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Author Topic: Fake News Of The Day: "Bitcoin Mining Is A Growing Environmental Threat"  (Read 134 times)
Hydrogen
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August 03, 2018, 09:27:14 AM
 #1

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New study assesses tax and regulatory options to incentivize the development of “green” blockchain technologies and discourages use of polluting applications

A study published in Energy Research & Social Science warns that failure to lower the energy use by Bitcoin and similar Blockchain designs may prevent nations from reaching their climate change mitigation obligations under the Paris Agreement.

The study, authored by Jon Truby, PhD, Associate Professor, Director of the Centre for Law & Development, College of Law, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar, evaluates the financial and legal options available to lawmakers to moderate blockchain-related energy consumption and foster a sustainable and innovative technology sector. Based on this rigorous review and analysis of the technologies, ownership models, and jurisdictional case law and practices, the article recommends an approach that imposes new taxes, charges, or restrictions to reduce demand by users, miners, and miner manufacturers who employ polluting technologies, and offers incentives that encourage developers to create less energy-intensive/carbon-neutral Blockchain.

“Digital currency mining is the first major industry developed from Blockchain, because its transactions alone consume more electricity than entire nations,” said Dr. Truby. “It needs to be directed towards sustainability if it is to realize its potential advantages.

“Many developers have taken no account of the environmental impact of their designs, so we must encourage them to adopt consensus protocols that do not result in high emissions. Taking no action means we are subsidizing high energy-consuming technology and causing future Blockchain developers to follow the same harmful path. We need to de-socialize the environmental costs involved while continuing to encourage progress of this important technology to unlock its potential economic, environmental, and social benefits,” explained Dr. Truby.



Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer transaction verification is a polluting process, requiring machine hardware around the world to run at a high rate, 24 hours a day, producing vast amounts of heat and emissions.

As a digital ledger that is accessible to, and trusted by all participants, Blockchain technology decentralizes and transforms the exchange of assets through peer-to-peer verification and payments. Blockchain technology has been advocated as being capable of delivering environmental and social benefits under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, Bitcoin’s system has been built in a way that is reminiscent of physical mining of natural resources – costs and efforts rise as the system reaches the ultimate resource limit and the mining of new resources requires increasing hardware resources, which consume huge amounts of electricity.

Putting this into perspective, Dr. Truby said, “the processes involved in a single Bitcoin transaction could provide electricity to a British home for a month – with the environmental costs socialized for private benefit.

“Bitcoin is here to stay, and so, future models must be designed without reliance on energy consumption so disproportionate on their economic or social benefits.”

The study evaluates various Blockchain technologies by their carbon footprints and recommends how to tax or restrict Blockchain types at different phases of production and use to discourage polluting versions and encourage cleaner alternatives. It also analyzes the legal measures that can be introduced to encourage technology innovators to develop low-emissions Blockchain designs. The specific recommendations include imposing levies to prevent path-dependent inertia from constraining innovation:

  • Registration fees collected by brokers from digital coin buyers.
  • “Bitcoin Sin Tax” surcharge on digital currency ownership.
  • Green taxes and restrictions on machinery purchases/imports (e.g. Bitcoin mining machines).
  • Smart contract transaction charges.


According to Dr. Truby, these findings may lead to new taxes, charges or restrictions, but could also lead to financial rewards for innovators developing carbon-neutral Blockchain.

---


Notes for editors
The article is "Decarbonizing Bitcoin: Law and policy choices for reducing the energy consumption of Blockchain technologies and digital currencies,” Jon Truby, PhD. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.06.009). It will appear in Energy Research & Social Science, volume 44 (2018) published by Elsevier.

The research was supported by the Centre for Law and Development at the College of Law, Qatar University.

Full text of the article is available to journalists upon request. To obtain copies, contact the Elsevier Newsroom at newsroom@elsevier.com. Journalists wishing to set up interviews should contact Craig Teall at c.teall@elsevier.com, or the author, Dr. Jon Truby, Associate Professor at the Centre for Law & Development, College of Law, Qatar University at jon.truby@qu.edu.qa.

About Energy Research & Social Science
Energy Research & Social Science (ERSS) is a peer-reviewed international journal that publishes original research and review articles examining the relationship between energy systems and society. ERSS covers a range of topics revolving around the intersection of energy technologies, fuels, and resources on one side; and social processes and influences - including communities of energy users, people affected by energy production, social institutions, customs, traditions, behaviors, and policies - on the other. Put another way, ERSS investigates the social system surrounding energy technology and hardware. www.journals.elsevier.com/energy-research-and-social-science

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps institutions and professionals advance healthcare, open science and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support and professional education, including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 38,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/energy-intensive-bitcoin-transactions-pose-a-growing-environmental-threat

....

