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Bitcoin could cost us our clean-energy future
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-12-06 20:19:46

The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge - an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.

[...]

In just a few months from now, at bitcoin's current growth rate, the electricity demanded by the cryptocurrency network will start to outstrip what's available, requiring new energy-generating plants. And with the climate conscious racing to replace fossil fuel-base plants with renewable energy sources, new stress on the grid means more facilities using dirty technologies. By July 2019, the bitcoin network will require more electricity than the entire United States currently uses. By February 2020, it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

This is an unsustainable trajectory. It simply can't continue.

Not only is bitcoin tulips, but it's also incredibly bad for our planet. These energy numbers are insanity.

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Ha
By birdie on 2017-12-07 07:02:06
> Not only is bitcoin tulips

Yeah, it will soon hit 10 years of age, its trading volume is close to 10 billion dollars a day, it's recognized by a lot of financial analysts, it poses a real threat to the old banking system but it's tulips, right.

Either you hate it, Thom, or you feel left out, or you don't understand it. In either case your statement is devoid of anything other than pure rejection for the sake of rejection.

Edited 2017-12-07 07:02 UTC
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RE: That is the problem with Bitcoin in general
By birdie on 2017-12-07 07:06:14
>Bitcoin technically is not moving forward. It's stagnant and hasn't improved much.

Another ANAL-yst.

There is too many people, organizations, too much money and power involved that upgrading [the] bitcoin [protocol] becomes quite difficult.

Edited 2017-12-07 07:06 UTC
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Positive
By matej on 2017-12-07 07:34:45
You can also cobsider this problem from the positive side. Much energy is now invested in the development of powerful and power efficient hardware. This hardware is also becoming available for the rest of the economy, and if the bubble bursts this hardware will become cheaper because demand collapses.
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RE[2]: That is the problem with Bitcoin in general
By Lennie on 2017-12-07 07:35:36
A DAO model with voting like for example Dash introduced seems to at least have a way to solve disputes. 'Voting rights' in Bitcoin are very limited.
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RE[2]: Comparison
By Lennie on 2017-12-07 07:36:55
The problem is the exponential part of the growth in Bitcoin if some of the articles are correct.
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RE: Ha
By Lennie on 2017-12-07 07:40:03
Tulips is what was part of what made the current financial system. So tulips can still be a big deal.
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RE: Comparison
By Drumhellar on 2017-12-07 08:11:27
In 2010, Google used 2.26 TWh, or about 1/16th of Bitcoin (Transactions + mining) currently does.
Permalink - Score: 3
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RE: Positive
By yoshi314@gmail.com on 2017-12-07 08:31:35
a lot of aforementioned hardware is circuitry designed to crach bitcoin mining problem. it's paperweight otherwise.
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RE[3]: Comparison
By Alfman on 2017-12-07 08:48:55
Lennie,

> The problem is the exponential part of the growth in Bitcoin if some of the articles are correct.

A greater short term problem as I see it are the arbitrary blocksize limits that bitcoin's developers hard coded into the protocol.

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_...


Without a fix, users will find that as bitcoin grows in popularity more and more transactions will fail to execute in a timely manor because there isn't enough space to record those transactions in the block chain.

The problem with hard coded protocol limits is that if the user base keeps growing exponentially, then eventually transactions will be forced to queue. At first for hours, then days, and even indefinitely. The fixed transaction capacity will make fees increasingly important in order to execute transactions. Some may not have a problem with this, but if we accept that only transactions with the highest fees will be processed, then that implies the gentrification of bitcoin where those at the bottom are forced to compete on fees with those at the top simply to complete a transaction. It is kind of sad that a virtual currency should have this property.

Edited 2017-12-07 08:51 UTC
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RE[3]: Comparison
By daedalus on 2017-12-07 09:07:21
Jesus didn't have a fir tree in his manger either. Or tree decorations. Or cards. Or snow.

I think of Christmas lights as one of the key features of Christmas actually - it's a lovely idea, and perhaps not as wasteful as it may initially appear. The excess energy that isn't used for light is turned into heat, so any lights that are indoors at least are having some of their energy recovered. I don't go for the fashion of buying new lights every year just to colour coordinate with the rest of the street of course (my sets are all at least 10 years old), or for having ridiculous outdoor displays, but newer LED-based lights are far more efficient too.

Mind you, energy efficiency for bitcoin mining could also be said to have the same side effect (contributing to the heating) in colder climates at least.
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