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Bitcoin uses far too much energy

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Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 04:03:03

The Ridiculous Amount of Energy It Takes to Run Bitcoin
Running Bitcoin uses a small city’s worth of electricity. Intel and others want to make a more sustainable blockchain.


Bitcoin “miners” are electromagnetic alchemists, effectively turning megawatt-hours of electricity into the world’s fastest-growing currency. Their intensive computational activity cryptographically secures the virtual currency, approves transactions, and, in the process, creates new bitcoins for the miners, as payment.

And it does another thing, too: It uses an absolutely stunning amount of power. The ever-expanding racks of processors used by miners already consume as much electricity as a small city. It’s a problem that experts say is bad and getting worse.


Original article is at: https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/policy/the-ridiculous-amount-of-energy-it-takes-to-run-bitcoin

The problem with bitcoin and online currencies in general: They evaporate with the web. If you believe (as I do) that the last two survivors of the human race will be networked to one another, then this is a good idea.

If you believe the web and the power grid are toast, online currencies are no good. Nor is gold IMHO. I might trade you some homegrown food for some really fine wines or liquors, but you can't eat gold coins.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby GoghGoner » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 09:04:44

First time I read about Bitcoin's energy use, I had the same thought. So ridiculous.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 09:47:18

KaiserJeep, if the grid goes down the bulk of "paper" currency goes with it too. You know from your professional experience that on the order of 95% of all "money" is not physical paper, it is simply entries in electronic book keeping systems. Even if it only goes down for a week the lost trading volume would be economical disastrous and we would have to reset our system to use something else as an acceptable alternative. Perhaps we would end up with everyone having a smartcard that remembers all your exact balances in all accounts and updates every time you use it dispersing the information so it is survivable. One thing I am fairly certain about, humans dither until a crisis and then try and smart or fight their way out.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby GHung » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 10:42:15

One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses as Much Energy as Your House in a Week
Bitcoin’s surge in price has sent its electricity consumption soaring.

.......
It's impossible to know exactly how much electricity the Bitcoin network uses. But we can run a quick calculation of the minimum energy Bitcoin could be using, assuming that all miners are running the most efficient hardware with no efficiency losses due to waste heat. To do this, we'll use a simple methodology laid out in previous coverage on Motherboard. This would give us a constant total mining draw of just over one gigawatt.

That means that, at a minimum, worldwide Bitcoin mining could power the daily needs of 821,940 average American homes.

Put another way, global Bitcoin mining represents a minimum of 77KWh of energy consumed per Bitcoin transaction. Even as an unrealistic lower boundary, this figure is high: As senior economist Teunis Brosens from Dutch bank ING wrote, it's enough to power his own home in the Netherlands for nearly two weeks.

Digiconomist's less optimistic estimate for per-transaction energy costs now sits at around 215 KWh of electricity. That's more than enough to fill two Tesla batteries, run an efficient fridge/freezer for a full year, or boil 1872 litres of water in a kettle.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... ate-change
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 10:50:23

Given its bubble like rise and the excessive energy use, one has to conclude that Bitcoin is a boondoggle
Now I am not sure one can characterize all Cryptocurrencies as such
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 11:06:01

Tanada, I know and I was alluding to the epheremal nature of electronic currencies in general, you clarified it nicely. I would make the further point that they are all of them useless if we don't have an ever-present network to support online trade.

Once reduced to barter, I'm no longer interested in trading my food and liquors and spices and herbs for anything else, including printed pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents on them, or little disks of precious metals with images stamped on them. So physical currencies also lose value, because due to the understanding of the true nature of money brought about by online commerce, we all of us understand all too well what used to be termed "fiat currency". It's another side effect of an electronic network, this new understanding of the nature of money.

Now let me share with you the sure and certain reason why this is a problem we Middle Class folks don't need to worry about. That would be the much-maligned 1%. Because you see they have SO MUCH MORE TO LOSE than do you or I.

I'm not confining my observations to Bitcoin, in case that was not clear already. We already have virtual currency and credit and even virtual securities. Every time you use a credit card, a debit card, make an online purchase, or an online trade in a stock or commodities exchange, you are using digital currency. The fact that we choose to keep score in US dollars in most places is why the rest of the World hates the USA. That's also the true nature of Bitcoin - a new digital currency, more resistent to counterfeiting, that is appreciating due to unfounded speculation. Believe me, I made a career out of building trusted hardware to keep track of virtual money, and "bits is just bits".

