• @KairuByte@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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    676 months ago

    This seems as unlikely to be true, as it does sensationalist. Hate on Bitcoin all ya like, but don’t make off the cuff “calculations” and report it as news.

    • @linearchaos@lemmy.world
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      76 months ago

      It’s not accurate but it’s not completely made up either.

      There is a calculable power cost to each transaction. The work isn’t just happening on one computer and God knows how many ledgers are out there right? To be able to pay somebody some fractional amount of Bitcoin to buy a pizza, The cost to have generated the Bitcoin the cost to check the transaction the cost to update the transaction and all the different places. We don’t see the usage as a problem because it’s tons and tons and tons of people paying for it.

      But their calculating the water usage as evaporation for the power plants and evaporation from hydroelectric. Like the freshwater isn’t returning to the system in large.

      I wonder how much water was lost to make the pizza?

      • @abhibeckert@lemmy.world
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        116 months ago

        I can get behind “uses a lot of water”. But where the headline loses me (to the point where I won’t be reading the article) is “potentially cause freshwater shortages”.

        If someone is using water to mine bitcoins… that’s because they can’t think of anything more useful to do with that water and likely means they are operating somewhere that has an abundance of water.

        And if they’re wasting a resource that is needed to grow food, well that’s something the local government can easily stop.

  • Snot Flickerman
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    226 months ago

    I mean, yeah, it’s bad. We shouldn’t be ignoring how bad bitcoin is for the environment.

    But are you really gonna tell me that all the computers and CPU time that Wall Street uses for trading somehow takes less?

    It doesn’t matter what financial system you use, you’re still burning energy to make it work.

    • @zeppo@lemmy.world
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      276 months ago

      As far as transactions, yes, something like Visa takes way less than Bitcoin. For HFT compared to crypto, who knows, but one thing they’re not doing is something intentionally wasteful like proof of work.

      • Mubelotix
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        26 months ago

        You think having thousands of bankers use their car twice a day is better? It’s so much worse

        • @zeppo@lemmy.world
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          46 months ago

          Okay, the bankers could work remotely. What then? Anyway, yeah, it’s still set up in a dramatically inefficient way because proof of work is inherently wasteful. It may have been state of the art 15 years ago but it sure isn’t now.

          • Mubelotix
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            6 months ago

            They could but they won’t. Bitcoin pays 0.05$ per kWh, that’s close to 0, the only energy that goes into mining is energy that wouldn’t have gone anywhere else. Energy is hard to store and sometimes there just isn’t enough demand. That’s what goes into Bitcoin, and there is no ecological problem with that

            • SaltySalamander
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              16 months ago

              I like how someone downvoted you yet had no real retort, because you’re right.

            • raktheundead
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              06 months ago

              You’re disingenuously ignoring the opportunity cost of having to build additional power plants - resources required not being usable elsewhere; environmental impact of those resources or, especially in the case of hydroelectric power, of building the power plants themselves, since cement has significant carbon dioxide emissions, along with the fact that proof-of-work algorithms have a tendency to expand in a grey-goo style and suck up as many resources as possible.

              The former is a reason why energy conservation efforts and regulations have been put in place. The fewer power plants you require to run everything, even if they’re renewable energy, the better. Proof-of-work mining threatens that, because when your incentive to mine is more money, that encourages people taking more than their fair share of energy. It also encourages power theft.

              Proof-of-work mining doesn’t do a thing to solve the issue of green energy, since there’s no sort of quality-of-service system in place which bumps cryptocurrency miners down to the bottom of the pile when it comes to prioritising power usage and even if there was, it’d create an arms race between power plant operators and people trying to subvert those controls so that they can use more power for mining, cf. Nvidia’s graphics card limiters versus Ethereum miners. You’re either naïve or disingenuous if you’re expecting cryptocurrency miners to just cede power when there’s money on the line if they keep their operations going at top priority.

              Furthermore, even if every single watt that Bitcoin requires to mine was generated by 100% clean energy, the network would still be creating nation-state levels of e-waste.

              This is just another one of those techno-libertarian pipe dreams about an efficient free market which don’t bear fruit in the real world, just like the “why do we need emissions regulations anyway? Surely, the free market will sort that out, brah” bullshit. It’s the fallacy of the broken window writ large.

