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(Ars Technica)   How much energy does it take to run the Bitcoin network? About the same as an entire country   ( arstechnica.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Mining, bitcoin, energy consumption, Bitcoin network, World energy resources and consumption, Energy use comparisons  
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1350 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Dec 2017 at 3:50 PM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



41 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2017-12-06 02:20:57 PM  
Oops.  Sorry.
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-12-06 03:52:06 PM  
Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?
 
2017-12-06 03:54:36 PM  
Don't buy or accept bitcoin.  problem solved.  Get other people to join you.  Convince bitcoin owners to sell as quick as possible.
 
2017-12-06 04:01:23 PM  

Russ1642: Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?


Processing for Visa was around 12 cents in 2002. That was total cost; hardware, power, people. Based on my work at Wells Fargo.

From my recent reading, bitcoin seems to be in the process of transferring large amounts of cash from American hedge funds to China.
 
2017-12-06 04:03:06 PM  

downstairs: Oops.  Sorry.
[img.fark.net image 300x300][View Full Size image _x_]


oops, sorry.   you'll have to turn the Internet off for that to work because the Blockchain that bitcoin runs on top of runs on a peer to peer network and has no central servers or point of control. it is also open source software so no company owns or controls it.  in other words, it's Democracy in Action.

good luck with that on/off switch of yours....
 
2017-12-06 04:03:56 PM  

Russ1642: Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?


course not.  that would be UnCapitalistic.
 
2017-12-06 04:04:42 PM  

Russ1642: Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?


This is not the amount for transaction processing - it's the amount of electricity it takes to create the currency. A better comparison would be to the electricity cost for the very first time a dollar is entered into a computer.
 
2017-12-06 04:04:49 PM  

AmbassadorBooze: Don't buy or accept bitcoin.  problem solved.  Get other people to join you.  Convince bitcoin owners to sell as quick as possible.


good luck with that.  while you're at it, convince them that Democracy is bad for them and that Community will ruin their lives.
 
2017-12-06 04:06:17 PM  

natazha: Russ1642: Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?

Processing for Visa was around 12 cents in 2002. That was total cost; hardware, power, people. Based on my work at Wells Fargo.

From my recent reading, bitcoin seems to be in the process of transferring large amounts of cash from American hedge funds to China.


might as well.  American Capitalists/Stock Owners sure love that cheap commie labor in Communist (according to CIA.gov) China.
 
2017-12-06 04:07:50 PM  
my Solid State Drive uses much less energy than my previous Hard Drive.

gee, i'm beginning to see a trend......
 
2017-12-06 04:09:00 PM  
How does one 'mine' bit coins? Just run a computer program?
 
2017-12-06 04:11:29 PM  

meanmutton: Russ1642: Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?

This is not the amount for transaction processing - it's the amount of electricity it takes to create the currency. A better comparison would be to the electricity cost for the very first time a dollar is entered into a computer.


It's a block chain, the two processes are one in the same.  Without the miners, there are no blocks, no confirmed transactions.  So I guess I fair comparison to another currency would be both the power needed to create the currency and process transactions.  Which I very much doubt would come anywhere near bitcoins power consumption, just due to the fact that so much of the energy spent mining is "wasted" (work is done, but the result was not a correct solution).
 
2017-12-06 04:11:59 PM  

BeotchPudding: How does one 'mine' bit coins? Just run a computer program?


Solving mathematical equations that get more and more complicated as time goes on. Eventually (within the next year or three) the equations will get so complicated that it will require insane levels of computer power (which requires insane amounts of electricity) to generate new ones.
 
2017-12-06 04:12:51 PM  

Russ1642: Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?


img.fark.netView Full Size

https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-ener​g​y-consumption
 
2017-12-06 04:12:58 PM  
My friend Cuba Gooding Jr. is heavily invested in Bitcoin. I asked him one day: "Can you physically present the currency to me?"
 
2017-12-06 04:15:30 PM  

davideggy: meanmutton: Russ1642: Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?

This is not the amount for transaction processing - it's the amount of electricity it takes to create the currency. A better comparison would be to the electricity cost for the very first time a dollar is entered into a computer.

