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Producing bitcoin currency could void climate change efforts: scientists

20 Comments
By Sebastien Malo

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It was never a well thought out idea. One of those things that looks better on paper.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The only advantage of bitcoin is anonymity and that makes governments nervous.

It offers none of the advantages of gold as both a precious metal of being seriously useful in all sorts of manufacturing processes, being physically attractive and having thousands of years of established use.

The future though might be a digital currency backed by gold.

Many people think we should move back to a gold standard.

Stay waiting for Australia's gold backed digital currency. That could change the landscape considerably if it takes off.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It offers none of the advantages of gold as both a precious metal of being seriously useful in all sorts of manufacturing processes, being physically attractive and having thousands of years of established use.

People don't use gold as a standard because of the reasons you gave above. There is only one reason gold is attractive as a holder of value: people think it has value. If suddenly tomorrow everyone decided gold had no value, it wouldn't. Value only exists by people believing it does. Bring me 100 Chinese RMB, and I'm not going to take that in payment of something, because I don't attribute any value to that outside of China.

If people believe crypto-currencies hold value, they do. If/when people stop believing they do, they won't.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The future though might be a digital currency backed by gold.

That makes no sense! Why would cryptocurrency be backed by gold when paper money is no longer backed by gold. Those disadvantages still exist.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This smells more like an attempt to discredit a currency not controlled by governments than anything particularly rational.

As Matt says above, cryptocurrencies make governments nervous, so they'll use any method regardless of how ridiculous it sounds to discourage people from taking them up. This looks like one such method to me.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If suddenly tomorrow everyone decided gold had no value, it wouldn't. Value only exists by people believing it does.

But that is not going to happen. It never has. Gold has been valuable throughout human history and that is not about to change. Gold's scarcity combined with its aesthetic appeal, malleability, other unique properties as a metal and its modern practical applications bring it as close as anything gets to having 'intrinsic' value. Suggesting that people could simply decide that gold is worthless is about as unlikely as people deciding that an ear of corn or a pair of shoes is worthless. Theoretically possible, but extremely unlikely given our human condition.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So holders of Bitcoin should shoulder at least as much guilt as drivers of cars do already.

It is often said that there will never be enough power stations around the world to generate electricity for all these millions of new-generation electric cars that governments are busy pushing everyone into buying.

That could put Bitcoin(s) in direct competition for new power sources.

Brave New World indeed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

so they'll use any method regardless of how ridiculous it sounds to discourage people from taking them up

I don't think the claims of energy usage for bitcoin mining are ridiculous.

https://powercompare.co.uk/bitcoin/

It seems strange to use so much energy to produce something that has no intrinsic use.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The amount of electricity in a single Bitcoin transaction is 826 kWh's in electricity, which is the same amount as an entire month for a household. Making it nuts. It's the epitome of rich people trying to control a system overlording others. Or for criminals trying to dodge legal systems.

It's nice on paper but in reality it's never going to matter in a world of dwindling resources

Sanctions should be placed on Bitcoin at some point so that people can have fair access to electricity

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@nandakandamanda

So holders of Bitcoin should shoulder at least as much guilt as drivers of cars do already.

We can view the scale of the stupid here https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption

Carbon footprint per (Bitcoin) transaction (kg of CO2) = 390.61

Using the emissions calculator here ( https://www.sunearthtools.com/tools/CO2-emissions-calculator.php ) it would take a car 2600 km to generate 390 kg of CO2.

So much much more guilt.

In. One. Transaction.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, sf2k, and that is only for Bitcoin, ie not Etherium etc.!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually that's somehow like raping the planet, for profit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As penance for crimes against the environment, you will need to sequester 390 kg of CO2, per transaction of Bitcoin

Otherwise that amount should be charged to every transaction

Terrapass has offset subscriptions for $5 per MWh per month, so it isn't going to be a lot. But given the 826 kWh per Bitcoin transaction it's going to cover only 1.21 transactions a month

At some point we might find it a bit ludicrous that we will need entire windfarms and forests just to mitigate the actions of a few rich people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

nandakandamandaToday  05:42 pm JST

Actually that's somehow like raping the planet, for profit.