The basic elements of life are the only things that have true value. Food, clean water, and clean air. Warmth and a place to rest comfortably. The presence of friends, either physical or virtual, and preferably BOTH physical and virtual.

What brought about this revelation was the death of a "friend", or perhaps "slave" would be a better term. Our 14-year-old, well-used, and comfortably familiar refrigerator-freezer died yesterday, and took a couple of hundred dollars in fresh food with it. We lost the contents of the refrigerator section, and the stuff in the freezer went to about -10 degrees F, because a little motor that operated a flapper door seperating the two sections died, and the cold air was confined to the freezer only. So today we have the surviving chilled items, mostly pickles, condiments, and carbonated drinks, in a Coleman cooler while we rotate blue ice packs through the over-performing freezer.

The small replacement assembly is not available online or at local appliance suppliers. So we are shopping for a new unit that will cost at least $1000 in 2018 fiat currency - but they will get our business only if they deliver and carry off the appliance "corpse". We are also restricted in what we buy by the fact that in our 10-year-old kitchen remodel, we wrapped custom cherry cabinetry around the existing appliance. So now we are shopping for something in a stainless finish to match the other appliances, and within an inch or two of the same height and width as the old unit.

Call it a reminder of the nature of our economy and the value of currencies.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 11:36:57

I think the era of excess energy made possible by fossil fuels has conjured up all sorts of extravagant, superfluous and frivolous activities and traditions. Being born and living within this era makes it difficult for us to truly appreciate this reality. But I could not agree more that what matters really are the tangible and physical basic necessities of life.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby pstarr » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 11:59:18

Doesn't the valuation of an Andy Warhol soup can cost a lot of money? His collection has to be curated by eager interns and analyzed by knowing experts. It is an expensive timely operation, dependent on a lot of blah blah blah and energy swapping.
In larger institutions, the curator's primary function is that of a subject specialist, with the expectation that he or she will conduct original research on objects and guide the organization in its collecting. Such institutions can have multiple curators, each assigned to a specific collecting area (e.g., curator of ancient art, curator of prints and drawings, etc.) and often operating under the direction of a head curator. In such organizations, the physical care of the collection may be overseen by museum collections managers or museum conservators, and documentation and administrative matters (such as personnel, insurance, and loans) are handled by a museum registrar.
. . .
blah blah blah
. . .
Curators hold a high academic degree in their subject, typically a Doctor of Philosophy or a master's degree in subjects such as history, history of art, art, archaeology, anthropology, or classics.[7][8][9] Curators are also expected to have contributed to their academic field, for example, by delivering public talks, publishing articles, or presenting at specialist academic conferences.[7] It is important that curators have knowledge of the current collecting market for their area of expertise, and are aware of current ethical practices and laws that may impact their organisation's collecting.[10][11]

The increased complexity of many museums and cultural organisations has prompted the emergence of professional programs in fields such as public history, museum studies, arts management, and curating/curatorial practice.[12] In 1992, the Royal College of Art established an MA course co-funded by the Royal College of Art and the Arts Council of Great Britain, the first in Britain to specialise in curating with a particular focus on contemporary art. The course is now funded by Arts Council England, and in 2001 the course title was amended to Curating Contemporary Art to more accurately reflect the content and primary focus of the programme.[13] Similarly, a number of contemporary art institutions launched curatorial study courses as an alternative to traditional academic programs. Established in 1987, the École du Magasin is a curatorial training program based at the art center Le Magasin in Grenoble, France. Similarly, the Whitney Museum of American Art, through its independent study program, hosts a curatorial program as one of its three study areas, and de Appel arts centre has hosted a curatorial programme since 1994. Other institutions that run programs in curating include Norwich University of the Arts; The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK, Kingston University; Goldsmiths, University of London; Birkbeck, University of London; Chelsea College of Arts; University of the Arts London; California College of the Arts; University of Southern California; Bard College; School of Visual Arts; the École du Louvre; University of Rennes 2—Upper Brittany; OCAD University; and University of Melbourne. (See →External links for further information on courses.)

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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 12:11:27

I used to devour museums with gusto. Now I indulge occasionally, but not to any great extent. The Smithsonian was my idea of a Museum. History, Technology, Natural History, and Science/Industry. Art Museums, not so much.

"Curator" strikes me as an invention to employ a useless academic drone, to be frank about the topic. I'd rather read a little plaque written by a true expert than be "curated" by someone of lesser talents.