It's a block chain, the two processes are one in the same.  Without the miners, there are no blocks, no confirmed transactions.  So I guess I fair comparison to another currency would be both the power needed to create the currency and process transactions.  Which I very much doubt would come anywhere near bitcoins power consumption, just due to the fact that so much of the energy spent mining is "wasted" (work is done, but the result was not a correct solution).


The vast (and ever increasing) majority of the work done is on incorrect solutions, which is a clear differentiator. But, either way, the amount of electricity involved in the total 80 trillion dollars of currency floating around in the world is vastly less than the electricity involved in the 40 billion or so dollars of bitcoins.
 
2017-12-06 04:17:28 PM  
You gotta love it. Just as we get some nice technology like LED lighting and super-efficient CPUs to help reduce humanity's power consumption and carbon footprint, some jackass creates a digital currency that is built on wasting vast amounts of electricity with an algorithm that is intentionally inefficient.
 
2017-12-06 04:24:04 PM  

Mad_Radhu: You gotta love it. Just as we get some nice technology like LED lighting and super-efficient CPUs to help reduce humanity's power consumption and carbon footprint, some jackass creates a digital currency that is built on wasting vast amounts of electricity with an algorithm that is intentionally inefficient.


The original idea was - eventually people will just stop and the currency will be finite. But the designer underestimated how dedicated people are to get-quick-rich schemes.
 
2017-12-06 04:25:01 PM  

meanmutton: BeotchPudding: How does one 'mine' bit coins? Just run a computer program?

Solving mathematical equations that get more and more complicated as time goes on. Eventually (within the next year or three) the equations will get so complicated that it will require insane levels of computer power (which requires insane amounts of electricity) to generate new ones.


I don't think the equations actually get more complicated over time on their own, but the solution required is periodically changed to maintain a goal of a certain amount of time between blocks (i think bitcoin targets 10 minutes per block).  So as more mining processing power is added to the system, the solution are made to be harder and harder.

In case that didn't make sense, the block consists of (probably way oversimplifying and forgetting parts): A hash of the previous block (this serves as the link in the "chain"), all the transactions to process (including the generation of new currency paid to the miner), and a random number.  That random number is the key to mining.  To "solve" a block, you have to find the random number such that when you run the block through a particular hashing algorithm, the resulting number is smaller than some very small target number (sometimes referred to as starting with enough 0's).

This target number is what gets adjusted to make the problem harder or easier to solve based on the amount of processing power thrown at the problem to keep an average of 10 minutes between blocks.
 
2017-12-06 04:36:54 PM  

davideggy: meanmutton: BeotchPudding: How does one 'mine' bit coins? Just run a computer program?

Solving mathematical equations that get more and more complicated as time goes on. Eventually (within the next year or three) the equations will get so complicated that it will require insane levels of computer power (which requires insane amounts of electricity) to generate new ones.

I don't think the equations actually get more complicated over time on their own, but the solution required is periodically changed to maintain a goal of a certain amount of time between blocks (i think bitcoin targets 10 minutes per block).  So as more mining processing power is added to the system, the solution are made to be harder and harder.

In case that didn't make sense, the block consists of (probably way oversimplifying and forgetting parts): A hash of the previous block (this serves as the link in the "chain"), all the transactions to process (including the generation of new currency paid to the miner), and a random number.  That random number is the key to mining.  To "solve" a block, you have to find the random number such that when you run the block through a particular hashing algorithm, the resulting number is smaller than some very small target number (sometimes referred to as starting with enough 0's).

This target number is what gets adjusted to make the problem harder or easier to solve based on the amount of processing power thrown at the problem to keep an average of 10 minutes between blocks.


I forgot to add the only way to finding the correct random number is pure trial and error.  That is the "work" involved in mining.  Pick a random number, apply it to the rest of the block, run it all through the hashing algorithm (a somewhat complex process, but very quick for a computer run), check if the result is lower than the target.  If so, congrats, you created a block.  If not, pick another number and try again.

So while it is quick to check one number (this is also important because a solution, once found, can be confirmed quickly), the target is set so low that it takes a crap-ton of trial and error to find a solution.
 
2017-12-06 04:42:40 PM  
All that electricity wasted. It's not even like they are doing anything beneficial with that compute power. Scanning SETI data? Gene folding? Calculating pi to higher precision? Nope. Just solving arbitrary math problems.
 
