[NetBehaviour] bitcoin power (from Michel Bauwens, G+)

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Mon Nov 27 05:36:37 CET 2017

It's the last comment that's the problem, and what's happening to the 
energy grids in various parts of the world that might not be so wealthy.
To be honest, it sickens me, just as our digital toys sicken me to the 
extent they come from problematic labor and are built by problematic 
companies maximizing labor. I think all of this, including everyone's use 
of these machines, myself included, should be part of the conversation. 
Lives, cultures, communities are at stake. And I'm sick of hearing about 
Foxconn for example.

- alan

On Sun, 26 Nov 2017, Rob Myers wrote:

> On 26/11/17 05:06 PM, Alan Sondheim wrote:
>> https://powercompare.co.uk/bitcoin/
>> One question, why does it take so much power?
> Security.
> "Miners" are machines that compete to be rewarded in Bitcoin for
> securing the Bitcoin network. They do this by gathering up transactions
> broadcast to the network every ten minutes or so into blocks, making
> sure they all follow the rules of the system, then solving a difficult
> mathematical puzzle to prove their good faith.
> The difficulty of that puzzle is set by an algorithm that measures the
> average time of the last two weeks worth of blocks, and tries to ensure
> that it will average out to ten minutes over the next two.
> Because Bitcoin has value, people compete for the block rewards. Lots of
> people. Lots and lots and lots of people. With lots and lots and lots
> and lots of ever more specialized computers. This means that the
> difficulty algorithm keeps making the puzzle more difficult. And so it
> takes more computing power to solve it. Which takes more energy.
> This is the "proof of work" system. It is not a waste of electricity, it
> is the cost of securing the network.
> It is possible to try to create proof of work algorithms that are more
> energy efficient. Or to use different security systems altogether, for
> example "proof of stake", that use much less energy.
> But these are currently less popular than Bitcoin. So if people are
> worried about blockchain energy usage they should make sure to use
> hydro-electric or solar power for mining. ;-)
>> Excuse my ignorance.
> No it's weird. It's an effect of the key technological breakthrough of
> Bitcoin: cheating and using economic incentives to solve a computer
> science problem.
>> And do you think this will affect future value?
> It secures that future value.
> There was a hilarious article that extended the Bitcoin energy
> consumption curve to show that in a couple of years it will consume all
> the energy on the planet.
> If that happens its value will be absolute for a single moment before
> the economy and human society collapses...
> - Rob.
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