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Author Topic: 2013-05-23 CNN: Bitcoin more powerful than fastest supercomputers  (Read 3759 times)
Gamelord
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May 24, 2013, 12:37:31 AM
 #21

I am fairly new to this, but could this somehow be converted or used to help other projects such as NASA's projects or such where computing/calculating power is needed?
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May 24, 2013, 12:42:03 AM
 #22

What a waste of energy.

It's a shame this computing power hasn't but put to something useful, like Folding@home or Rosetta@home.

The only "waste" here is your lack of understanding.


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May 24, 2013, 03:27:31 AM
 #23

What a waste of energy.

It's a shame this computing power hasn't but put to something useful, like Folding@home or Rosetta@home.

The only "waste" here is your lack of understanding.
Leave him alone. He's only an SEC agent, after all. It's not his job to understand the need for security in financial systems... oh, wait.

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May 24, 2013, 04:54:10 AM
 #24

1,000 petaflops isn't necessary to secure the network.

The only reason the computer power is even close to that high is because greedy miners are in a constant arm race at the hope of profiting more than the next guy. The irony is that cooperation between the miners to keep mining at a level where cpu mining is more beneficial to everyone, since the average layperson could join in on mining without any additional cost, and power is spread out over a larger group of people.  It's like the prisoners dilemma , except everyone always chooses betray.

Meanwhile, all that extra computer power could be curing cancer or Alzheimers or something that benefits mankind in a meaningful way (instead of being wasted on some silly internet currency).

"It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it." -George Washington
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May 24, 2013, 05:32:43 AM
 #25

1,000 petaflops isn't necessary to secure the network.

The only reason the computer power is even close to that high is because greedy miners are in a constant arm race at the hope of profiting more than the next guy. The irony is that cooperation between the miners to keep mining at a level where cpu mining is more beneficial to everyone, since the average layperson could join in on mining without any additional cost, and power is spread out over a larger group of people.  It's like the prisoners dilemma , except everyone always chooses betray.

Meanwhile, all that extra computer power could be curing cancer or Alzheimers or something that benefits mankind in a meaningful way (instead of being wasted on some silly internet currency).

Yeah sure - like every other system out there is just for rainbows and hugs. Lets be frank - every application of any kind of computing power has a motive -- and just because you can't pin Bitcoin's mining power on something safe with a pink ribbon doesn't mean it doesn't have any purpose.

Does that clear it up for you?

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May 24, 2013, 05:39:27 AM
 #26

No. Not at all actually.

You basically just handwaved away important research that has a measured benefit to society, for an internet currency that is mainly used for black and grey market goods and services.  Still sounds pretty asinine to me.

"It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it." -George Washington
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May 24, 2013, 09:42:23 AM
 #27

No. Not at all actually.

You basically just handwaved away important research that has a measured benefit to society, for an internet currency that is mainly used for black and grey market goods and services.  Still sounds pretty asinine to me.
Yes. Important research that has to be paid for with currency of some kind or another, just like everything else of benefit to society. Money makes the world go 'round. You, of all people, should understand that.

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May 24, 2013, 09:48:49 AM
 #28

Yeah sure - like every other system out there is just for rainbows and hugs. Lets be frank - every application of any kind of computing power has a motive -- and just because you can't pin Bitcoin's mining power on something safe with a pink ribbon doesn't mean it doesn't have any purpose.

Does that clear it up for you?

No. Not at all actually.

You basically just handwaved away important research that has a measured benefit to society, for an internet currency that is mainly used for black and grey market goods and services.  Still sounds pretty asinine to me.

You basically just handwaved away all the benefits Bitcoin has over any traditional banking systems.

If Bitcoin will replace a decent chunk of traditional economy we will save a lot of energy and resources because the Bitcoin mining system stimulates efficiency. Bitcoin mining will mostly take place where energy is abundant (and cheaper because of it). Besides this, Bitcoin doesn't need any fancy buildings traditional banks tend to boast with for instance.
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May 24, 2013, 10:15:53 AM
 #29

The comparison is not completely useless, because it is possible to estimate the hashrate the supercomputers could sustain and compare that to the current bitcoin network. Then it is comparing apples to apples.  The comparison done is going the other way, trying to estimate the FLOPS rat of the bitcoin network's hashrate.

I think the comparison is interesting in that it gives us a good idea of how much impact th eexisting supercomputers could affect the bitcoin network if they were reprogrammed to mine bitcoin efficiently.  The fact that even with all 500 top super computers turned on bitcoin, they could capture about 10% of the hashrate is rather interesting and somewhat comforting that we are beyond the possibility of a 51% attact by these supercomputers. If somebody was to try a 51% attack, they would have to build the system from scratch and not just repurpose an existing system.

Exactly.
It is perfectly sensible to ask how many flops a supercomputer would need to simulate the calculations performed by an ASIC chip. Then to scale this as a comparison to the network (and include all the non-ASIC hardware as well).

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May 24, 2013, 12:17:44 PM
 #30

Fact: bitcoin computing power equals to exactly 0 FLOPS
That's not true.

The hardware using for Bitcoin computing is currently not performing any floating point calculations. The amount of floating point calculations that hardware could perform is a number larger than 0 FLOPS.

Since a supercomputer isn't kicked out of the Top 500 just because it's currently being used for integer calculations instead of floating point calculations it's not accurate to ignore the underlying floating point capabilities of some Bitcoin mining hardware just because it's doing integer math.

