• @zartcosgrove@beehaw.org
    link
    fedilink
    1186 months ago

    i strongly urge skepticism when reading articles about the environmental impacts of bitcoin. I am not saying that bitcoin is a sensible use of resources - rather that the claims made about the environmental impacts are often overstated and based on models extrapolated to absurdity. For example, see https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0321-8 where Mora, Camilo et al suggested that “Bitcoin Emissions Alone Could Push Global Warming Above 2°C”. Then read Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions by Masanet et al.

    Again - the environmental impacts of cloud computing in general and bitcoin in particular are something we should be concerned about. But there are a number of researchers who have made wild claims that should be treated with a critical eye.

    • @CanadaPlus
      link
      166 months ago

      (Checking if outbound federation is back)

      Yeah, if they had said 10 gallons, I’d buy that, but a whole swimming pool of water would be worth far more than a transaction fee I’d expect.

    • @jonne@infosec.pub
      link
      fedilink
      36 months ago

      Yeah, generally miners will set up in places with cheap electricity. And excluding places like Azerbaijan, those sources are generally renewables.

      • FaceDeer
        link
        fedilink
        36 months ago

        Yeah. Right now, the cost of a Bitcoin transaction is around $65 US. That price includes all of the expenditures that the miners have made on resources (electricity, water, rental costs for the space they’re using, hardware depreciation, etc.), as well as whatever bit of profits it takes to keep miners in business. That puts a cap on whatever environmental impact the transaction is having.

        • @BCsven@lemmy.ca
          link
          fedilink
          16 months ago

          So if it costs $65 for a transaction then why isn’t that the transaction fee? people would be loaing money if cost is more than the fees

          • FaceDeer
            link
            fedilink
            16 months ago

            Bitcoin is inflationary, it’s generating new Bitcoin with every block and issuing that to the miners. That new Bitcoin combines with the transaction fees to pay the miners.

            • @BCsven@lemmy.ca
              link
              fedilink
              16 months ago

              So mining is the bulk cost not the transactions. because my last bitcoin fee was like $10 or something

              • FaceDeer
                link
                fedilink
                26 months ago

                Yes. If you’re wanting to know how many resources mining a transaction takes, that’s the value you need to look at. The block reward effectively goes into subsidizing the transaction fees that are being paid.

            • JWBananas
              link
              fedilink
              English
              16 months ago

              Bitcoin is deflationary. There is a hard limit on the total number of bitcoins that will ever exist. Every so often, the reward for mining a block is halved. Eventually there will be effectively zero reward for mining at all.

              • FaceDeer
                link
                fedilink
                3
                edit-2
                6 months ago

                Maybe in the long run. However, when you want to actually calculate how much each transaction costs, you need to account for the fact that right now Bitcoin is inflationary. It won’t stop issuing new tokens until around 2140 AD, assuming no hard forks happen to modify that issuance strategy in the meantime.

  • Greg Clarke
    link
    fedilink
    English
    56
    edit-2
    6 months ago

    These data centers consume water for cooling systems

    How does a data center consume water? Doesn’t every liter that enters as freshwater leave as slightly warmer freshwater? What am I missing here?

      • Greg Clarke
        link
        fedilink
        English
        276 months ago

        That’s unlikely in a closed heat exchange system. Maybe some additional evaporation because the water is slightly warmer. But unless I’m missing something, it seems very misleading to suggest that a Bitcoin transaction uses 16 kilolitres because of evaporation. Napkin math, it would require about 10 megawatt/hours of energy to evaporate that much water (please correct me if I’m wrong). I’m not a Bitcoin fanboy, I just don’t like BS.

        • @lechatron@lemmy.today
          link
          fedilink
          English
          86 months ago

          Some water is used in humidifiers, there are also systems that use direct evaporative cooling where the water is eveporated to cool the hot air. There are probably other ways the water is lost.

          AWS’ preferred cooling strategy for its data centers is known as direct evaporative cooling. In this system, hot air is pulled from outside and pushed through water-soaked cooling pads. The water evaporates, reducing the air’s temperature, and the cool air is then sent into the server rooms.

          https://dgtlinfra.com/data-center-water-usage/

            • @lechatron@lemmy.today
              link
              fedilink
              English
              76 months ago

              These cooling systems remove and release all of the heat produced inside a data center – from servers, IT equipment, and mechanical infrastructure – into the outside environment, through a cooling tower that uses a water evaporation process.

              It goes outside and eventually becomes rain.

