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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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RE[3]: Ha
By Vanders on 2017-12-07 19:19:38
Do you understand why people use the analogy of a bubble?
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RE[3]: Comparison
By JLF65 on 2017-12-07 20:09:15
> The problem is the exponential part of the growth in Bitcoin if some of the articles are correct.

No, it's not. Exponential growth can't continue past a certain point (usually something like the user base), so while a short-term section of the chart may look exponential, it will flatten out long before it reaches a level that's really bad.
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RE[2]: Scalability
By skeezix on 2017-12-07 22:58:07
Alfman and M.Onty, I agree thoroughly. The only reason mining exists is to track the existence and movement of fiat tokens through the network in a trustless way. If we start questioning the assumptions that we need fiat tokens and we need a trustless consensus system, very interesting possibilities start to naturally emerge.

As I was reading this article, I kept thinking about this project that recently came across my reading list called Holochain. I'm super excited about it. It takes the best part of Bitcoin, that is, the hash chain, and asks the questions, "can we ensure trust in other ways?" and "do we need tokens at all?"

Holochain is actually just an app platform that mashes P2P networking, a distributed hashtable, hash chains, and a small API together. Think of it like AWS Lambda meets Git meets BitTorrent meets PKI. But its first application, Holo, comes with a 'mutual credit' cryptocurrency. No tokens to mine, just double-entry accounting among peers and 'intrinsic' data integrity (that is, peers validate each other's data as a prerequisite to doing a transaction with each other).

Because it's an app ecosystem rather than a cryptocurrency, there are other interesting apps in the works, like microcurrency exchanges, co-op sharing economy platforms (think AirBnB and Uber but collectively owned), distributed Git, and voting/governance platforms.

It might sound like I'm a paid evangelist, but I'm just a really interested observer who got involved with the community a week or so ago. Some of these people have been working on the system for a decade though.

The Indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/project...

Some Medium links:
https://medium.com/holochain
https://medium.com/metacurrency-p...

The chatroom, for people who want to get involved:
https://chat.holochain.net/
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RE[3]: Ha
By unclefester on 2017-12-08 02:12:54
> It's been here for 9 years already and according to you it will die in a few months.

The price collapse will probably occur within weeks (if not days) at the current growth rate (20%/day).

> Have people collectively stopped using their rational mind?

Bitcoin has gone from being "worth" 6 cents in 2010 to $17,000 (today) based on nothing but hype. That is as irrational as you can get.

Economic history tells us that every "investment" that has a parabolic price rise collapses very shortly afterwards.

Edited 2017-12-08 02:21 UTC
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RE: Positive
By unclefester on 2017-12-08 02:18:40
> 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.

Most Bitcoins are mined on custom hardware (ASICs) that can't be reconfigured.
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RE[3]: Scalability
By Alfman on 2017-12-08 02:30:30
skeezix,

> As I was reading this article, I kept thinking about this project that recently came across my reading list called Holochain. I'm super excited about it. It takes the best part of Bitcoin, that is, the hash chain, and asks the questions, "can we ensure trust in other ways?" and "do we need tokens at all?"

This is very interesting. I've always felt something like that would be a good idea, running nodes at the edges of the network instead of having centralized services where everything's out of our control. I'm saddened that federated protocols have become sidelined in favor of proprietary services and that things like NAT and ISP port blocking are breaking the endpoint connectivity principal (ie I cannot host HTTP endpoints at home). I had been tinkering with idea for running a virtual P2P network on top of the internet that is free from these problems. But alas I'm not sure anyone would use it and I never came up with a business model that would let me work on it.


I will read about this some more. I don't know if Thom would post it, but it could make for a good article submission.

Edited 2017-12-08 02:38 UTC
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RE: Ha
By fabrica64 on 2017-12-08 06:57:49
> > Not only is bitcoin tulips
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.


It's trading well below 1 billion a day with occasional peaks of 2/3 billions. But if you have two/three millions dollars (that's not much in our current global economy) you can manipulate the price as far as 10%, as it happened in the last days. A perfect manipulated short opportunity for someone with some money to risk.

It's not really "recognized" by the financial community, they talk about it a lot but most of them say there are a lot of issues with it, first of all the volumes... you can't really play big volumes due to the limit in transactions' number.

And second the fact that you can't really but something in bitcoin, I mean no prices are set in bitcoin, price is normally set in fiat money and you need to change BTC on the on its very volatile rate before buying something, so it's not really working as a currency but much more like a tulip.

Edited 2017-12-08 07:00 UTC
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RE[4]: Scalability
By skeezix on 2017-12-08 18:36:36
> But alas I'm not sure anyone would use it and I never came up with a business model that would let me work on it.

That's the tricky part, isn't it? Building enough momentum that the network effect can happen. I think these folks have a bit of donations, so that's how they're funding the initial work. The crowdfund is an interesting angle: build the network first, using fancy looking hosting boxes that don't require Linux knowledge to get working. Then build the apps on the existing network.

> I don't know if Thom would post it, but it could make for a good article submission.

Thanks for the encouragement; I think I'll do that!
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RE: Bitcoin is worthless
By zima on 2017-12-09 00:47:06
> If you dig for diamonds, gold, copper, etc. you still need lots of energy, but you get very useful physical resources to create millions of things.
I must note that most of widespread uses of diamonds or gold are also useless...
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RE: Comment Title
By zima on 2017-12-09 00:51:20
> And unfortunately instead of learning useful skills like children used to in the past, I spent my youth wasting my time in an education that was meant to make me dumb and dependent.
Yes, yes, the past is always better ...you mean useful child skills like coal mining? (and if you think education made you dumb, perhaps it's succeeded; "dependent" is the whole idea behind functional society)
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