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Author Topic: One Interesting Consequence of the Bitcoin Price  (Read 571 times)
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December 08, 2017, 02:20:54 AM
 #1

The mining reward is designed to automatically adjust so that blocks will be found - and BTC issued - at a predictable rate.

A side effect is that miners can choose to mine, or not, at any given moment, purely based on whether mining at that moment would be profitable.

And thus, mining will generally cost exactly as much as the block reward (because it gets easier/harder until that's true).

In other words, any particular BTC spot price carries with it an assumption about how much it costs to mine a block. And mining happens in the real world, using real infrastructure.



Large scale power plants these days generally costs between 5-10¢/kWh. That includes both clean energy and dirty.

If one bitcoin is worth $100,000... the implication is that 72GW are being generated, somewhere, to run mining hardware.
If one bitcoin is worth $1 million... the implication is that 720GW are being expended.

Let's assume this is mostly "clean energy", so that we don't stay up at night worrying about greenhouse gas emissions.

72GW requires about 2700 square miles of land devoted to solar farms - about the size of Luxemborg.
720GW requires about 27,000 square miles - about the size of Panama.

Naturally, this would not all be in one place. It'd be spread out, integrated into the places where mining rigs happen to be. But that's still an incredible amount of infrastructure - of physical stuff - all dedicated simply to outvoting an adversary.



For a Proof of Work based system to reach these heights, then, means that it is not simply a thing that exists ephemerally, on networks and in ledgers.

Rather, it must exist, physically, among us, all over the real world.

If there is something that will make Bitcoin succeed, it is growth of utility - greater quantity and variety of goods and services offered for BTC. If there is something that will make Bitcoin fail, it is the prevalence of users convinced that BTC is a magic box that will turn them into millionaires, and of the con-artists who have followed them here to devour them.
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December 08, 2017, 07:09:22 AM
 #2

You are totally right,but what about quantum computing?I`m not an expert and i don`t know much about it,but will the more powerful quantum computers help for bitcoin mining and reducing the insane electricity consumption? I read threads here saying that quantum computers will destory mining and cryptocurrencies.Is that true?What about LN or Segwit?Will they reduce the electricity consumption and make transactions instant?We might have to sacrifice bitcoin decentrlalization for a more efficient way to handle transactions.


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December 08, 2017, 07:45:16 AM
 #3

Hmm, not sure if your assumptions are on the spot. All the research I've seen or used myself to calculate the cost of electricity used for mining (not the cost of mining) aren't at all related to Bitcoin price, but the current algorithmic difficulty. The more difficult, the more hash power is dedicated to the network.

If your correlation were true, then the cost of mining today will have risen more than 10 times that of in January. Instead, the correlation to difficulty is more true.

Nevertheless, Bitcoin price does have the consequence of attracting miners (thereby also increasing hash power), and the case is made clearer with miners switching between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin, motivated by price of either (and difficulty). Were the price to crash today to sub 1k levels, a lot of miners would be forced to switch off as mining wouldn't be profitable.

Also, there's enough research also to show that a lot of that electricity isn't yet the cleanest...

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December 08, 2017, 07:50:29 AM
 #4

Hmm, not sure if your assumptions are on the spot. All the research I've seen or used myself to calculate the cost of electricity used for mining (not the cost of mining) aren't at all related to Bitcoin price, but the current algorithmic difficulty. The more difficult, the more hash power is dedicated to the network.

If your correlation were true, then the cost of mining today will have risen more than 10 times that of in January. Instead, the correlation to difficulty is more true.

Nevertheless, Bitcoin price does have the consequence of attracting miners (thereby also increasing hash power), and the case is made clearer with miners switching between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin, motivated by price of either (and difficulty). Were the price to crash today to sub 1k levels, a lot of miners would be forced to switch off as mining wouldn't be profitable.

Also, there's enough research also to show that a lot of that electricity isn't yet the cleanest...