This is one of those rare cases where a person might deduce something is fake news simply by paying attention to detail.

The first indication this "study" could be fake news is its faulty claims of bitcoin mining being an "emission" intensive process. Large scale industrial crypto mining operations utilize hydroelectric energy which is considered a zero emissions, clean and renewable, source of power. There aren't any major bitcoin miners who utilize coal or oil as a power source and so bitcoin mining could be considered an environmentally friendly industry despite its high energy consumption.

Near the bottom we see the following notice which complicates things.

The research was supported by the Centre for Law and Development at the College of Law, Qatar University.

It appears this "study" was funded by a university in Qatar. For those who know the middle easts reputation for oil production, Qatar is one of the oil production capitals of the world. Oil based energy produces emissions and so Qatar claiming about emissions is a bit ironic if not hypocritical.

This could represent an indirect way for Qatar and oil producing nations to attack the consumer base of hydroelectric energy.

The part about this study being "peer reviewed" also somewhat funny.

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bitmover
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August 03, 2018, 10:14:42 AM
Merited by kryptqnick (1)
 #2

Bitcoin mining is always looking for the cheapest energy available anywhere in the world. It makes no difference if you are mining in America or Asia, you just need the cheapest energy.
Hydroelectricity is the cheapest (or of the cheapest) energy sources available.

All this fake news and misinformation about bitcoin mining is sad.

Bitcoin mining uses as much electricity as Christmas lights decorations.

http://www.coindaily.co/christmas-decorations-consume-as-much-electricity-as-bitcoin-mining/


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August 03, 2018, 10:19:54 AM
 #3

I can't believe that this information is true even not being an expert. It seems to be just fake news like you wrote because i know people who are engaged in mining and have a clear understanding of how this happens

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August 03, 2018, 11:53:49 AM
 #4

Idk how people are able to create such false information even though information is widely accessible with little to no restrictions today? Little do these researchers know that miners always seek places wherein energy costs is kept at the minimum, and they always opt for greener energy if possible. Why would a mining operator agree to a lucrative rate when it comes to electricity? Wouldn't it be harmful to his/her operations in the long run especially if bitcoin under-performed? The study's scope, perhaps, is limited and hasn't seen the state of bitcoin mining today. Such a huge FUD and BS without them verifying their data.

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August 03, 2018, 12:19:20 PM
 #5

Yes, Bitcoin's cost for production is about 6K, 200 kWh is used to verify one transaction using the PoW SHA-256 algorithm.

But with increasing complexity, these costs will increase, besides the cost of maintaining the system itself is also expensive.

Help in this problem can only coordinate changes in mining.
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August 03, 2018, 11:04:19 PM
Merited by hatshepsut93 (1)
 #6

Bitcoin mining is always looking for the cheapest energy available anywhere in the world. It makes no difference if you are mining in America or Asia, you just need the cheapest energy.
Hydroelectricity is the cheapest (or of the cheapest) energy sources available.

All this fake news and misinformation about bitcoin mining is sad.
Bitcoin mining uses as much electricity as Christmas lights decorations.

http://www.coindaily.co/christmas-decorations-consume-as-much-electricity-as-bitcoin-mining/

No offense but that article is soooo outdated Smiley

Quote
He found that the range of electricity consumption was between 6.78 TWh/year and 2.85 TWh/year which gives an average assumed consumption of approximately 4.73 TWh/year.

He relies from data found here:

Nothing bad at first but..the math is done for:

Quote
Therefore the lower bound electricity consumption of the network at 3250 PH/s assuming the best-case scenario of 100% of miners currently running one of the latest 3 most efficient ASICs (at best 0.10 J/GH) is 325 MW or 2.85 TWh/year.

He has later updated it for January 2018

Quote
As of 11 January 2018 (average hash rate of 16200 PH/s):
Lower bound   Best guess   Upper bound
Energy consumption (TWh/yr)   14.19   18.40   27.4

The hash rate since then has reached 50 exahash
That's 3 times as much as that or 42TWh... at least!!!!

I don't really understand why people are so fast on dismissing this huge energy consumption as FUD.
This is real, there are at least 3 million S9 or equivalent out there each running at ~ 1400W.
Simple math, no FUD!!!





