Unintended consequences, Bitcoin chapter

RNG

Moderator
Jan 2015
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I think about this:

Digital financial transactions come with a real-world price: The tremendous growth of cryptocurrencies has created an exponential demand for computing power. As bitcoin grows, the math problems computers must solve to make more bitcoin (a process called “mining”) get more and more difficult — a wrinkle designed to control the currency’s supply.

Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day. And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers. Already, the aggregate computing power of the bitcoin network is nearly 100,000 times larger than the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers combined.

The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge — an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.
Bitcoin could cost us our clean-energy future | Grist
 

Amelia

Former Staff
Jun 2014
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Oct 2014
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That's a big part of why I was never really interested in learning too much about mining Bitcoin. Once you've seen a few of the Farms, to see what you're competing against, you realize that there is no way that you could sustain a guaranteed income that would surpass the electric bill you would generate. And it would be hard to predict exactly what that break even point would even be.

As computing power increases though and gets bit more efficient, that will be less of a factor.

Also green energy needs to become viable before it will be used in a mass scale way.
 

RNG

Moderator
Jan 2015
14,121
9,872
Left coast
That's a big part of why I was never really interested in learning too much about mining Bitcoin. Once you've seen a few of the Farms, to see what you're competing against, you realize that there is no way that you could sustain a guaranteed income that would surpass the electric bill you would generate. And it would be hard to predict exactly what that break even point would even be.

As computing power increases though and gets bit more efficient, that will be less of a factor.

Also green energy needs to become viable before it will be used in a mass scale way.
Totally regardless of all of that, simply because everyone shares the same data about it, it has the same weakness as fiat paper currency, or if you really stop and think about it, as gold.

A bit coin, a dollar bill and a gram of gold are each worth the same thing, whatever someone else is willing to exchange it for.

And that's why I have never understood the hate-on for fiat currencies. There needs to be the assumption of some rational thought on the part of the issuer of the fiat currency or you get a Zimbabwe or a Venezuela. But it is still in the eye of the beholder.
 
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Oct 2014
33,166
6,066
C-A-N-A-D-A-Eh
Totally regardless of all of that, simply because everyone shares the same data about it, it has the same weakness as fiat paper currency, or if you really stop and think about it, as gold.

A bit coin, a dollar bill and a gram of gold are each worth the same thing, whatever someone else is willing to exchange it for.

And that's why I have never understood the hate-on for fiat currencies. There needs to be the assumption of some rational thought on the part of the issuer of the fiat currency or you get a Zimbabwe or a Venezuela. But it is still in the eye of the beholder.
In terms of USING Bitcoin, the biggest hurdle is to get point of purchase. As it stands, to buy something, you'll need to convert bitcoins to your currency, then you can spend it. There's no debit machine or any brick and mortar store that really accepts it. But ultimately, I'd rather hold onto gold than bitcoins because if ever the grid goes down that gold isn't in some computer algorithm that could never be retrieved.
 

RNG

Moderator
Jan 2015
14,121
9,872
Left coast
In terms of USING Bitcoin, the biggest hurdle is to get point of purchase. As it stands, to buy something, you'll need to convert bitcoins to your currency, then you can spend it. There's no debit machine or any brick and mortar store that really accepts it. But ultimately, I'd rather hold onto gold than bitcoins because if ever the grid goes down that gold isn't in some computer algorithm that could never be retrieved.
That is true also. But if Armageddon hits, I still think that a dollar bill and a gram of gold will be equally useless. If you can't eat it or shoot it, who cares.

Bullets, guns and canned beans will be better currency in that case.
 
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