Tether Holdings Inc., the company behind the leading stablecoin USDT, announced on March 30 their new enterprise with sustainable Bitcoin mining in Uruguay. Five months later, there was a new update on August 24 on what could be one of these new Bitcoin (BTC) mining sites, but one thing stood out above what should have been some good news.
Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and Bitfinex, shared a picture on X (formerly Twitter) of what he called “one of Tether energy production and Bitcoin mining sites”, adding that it was “coming along well.”
However, multiple accounts replied that the Tether logo looked digitally altered (commonly called “photoshopped”), pointing to imperfections in the work’s result. Paolo Ardoino did not respond to any of these claims by press time.
FotoForensics at Tether’s logo on Bitcoin mining sites
Finbold ran an Error Level Analysis (ELA) on FotoForensics.com, notably identifying signs of what could be a digitally altered photo at both two Tether’s logos, positioned on what should be two Bitcoin mining containers, in the supposed mining site.
According to the website’s description of this type of analysis:
“Error Level Analysis (ELA) permits identifying areas within an image that are at different compression levels. With JPEG images, the entire picture should be at roughly the same level. If a section of the image is at a significantly different error level, then it likely indicates a digital modification.”
— FotoForensics Tutorial
All things considered, the rest of the image did not present any meaningful results that could indicate digital alteration, which suggests that the containers in the alleged mining site are real.
The state of Bitcoin mining
The Bitcoin mining difficulty increased by 6.17% on August 22, reaching an all-time high of 55.62 trillion hashes, as the Bitcoin Network hashrate continues to rise despite past increases in the difficulty adjustment.
With a sustained increase in mining difficulty over time, Bitcoin miners are working ‘underwater’, as the average cost to mine one single BTC has been superior to the average price of 1 BTC in the spot market year-over-year since August 2022.
Interestingly, Tether is joining the Bitcoin mining businesses in a moment of high risk, but also high opportunities for healthy players who can manage lower activity costs — like using renewable energy in emerging countries — and easier access to private funding.
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