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August 04, 2018, 06:10:25 AM
 #7

"Growing environmental threat" is a very big exaggeration.
I don't see millions of people buying Antminer S9 and I don't see millions of new mining facilities all over the place.The mining growth is really small and ,if there's a problem with energy consumption,the blockchain devs will figure out a way to reduce it.The problem isn't in crypto mining itself.It's in the dirty energy production technology.

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August 04, 2018, 11:38:50 AM
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I don't really understand why people are so fast on dismissing this huge energy consumption as FUD.
This is real, there are at least 3 million S9 or equivalent out there each running at ~ 1400W.
Simple math, no FUD!!!

High crypto miner energy consumption could translate to large investment and funding towards so called "zero emissions" and "renewable" energy sources like hydroelectric power.

Bitcoin miners are likely to represent a massive consumer base for industrial hydroelectric power worldwide. This could mean large piles of money are being thrown at hydroelectric power plants which will encourage the construction of more hydroelectric plants. It could be far better than money being thrown at coal, natural gas or oil powered power plants.

The irony here is this study was funded by a Qatar based university. Qatar being one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas in the entire world means them funding "studies" complaining about emissions is like apple funding a study complaining about there being too many smartphones(iphones) and tablets(ipads) in the world.

I think this is meant to attack the consumer base of hydroelectric power plants as they are a competitor to the oil and natural gas plants which Qatar powers.

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August 04, 2018, 01:22:34 PM
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It is true that BTC mining is currently has a consumption of maybe 1% or less of the total world consumption of electricity, so by just these facts at this point to consider it a danger to the environment is somewhat exaggerated. China is still keep the lead role in BTC mining with some 70% or more hash rate, but most of mining farms are located near the hydroelectric power stations and use this green energy - but it is also true that some use energy from coal-fired power plants which is one of the most important energy sources in China today.

On the other hand hydroelectric power station may be a source of green energy, but they are also dangerous for the environment in a way that when people make them, they change landscape by making a dams which leads to large areas being flooded, people need to be relocated-stay without homes and river life suffer great damage.

Only one example how devastating effect hydroelectric power station have on wild life and people who live by the river and from the river can be seen in Brazil.

Quote
“We’re watching extinction unfold in front of us,” one scientist says of the impact of Brazil’s Balbina Dam.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/energy/2015/07/150701-hydropower-dam-threatens-amazon-wildlife/

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August 04, 2018, 02:03:54 PM
 #10

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New study assesses tax and regulatory options to incentivize the development of “green” blockchain technologies and discourages use of polluting applications

“Digital currency mining is the first major industry developed from Blockchain, because its transactions alone consume more electricity than entire nations,” said Dr. Truby. “It needs to be directed towards sustainability if it is to realize its potential advantages.

“Many developers have taken no account of the environmental impact of their designs, so we must encourage them to adopt consensus protocols that do not result in high emissions.
It's not like blockchain developers or miners invented electricity anyway, so why blame them even if the use is significant (though people say it's not)? The biggest mining farms are in China and this country is known for making serious negative impact on the environment anyway, so I guess it even would be pretty hard to evaluate the harm from mining separately.

It appears this "study" was funded by a university in Qatar. For those who know the middle easts reputation for oil production, Qatar is one of the oil production capitals of the world. Oil based energy produces emissions and so Qatar claiming about emissions is a bit ironic if not hypocritical.

It actually makes sense to me. Such 'studies' are a good way to try distracting society from the real harm countries like Qatar make on the life of our planet.
Bitcoin mining uses as much electricity as Christmas lights decorations.

http://www.coindaily.co/christmas-decorations-consume-as-much-electricity-as-bitcoin-mining/
That's actually a good piece of information! I decided to dig a bit more into electricity consumption though. The current estimated rate of electricity consumption for bitcoin mining per year is 73 TWh (well, throughout the year it went from 15 to 72, actually). This article by coindaily is pretty old, but perhaps it is just that this website on consumption is providing inaccurate data (https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption), because it says that at the time the article got published, estimated energy consumption of btc mining per year was 34 TWh, not less than 6 TWh. This website also estimates btc mining energy consuption to be close to the one of Austria. Even according to this website, though, it is only 0.33% of the total Earth's energy consumption, so it doesn't seem to be a big deal.

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August 04, 2018, 03:52:02 PM
 #11

High crypto miner energy consumption could translate to large investment and funding towards so called "zero emissions" and "renewable" energy sources like hydroelectric power.

Bitcoin miners are likely to represent a massive consumer base for industrial hydroelectric power worldwide.