        • @PenguinTD@lemmy.ca
          link
          fedilink
          English
          36 months ago

          someone from a totally different thread mentioned that the water can’t stay in the system because of whatever mineral stuff from the cooling pipe/anti-algae/anti-corrosive has to leave the system after certain cycles. So unless you have a treatment plant down stream it’s not exactly “drinkable” freshwater. (and I doubt water regulation would allow that to happen.)

          The consume here means that water is not usable for other application. How? I don’t know, maybe it can be used for power wash?

          • @Zworf@beehaw.org
            link
            fedilink
            36 months ago

            It probably is still a lot easier to make potable than sewer water or even river water though. At lease you know exactly what contamination is in it.

            • @lechatron@lemmy.today
              link
              fedilink
              English
              4
              edit-2
              6 months ago

              Water used to cool data centers is either consumed, meaning it evaporates into the atmosphere via the data center’s cooling towers or discharged, as industrial wastewater, usually to a local wastewater treatment plant.

              It can’t just be dumped into a river, has to go to a sewer treatment plant.

              edit: They do recirculate it, but it eventually needs to be replaced. And some facilities have treatment plants on site, so doesn’t necessarily needed to go to a sewer treatment plant.

            • @PenguinTD@lemmy.ca
              link
              fedilink
              English
              16 months ago

              I agree, it would eventually have it’s own ecosystem around that water usage if “fresh” water or not really drinking water related use is required. At this point I think it’s just cost related, cheaper just to dump into ocean.

    • @gus@beehaw.org
      link
      fedilink
      7
      edit-2
      6 months ago

      Swamp coolers.

      Fans blow over water to lower the pressure, causing evaporation to occur at room temperature.

      Evaporating water absorbs heat from its surroundings without raising the water’s temperature as it undergoes a phase change. It absorbs nearly 20 times more heat than it would from being heated from 50 degrees F to 100 degrees.

    • @4am@lemm.ee
      link
      fedilink
      56 months ago

      Aquafers do not refill as quickly as industry sucks them dry. It’s not just a Bitcoin or even a cloud computing problem, but the author is using this fact to make Bitcoin look even more ridiculous.

  • @quackers@lemmy.blahaj.zone
    link
    fedilink
    406 months ago

    Ok thats not even remotely accurate. wtf is this clickbait shit. You can argue that bitcoin is bad for the environment but if you’re gonna invent statistics at least make is plausible.

  • @Zworf@beehaw.org
    link
    fedilink
    306 months ago

    These calculations are a bit off IMO. They factor the total amount of mining and divide it by the number of transactions.

    However, the amount of mining is not dependent on the amount of transactions.

    I’m not a fan of bitcoin due to the wasteful proof of work mechanism but ‘blaming’ the transactions is not really fair IMO, especially because people don’t really use bitcoin as a payment method anymore. It’s just used by speculators now.

    • @janguv@lemmy.dbzer0.com
      link
      fedilink
      16 months ago

      However, the amount of mining is not dependent on the amount of transactions.

      Entertain my ignorance on this for a second, but isn’t there some sort of dependence here? Like not a strictly casual dependence, but if transactions were, say, to magically halve for a few days, would that not affect the mining required and thus the total energy expenditure of the mining?

      (Obviously the limit case would show this to be true, in that in the absence of any transactions at all, mining would cease. But I’m after something a bit more clearly casually related, somewhat like supply and demand in the marketplace – consumption of beef driving more supply and more methane, e.g.)

      • @Zworf@beehaw.org
        link
        fedilink
        16 months ago

        No, transactions piggyback on the mined blocks but if there are no transactions mining still happens.

        • @janguv@lemmy.dbzer0.com
          link
          fedilink
          2
          edit-2
          6 months ago

          I see. But in the limit case where just everybody decided BTC is nonsense and stopped transacting entirely, while mining could continue, eventually it would die out, right?

          So in a sense, do transactions not drive the need for mining? If that’s the case, the connection isn’t directly casual so much as one of complicity. Does that make sense or am I still barking up the wrong tree with this way of thinking?

          • @Zworf@beehaw.org
            link
            fedilink
            2
            edit-2
            6 months ago

            I see. But in the limit case where just everybody decided BTC is nonsense and stopped transacting entirely, while mining could continue, eventually it would die out, right?

            Probably, yes. But it’s important to realise that bitcoin started as a payment system. Meaning lots of daily transactions would be done. These days it’s used more for speculation, as a value storage system and for transferring to other coins. Which implies a lot less transactions.