As for Andy Warhol, I saw some of his work in NYC many years ago when he was still alive. He probably laughed all the way to the bank, as did Swartzeneggar after making those "Conan" movies, before he was even fluid in English.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby pstarr » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 12:21:21

KaiserJeep wrote:I used to devour museums with gusto. Now I indulge occasionally, but not to any great extent. The Smithsonian was my idea of a Museum. History, Technology, Natural History, and Science/Industry. Art Museums, not so much.

"Curator" strikes me as an invention to employ a useless academic drone, to be frank about the topic. I'd rather read a little plaque written by a true expert than be "curated" by someone of lesser talents.

As for Andy Warhol, I saw some of his work in NYC many years ago when he was still alive. He probably laughed all the way to the bank, as did Swartzeneggar after making those "Conan" movies, before he was even fluid in English.

Yes to all that. But not my point. My point is that asset valuation in the world today is often nonsense supported by a team of interns with advanced 'Communication' Degrees.

I live in a LEEDS passive house. It perhaps has less value than otherwise . . . because the information I hold dear (it will sustain me post-peak) means nothing to most people. Those same people would value a flat-roofed, glassed-in concrete box on a cold windy bluff overlooking a soupy tepid eutrophied bay next to Nantucket . . . at many 10's of $millions.

It's all information overload ha ha ha
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 12:35:56

I'll see you LEEDS certification, and raise you to PassivHaus.

I need to make a lot of changes to my Nantucket home-in-the-forest, before it's energy efficient - and it'll never be a prime example of such, although the two additional structures we can build on the same property could be.

The good news is it only uses about 17 gallons of oil a season in it's current occupancy of 2-4 weeks/year, with the thermostat set at 50 degrees when empty. I really have no idea what the costs will be for year-round occupancy.

Hopefully, a couple of years to plan and make changes. Then build a Summer place on Lake Michigan.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby pstarr » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 13:38:38

KJ, A LEEDS certification was offered by my architect . . . but i declined. I did not see the value of the additional cost for myself, other than bragging rights. And I didn't know anyone at the time I would have bragged to lol

The certification would have been a feather in the architect's cap, an additional valuation to his business. I would have done so if the architect encouraged me.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 13:49:42

Tanada wrote:KaiserJeep, if the grid goes down the bulk of "paper" currency goes with it too. You know from your professional experience that on the order of 95% of all "money" is not physical paper, it is simply entries in electronic book keeping systems.

Another benefit of solar panels rolling out over time. Do the Walmarts with the massive roof solar arrays go dark if the grid goes down for an hour or three? (I don't know, just asking).

I know some stores like Home Depot have generator backups and if the grid is down awhile, the store can stay open, the cash registers run, and some of the lights are still on. One of the few times I was pleasantly surprised at the service at Home Depot was when this happened in my home town last summer.

I agree that a huge proportion of the currency and transactions is digital. I'm just figuring that as the grid gets more distributed as green energy sources roll out, this will less and less of a big deal, especially in the short term.

Already today, everyone with a smart phone who wants to can still shop online (up to the capacity of the cell towers) for hours if the grid goes down locally or regionally. Same story for home banking.

...

Now, dealing with Bitcoin mining, etc. which takes pretty massive power, that is likely a completely different kettle of fish, at least in the vast majority of cases.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby GHung » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 15:14:45

When the first quantum computer comes online, bitcoin will go POOF.

Breaking Bitcoin With a Quantum Computer

Alex Beath, a Toronto-based physicist and pension fund analyst, is skeptical about Bitcoin but sees one useful purpose for the crypto-currency: It may detect when someone creates a working quantum computer.

“The second someone creates a viable quantum computer, the NP-complete math problems at the heart of Bitcoin mining tech become instantly solvable,” Beath notes. “In other words, one answer to the question ‘what’s the first thing you’d do with a quantum computer?’ is ‘mine all of the remaining Bitcoin instantly.’ Until that happens, nobody has a quantum computer.”

Beath’s off-the-cuff observation, which he made in response to a Fortune query about the security of bitcoin, is amusing. But it also underscores a serious problem: Namely, a new era of computing is fast-approaching and when it arrives, the system that gave rise to many crypto-currency fortunes will collapse.

This threat to Bitcoin and other software systems that use the same underlying encryption technique—a technique likely to crumble in the face of a quantum-based attack—is not new. Indeed, it was predicted decades ago, and Ethereum founder (and former journalist) Vitalik Buterin wrote about how to defend it in 2013.