              • Mubelotix
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                16 months ago

                Long text full of errors. Yes there is a mechanism to prioritize other uses of energy than mining. It’s the market. Energy is usually sold between 0.1$ and 0.25$ per kWh while Bitcoin only buys for 0.05$ per kWh. Energy producers WILL sell to the highest offer, which is never Bitcoin unless it’s the only option. It is almost always more profitable to just buy Bitcoin than mine it, which is why it’s rarely done. Taking that into account, we can discard the rest of your comment

    • TheMurphy
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      126 months ago

      The computer power behind the financial system is literally insane. But if everything changed to Bitcoin, we would use more energy.

      What COULD be beneficial would be one of the other coins out there. Doesn’t have to be Bitcoin.

      • Snot Flickerman
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        36 months ago

        I guess my point had less to do with cryptocurrency and more to do with currency in general. It’s not a defense of bitcoin as much as it’s a critique of how much energy the system in general uses, either way.

        However, it’s also one that’s not easily solved. Even with paper/coin money, you’re still using finite resources to produce the bank-notes.

  • blazera
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    206 months ago

    I dont think server rooms are often going to need humidifying, electronics like pretty low humidity. and water usage for cooling isnt generally consumed, the same water is used over and over again.

    • key
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      126 months ago

      You want a certain amount of humidity to prevent static buildup and increase the cooling ability of air. Water used in cooling is only reused so many times before it’s discarded to prevent scale buildup. The article also mentions it includes the water used in power generation.

      • Mubelotix
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        26 months ago

        Yeah it counts water that flows into streams that makes no sense

    • billwashere
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      26 months ago

      Yeah that part did seem disingenuous. Water cooling systems for data centers are almost always closed loop systems, at least all the ones I’ve seen and I’ve been in IT for over 30 years. It’s a very scaled up version of water cooled PCs. Basically a heat transfer medium not a consumable resource. So yeah a bit clickbaity in my opinion.

  • Tigbitties
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    176 months ago

    You know what else uses as much water as a swimming pool? Swimming pools.

    And don’t get me started on golf courses.

    • @Darkenfolk@dormi.zone
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      196 months ago

      Don’t get me started on humans either. Not only do those thirsty shits require shitloads of water to function, it also needs to be clean! Not relatively clean either, but clean clean!

      Do you have any idea how many bitcoin farms I could run if there weren’t any humans? Me neither, but it’s probably zero.

      • raktheundead
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        66 months ago

        Yeah, whataboutism is essentially telling on one’s self; an implicit recognition that one has no better arguments than to try to distract.

    • @ExLisper@linux.community
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      36 months ago

      Are swimming pools using one swimming pool or water per swim? Per year? 5 years? 10 years?

      I think you missed the ‘per transaction’ part. Which is kind of important.

  • @nexguy@lemmy.world
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    156 months ago

    Doesn’t the lightning network which is millions of times faster than btc alone solve this?

    • raktheundead
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      46 months ago

      That’d be the same Lightning Network with NP-hard issues with routing and a whole host of problems right down to the fundamentals, right? (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

      And even beyond that, having to stack another layer on there is a technical non-starter to begin with. For one thing, adoption of the Lightning Network is fundamentally bottlenecked by Bitcoin itself - if the entire Bitcoin network was dedicated entirely to onboarding people onto the Lightning Network, it’d take 28 months to onboard all of the people in the US alone, let alone the rest of the world’s population.

      There’s a saying by Antoine de Saint-Éxupery that’s rather relevant here: « Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n’y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n’y a plus rien à retrancher. » Roughly paraphrased, it means, “It appears that perfection is attained not when there is nothing left to add, but nothing left to take away.” Trying to stack extra layers on top of a precarious base goes against any sound engineering principles. In this circumstance, Bitcoin would be the thing to take away - it offers nothing and is in fact detrimental to an efficient system of exchange.

      • @JimmyMcGill@lemmy.world
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        26 months ago

        So by your definition the current banking system is equally flawed because bank transfer aren’t enough (Bitcoin main layer) and a second, faster and more scalable option on top of that is needed, I.e. for example Visa (Lightning Network).

        Also exploding problem is a rather flawed or better incorrect way of comparing it. For example the current banking system also took its time to ramp up and I assume the 28 months you mention are for the entire US population (because there’s no source) and not all of that population has a bank account, which is a problem with the current system. So it isn’t “fair” to present bitcoin as infeasible to solve a problem that the current system hasn’t yet solved with its decades of existence.

        Regarding those difficulties about the LN, I’m not the person you replied to but it’s still very much in development so it’s normal to have issues. Google it and you will find the same for the whatever system you think is the best atm. Heck some of those problems are there by design. But I will have a look at those links you shared.

