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Author Topic: 2013-04-12 Washington Post "What Bitcoin teaches us about Internet’s energy use"  (Read 1004 times)
em3rgentOrdr
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April 13, 2013, 06:26:03 AM
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/12/what-bitcoin-teaches-us-about-the-internets-energy-use/

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Over at Bloomberg, Mark Gimein calls Bitcoin — yes, Bitcoin — an “environmental disaster.” Why? Because all that processing power used to mine for new Bitcoins requires a staggering amount of energy:
Quote
Mining is a process in which powerful computers create Bitcoins by solving processor-intensive equations. …
Blockchain.info, a site that tracks data on Bitcoin mining, estimates that in just the last 24 hours, miners used about $147,000 of electricity just to run their hardware, assuming an average price of 15 cents per kilowatt hour … That’s enough to power roughly 31,000 U.S. homes, or about half a Large Hadron Collider.
It’s a stunning stat, but does this really count as a “disaster”? That’s less clear. After all, we need to consider the counterfactural: Is it possible that these computers would be used for other activities and calculations anyway, if they weren’t mining Bitcoins?

Later makes the point that it is really wireless and 4G networks that consume the bulk of energy costs, not datacenters or bitcoin, citing: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/cell-networks-are-energy-hogs/274961/

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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April 13, 2013, 06:28:28 AM
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/12/what-bitcoin-teaches-us-about-the-internets-energy-use/

Quote
Over at Bloomberg, Mark Gimein calls Bitcoin — yes, Bitcoin — an “environmental disaster.” Why? Because all that processing power used to mine for new Bitcoins requires a staggering amount of energy:
Quote
Mining is a process in which powerful computers create Bitcoins by solving processor-intensive equations. …
Blockchain.info, a site that tracks data on Bitcoin mining, estimates that in just the last 24 hours, miners used about $147,000 of electricity just to run their hardware, assuming an average price of 15 cents per kilowatt hour … That’s enough to power roughly 31,000 U.S. homes, or about half a Large Hadron Collider.
It’s a stunning stat, but does this really count as a “disaster”? That’s less clear. After all, we need to consider the counterfactural: Is it possible that these computers would be used for other activities and calculations anyway, if they weren’t mining Bitcoins?

Later makes the point that it is really wireless and 4G networks that consume the bulk of energy costs, not datacenters or bitcoin, citing: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/cell-networks-are-energy-hogs/274961/

So this is what it has come to? Bitcoin burns energy? Give me a break.

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April 13, 2013, 06:33:16 AM
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mm lets see, how much energy to make all the special paper and print FRN and other 'legal tender'?
Not  to mention the various coins made of god knows what alloys  these days ....
Of course if you compare it to adding more zeros in the might digital fiat realm I guess maybe it is energy expensive.
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April 13, 2013, 06:39:50 AM
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mm lets see, how much energy to make all the special paper and print FRN and other 'legal tender'?
Not  to mention the various coins made of god knows what alloys  these days ....
Of course if you compare it to adding more zeros in the might digital fiat realm I guess maybe it is energy expensive.


Think of the amount of money that goes into transporting fiat and physical coins, protecting it, storing it. Think of the amount of gas wasted on it.

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April 13, 2013, 07:16:29 AM
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How much resources are banks using for their payment network/branches/staff/buildings/computers? Bitcoin will replace this.
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April 13, 2013, 08:11:18 AM
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It is possible, I believe, to make p2p blockchain ledger systems which do useful mining (ie: the miners do calculations that solve real life problems such as protein folding) or indeed that don't require mining at all.  I'm about to try and make one myself (don't really know whether it'll work or not though).
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April 13, 2013, 08:53:11 AM
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It is possible, I believe, to make p2p blockchain ledger systems which do useful mining (ie: the miners do calculations that solve real life problems such as protein folding) or indeed that don't require mining at all.  I'm about to try and make one myself (don't really know whether it'll work or not though).

This is an intriguing question that has been raised before whether the hash power involved in securing the network could actually be harnessed to perform a secondary function at the same time ... like finding large primes for example, if the right mapping could be found ...  Wink

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April 13, 2013, 12:17:18 PM
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As long as miners can't use free electricity, it's ok.

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April 13, 2013, 12:40:38 PM
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/12/what-bitcoin-teaches-us-about-the-internets-energy-use/

Quote
Over at Bloomberg, Mark Gimein calls Bitcoin — yes, Bitcoin — an “environmental disaster.” Why? Because all that processing power used to mine for new Bitcoins requires a staggering amount of energy:
Quote
Mining is a process in which powerful computers create Bitcoins by solving processor-intensive equations. …
Blockchain.info, a site that tracks data on Bitcoin mining, estimates that in just the last 24 hours, miners used about $147,000 of electricity just to run their hardware, assuming an average price of 15 cents per kilowatt hour … That’s enough to power roughly 31,000 U.S. homes, or about half a Large Hadron Collider.
It’s a stunning stat, but does this really count as a “disaster”? That’s less clear. After all, we need to consider the counterfactural: Is it possible that these computers would be used for other activities and calculations anyway, if they weren’t mining Bitcoins?

Later makes the point that it is really wireless and 4G networks that consume the bulk of energy costs, not datacenters or bitcoin, citing: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/cell-networks-are-energy-hogs/274961/

Thirty-one thousand homes?... Hmmn... "Right now, wind farms in Canada have a capacity of 6,500 MW – enough to power over 2 million homes" http://www.canwea.ca/farms/index_e.php

The demonize BTC FUD machine seems really desperate even at this early stage of the game.
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