All good till here....

This could mean large piles of money are being thrown at hydroelectric power plants which will encourage the construction of more hydroelectric plants.

This is where the problems start.
You just can't go around and build dams like you build gas power plants or nuclear reactors.
You need a huge river, you need elevation and you need a constant debit or you're just going to have to put one incredible dam to balance the water from the rainy season to the dry one, which leads to a lot of money spent., a lot!!!!

And now the real problem.
What if bitcoin reaches 50 000 in November? Or 100 000 by December?
The hashrate continues to go up, meaning that miners are still adding gear even at those prices.
From 40-70 TWh we go to 560-980 Twh and at this point, we're talking about 5% of electric energy production worldwide.

The laws of supply and demand will kick in, gues who are going to be the collateral victims of a rising demand in energy and the supply not keeping with it?

This thing will hit us out of nowhere just like the 20-40$ tx...
Which was also dismissed as FUD just months before it actually happened.

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August 04, 2018, 09:35:31 PM
 #12


No offense but that article is soooo outdated Smiley

Quote
He found that the range of electricity consumption was between 6.78 TWh/year and 2.85 TWh/year which gives an average assumed consumption of approximately 4.73 TWh/year.

He relies from data found here:

Nothing bad at first but..the math is done for:

Quote
Therefore the lower bound electricity consumption of the network at 3250 PH/s assuming the best-case scenario of 100% of miners currently running one of the latest 3 most efficient ASICs (at best 0.10 J/GH) is 325 MW or 2.85 TWh/year.

He has later updated it for January 2018

Quote
As of 11 January 2018 (average hash rate of 16200 PH/s):
Lower bound   Best guess   Upper bound
Energy consumption (TWh/yr)   14.19   18.40   27.4

The hash rate since then has reached 50 exahash
That's 3 times as much as that or 42TWh... at least!!!!

I don't really understand why people are so fast on dismissing this huge energy consumption as FUD.
This is real, there are at least 3 million S9 or equivalent out there each running at ~ 1400W.
Simple math, no FUD!!!


Thanks for your reply

I agree that it's a huge consumption. However, that's the cost to secure the network.
It's the only way to make bitcoin safe against an attack from a country, or something big like that

How much does the banking system consumes per year?
It's not as easy to calculate as bitcoin energy consumption. That's why everyone attack bitcoin, but not banking system energy consumption.


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August 04, 2018, 10:07:28 PM
 #13

I don't think that case is so serious, because we are having so much different plans and fabrics, that are really a threat to Environmental. But they are not speaking about them they are speaking about hyping topic of Bitcoin.
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August 04, 2018, 10:33:45 PM
Merited by bitmover (1)
 #14

How much does the banking system consumes per year?
It's not as easy to calculate as bitcoin energy consumption. That's why everyone attack bitcoin, but not banking system energy consumption.

How many transactions does the global banking system process each day?
Let's go for bitcoin with the number of 200 000 tx /day and 0.3% of the world power consumption.
Assuming, just for laughs that the baking system does 200 million, that would lead proportionally to > 300%  Grin

How about we compare the bitcoin power consumption with something that matches it also in usage?

Right now the power is not yet an issue it's somewhere between 0.3-0.4% nothing that can affect global prices yet, but what I'm concerned is what will happen if we experience another pump to 30-40k before the next halving.
Manufacturers have a lot of equipment on  stock, there is old gear available also, if a spike happens the energy burned by miners will go instantly beyond 1%.
Public transport in the EU, which is used daily by millions if not hundreds of millions uses 2%, this just doesn't sound right.

And what is worse...what will happen when the rewards will drop to 0.0x?
Fees? Will fees compensate 18 millions $/day?
All that abandoned gear could be picked up by cents/ton and used as in an attack.

There has to be a solution, not PoS (I dislike it more than PoW) but something else. Don't have a clue what or how could it be done but the longer we go this path the harder will be to deal with it.




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August 09, 2018, 12:27:27 PM
 #15

If you read and analyze ICO projects,now in fact,now there are a lot of startups associated with alternative energy sources.Most likely, in the near future, the production of all crypto-currencies will be provided with alternative energy sources



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Nisharawal
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August 09, 2018, 06:14:52 PM
 #16

I totall agree with the topic that it is fake statement that Bitcoin mining is a growing environmental threat because nowadays bitcoin mining has been developing with a good speed and the growth rate is really having some positive impacts on the market and of course i do know that there are some issues of electricity and heating issues which occurs due to mining process but believe me they will soon be removed from the mining process.

