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Author Topic: The ecological impact of BitCoin  (Read 3416 times)
erisgumma
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March 23, 2011, 10:04:25 AM
 #1

I'm not really familiar with the system yet, but do have a lot of questions running around in my head.

So, starting with this. Is there any way to estimate the possible ecological impact of people using their computers to calculate BitCoin cryptography? Is the actual processing power - and therefore the amount of energy - spent to calculate a particular amount of BitCoin currency the same regardless of the number of users in the system?

I'm not really sure whether or not this is a really stupid question, but, well... I presume other people have been wondering about it as well.


edit: btw, is there any way to get an email notification for new answers to a topic?

should you feel curious (http://oletustila.net/indexe.html)
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genjix
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March 23, 2011, 10:57:26 AM
 #2

Yes, because people develop more and more efficient ways for mining. One guy here even prefabs custom chips.

Also the cost for minting new bitcoins is faaar lower than creating new metal coins/paper money + transporting them + counting them + handling them.
grondilu
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March 23, 2011, 11:04:33 AM
 #3

I guess it is possible to convert the difficulty into a unit of power (in watt, assuming everyone use a common market graphic card).  But this would give only the consumption for the winning nodes.

Some statistics should allow to evaluate the number of nodes, and thus the total consumption.

Quite a difficult maths problem, though.
eMansipater
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March 23, 2011, 11:37:35 AM
 #4

I'm not really familiar with the system yet, but do have a lot of questions running around in my head.

So, starting with this. Is there any way to estimate the possible ecological impact of people using their computers to calculate BitCoin cryptography? Is the actual processing power - and therefore the amount of energy - spent to calculate a particular amount of BitCoin currency the same regardless of the number of users in the system?

I'm not really sure whether or not this is a really stupid question, but, well... I presume other people have been wondering about it as well.


edit: btw, is there any way to get an email notification for new answers to a topic?
A good Mhash/watt ratio when mining is > 1.5, though I'd estimate for no reason in particular that the network average is closer to 1.  With the network as a whole at about 487 Ghash that would be around 487 kilowatts of power, or about the same as 264 Texans, which I'd say is not bad.

As far as actual ecological footprint you are pretty stuck though.  For example, I mine with hydroelectric power and my mining box doubles as a space heater, displacing home heating.  This is going to be very different than someone who is running their miner off coal power in their air-conditioned home (conceivably doubling the electricity needed).

More broadly though, we can say this:  with a cryptographic system, the idea is to get a good ratio of (resources needed to break):(resources needed to secure).  In this regard, Bitcoin has highly efficient crypto.  But even with good crypto, the only way to make the first one go up is to make the second one go up.  So the energy cost of bitcoin is probably pretty optimal for being able to truly protect the value involved, since there are lots of self-correcting mechanisms in place within the design.  All told, I'd guess bitcoins are a lot easier on the environment than the fuel overhead of lugging cash around in armoured vehicles.

Did any of that help?

If you found my post helpful, feel free to send a small tip to 1QGukeKbBQbXHtV6LgkQa977LJ3YHXXW8B
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erisgumma
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April 04, 2011, 06:31:03 PM
 #5

Did any of that help?
Yes, a bit. Guess I'll just try to surf in and play around with it.

should you feel curious (http://oletustila.net/indexe.html)
Zerbie
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April 05, 2011, 12:08:14 AM
 #6

I posted "Mining Responsibly" ( http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3905.msg55639#msg55639 )  back in February, and have since been turning my computers off during the day.  I'm not getting as many BTC now, but at least I'm doing the right thing.

Zerbie
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April 05, 2011, 06:05:39 AM
 #7

I'm not really familiar with the system yet, but do have a lot of questions running around in my head.

So, starting with this. Is there any way to estimate the possible ecological impact of people using their computers to calculate BitCoin cryptography? Is the actual processing power - and therefore the amount of energy - spent to calculate a particular amount of BitCoin currency the same regardless of the number of users in the system?

I'm not really sure whether or not this is a really stupid question, but, well... I presume other people have been wondering about it as well.


edit: btw, is there any way to get an email notification for new answers to a topic?
A good Mhash/watt ratio when mining is > 1.5...

You mean < 1.5... don't you?