The total amount of electricity used for mining is directly related to the hashing power / alogoithm's difficulty. It is simple linear correlation. So it follows that higher amount of electricity is used when the difficulty is high, which is what happens when the price increases.
A lot of noise is being made on this topic and it could get worse.


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December 08, 2017, 09:00:05 AM
 #5

The mining reward is designed to automatically adjust so that blocks will be found - and BTC issued - at a predictable rate.

A side effect is that miners can choose to mine, or not, at any given moment, purely based on whether mining at that moment would be profitable.

And thus, mining will generally cost exactly as much as the block reward (because it gets easier/harder until that's true).

In other words, any particular BTC spot price carries with it an assumption about how much it costs to mine a block. And mining happens in the real world, using real infrastructure.



Large scale power plants these days generally costs between 5-10¢/kWh. That includes both clean energy and dirty.

If one bitcoin is worth $100,000... the implication is that 72GW are being generated, somewhere, to run mining hardware.
If one bitcoin is worth $1 million... the implication is that 720GW are being expended.

Let's assume this is mostly "clean energy", so that we don't stay up at night worrying about greenhouse gas emissions.

72GW requires about 2700 square miles of land devoted to solar farms - about the size of Luxemborg.
720GW requires about 27,000 square miles - about the size of Panama.

Naturally, this would not all be in one place. It'd be spread out, integrated into the places where mining rigs happen to be. But that's still an incredible amount of infrastructure - of physical stuff - all dedicated simply to outvoting an adversary.



For a Proof of Work based system to reach these heights, then, means that it is not simply a thing that exists ephemerally, on networks and in ledgers.

Rather, it must exist, physically, among us, all over the real world.


the possibility of bitcoin and bitcoin loading becomes very expensive because of the very high demand factor and because the algorithm factor used to get bitcoin will be very difficult.
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December 08, 2017, 09:06:40 AM
 #6

The mining reward is designed to automatically adjust so that blocks will be found - and BTC issued - at a predictable rate.

A side effect is that miners can choose to mine, or not, at any given moment, purely based on whether mining at that moment would be profitable.

And thus, mining will generally cost exactly as much as the block reward (because it gets easier/harder until that's true).

In other words, any particular BTC spot price carries with it an assumption about how much it costs to mine a block. And mining happens in the real world, using real infrastructure.



Large scale power plants these days generally costs between 5-10¢/kWh. That includes both clean energy and dirty.

If one bitcoin is worth $100,000... the implication is that 72GW are being generated, somewhere, to run mining hardware.
If one bitcoin is worth $1 million... the implication is that 720GW are being expended.

Let's assume this is mostly "clean energy", so that we don't stay up at night worrying about greenhouse gas emissions.

72GW requires about 2700 square miles of land devoted to solar farms - about the size of Luxemborg.
720GW requires about 27,000 square miles - about the size of Panama.

Naturally, this would not all be in one place. It'd be spread out, integrated into the places where mining rigs happen to be. But that's still an incredible amount of infrastructure - of physical stuff - all dedicated simply to outvoting an adversary.



For a Proof of Work based system to reach these heights, then, means that it is not simply a thing that exists ephemerally, on networks and in ledgers.

Rather, it must exist, physically, among us, all over the real world.

This isn't necessarily a great analogy although the idea behind what you are saying is. I don't think that much space will be used, because there is still 100 years before the final Bitcoin will be mined. This means technology and computer power, as well as green electronic tech will develop more than we can imagine by then to the point it will be irrelevant.

 
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December 08, 2017, 05:29:04 PM
 #7

That has already been taken into account: the amount of energy used in mining due to the PoW algorithm would be so huge if the price continues to surge upwards, thus posing a problem not only for the infrastructure needed to be built but also to the end product of using all those energy. Switching to a new algorithm would be nice, albeit poses a different problem like the older one. It's a hard transition, but in order to balance everything, something needs to be done first. PoW wouldn't be around for the next 100 years for bitcoin. It will be replaced with a newer, more effective and efficient algorithm eventually.

