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FPGAs for Everyone : Program Amazon EC2 F1 Instances using Vitis Unified Software Platform




Need an adaptable computing infrastructure for your data center workloads? One that can be customized to keep-up with rapidly evolving breakthroughs in algorithms, scale up to process exponentially increasing barrage of data, achieve significant performance increase while keeping the power consumption low and thereby reduce the bottom line costs of hosting your products and services in the cloud?

Xilinx FPGAs are designed to meet the constantly changing needs of modern data center workloads like Deep Learning, Video Transcoding, Big Data Analytics, Genomics, Compression, Network Security & Search that require high bandwidth, enhanced networking, and very high compute capabilities over CPU and GPU alternatives, while lowering the total cost of ownership.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) F1 instances make the power of Xilinx adaptable computing accessible to all developers – You only pay-as-you-go for the computing power you use – no upfront hardware purchases!

Amazon EC2 F1 instances are available today in two different sizes that include up to eight Virtex® UltraScale+ VU9P FPGAs with a combined peak compute capability over 170 TOP/sec (INT8). 

But wait… How do I program the AWS EC2 F1 instances? Aren’t FPGAs hard to program?

Do you have a desktop or laptop with an internet connection? Are you familiar with C/C++? – Yes? That’s all you need to get started with Xilinx FPGAs on AWS Cloud.

The FPGA Developer AMI, offered on the Amazon Marketplace, now includes the Vitis Unified Software Platform 2019.2. This AMI (Amazon Machine Instance) includes everything you need to develop, simulate, debug, and compile your accelerated algorithms on F1 – no local software setups required.

Vitis Unified Software Platform is a comprehensive development platform that enables all developers, including software and algorithm engineers with no FPGA design expertise to design and deploy on Xilinx FPGAs in the AWS cloud. Developers can leverage the power of F1 instances in the AWS cloud, while continuing to work at an application level and develop in familiar programming languages like C and C++

Vitis includes a rich set of open-source performance-optimized libraries that can be used as-is for out-of-the-box acceleration, used as algorithmic building blocks or customized to suit specific application needs. Vitis tools offer a design methodology that is familiar to the software developer community, without the need to learn low-level hardware implementation specifics for deployment on Xilinx platforms

There are no usage costs associated with using Vitis for development, you only pay-as-you-go for the computing infrastructure

Ready to try it out for yourself? Let’s make this more exciting…

Up to $10,000 in Free AWS Service Credit Available for F1 instances – Apply Now

Amazon is now offering up to $10,000 in free AWS credits, making it easier than ever before to leverage FPGA acceleration in the AWS Cloud and evaluate the benefits it can bring to your applications.

Apply here today and make the most of this opportunity – Everyone likes a try-before-you-buy option !

Monetize your FPGA-accelerated Applications on AWS Marketplace

Once your FPGA-accelerated application is ready, you can register it as an Amazon FPGA Image (AFI) and deploy it to F1 instances in just a few clicks. You can reuse your AFIs as many times as you like, and across as many F1 instances as you like.

Vitis AWS F1.jpg

You can publish F1-accelerated Apps to the AWS Marketplace, packaged as AMIs or API/SaaS – This is a great opportunity to make your differentiated FPGA-accelerated solutions more broadly accessible to your customers. Users can discover, buy, and launch those accelerators on AWS Marketplace and go straight to production.

Want to see examples of FPGA-accelerated applications deployed on AWS Marketplace?

Xilinx Ecosystem partner Mipsology offers Zebra, a deep-learning engine for CNN inference acceleration on AWS F1 instances, for customers who need high-performance inference solutions but have no prior FPGA programming knowledge. Learn more about the Zebra AMI on AWS Marketplace

Another Xilinx Ecosystem partner Swarm64 accelerates PostgreSQL database performance on FPGA-equipped AWS F1 instances to help customers achieve game-changing breakthroughs in analytics. Learn more about the Swarm64 Data Accelerator AMI on AWS Marketplace

To view a list of all FPGA-accelerated Apps on AWS Marketplace Click Here

How do I Get Started with Vitis and AWS EC2 F1 instances?

Amazon and Xilinx have both developed Getting Started Guides and Tutorials, available on GitHub, to help developers get up and running with Vitis and F1 in no time.

Here’s a Quick Start Guide published by Amazon to get familiar with accessing and deploying applications on the FPGA instances on Amazon EC2 and here’s a set of Vitis AWS F1 Developer Labs that will provide you hands-on experience with the design methodology for developing FPGA-accelerated applications in C/C++ using Vitis tools.