God damn you write novels almost every post Tongue Makes me look like a lightweight!
rezin777
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April 05, 2011, 07:27:36 AM
 #8

I'm not really familiar with the system yet, but do have a lot of questions running around in my head.

So, starting with this. Is there any way to estimate the possible ecological impact of people using their computers to calculate BitCoin cryptography? Is the actual processing power - and therefore the amount of energy - spent to calculate a particular amount of BitCoin currency the same regardless of the number of users in the system?

I'm not really sure whether or not this is a really stupid question, but, well... I presume other people have been wondering about it as well.


edit: btw, is there any way to get an email notification for new answers to a topic?
A good Mhash/watt ratio when mining is > 1.5...

You mean < 1.5... don't you?

God damn you write novels almost every post Tongue Makes me look like a lightweight!

500Mhash/500watt = 1
750Mhash/500watt = 1.5
1000Mhash/500watt = 2

Which looks better to you?  Cheesy
Megawatt
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April 06, 2011, 08:53:18 AM
 #9

Actually the ecological impact of generating BitCoins is mitigated by the easiness of transfer, you don't have to fly to another location to pay, by using bitcoins you'll do it more ecologically.

Here is my address: 1PvQMc4tnFLwLDivh4d2fWJi4Dc9zSR1vp
felix
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April 06, 2011, 08:56:58 AM
 #10

Actually the ecological impact of generating BitCoins is mitigated by the easiness of transfer, you don't have to fly to another location to pay, by using bitcoins you'll do it more ecologically.
You don't need to fly to another location to use a credit card?
eMansipater
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April 06, 2011, 09:11:22 AM
 #11

I'm not really familiar with the system yet, but do have a lot of questions running around in my head.

So, starting with this. Is there any way to estimate the possible ecological impact of people using their computers to calculate BitCoin cryptography? Is the actual processing power - and therefore the amount of energy - spent to calculate a particular amount of BitCoin currency the same regardless of the number of users in the system?

I'm not really sure whether or not this is a really stupid question, but, well... I presume other people have been wondering about it as well.


edit: btw, is there any way to get an email notification for new answers to a topic?
A good Mhash/watt ratio when mining is > 1.5...

You mean < 1.5... don't you?

God damn you write novels almost every post Tongue Makes me look like a lightweight!
Grin

And what rezin777 said.  By the way, I love your domain name but it itself doesn't seem so beautiful right now Smiley .

Actually the ecological impact of generating BitCoins is mitigated by the easiness of transfer, you don't have to fly to another location to pay, by using bitcoins you'll do it more ecologically.
You don't need to fly to another location to use a credit card?
That's true, but don't forget the hidden ecological impact of running and securing a credit card network.  It's bigger than you'd think.  And the lost value due to overhead has got to figure in there somehow.  Credit cards also solve a different problem--the "trusted central corporation" problem instead of the "nobody has to be trusted" problem that BitCoin solves.

If you found my post helpful, feel free to send a small tip to 1QGukeKbBQbXHtV6LgkQa977LJ3YHXXW8B
Visit the BitCoin Q&A Site to ask questions or share knowledge.
0.009 BTC too confusing?  Use mBTC instead!  Details at www.em-bit.org or visit the project thread to help make Bitcoin prices more human-friendly.
LightRider
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April 10, 2011, 06:52:13 AM
 #12

Expending energy to build and maintain a system designed to limit people's access to resources is ultimately a waste of energy. But BTC is better than what we have now.

Bitcoin combines money, the wrongest thing in the world, with software, the easiest thing in the world to get wrong.
Visit www.thevenusproject.com and www.theZeitgeistMovement.com.
rezin777
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April 10, 2011, 08:17:40 AM
 #13

Expending energy to build and maintain a system designed to limit people's access to resources is ultimately a waste of energy. But BTC is better than what we have now.

How does bitcoin limit people's access to resources?
LightRider
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April 10, 2011, 08:43:13 AM
 #14

Limitation and scarcity are the basis of markets.

Bitcoin combines money, the wrongest thing in the world, with software, the easiest thing in the world to get wrong.
Visit www.thevenusproject.com and www.theZeitgeistMovement.com.
goatpig
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April 10, 2011, 08:55:06 AM
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Limitation and scarcity are the basis of markets.

You didn't answer his question. How does Bitcoin limit poeple's access to resources?