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December 08, 2017, 06:49:00 PM
 #8

That has already been taken into account: the amount of energy used in mining due to the PoW algorithm would be so huge if the price continues to surge upwards, thus posing a problem not only for the infrastructure needed to be built but also to the end product of using all those energy. Switching to a new algorithm would be nice, albeit poses a different problem like the older one. It's a hard transition, but in order to balance everything, something needs to be done first. PoW wouldn't be around for the next 100 years for bitcoin. It will be replaced with a newer, more effective and efficient algorithm eventually.

If the energy demand continues rising, the probability that governments step in is high. As you said, it would threaten the whole infrastructure or even pose a risk to the national security.

Plus, it is easy for the government to find places which have a high energy demand. So future regulation regarding mining is very likely.

In my opinion, it may not be the worst case for the bitcoin community because private mining would maybe become profitable again?

Best regards
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December 08, 2017, 07:21:31 PM
 #9

The bitcoin price is set via supply and demand in the market, I think it can deviate a lot from hashrate. If someone is willing to pay $20,000 for a BTC, then that's the price, and then miners will follow the price or not, usually they will because they don't want to be sitting upon their ASIC machines doing nothing. It's yet to be seen too for how long miners keep juggling with their hashrate from BCash to Bitcoin back and forth too, or if any other real competition in the SHA256 realm happens. Im not worried about this tho, I think the mining industry will keep following the price as it goes higher and new players will enter the market (non chinese).
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December 08, 2017, 08:45:34 PM
Last edit: December 08, 2017, 09:12:25 PM by stompix
 #10

Hmm, not sure if your assumptions are on the spot. All the research I've seen or used myself to calculate the cost of electricity used for mining (not the cost of mining) aren't at all related to Bitcoin price, but the current algorithmic difficulty. The more difficult, the more hash power is dedicated to the network.

If your correlation were true, then the cost of mining today will have risen more than 10 times that of in January. Instead, the correlation to difficulty is more true.

Nevertheless, Bitcoin price does have the consequence of attracting miners (thereby also increasing hash power), and the case is made clearer with miners switching between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin, motivated by price of either (and difficulty). Were the price to crash today to sub 1k levels, a lot of miners would be forced to switch off as mining wouldn't be profitable.

Also, there's enough research also to show that a lot of that electricity isn't yet the cleanest...

BurtW has an interesting topic about this:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2465881.msg25254881#msg25254881

Bitcoin difficulty and hence hashrate can't follow the price immediately.

Simple example:
Bitcoin goes on a rampage like this week 50%.
Can you produce and plug in a matter of days 100 000 S9 miners?
But give them time and they will.

In a few years (a few more actually)  with the block reward going down and fees taking over (the ratio is still 1/10) I think we will start having some kind of balance.
For example , based on similar block size and similar time stamps.

If reward would go to zero, for miners to have the same income the fee would be 150$ per tx.
Of course only a few would pay that so the revenue will go down a lot.
Revenue down > miners unplugging.

Right now the problem is that miners receive a fix amount in BTC no mater what the price is.

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December 08, 2017, 09:15:34 PM
 #11

Bitcoin has make significant progress in terms of pricing and publicity but many companies are still in the state of confusion and fear in adopting bitcoin as mode of payments for goods and services. I don't think any online mainstream shop is currently accepting bitcoin as a mode of payment like PayPal, credits and debts card. I have tried to thing that the transactions fees and the fluctuations of bitcoin pricing limit the acceptability of it as a mode of payment and this has to be corrected if we most progress in bitcoin development.
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December 08, 2017, 09:23:48 PM
 #12

The mining reward is designed to automatically adjust so that blocks will be found - and BTC issued - at a predictable rate.

A side effect is that miners can choose to mine, or not, at any given moment, purely based on whether mining at that moment would be profitable.

And thus, mining will generally cost exactly as much as the block reward (because it gets easier/harder until that's true).

