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Bitcoin Mining Energy Usage: The Good, the Bad and the Future
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For discussion about Litecoin, the leading cryptocurrency derived from Bitcoin. Litecoin is developed with a focus on speed, efficiency, and wider initial coin distribution through the use of scrypt-based mining.
A.I. Coin is a re-engineering of the Bitcoin network to incorporate intelligent agents in lieu of expensive mining calculations. A.I. Coin is a transaction-centric digital currency. It allows users to immediately complete payment transactions, with no wait for confirmation. A paid network of participants cooperates to efficiently process transactions without the need for expensive proof-of-work effort.
People often talk about cryptocurrency as an exciting new investment opportunity and mention how it could eliminate dependency on bank accounts and expensive money-transferring services. However, what they sometimes don’t discuss is how the cryptocurrencies through blockchain mining process uses a tremendous amount of energy. If cryptocurrency is to have a truly sustainable future, people must take energy consumption seriously — more specifically, they need to look for practical ways to reduce it. The knowledge that cryptocurrency requires a significant amount of power is not new. However, when such evidence transpires like findings as illustrated by this article from KuCoin, it emphasized how crucial it is for people to uncover more sustainable solutions for the cryptocurrency mining industry. Indeed, some experts may not agree — but even so, it’s clear that the energy used for mining is not a small amount, and efforts to make the practice more sustainable are welcome. While exact numbers are hard to come by, and there are varying opinions on the true environmental impact of crypto mining, although the methods described from article seems promising, there is a chance any new application of technology could come with unforeseen issues that make it not as profitable as expected. In other words, investigating new cryptomining opportunities requires people to exercise patience and realize the probability of some unexpected outcomes that make it necessary to tweak parts of the process. People who are eager to start mining and start generating profits as quickly as possible aren’t suitable for pioneering methods — yet those who have a long-term viewpoint and are committed to the planet might be the right match. Although it’s not yet possible to say whether promoting these methods like finding alternative blockchain solving algorithms will prove such sufficient methods in the future, it'll surely bring the environmental well-being of the planet into the equation and truly affect change.
The nonstop block mining cycle incentivizes people everywhere throughout the world to mine Bitcoin. As mining can give a strong stream of income, people are very willing to run power-hungry machines to get a piece of it. Throughout the years this has caused the all out energy consumption of the Bitcoin system to develop to incredible scale, as the price of the currency reached new highs. The entire Bitcoin network now consumes more energy than a number of countries, based on a report published by the International Energy Agency. New sets of transactions (blocks) are added to Bitcoin’s blockchain roughly every 10 minutes by so-called miners. While working on the blockchain these miners aren’t required to trust each other. The only thing miners have to trust is the code that runs Bitcoin. The code includes several rules to validate new transactions. For example, a transaction can only be valid if the sender actually owns the sent amount. Every miner individually confirms whether transactions adhere to these rules, eliminating the need to trust other miners. Bitcoin’s biggest problem is perhaps not even its massive energy consumption, but the fact most mining facilties in Bitcoin’s network are located in regions primarily in China that rely heavily on coal-based power. To put it simply, coal is fueling Bitcoin. The thought that bitcoin and mining directly affects the environment in a bad way alternatives are needed in order to not destroy the ecosystem. One alternative is written on this article "Improving Bitcoin Mining Efficiency" it shows how bitcoin is trying to solve the issue with a new network called the lightning network. Proof-of-work was the main consensus algorithm that figured out how to substantiate itself, but it isn’t the only consensus algorithm. More energy efficient algorithms, like proof of-stake, have been in development over recent years. In proof-of stake coin owners create blocks rather than miners, thus not requiring power hungry machines that produce as many hashes per second as possible. Because of this, the energy consumption of proof-of-stake is negligible compared to proof-of-work. Bitcoin could potentially switch to such an consensus algorithm, which would significantly improve sustainability. The only downside is that there are many different versions of proof-of-stake, and none of these have fully proven themselves yet. Nevertheless the work on these algorithms offers good hope for the future.