These comparisons between supercomputers and the bitcoin network don't make sense. It's like saying Kobe Bryant is better at sports than 99% of all professional athletes. It doesn't mean anything until you compare a specific sporting activity, because there's a big difference between his ability in basketball and say, tennis.

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May 24, 2013, 01:09:45 PM
 #31

The part that stood out in this article to me: $200,000 electricity/day & 60,000 transactions/day. $3.33 per transaction in electricity cost??? Anyone more bored than me care to fact check that? If that is anywhere close to actuality; this is not sustainable long term without a continued rise in BTC valuation. Transaction fees do not cover this cost.

I do not mine. I realize that the block reward justifies the expense, but for now long? Is CNN just way off?  My guess is that CNN is way off. Someone explain this to me.

Thanks.

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May 24, 2013, 01:27:32 PM
 #32

The part that stood out in this article to me: $200,000 electricity/day & 60,000 transactions/day. $3.33 per transaction in electricity cost?

The 60,000 transactions per day is correct. I don't know about the $200,000, could be (this stat is an estimate from blockchain.info/stats and says: * Electricity consumption is estimated based on power consumption of 650 Watts per gigahash and electricity price of 15 cent per kilowatt hour. In reality some miners will be more or less efficient). The beauty with the Bitcoin system is that it will always balance out, if the price drops less miners will mine because it is not worthwhile anymore. So the total amount of electricity being used will also drop then. If the Bitcoin value rises it also means demand (and consequently the amount of transactions) is rising and you would need more computing power to handle everything. This will also happen because it will be more beneficial to start and mine again.
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May 24, 2013, 03:01:11 PM
 #33

Yes. Important research that has to be paid for with currency of some kind or another, just like everything else of benefit to society.

What exactly does that have to do with anything? Are you actually implying that because cancer research cost money, it shouldnt be done? Or just that you refuse to help if you arent personally getting paid?

Either way, you sound like an awful person.

"It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it." -George Washington
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May 24, 2013, 03:02:42 PM
 #34

You basically just handwaved away all the benefits Bitcoin has over any traditional banking systems.

Pretty sure cancer research is more important that a p2p payment system.


"It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it." -George Washington
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May 24, 2013, 03:11:36 PM
 #35

Pretty sure cancer research is more important that a p2p payment system.

What exactly does that have to do with anything? Are you actually implying that because cancer research is more important, Bitcoin shouldnt be done? Or just that you refuse to do anything else but focus on cancer research?

Either way, you sound like an awful person.
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May 24, 2013, 03:13:54 PM
 #36

Are you actually implying that because cancer research is more important, Bitcoin shouldnt be done?

Nope. I actually stated both could/should be done a few post ago (with the unnecessary amount of extra power that is currently being used to secure the network being shifted to one or more of the BOINC projects ).

Nice try at being a smartass, though.

"It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it." -George Washington
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May 24, 2013, 03:30:56 PM
 #37


The hashing power secures the network and helps verify transactions. I'd say that isn't a "waste".


It is a waste of energy, since miners spend much more energy than necessary to secure the network. Bitcoin is energy inefficient, admit it.

Quote
Its like complaining about your car wasting energy while idling at a stoplight. Its powering the internal instruments and charging the battery, circulating coolant, etc..

Oh yes, a car wastes a lot of energy too when it powers 1kW alternator with 150hp engine.

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May 24, 2013, 03:39:23 PM
 #38

The part that stood out in this article to me: $200,000 electricity/day & 60,000 transactions/day. $3.33 per transaction in electricity cost??? Anyone more bored than me care to fact check that? If that is anywhere close to actuality; this is not sustainable long term without a continued rise in BTC valuation. Transaction fees do not cover this cost.

I do not mine. I realize that the block reward justifies the expense, but for now long? Is CNN just way off?  My guess is that CNN is way off. Someone explain this to me.

Thanks.

No, it is not that off. Check the blockchain.info, a block with several hundred transactions is mined about every 10 minutes. This gives you 60000/day or so.

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May 24, 2013, 04:05:51 PM
 #39

The part that stood out in this article to me: $200,000 electricity/day & 60,000 transactions/day. $3.33 per transaction in electricity cost??? Anyone more bored than me care to fact check that? If that is anywhere close to actuality; this is not sustainable long term without a continued rise in BTC valuation. Transaction fees do not cover this cost.

I do not mine. I realize that the block reward justifies the expense, but for now long? Is CNN just way off?  My guess is that CNN is way off. Someone explain this to me.

Thanks.

This seems okay. The transaction fees are supplemented by the block reward, which is essentially the network subsidizing the miners, so each time a block is found everybodies bitcoins become worth a bit less. That is how inflation works, bitcoin is inflating at about 11% per year right now. The price is not going down at that rate because there are other factors, like speculation and rate of adoption which influence the price as well.

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May 24, 2013, 04:55:43 PM
 #40

This is a fun game!

Why hasn't anyone pointed out yet that the US currency system is far less efficient to maintain? How many employees work for the Federal Reserve and all it's banks? It's in the tens of thousands at least (although hard data is tough to come by on the interwebs). They work in huge buildings that require electricity and maintenance. I'd bet that the electiricity cost for the combined data backbone of the federal reserve system is far higher than bitcoin. What about the paper printing presses and "distribution" system? How about cars for the Bernanke to travel back and forth to Congress to argue with uppity congressmen? And, don't even try to compare Bitcoin to this giant waste:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Federal_Reserve_Bank_of_Philadelphia.jpg
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