Also the basis of markets is utility, and the basis of utility is survival.

btcarmory.com
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April 10, 2011, 09:11:30 AM
 #16

The basis of private property is the idea of exclusion, limitation and scarcity. Markets promote the ideas of private property, capital and profit and employ currency to do so. Bitcoin is a type of currency. Using energy to enforce these ideas is less efficient than providing for the needs of all people.

Bitcoin combines money, the wrongest thing in the world, with software, the easiest thing in the world to get wrong.
Visit www.thevenusproject.com and www.theZeitgeistMovement.com.
bittersweet
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April 10, 2011, 09:19:26 AM
 #17

Nobody enforces Bitcoin. If you want whole world without private property ruled by scientist and supercomputer, you will have to enforce that. Scarcity is not an idea, it's reality. Anyone who thinks he can convince 6 billion people to live in some circular communistic towns and that scarcity will magically go away and everyone will be happy about his share is a lunatic. Every experiment in the history with "just and equal" redistribution of goods ended up with larger poverty and more waste than ever.

My Bitcoin address: 1DjTsAYP3xR4ymcTUKNuFa5aHt42q2VgSg
LightRider
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April 10, 2011, 09:40:07 AM
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Nobody enforces Bitcoin. If you want whole world without private property ruled by scientist and supercomputer, you will have to enforce that. Scarcity is not an idea, it's reality. Anyone who thinks he can convince 6 billion people to live in some circular communistic towns and that scarcity will magically go away and everyone will be happy about his share is a lunatic. Every experiment in the history with "just and equal" redistribution of goods ended up with larger poverty and more waste than ever.
You don't need to enforce it, you need to promote it. There isn't a policeman right behind you every second of your life. You are just scared of having to deal with one, which keeps you in line. That won't be necessary in an RBE.

Bitcoin combines money, the wrongest thing in the world, with software, the easiest thing in the world to get wrong.
Visit www.thevenusproject.com and www.theZeitgeistMovement.com.
goatpig
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April 10, 2011, 09:55:12 AM
 #19

The basis of private property is the idea of exclusion, limitation and scarcity. Markets promote the ideas of private property, capital and profit and employ currency to do so. Bitcoin is a type of currency. Using energy to enforce these ideas is less efficient than providing for the needs of all people.

Nobody enforces Bitcoin. If you want whole world without private property ruled by scientist and supercomputer, you will have to enforce that. Scarcity is not an idea, it's reality. Anyone who thinks he can convince 6 billion people to live in some circular communistic towns and that scarcity will magically go away and everyone will be happy about his share is a lunatic. Every experiment in the history with "just and equal" redistribution of goods ended up with larger poverty and more waste than ever.
You don't need to enforce it, you need to promote it. There isn't a policeman right behind you every second of your life. You are just scared of having to deal with one, which keeps you in line. That won't be necessary in an RBE.

So your system is promoted because we have to beat the cop behind our back to allow your will to rule the planet, and Bitcoin is enforced cause we freely endorse it?

btcarmory.com
LightRider
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April 10, 2011, 11:11:36 AM
 #20

The basis of private property is the idea of exclusion, limitation and scarcity. Markets promote the ideas of private property, capital and profit and employ currency to do so. Bitcoin is a type of currency. Using energy to enforce these ideas is less efficient than providing for the needs of all people.

Nobody enforces Bitcoin. If you want whole world without private property ruled by scientist and supercomputer, you will have to enforce that. Scarcity is not an idea, it's reality. Anyone who thinks he can convince 6 billion people to live in some circular communistic towns and that scarcity will magically go away and everyone will be happy about his share is a lunatic. Every experiment in the history with "just and equal" redistribution of goods ended up with larger poverty and more waste than ever.
You don't need to enforce it, you need to promote it. There isn't a policeman right behind you every second of your life. You are just scared of having to deal with one, which keeps you in line. That won't be necessary in an RBE.

So your system is promoted because we have to beat the cop behind our back to allow your will to rule the planet, and Bitcoin is enforced cause we freely endorse it?

I will not engage in this discussion on this thread.

Bitcoin combines money, the wrongest thing in the world, with software, the easiest thing in the world to get wrong.
Visit www.thevenusproject.com and www.theZeitgeistMovement.com.
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