Now that 21 has revealed their plans concretely, I'm finding it hard to figure out some seemingly obvious gaping flaws in their plan. Adding mining to everything isn't efficient, not even a little bit. Mining requires a specialized data center, it can't be done with a toaster: the amount generated will be insignificantly small. https://medium.com/@21dotco/a-bitcoin-miner-in-every-device-and-in-every-hand-e315b40f2821 I made a stab at translating their medium post from crazy talk into something that could possibly make sense Point 1: A new approach to micropayments 21 claims people won't use their credit cards when signing up, so they will use a BitShare chip instead. How I think this could make sense: think Captchas, not Credit Cards. When you sign up for a site, you have to fill in an annoying captcha, it's a way of ensuring that you aren't abusing the site resources. Bitcoin's hashing concept was originally created as an alternative to this: hashcash, something to make abuse a little bit expensive. So the BitShare chip could act as a way to avoid captchas, or to go old school, to send emails with a little bit of authority that yes, I did some work to send this email and help send a signal to a spam filter it's not spam. Point 2: Silicon as a service 21 claims that video cards and routers are going to be mining How I think this could make sense: Imagine a future world in which the race to ASICs is over, the smaller and smaller, more efficient and more efficient war is over. Now it's all about electricity. Although this is not a business model I think is very ethical, companies start selling heavily discounted video cards and routers that make up for their discount by basically taking electricity from the customer. The thing is, people are not all that savvy about upfront payments vs payments on installment. This basically takes the payments on installment business model and moves it from the retail level to the manufacturer level Point 3: Decentralized authentication 21 claims that you will be able to use embedded private keys to authenticate How I think this could make sense: the best practice we have at the moment to ensure security is using multiple factor security. Instead of just something you know (your password), you use something you have (2 factor auth token) as well. Of course this is still vulnerable, more factors would be better but even 2 is a pretty frustrating experience of copying numbers etc. Imagine if you created auth tokens based on all your surrounding devices. Like to access your bank account fast checking you need to be at home on your network with your toaster, your fridge, your computer, all your devices co-signing to authenticate you. Even at the smallest level, your phone and your password automatically signing together would provide a lot more security than we currently have with just passwords and the rare user who turns on 2FA. Point 4: Machine Twitter 21 claims that machines want to tell the world they are pooping How this could make sense: there's a race on to figure out how to make decentralized databases. Whether it's OpenBaazar or Storj or Ethereum or Namecoin, there's obvious use cases for a key value store that's decentralized. The trouble is no one has yet figured out how to make it work and make it useful yet. BitShare chip could act as a gateway into this future database, where you have a Windows registry in the sky that's controlled by no one and authenticated via BitShare too. So your refrigerator can write to the decentralized database how many eggs you have left and you can check that from your mobile phone, and BitShare chip acts as the key that is needed to avoid people from super spamming this decentralized, standardized global database. Theoretically. Point 5: Pay for associated services 21 claims that their chip could be used to pay for software as a service How this could make sense: now almost all of the time the mining the chip is doing is going to be pretty worthless, but some of the time it won't. Imagine if Tesla put in BitShares into their new home battery, where when the battery gets full it can start mining, say if you have a solar panel setup. Now Tesla can offer a service to you, you can subscribe to Tesla Home PRO for free (actually paid with electricity) which has a bunch of cool new software, all you have to do is enable the Tesla BitShare chip. Point 6: Devices create revenue splits 21 claims that the supply chain can be compensated partially How this could make sense: this could be basically a restatement of smart contracts, where companies can work together and have a contract guiding their cooperation that needs no legal framework to ensure ongoing cooperation. For example I'm a Sauna designer and I contract out to a Chinese company to manufacture my Saunas. Now I can offer the Chinese company a split of the sales directly, and we don't have to trust each other very much. Plus I can cut the Chinese in on ongoing sales, so they now have an incentive to make a quality product that people continue to use and not just lower quality so they can lower their costs and screw me over. Point 7: Bitcoin for the developing world 21 claims that poor people can't afford things with high upfront costs so they need the BitShare thing to offset the cost of things. This could make sense if you buy the idea that people will buy lower cost things even though there will ultimately be a higher total cost of ownership, because they are too poor for upfront costs and/or not wise buyers. Like I could sell a slightly cheaper car in India that had some embedded BitShare that was reducing the car's efficiency but sending me coins. It's kind of the idea behind the Google ChromeBooks/Android business model: Google gives away stuff for free/low-cost and then people click on ads to make up the difference. The thing that trips me up and I'm not sure about is the underlying assumption which is that Bitcoin mining efficiency will plateau and these BitShare chips will actually be somewhat competitive vs the most advanced ASICs going forward. If ASICs blow them out of the water completely, all these points won't work because the hashing is so so difficult that mining bitcoin with these things would become indistinguishable from not mining.
I created a website to help new users traverse the bitcoin landscape. Trusted exchanges, secure wallets, nearest ATMs, most efficient mining equipment, and more. Took a good 6 months but I'm hoping it pays off and helps some people.
Bitcoin Energy Cost ~$3,380 Due to Changes in Mining Efficiency Curve
Just a thought as the price drops out, since there are two remarkable events occurring:
The mining efficiency of the network is increasing greatly as Bitmain rolls out their newest miners like the Antminer S17 Pro; no doubt they've been using their own equipment on the network before public sales as has been the historical case for big efficiency leap rigs.
Couple this with the somewhat usual end-of-year settling up that occurs between Nov - Jan that we've seen in the past.
Food for thought: as the higher efficiency rigs propagate the energy cost for mining Bitcoin nearly halves to $3,380 at 12.5 BTC. However, once the block reward cuts in half next year then the energy cost will double. Is this market movement the result of mining groups offloading a lot of their cheaply mined coins at the higher value now before the price moves downwards towards the energy production cost? Still all Wild Mass Guessing. https://www.trinsicoin.com/
This bullshit. It feels like, having attacked bitcoin from every angle and failing, the cynics are resorting to the climate change argument. What about gold mining? What about the energy used in the logistics of banking? Surely we will see efficiencies arise as the crypto sector evolves.
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"Is Bitcoin mining not efficient ?" - Andreas Antonopoulos
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