Here are all the Resources you need in one place:

  1. Learn More about Amazon EC2 F1 instances
  2. Learn More about Vitis Unified Software Platform
  3. Apply for $10000 in Free AWS Credit
  4. Quick Start Guide from Amazon for F1 instances
  5. Vitis AWS F1 Developer Labs
  6. FPGA-Accelerated Apps on AWS Marketplace



Grayscale eyes alts such as Cardano, Aave, Chainlink for new investment products

Republished by Plato



Over the last few months, Grayscale Investments has become one of the most important participants in the cryptocurrency market. Now, in light of the growing competition in the field and the success of its existing products, the asset manager is eyeing new ones to bring to its clients.

To keep up with the expanding market, Grayscale Investments has announced that it is looking into at least 23 different digital assets for “potential new product offerings.” According to the same, the firm is looking at altcoins such as AAVE, BAT, Cardano [BAT], Chainlink [LINK], EOS, Cosmos [ATOM], MakerDAO [MKR], Polkadot [DOT], Tezos [XTZ], Synthetix [SNX], and Yearn.Finance [YFI], among others.

Here, it’s worth noting that the present development came a month after it was reported that Grayscale had filed to register new trusts for a set of digital assets (Including Cardano, Aave, and Polkadot) in the state of Delaware, USA.

The timing of the said announcement is interesting, especially since Grayscale’s consideration of new altcoins corresponds to the market-wide price rally coming to a halt. Bitcoin’s value fell under the $50k-level recently, with BTC trading at around $47,000, at press time.

Similarly, the market’s correlated alts were also witnessing a similar drawdown in value. And yet, much of the altcoin market has been showing strength, despite some sell-offs, due to which Grayscale has taken the step to consider turning some of the aforementioned assets into one of its investment products.

According to CEO Michael Sonnenshein,

“…as a firm that has been on the vanguard of connecting the legacy financial system with the new, digital currency-driven financial system, we view it as our responsibility to introduce investors to more diversity in this space.”

Meanwhile, with the value of BTC dropping in the spot market, the Grayscale BTC fund is seeing sell-offs too since many investors have chosen the way out. According to data, Grayscale Bitcoin trust dropped by 21% this week, a figure much higher than BTC’s 16% drop in the market. For GBTC, the once-massive premium has also fallen, suggesting that investors are choosing to exit the market since it has come to a halt. At the time of writing, the firm held over 655,750 BTC equivalent to $31 billion.

Such a shift in strategy can help Grayscale expand its hold on the altcoin market.

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Crypto can be lucrative, but make sure you’re ready for the taxman

Republished by Plato



Hindsight is 20/20, but when money is on the line, being prepared can give investors better foresight. Just over a year and a half ago, Investopedia reported on the panic among many crypto investors who’d found themselves on the wrong side of the taxman. The article read, “Online forums like Reddit are abuzz with posts citing possible scenarios by worried investors about pending tax liabilities for their past dealings in cryptocoins, which may now leave them poorer.”

As Bitcoin’s (BTC) price soars and investors flock to crypto to cash in, legislators and regulators around the world are taking notice. Most recently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development announced a plan to release a ubiquitous tax standard for its member states, partly intended to curb base erosion and profit shifting. Although announcements like these serve as positive signs of intergovernmental collaboration, economic unity and progress, to the average investor, they feel rather distant. Yet it is crucial for investors in the United States to understand the digital asset tax regulations because, in some cases, it may mean the difference between prosperity and five years in prison with fines up to $250,000.

Related: Parents, it’s time for ‘the talk’: Did your kid trade crypto in 2020?

A handful of libertarian, crypto torchbearers might be inclined to believe that the built-in anonymity privileges of blockchain may save them from government scrutiny, but after all, the Internal Revenue Service isn’t quick to let go of these matters.

The U.S. tax code and crypto

Digital currencies and tokenized assets tend to be a mixed bag under the U.S. tax code. Many investors think of Bitcoin as a digital currency, like fiat currencies used regularly by consumers to buy goods. However, under the U.S. tax code, Bitcoin is actually considered “property” and is taxed under capital gains tax when either sold or used to purchase items or transferred for other digital currencies, such as trading Bitcoin for Ether (ETH). For example, purchasing a house with Bitcoin in the U.S. would trigger a taxable event on capital gains, and the exchange of Bitcoin for any other type of asset is considered a sale in the same way you might sell security like a stock.

Related: Crypto taxes, reporting and tax audits in 2021

It’s difficult to pinpoint why Bitcoin is classified differently from fiat currencies, but precedent in how Bitcoin is utilized by investors may tell us the answer. The IRS likely recognizes Bitcoin as a property asset because the popular crypto asset serves most users as an investment utility and not as a functional currency in the same way the fiat U.S. dollar does. More importantly, because these types of assets are not issued by a central bank, the U.S. government will not recognize them as such until further notice. Understanding crypto taxation also means digging into the little details.

Unlike centralized financial systems, decentralized systems require investors to take a far more active role in diligently tracking their investments from the moment of purchase to sale or exchange for commodities.