In other words, any particular BTC spot price carries with it an assumption about how much it costs to mine a block. And mining happens in the real world, using real infrastructure.



Large scale power plants these days generally costs between 5-10¢/kWh. That includes both clean energy and dirty.

If one bitcoin is worth $100,000... the implication is that 72GW are being generated, somewhere, to run mining hardware.
If one bitcoin is worth $1 million... the implication is that 720GW are being expended.

Let's assume this is mostly "clean energy", so that we don't stay up at night worrying about greenhouse gas emissions.

72GW requires about 2700 square miles of land devoted to solar farms - about the size of Luxemborg.
720GW requires about 27,000 square miles - about the size of Panama.

Naturally, this would not all be in one place. It'd be spread out, integrated into the places where mining rigs happen to be. But that's still an incredible amount of infrastructure - of physical stuff - all dedicated simply to outvoting an adversary.



For a Proof of Work based system to reach these heights, then, means that it is not simply a thing that exists ephemerally, on networks and in ledgers.

Rather, it must exist, physically, among us, all over the real world.

This isn't necessarily a great analogy although the idea behind what you are saying is. I don't think that much space will be used, because there is still 100 years before the final Bitcoin will be mined. This means technology and computer power, as well as green electronic tech will develop more than we can imagine by then to the point it will be irrelevant.
Same thought and opinion on here which I don't really worried too much even it would really progress even more which comes to a point on where we do more consume more energy and do have a need on big expansion knowing that technology doesn't stop to evolve which means as the years passed by expect there would really be new changes and innovations and I'm sure there are already people who do have plans regarding on this possible situation happen on bitcoin field.
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December 08, 2017, 10:18:49 PM
 #13

Excellent post, OP.   Smiley

All I can do is try to point out additional variables.

#1 As ASICs are mass produced in greater quantities, their price declines. When ASICs were first released I think under butterfly labs there wasn't much market competition. ASICs were much more expensive and produced far lower performance. Now with russia and other nations poised to enter the ASIC design and production business, we could see the cost of ASICs reduced, their performance also could improve dramatically. The ASIC market in the future could be compared to Intel versus AMD where competition drove performance through the roof, and also reduced prices considerably.

#2 Moore's Law dictates silicon generating higher hash rates @ lower electrical consumption will be the norm. Via Moore's Law, ASICs and GPU's will produce higher hash rates while consuming reduced quantities of electricity. We see GPU's with lower energy consumption when lithographic silicon etching processes upgrade to a smaller nanometer scale. This trend applies to ASICs and crypto mining. As time goes on ASICs will produce higher hash rates with lower electricity.

#3 Climate change is fueled by deforestation, not emissions. Historically trees absorbed carbon. Water evaporated from plant/tree leaves also produced a considerable portion of rainfall. The way to conquer climate change is to plant more trees and fight desertification, etc.

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December 09, 2017, 11:53:38 PM
Last edit: December 11, 2017, 04:58:48 AM by fanbeila
 #14

You are totally right,but what about quantum computing?I`m not an expert and i don`t know much about it,but will the more powerful quantum computers help for bitcoin mining and reducing the insane electricity consumption? I read threads here saying that quantum computers will destory mining and cryptocurrencies.Is that true?What about LN or Segwit?Will they reduce the electricity consumption and make transactions instant?We might have to sacrifice bitcoin decentrlalization for a more efficient way to handle transactions.
Exactly,Quantum computers are a real big threat to bitcoins in the future.It is said that quantum computers would be able to read the private key of a bitcoin wallet from its public key and so,our bitcoins in the wallet might get compromised.

I think that nano chips must be used in future so as to cut the electricity charges downloadyAlso,if lightning network gets activated,mining cost May come down.

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December 10, 2017, 02:32:38 AM
 #15

Qoheleth, yeah assuming all that energy expended is green and clean energy. But its not. As the price of BTC goes higher and higher so do the miners expand their operations or new miners come in to take stake their claim.

The question is when will it end?
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