KYIV, March 16 – A Ukrainian politician’s article on Bitcoin has turned into an internet sensation by trending for 24 hours among the best-read stories on one of the world’s most popular financial websites.
In the article published by Seeking Alpha, Serhiy Verlanov, a former head of the State Tax Service, delved into the crypto space by analyzing Ukraine’s plans to deploy nuclear power for Bitcoin mining.
The article rose to the seventh most popular story on the website after it was published on March 10, and stayed in the top section through most of March 11, sparking heated debates in the comments section.
“It's extremely rare for a new author to attract that many page views,” Richard Lalich, Senior Editor, Opinion & Analysis, at Seeking Alpha, said. “I think the combination of a popular topic, a new approach to it, and [Verlanov’s] expertise resonated with our audience.”
Seeking Alpha provides daily news and analyses for investors trading on U.S. financial markets. It had a total of 36.8 million website visits in February, according to SimilarWeb, a New York-based web analytics company. SimilarWeb ranks Seeking Alpha as the world’s No. 5 most popular website in the Finance category.
For comparison, The Wall Street Journal had 70.1 million visitors in February, the Financial Times - 29.9 million and The Economist - 12 million, SimilarWeb’s data show.
Bitcoin’s price hit all-time high of $58,354 per Bitcoin on February 21. Bitcoin’s strength is fueled by growing evidence it is gaining acceptance among major investors and companies, such as Tesla, Square, Mastercard and America’s oldest bank BNY Mellon.
As Bitcoin price rises, more players join the cryptocurrency mining ecosystem to meet growing demand. Bitcoin mining currently uses 15.45 GW of power capacity globally, up from an estimated 7.5 GW a year ago, according to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, a project run by the University of Cambridge.
Ukraine’s Energoatom, one of the world’s largest producers of nuclear power, in January has taken the first step to start building major cryptocurrency and data center facilities.
Energoatom has power capacity of 13.8 GW and could potentially use 2 GW for cryptocurrency mining and data centers, which would make Ukraine the world’s second largest miner of Bitcoin after China.
But these plans appeared to be in shambles in February when Ukraine, due to the government’s controversial policy shifts and mismanagement, had experienced acute energy shortages and was forced to start importing power directly from Russia, it’s main foe.
Russia suspended natural gas supplies to Ukraine at least three times since 2005, used its military force to invade and annex Crimea in 2014 and subsequently occupied large parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
“Instead of taking pro-active measures and restarting reforms, the government has opened door for power imports from Russia,” Verlanov said in the article. “This now poses a national security threat.” (sa/ez)