Tolmachev, an Irkutsk furniture magnate, developed a prototype modular home warmed by the servers’ excess heat. The homes cost $8,500 and up, and generate about $850 per month in mining profit. Mr Tolmachev sports a black beret, goes by “Che”, and recently did jail time for hosting a rally by the opposition leader Alexei Navalny. “The Russian man doesn’t love to work, he needs free money,” he says, invoking “Wish Upon a Pike”, a classic Russian fairy tale about a lazy villager who catches a magic fish that grants his wishes. “This is a kind of pike that does everything for you: it produces money, and heats your home too.” 

    At present the miners exist in a legal vacuum. In October, President Vladimir Putin ordered his officials to draw up a regulatory framework. Some in the Russian government see cryptocurrencies as a way around Western sanctions; the president’s internet ombudsman has his own mining farm, and one Duma deputy even proposed building a mining city in Siberia. But the central bank is sceptical, with one senior official calling cryptocurrency “a sort of financial pyramid that may collapse at any moment”. Siberia’s digital pioneers are undaunted. “Sure it’s a bubble,” Mr Dromashko acknowledges. “But all money is a bubble.” 

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