        • raktheundead
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          16 months ago

          The Lightning Network can only do the much-vaunted transactions-per-second number that it claims in theory; in practice, the number is a lot lower and even once you get past the onboarding stage takes something in the order of a couple of magnitudes of times the energy cost of a Visa transaction. Even the Lightning Network developers admit that for the LN to work as advertised even in theory, with a given case of two channels a year (naïve, when considering the only way to actually consolidate a LN transaction is to close a channel) for 7 billion people, block sizes on the Bitcoin network would have to be increased to 133 MB.

          So this is basically a bunch of chancers selling a Heath Robinson machine built onto another, much worse Heath Robinson machine with no practical way to scale to the numbers they want.

    • @zeppo@lemmy.world
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      176 months ago

      Anything with proof of work applies, but of course BTC is by far the largest.

      Another field that is using a ridiculous amount of power and thus water for cooling is AI.

  • @jmp242@sopuli.xyz
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    96 months ago

    Crypto is entirely an extremely expensive gambling system. It serves no actual explainable purpose for the vast majority of people. It’s trivially provable to be worse than existing alternatives in every way that isn’t scams and or money laundering.

    • @EngineerGaming@feddit.nl
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      6 months ago

      It frustrates me how it strayed from its original course. It was supposed to be a payment system independent of banks and thus not capable of screwing people over. Sanctions would have made it hard for me to pay for some things, but Monero offers a way. People who need to make sensitive payments can do so without their bank having a record of that. It is just cash for the digital world. A tool, not a stock.

      That is - I wish the people that want to get rich from it just quit. Leave the system for people who really need it.

      Provable to be worse than existing alternatives? Which alternatives there are? The only one that comes to mind is cash by mail, which is not doable in some places.

      • @jmp242@sopuli.xyz
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        36 months ago

        Sorry, I meant than using Zelle, a credit or debit card, Paypal, etc. Last time I looked, most crypto is completely traceable because of the public ledger (monero does built in illegal in the US money laundering style transaction mixing to try and make it less traceable, not sure how well that works, but the rest apply to it), and the distributed public ledgers are the only way it works. I’d argue the way most people can get crypto requires a bank account tied to something like Coinbase, so that’s a link from your bank, to your crypto wallet, then the rest is even more public.

        However, for most people, crypto doesn’t work like cash, and does work like a stock. You need a special broker, you need to move money with fees into the crypto account, then pay fees to buy the crypto. This is way more analogous to stocks, so that’s how people think of it, than cash or bank transfers.

        Assuming you can figure out the right crypto to buy, now every time you spend it or try and send it to a different wallet, there’s stupid high fees for the common Bitcoin and Etherium networks (I haven’t actually tried to use the other ones as they get very obscure). We tried to move $30 dollars in Etherium to a different wallet (granted this was 4 years ago) and it cost $15 in “gas fees”. This makes me long for the 3% credit card processing fee.

        After the fee, it takes quite a while to transfer, I recall Bitcoin took over an hour, and it was like several minutes or more for Etherium. Paypal, Zelle, Card are all instant, or maybe seconds.

        Basically if you’re not buying something highly illegal, there’s 0 benefit to a normal person and masses of costs, complexity, opportunities to get hacked and all your crypto stolen, and exchanges to either collapse or also steal whatever money you had in there. It doesn’t solve a problem, and so normal people are right to not use it. I’d suggest after 13 years it’s only been used by speculators and scammers “successfully”.

        • @EngineerGaming@feddit.nl
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          16 months ago

          most crypto is completely traceable because of the public ledger

          True, but it is possible to purchase anonymously. KYC exchanges are just the most convenient option. Or exchange with Monero, which is what a lot of people do as well. Although if there were actual stakes, I wouldn’t depend just on what Monero provides, just because you shouldn’t have just one layer of safety anyway.

          However, for most people, crypto doesn’t work like cash, and does work like a stock.

          Not exactly the tool’s fault that it was used not for its initial purpose. It is quite literally hammering in nails with a microscope, lol.

          there’s stupid high fees for the common Bitcoin and Etherium networks

          I myself have only used Monero, and the fees there are negligeable. But yea, transactions do still take a while. Never dealt with BTC yet, but it is a bit frustrating that it’s so much more widely accepted despite higher fees.