2017-12-06 04:46:35 PM  
That's no big thing, I probably use about as much energy as North Korea just cooking toast.
 
2017-12-06 05:02:52 PM  

Linux_Yes: my Solid State Drive uses much less energy than my previous Hard Drive.

gee, i'm beginning to see a trend......


i.imgur.comView Full Size
 
2017-12-06 05:09:25 PM  

Linux_Yes: downstairs: Oops.  Sorry.
[img.fark.net image 300x300][View Full Size image _x_]

oops, sorry.   you'll have to turn the Internet off for that to work because the Blockchain that bitcoin runs on top of runs on a peer to peer network and has no central servers or point of control. it is also open source software so no company owns or controls it.  in other words, it's Democracy in Action.

good luck with that on/off switch of yours....


It's so democratic that 50% of the processors are controlled by 4 pools, and 80% of the top pools reside in freedom-loving China:

https://www.buybitcoinworldwide.com/m​i​ning/pools/

And that's before you get to the problems surrounding "forking" the software...
 
2017-12-06 06:00:28 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-12-06 06:18:18 PM  
Can I just ask, how does one "cash in" bitcoin? There are all these estimates of value, but how would someone actuallt get it turned into currency?
 
2017-12-06 06:44:22 PM  
Yea, bit coin is going to be a white elephant where only the rich that  can harness the power of active volcanoes will be able to process transactions.

in otherwords, it is too late to invest
 
2017-12-06 06:57:39 PM  

RI_Red: Can I just ask, how does one "cash in" bitcoin? There are all these estimates of value, but how would someone actuallt get it turned into currency?


Either by buying goods directly or going through an exchange such as Coinbase.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coinbas​e
 
2017-12-06 06:58:36 PM  
So I founded a VR studio / startup about three years back.

We have several high end development rigs in the shop.  And when they're not actively being used for development and sitting idle, they poolmine crypto for the hell of it.

They've been doing this for quite some time, and I've seen a very good return on systems mining crypto that would otherwise be sitting idle or off.  Especially since I've started to take the poolmined crypto and redistribute it into other crypto... the equivalent of moving my bets around on a roulette table.

Literally earlier in the week I had a friend ask on facebook about getting into cryptocurrency and some rando started whinging on about how people like me were wasting electricity and generating more pollution for little to no return.

With his response in mind on my pedal home from the shop I stopped and took this photo and added it to the facebook thread to his attention.

i.imgur.comView Full Size


His response was to tell me to fark off.
 
2017-12-06 08:00:17 PM  
What is the ratio of Kw/hr to monetary value?

Maybe in the beginning they were more expensive to mine and store than their value. it seems market forces have allowed them to gain momentum and overcome that mark. Bitcoins are the new energy value measurement.
 
2017-12-06 08:42:44 PM  
The author of that article has a really terrible argument about why he thinks that the electrical cost will go down. Really, really poor reasoning.
 
2017-12-06 11:58:37 PM  

RoomFullOfMonkeys: The author of that article has a really terrible argument about why he thinks that the electrical cost will go down. Really, really poor reasoning.


Where, exactly?     The first potential reason -- a decline in bitcoin price -- is very valid.  As the price goes up, so does the energy cost to mine it, as more miners join the party but the difficulty keeps increasing to dilute the load.  The more expensive it is to mine it, the more expensive it is to transact,  making it useless as a currency unless you're moving huge amounts around.  Obviously there's a bottleneck in the amount of mining hardware and available power, so if the price of bitcoin keeps going up due to late investors, the transaction cost will skyrocket until people just stop using it.   Then when everyone bails out the price will crash (as it has many times before) and the difficulty will decrease as per the algorithm, till it finds an equilibrium (that's likely way below the current price) and it will consume less power.

The other two points are valid proposals,  but I'm not sure if the community is going to let those in.  More likely there'll just be more hard forks or another more efficient coin takes favour.
 
2017-12-07 05:57:39 AM  

meanmutton: Russ1642: Did anyone bother to compare that to other transaction processing? Visa, Mastercard, debit?

This is not the amount for transaction processing - it's the amount of electricity it takes to create the currency. A better comparison would be to the electricity cost for the very first time a dollar is entered into a computer.


No, its for transaction processing.