At the most basic level, the onus falls more on the investor to track the purchase date, purchase price and what was received in exchange for the Bitcoin in the case of a sale. In contrast, investment history in traditional, non-digital assets, such as stocks or commodities, is fairly easy to track because of the diligent records that brokerages maintain for clients and how readily accessible they are.

Crypto investments and taxation

Basics aside, there is one area in particular in which many accredited investors miss the mark.

Crypto hedge funds are reputed for offering lucrative crypto opportunities. While some crypto hedge funds are considered risky due to questions about crypto-market liquidity, they can be the better route to invest instead of buying individual units of Bitcoin. And as of late, they have proven themselves increasingly popular over the last year. According to Big Four audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, assets under management with crypto hedge funds rose from $1 billion in value in 2018 to over $2 billion in value in 2019. Despite piquing the interest of investors, buyers beware.

Compared to traditional assets, when onboarding investors for crypto assets, it’s a whole different ball game. Unlike traditional assets, it’s imperative that digital asset hedge funds ask deeper questions about tax considerations. Some questions regarding crypto investments should include: What kind of property is cryptocurrency x? or Can staking assets on proof-of-stake networks, which offer rewards for staking, be classified as unique income? These are just the basics, but questions like these can easily slip the mind when in the moment and can trigger unintended tax events.

On the other hand, when joining a hedge fund, it’s standard procedure to sign a standard legal entity fund structure, which is often as lengthy as 500 pages. Included are taxation clauses in the contract that explain the implications of investing with the fund. But with hundreds of pages of details, investors may not pay close attention to the little details, inadvertently putting them at serious risk of conflict with the IRS at a later juncture. That’s where a tax advisor should come in, who is accustomed to a more passive role.

Because of crypto’s unique properties, the tax advisor’s role has to become more active rather than passive, as it usually is. Rather than take a backseat, tax advisors should be summoned to provide consultation on investments before they’re undertaken and play a proactive role in educating investors every step of the way. As a result, investors would find themselves better prepared to provide a comprehensive and abiding tax return, rather than find themselves on the short end of the stick, playing catch up with the IRS.

When the taxman comes knocking, it’s better to be safe than sorry and know the regulations; otherwise, the consequences could be much graver. More importantly, the tax advisor must be in the passenger seat, not the back seat, when investors sign on the dotted line.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Derek Boirun is an entrepreneur with institutional experience in commercial real estate development, EB-5 capital investments and blockchain-based investing. Derek is the founder, CEO and director of Realio. He previously founded, and currently acts as a managing member of, the American Economic Growth Fund, an EB-5 investment platform focused on sourcing overseas capital for U.S.-based real estate projects.


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Bitcoin’s market may have seen its strongest bull signal since fall below $50k

Republished by Plato



At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price was yet to fully recover from the massive depreciation that followed its ATH of $58,640. However, while BTC was valued at just under $48,000 at the time, it is worth noting that there have been significant Coinbase outflows since 25 February and these outflows seemed to be signaling an upcoming trend reversal.

Significant Coinbase outflows were observed when Bitcoin’s price was trading around $48,000 on the exchange. What does this entail? Well, this is evidence that U.S investors are still buying Bitcoin. Interestingly, the last time Coinbase outflows increased significantly, they were a precursor to Bitcoin’s price hitting its previous ATH above $52,000.

US investors are still buying Bitcoin, what about you?

Source: CryptoQuant

In the current macro environment, there are several factors that have led to a drop in Bitcoin’s price. The hike in inflows of Bitcoin to spot exchanges led to increased selling pressure and the dip, one that was triggered by miners. When GBTC’s premium dropped to register a negative figure, institutional demand was low, relatively lower than what it has been all along in the current market cycle.

Finally, 10-year U.S Treasury yields surged past 1.6% and this was alarming for risky asset classes, with Bitcoin still considered by many as one of the riskiest asset classes.

US investors are still buying Bitcoin, what about you?

Source: Woobull Charts

On the 25th of February, 13,000 BTC flowed out from Coinbase, with the BTC hitting multiple custody wallets on Coinbase and private wallets. This supports the notion that U.S institutional investors are still buying Bitcoin at the $48,000-price level. This is also one of the strongest bull signals since the dip from the ATH of $58,640.

In the short-term, institutional buying is expected to take the price above $48,000 on top exchanges, with the price of the crypto-asset likely to eventually cross $50,000.

However, it must be pointed out that there may be slow price movement in the short-term. Further, an interesting social metric that seemed to support the aforementioned conclusion was new Twitter followers of crypto-exchanges. Based on data from IntoTheBlock, the number is at par with what it was in 2017.

US investors are still buying Bitcoin, what about you?

Source: Twitter

Social metrics have often predicted changes in volatility and the price trends of Bitcoin and altcoins during previous legs of the current market cycle and previous bull runs as well. In light of the fact that U.S investors are still buying and more specifically, institutional investors are still buying, buying from both retail and institutional investors and demand is expected to push Bitcoin’s price above $50,000 in the short-term.

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