Yeah exactly, planet rape currency.

As a techie I'm all for neat tools and competition in the market and all, but not at the expense of the planet. That's just wrong.

It's why rich people are perfect for it though. They don't have the moral fortitude. My guess is that it comes from the same mentality of trying to scam governments out of the taxes they owe

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nandakandamandaToday  05:41 pm JST

Wow, sf2k, and that is only for Bitcoin, ie not Etherium etc.!

Right? I'm sure if we added up all the crypto currencies we'd see just how much of the public electrical system has been subsidizing their businesses without them paying for it. I wonder how much cost that has been to maintain those systems a year? Yet another fee to be added on per transaction.

The problem is that electricity is a rate, and a currency for the most part isn't and can be a physical thing (yes there's the FOREX market but there aren't wild swings)

As long as computers are used there will always be an electrical rate fee that will need to be offset, thus even a 5 cent transaction will be $5.05 .

It's hopelessly inefficient

To have no impact on the earth, Crypto users will require a kickstarter to get Elon Musk to put in orbital solar panels to generate the electricity they need without needing offsets.

Which is nuts

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is only one reason gold is attractive as a holder of value: people think it has value.

It does have value in a multitude of ways:

manufacturing, big time.

jewelry for thousands of years

coins for hundreds of years and still produced as collectors items.

central banks still hold a lot of gold, although not as much as they did when a gold standard existed

the most populous and powerful countries in the world - China, India, Russia, the U.S all hold the largest quantities of gold and in some cases, produce the most as well. There are no signs of that disappearing. In India, the use of gold is well and truly ingrained in the culture. Same in China.

there are already services that allow you to exchange fractions of gold as payment

golds history of use for thousands of years.

In short, bitcoin and other currencies like it offer nothing particularly special. They have failed to displace standard currencies as mediums for payment where there use is still highly fringe. The dollar, the yen and yuan show no signs of being replaced by bitcoin and alike.

Bitcoin offers security, a good thing and anonymity, maybe a good thing.

If you can back a digital currency with gold, you have something better and something with universal appeal.

What is bitcoin backed up by now? Nothing. Hype and hot air. And unlike gold, it really does have no intrinsic value. Gold has plenty.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, Bitcoin miners should be used power from Nuclear Power Station. The Nuclear power was nearly Zero emission.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think the term "BitCoin" here is being used to represent all "Crypto-currencies" that involve a form of Computational "mining".

Though, I had read that the costs per transaction (across the board) were coming down, which must surely mean, that either every mining operation is running at a loss, or efficiency has improved, which the above article hints at.

So perhaps this article belongs with the likes of "We should stop eating beef, as the cows fart too much and add to Global Warming ?"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had read that the costs per transaction (across the board) were coming down

When? The main page shows a graphic of the TWh per year Bitcoin consumes and it has only gone up

https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption

Bitcoin's current estimated annual electricity consumption (TWh) : 73.12

0 ( +0 / -0 )

colocatable mining, like Bitcoin, is driving up the production of new renewable power sources. (IE: Solar farms can recoup costs via Bitcoin mining during peak production, rather than throttling output. This enables larger, more cost efficient solar farms.)

Metals mining simply cannot be colocated and drive the profitability of efficient sources.

the real energy costs of mining gold include shipping the gold to the buyers around the world, warehousing the gold at the mine, transporting workers to and from the mines. It's horribly wasteful by comparison.

Bitcoin is scheduled to taper off mining rewards to zero in the next 10 years. Gold has no such limits.

the long history of forced and indentured labor in gold mining has an impact on reported energy numbers, falsely reducing perceived energy costs.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

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