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hatshepsut93
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August 09, 2018, 06:58:39 PM
 #17


The hash rate since then has reached 50 exahash
That's 3 times as much as that or 42TWh... at least!!!!

I don't really understand why people are so fast on dismissing this huge energy consumption as FUD.
This is real, there are at least 3 million S9 or equivalent out there each running at ~ 1400W.
Simple math, no FUD!!!



World's final energy consumption is around 110,000 TWh per year, so Bitcoin's consumption is 0.037% of it. IMO it's still very far away from being environmental threat on par with transports and industry.

Also, the article sounds like FUD because it talks how expensive Bitcoin transactions are, trying to make readers compare them with their regular bank transactions. This is incorrect because Bitcoin transactions are different, especially with Lightning Network when one onchain transaction can lead to countless LN transactions.


If you read and analyze ICO projects,now in fact,now there are a lot of startups associated with alternative energy sources.Most likely, in the near future, the production of all crypto-currencies will be provided with alternative energy sources

If you read and analyze ICO projects, you will know that they are scams. You don't need to create a token every time you start a business, and you don't need to put blockchain into everything.

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August 09, 2018, 07:03:29 PM
 #18

While the future of Bitcoin might be bright, environmentalists don’t think so, and I believe it is safe to call this a beef against the Bticoin/Cryptocurrency industry. My reasons are;

People, in general, seem to accept that industries that are into production causes pollution, but can they wrap their heads around a digital item making pollution? Will they accept that? We have many data centers around the world that house and compute our data, and they run using electricity and require cooling causing a higher need for electricity. Storing data is causing pollution like steel mills and coal mines.

Our largest energy consumers though seem to be steel and iron, refining, basic chemical production, pulp and paper making, metal production (nonferrous) such as aluminum, and nonmetallic minerals (primarily cement).  Together these industries account for half of the delivered energy. Bitcoin is a drop in the energy bucket compared to any of these behemoths.

https:/www.tokens24.com/cryptopedia/mining/bitcoin-mining-power-consumption-facts/amp
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August 10, 2018, 03:38:51 PM
 #19

World's final energy consumption is around 110,000 TWh per year, so Bitcoin's consumption is 0.037% of it. IMO it's still very far away from being an environmental threat on par with transports and industry.

There is one small detail here, final energy consumption is one and electric energy consumption is another thing.
Electric energy generation is just 1/5 of the total energy consumption, we can't just convert every energy source into electric power.

We can't start burning all coal, gas, oil just to produce electric energy, we still have tractors,cars, and smelters to run.

As I said, the number is quite small at the moment, and I'm not concerned about the implication right now, but with the evolution. Even with the price below 7k$ we still see gear added, for example for me is still profitable to min even with the first generation of s9, not talking about the new inno t2, which means that miners could still burn more energy and still get profit even now.
The problem is that money miners get could double overnight, you can't do that with the world energy.

And what bothers me is this ongoing comparison between bitcoin and the industry, like @Mjadon15 is doing
Can we live with bitcoin? Yes, we can as we did in 2000.
Can we live without cars or steel or plastic? Yes, we can as we did in....2000.... BC...

hatshepsut93
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August 10, 2018, 04:05:15 PM
 #20


As I said, the number is quite small at the moment, and I'm not concerned about the implication right now, but with the evolution. Even with the price below 7k$ we still see gear added, for example for me is still profitable to min even with the first generation of s9, not talking about the new inno t2, which means that miners could still burn more energy and still get profit even now.
The problem is that money miners get could double overnight, you can't do that with the world energy.

And what bothers me is this ongoing comparison between bitcoin and the industry, like @Mjadon15 is doing
Can we live with bitcoin? Yes, we can as we did in 2000.
Can we live without cars or steel or plastic? Yes, we can as we did in....2000.... BC...


You are correct here, if Bitcoin will continue to grow, than even with fraction of todays rewards the hashrate and energy consumption will be much higher than it is now. But there's a good chance that we'll have energy supply in the future, maybe thanks to fusion power, maybe there will be a resurgence of atomic power or just some new technologies. And in worst case, Bitcoin's PoW will find some equilibrium due to its game-theoretic nature.  In worst case, if PoW will not be able to catch up with network's value due to lack of electric power, then the network might get attacked and it's value will reduce to sustainable level.

I think that comparison is valid because even if we "kill" Bitcoin today, it won't save the planet, so eco-activists should focus more on the bigger problems first.

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