          Basically if you’re not buying something highly illegal, there’s 0 benefit to a normal person

          First - there might be things as simple as sanctions. My own purchases are completely innocent, but crypto turned out to be the simplest and safest way to pay in such a situation. Second - this argument kind of steps into the “I have nothing to hide” territory. Normal things might turn into “highly illegal” overnight - first thing that comes to mind is what happened with abortion laws. There are always vulnerable people who aren’t criminals, and saying they shouldn’t have such a payment option is kind of close to “only criminals would need end-to-end encryption”.

          • @jmp242@sopuli.xyz
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            16 months ago

            Normal things might turn into “highly illegal” overnight - first thing that comes to mind is what happened with abortion laws. There are always vulnerable people who aren’t criminals, and saying they shouldn’t have such a payment option is kind of close to “only criminals would need end-to-end encryption”.

            I’m not saying people have nothing to hide, or making that case. I’m saying the ask is so high that people who don’t feel like they must use crypto don’t, and this is one of the hills it would have to conquer to be taken seriously. There are obvious negatives like the environmental impact, the PITA complicated tech that is hard to understand, the slow transactions, and the difficulty of getting usable money into and out of crypto. And the vast majority of purchases, the mass adoption, aren’t stuff that people care to hide or they would already be only using cash.

            I’d love to pay for my VPN with crypto, but I’m not willing to spend the hours it would take to figure it out in the current form, not to mention actually make it at all actually anonymous, plus pay roughly 2x in payment fees.

            Now think of people who don’t even care about privacy to use a VPN…

            • @EngineerGaming@feddit.nl
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              6 months ago

              Yeah, I don’t deny there are significant negatives. But this is the closest we got to mass-adopted digital cash YET. Buying it can indeed be tricky, I did get lucky with that.

              And the vast majority of purchases, the mass adoption, aren’t stuff that people care to hide or they would already be only using cash.

              I don’t think crypto is even supposed to be for the “vast majority of purchases”. It does and always will exist alongside traditional payment options, which are, indeed, preferrable for many things.

              But when it comes to learning the tech… Isn’t it the same for proper privacy, anonymity and safety in general? Instead of proclaiming it as a “lost cause”, I think we should lend a hand to someone who needs protection but has trouble figuring it out.

              Also paying with card might just become impossible even for people who don’t mind it (like me). Sure, I could go through a middleman, but their commission would far exceed Monero fees and there’s a bigger chance of being scammed.

              opportunities to get hacked and all your crypto stolen

              Oh, forgot to reply to that one. In some cases the individual responsibility is actually preferrable to the nonzero chance that a bank or government would freeze your bank account.

              • @jmp242@sopuli.xyz
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                15 months ago

                But when it comes to learning the tech… Isn’t it the same for proper privacy, anonymity and safety in general? Instead of proclaiming it as a “lost cause”, I think we should lend a hand to someone who needs protection but has trouble figuring it out.

                I’ve gotten cynical over trying to lend a hand to people around using Linux. Masses don’t want to be taught things. Heck, look at the lemmy adoption issues. Yes, idealistically maybe “digital cash” has a use, but practically people don’t see it. At this point, it’s not a lack of knowledge - there were super bowl commercials. It’s a lack of interest. It’s like the laser keyboards “of the future” circa 2010. They didn’t solve an actual problem enough people had to be worth learning how to use them and deal with the clunky parts.

      • raktheundead
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        16 months ago

        Its original purpose was always Gold Standard 2: The Digitalisation for Austrian School-influenced ancap wankers.

  • @fruitycoder@sh.itjust.works
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    46 months ago

    Eth consistently seems to be the better technology. I really don’t see why Bitcoin doesn’t see more transition from mining to just validation as it sunsets.

    • supert
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      16 months ago

      Mining is validation through POW. Eth is almost pointless from the point of view of bitcoin as proof of stake is “who has the gold makes the rules”.

      • @fruitycoder@sh.itjust.works
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        14 months ago

        PoW is inherently unavailable while also a system of dimmishing returns. PoS is bad IMHO too, but from a sociopolitical aspect and not from tech standpoint.

  • theodewere
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    36 months ago

    it makes sense that we’ll doom ourselves mining something absolutely worthless

  • @yo_scottie_oh@lemmy.ml
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    26 months ago

    [Alex De Vries] calculated that the computational process behind the Bitcoin network uses 8.6 to 35.1 billion liters of water annually in the United States or roughly one swimming pool’s worth of water per transaction.