Sunday Reads: Terrorwatts

Good morning…

This next link truly is mind boggling…

I don’t understand this Bitcoin shit…

The cryptocurrency’s value has dipped recently after passing a high of $50,000 but the energy used to create it has continued to soar during its epic rise, climbing to the equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of Argentina, according to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, a tool from researchers at Cambridge University that measures the currency’s energy use.

Bitcoin mining – the process in which a bitcoin is awarded to a computer that solves a complex series of algorithms – is a deeply energy-intensive process.

“Mining” bitcoin involves solving complex math problems in order to create new bitcoins. Miners are rewarded in bitcoin.

Earlier in bitcoin’s relatively short history – the currency was created in 2009 – one could mine bitcoin on an average computer. But the way bitcoin mining has been set up by its creator (or creators – no one really knows for sure who created it) is that there is a finite number of bitcoins that can be mined: 21m. The more bitcoin that is mined, the harder the algorithms that must be solved to get a bitcoin become.

Now that over 18.5m bitcoin have been mined, the average computer can no longer mine bitcoins. Instead, mining now requires special computer equipment that can handle the intense processing power needed to get bitcoin today. And, of course, these special computers need a lot of electricity to run.

The amount of electricity used to mine bitcoin “has historically been more than [electricity used by] entire countries, like Ireland”, said Benjamin Jones, a professor of economics at the University of New Mexico who has researchedbitcoin’s environmental impact. “We’re talking about multiple terawatts, dozens of terawatts a year of electricity being used just for bitcoin … That’s a lot of electricity.”

Seriously…when I read this article, I could feel the blood vessels in my head bursting.


It should be noted…that if you live in a red state, it is more likely that the schools are open…and have been for a while now.

So, here we have a bomb from WWII having to be detonated…while a cryptocurrency uses as much electricity as an entire country just to “mine” it. What the fuck?

Well, try and have a pleasant day.

14 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Terrorwatts”

  1. quixote says:

    Golden Calf Drumpf. I’d say “What’s next?” but I really don’t want to know. Who *are* these people?

    Re bitcoin, I’m not sure I get it either, but here’s how I’ve been framing it in my mind.

    –Basic idea: Cash substitute (totally anonymous means of exchange) that is digital.

    –All that processing power is needed to guarantee the anonymity and trustworthiness of the “coin.”

    –The arbitrary limit was placed at the outset to be sure it retained its “value.” (Scare quotes because of course it has no actual value.)

    –Their model of what money is comes from gold. Arbitrary, finite substance people agree to use as a means of exchange.

    –Except, as economists have known since the 1930s, a finite means of exchange that can’t keep up with an expanding economy actually chokes off that economy. You want to *avoid* a gold standard, and any cool techbro digital equivalent. It’s worse than useless.

    (Yes, they could expand the allowed number of bitcoins but then: exponentially more processing power for each additional one and the people who already have bitcoins will be furious because the price of them will go down.)

    So, tl:dr; they’re using terawatts of power for stupid stuff we’ve known since the 1930s ends up not working.

    • dakinikat says:

      yup, yup and yup …. and you can’t explain that to morons

    • Am I way off the mark, or is Bitcoin just a 21st century Ponzi scheme?

      • NW Luna says:

        You’re not supposed to say that out loud!

      • dakinikat says:

        it’s also a nifty way to avoid police and bank oversight regulation designed to stop money laundering of criminal gains although my understanding is they’re still trying to investigate it. It’s a way to hide some income from some pretty heinous activities.

      • quixote says:

        Not exactly. A Ponzi scheme makes its money by embezzling money from the newcomers, so it requires a constant stream of them to keep looking like it’s making money.

        Bitcoin isn’t a criminal scheme. Just, to my mind, a stupid one. Its value doesn’t depend on ripping off newcomers. Just on enough people agreeing to use something as money which doesn’t work well for the purpose. And hogs energy while not working well.

    • NW Luna says:

      Thanks for the explanation. It still doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m more confident that that’s because it’s not a sustainable model.

      • quixote says:

        Exactly. People with common sense look at it and say, “That can’t be right. What am I missing?” Once you realize you’re not missing anything, the whole thing is stupid, then it makes a bit more sense.

        If I’m making any sense there…. 😀

        • NW Luna says:

          Yes, you are making sense. Unlike the bitcoin.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          It must be my early dementia…but it all still sounds crazy to me. Especially, when a mayor of a major city is talking like this:

          Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is pushing to make bitcoin a part of his city’s economic future, and in an interview with “Axios on HBO,” he pushed back against the economic orthodoxy of people like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who say it’s a bad idea.

          Why it matters: Miami’s inclusion of bitcoin as a way to pay city employees or as part of the city’s emergency cash holdings, as Suarez has proposed, would add legitimacy to the cryptocurrency and further entrench it in the U.S. economic system.

          • quixote says:

            Don’t know about that, JJ. The “I must be crazy” part. You’re in the same camp as Janet Yellen. If that’s crazy, it’s a very good crazy!

  2. dakinikat says:

    So the golden statue of the fatted Pig was made in Mexico? There are just enough ways to say irony!

  3. NW Luna says:

    That bomb in Exeter — scary. Glad it was found and detonated by professionals instead of kids digging in the back yard.