You're rewarded Bitcoins for transaction processing. I understand that this is called "mining" is confusing, but that's actually what it is.
 
2017-12-07 06:01:44 AM  

BeotchPudding: How does one 'mine' bit coins? Just run a computer program?


Yes, and connected to the internet.

You'd join a pool, so you would get a constant payout, based on the amount of "work" you've done.

AFAIK its not viable on a normal PC anylonger, and hasn't been for years. People purchase purpose build computers with FPGAs designed for the task.

/mined Bitcoins many years ago. Got 0.1 per day, could have gotten like 1 a day with a decent AMD card. But then got bored of the noise, formatted my HD, lost them all.

//not bitter...
 
2017-12-07 06:08:34 AM  

RI_Red: Can I just ask, how does one "cash in" bitcoin? There are all these estimates of value, but how would someone actuallt get it turned into currency?


You list your Bitcoin on an exchange. Similar to how you'd sell a stock.

The reason we know the value of Bitcoins, is exactly because it works like the stock market.

You also just use it as money. Newegg accepts Bitcoins for instance, Valve stopped a few days ago. But there's tons of stores that will happily accept Bitcoins.

There's upsides for a seller by accepting Bitcoins, the transaction is inreversible and secure. Unlike Paypal, VISA etc., where the seller risks the buyer challenging the transaction.
 
2017-12-07 07:58:29 AM  

Ketchuponsteak: Unlike Paypal, VISA etc., where the seller risks the buyer challenging the transaction.


There is a REASON why it's made so. I mean, Paypal, VISA etc may as easily make transactions irreversible... but there is a REASON why they don't. And the reason being "their clients, the majority of people, don't want irreversible transactions without possibility to challenge them".
 
2017-12-07 08:07:07 AM  

Grahor: Ketchuponsteak: Unlike Paypal, VISA etc., where the seller risks the buyer challenging the transaction.

There is a REASON why it's made so. I mean, Paypal, VISA etc may as easily make transactions irreversible... but there is a REASON why they don't. And the reason being "their clients, the majority of people, don't want irreversible transactions without possibility to challenge them".


You misunderstood, I was explaining why a seller might want to use Bitcoin, not from a consumer point of view.

In the EU, transactions are still reversible for 14 days, regardless of payment method. But that's linked to a law, and not random shenanigans.
 
2017-12-07 08:29:59 AM  

Ketchuponsteak: You misunderstood, I was explaining why a seller might want to use Bitcoin, not from a consumer point of view.


Well, sellers usually understand that it's beneficial for them to use a payment method the consumer wants to use, within reasonable limits, of course. I mean, if I wanted to buy something and seller was accepting only Bitcoins, unless he's the only seller or I'm hiring an assassin, I would go to his competition. :)
 
2017-12-07 08:40:44 AM  

Grahor: Ketchuponsteak: You misunderstood, I was explaining why a seller might want to use Bitcoin, not from a consumer point of view.

Well, sellers usually understand that it's beneficial for them to use a payment method the consumer wants to use, within reasonable limits, of course. I mean, if I wanted to buy something and seller was accepting only Bitcoins, unless he's the only seller or I'm hiring an assassin, I would go to his competition. :)


I'd at the very least check Trustpilot if someone only did that.

Fun thing, Silkroad actually copied Trustpilot, so you could check out drugdealers (no, I didn't purchase, I looked). Silkroad also held the Bitcoins in an Escrow, until the purchaser was happy with the product he recieved.

So in a way, for purchasing drugs, Bitcoin kinda did have the same "downsides" for the seller as VISA did.
 
2017-12-07 09:26:16 AM  

Linux_Yes: downstairs: Oops.  Sorry.
[img.fark.net image 300x300][View Full Size image _x_]

oops, sorry.   you'll have to turn the Internet off for that to work because the Blockchain that bitcoin runs on top of runs on a peer to peer network and has no central servers or point of control. it is also open source software so no company owns or controls it.  in other words, it's Democracy in Action.

good luck with that on/off switch of yours....


Doesn't matter to me, I don't have the Cryptocurrency package from my ISP, so I can't see those neotorks anyways.
 
2017-12-07 09:26:54 AM  
Oooo "neotorks" What a cool way to misspell networks!
 
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