The difference today, though, is that companies like Microsoft, Google and IBM are making rapid breakthroughs that could make quantum computing viable in less than 10 years......

http://fortune.com/2018/01/06/breaking- ... rsaturday/

What will all of that freed-up electricity do to energy markets? Maybe those miners will go back to playing games.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 10 Jan 2018, 17:06:02

GHung wrote:When the first quantum computer comes online, bitcoin will go POOF.

Well, that's an exaggeration, but the concept is valid. If moderately reliable quantum computers become a thing, with moderate power (i.e. sufficient bit size and speed), then LOTS of bad things re security happen.

The vast majority of in-use cryptography today protecting the vast majority (if not all) of banking, and all the cryptographically transmitted https ("secure") data uses algorithms dependent upon the difficulty of factoring huge numbers.

If that is broken, it's a hell of a lot bigger problem than crypto going poof, unless society makes serious plans and is ready for it with alternate, seamless strategies, well ahead of time.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, given the way humanity tends to deal with serious problems affecting billions of people, how likely is that to happen?
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 02:24:10

It may well be using too much much energy but my son is getting very rich out of it.

@Tanada
Smart cards won't survive EMP or decent CME, eg Carrington like event.
If current web collapsed, it will be also probably for the same reason. Little Fat Man in NK may see to it if sufficiently provoked.

@Outcast Searcher
This would require 5000-10000 q-bits quantum computers. Few years in the future, 10 years at most if BAU last this long.
However there are cryptocurrencies which *are* quantum ready, eg quantum computation approach is of no use in breaking their codes.
Example is NEO.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby EdwinSm » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:44:25

So we finally get an energy based currency ????
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 17:35:04

EdwinSm wrote:So we finally get an energy based currency ????


No, not really. Bitcoin is an idea intended to curb the piracy of online currencies. However the blockchain technology that underlies bitcoin and other crypto currencies consumes massive amounts of energy not only when these currencies are used, but when they are simply stored without use.

People often point to a US penny coin as an example of a poorly designed currency, because the materials and labor cost the US Mint about 1.5 cents to make each penny.

Compare that to a blockchain based currency where each time it is used, the blockchain grows longer and takes incrementally more energy just to maintain the record of it's existence. As time passes and crypto currencies spread and get used, more and more computing resources and more and more energy are consumed. Inevitably will come the day when these currencies - although still as secure as claimed - will be more trouble to use than they are worth. When that happens, merchants will refuse to accept them, because it becomes cheaper to deal in less secure currencies such as dollars or yuans, even after you deal with the electronic crime that accompanies such "money".

The way things are escalating, "peak crypto currency" might well happen this year, followed by collapse.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 20:05:34

EnergyUnlimited wrote:
@Outcast Searcher
This would require 5000-10000 q-bits quantum computers. Few years in the future, 10 years at most if BAU last this long.

Are you talking computational qubits or total qubits? For a few years or so, 50 computational qubits looks plenty aggressive, and assumes various things go right.

As of November, 2017:
https://futurism.com/ibm-announced-50-q ... -computer/
A 50-qubit machine can perform extremely difficult computational tasks, but with Google suggesting that this many qubits could outclass the most powerful supercomputers, IBM’s machine isn’t yet ready for widespread, commercial, or personal use. Like all of today’s quantum computers, IBM’s 50- and 20-qubit systems still require highly specialized conditions to operate.

As of March 2017:

https://www.electronicproducts.com/Hard ... uters.aspx

Speaking of hardware, it seems IBM has accelerated its universal quantum computing roadmap somewhat. In May last year IBM said it would like to build a 50-qubit computer "in the next decade." Now we're down to "the next few years."


Despite the aggressive roadmap, however, there is no evidence that any scaling has, in fact, occurred. Recal the original publication, which involved nine computational qubits, and a total of 1000 qubits. Now IBM wants their quantum computer to be fully interconnected, so 50 computational qubits requires 1,225 connections. Each link seems to require 48 qubits for control, so 58,800 qubits. This is quite a jump for 1000 qubits on a board.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Bitcoin uses far too much energy

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 20:14:12

EnergyUnlimited wrote:However there are cryptocurrencies which *are* quantum ready, eg quantum computation approach is of no use in breaking their codes.
Example is NEO.

Do you have credible, clear, citations for this?

Because I (via various casual Google searches) see various breathless claims about things that might happen in the future re crypto-currencies and quantum computers, but considering quantum computers are in their infancy, it seems to be mostly theory, predictions, and promises, since it's not like serious testing of claims can be made by seriously powerful quantum computers.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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