            Everybody basically has already decided that BTC is nonsense for payments and stopped using it for that. This is exactly why the transactions have so much “overhead” because so few transactions are compared to so much mining.

            So in a sense, do transactions not drive the need for mining? If that’s the case, the connection isn’t directly casual so much as one of complicity. Does that make sense or am I still barking up the wrong tree with this way of thinking?

            Not really, no. Miners mine as an investment. The whole payment system community has already been taken over by other systems which are much better suited for that, like Etherium, which has proof of stake for low overhead, fast transaction time and smart contracts. Or Monero, which hides the identity better so it’s more common in the purchasing of certain illicit substances.

            The BTC community reacted with lightning but it was too little too late to solve this usecase. The BCH (bitcoin cash) fork was also motivated by this as far as I understand, because the miners were opposed to any changes to facilitate easier payments and lower transaction costs. But this is more hearsay I have to admit, I’m not a cryptobro and not fully into this.

            So now BTC is less like a “bank” and more like a “goldmine”. That’s how you should see it. Even though gold is a useful material, most investors that buy gold don’t buy it with the intention to ever sell it to a factory making connectors or whatever. They just buy it because it’s scarce and the price keeps going up, and people assign value to it.

            Bitcoin is in the same position now. It has value because people decide it has value. This is not really related to its potential use as a payment system. Miners (the ones who control the bitcoin stack now) are not even interested in its use for that purpose and seem to actively block enhancements to make that easier. Though transactions are still necessary for trading between investors, it’s much much less in volume than it would be if people were still using it to pay for stuff in shops.

            But anyway, going back to my original point: Articles like the link here that claim that Bitcoin is a really shitty payment system are kinda stating the obvious. It’s practically speaking not a payment system anymore even though it technically could be used as such.

      • Tookys
        link
        fedilink
        16 months ago

        @janguv

        @Zworf @technology

        The mining isn’t based on transactions, the mining is set to target a 10 minute block time, the difficulty changes based on how much mining capacity there is.

        If a block takes less than 10 minutes the difficulty goes up. If it takes more the difficulty goes down.

        Each block has a maximum capacity of 2500 transactions, which is why gas is used to prioritize who gets added in a block.

        There have been many blocks with zero transactions.

        (May bot be correct #)

  • @S0L1DX
    link
    236 months ago

    That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works. BS clickbait

      • gila
        link
        fedilink
        7
        edit-2
        6 months ago

        Whether the energy consumption of an action is justified depends on the efficiency of the energy use, the practical aim of the action, whether it would replace any more or less efficient actions, and the energy source.

        Simply stating it has no purpose and that the energy use of Bitcoin is somehow analogous to mass water wastage, does not seek to investigate whether Bitcoin’s energy use is justified. It’s disingenuous and reactionary.

        • @EatATaco@lemm.ee
          link
          fedilink
          English
          36 months ago

          So the quibble is not with the claim that it uses that much water, only that they didn’t do a comparison to other things that meet the same/similar needs?

          • gila
            link
            fedilink
            16 months ago

            To draw a comparison between bitcoin energy consumption and water use is plainly seeking to remove context from the conditional justification for Bitcoin’s energy use, which has nothing to do with water. It’s deliberately sensationalistic. Anything that consumes energy can be described as consuming or wasting an equivalent amount of water. As a statement on whether that consumption is justified, it’s meaningless.

            • @EatATaco@lemm.ee
              link
              fedilink
              English
              16 months ago

              Anything that consumes energy can be described as consuming or wasting an equivalent amount of water.

              Then do so. What equivalent exchange of any value of money uses as much water as Bitcoin? If I’m not asking you the right question here, can you tell me the actual question and what the answer is?

              • gila
                link
                fedilink
                1
                edit-2
                6 months ago

                You’d need to qualify what you mean by ‘exchanging any value of money’. If it’s handing a note of currency to your friend, the energy cost of circulating the bill is associated. If you mean someone not in the same room, then you need to accept the associated caveats of running the traditional finance system e.g. ATM costs, financed emissions, and other essential components of the fractional reserve bank concept. Totally aside from the server requirements to physically run the network. Without all of those things, you can’t exchange any value of money.

                Traditional finance almost certainly consumes as much water as Bitcoin on a per-capita basis, and on an absolute basis traditional finance uses way, way more. The difference is the global network of banking operations is opaque. For Greenidge Generation, their 2.5EH/s hashrate is a part of their product, advertising it is a sales tactic. Just makes it a bit less abstract to pick apart and then make broad generalisations about the sum hashrate of the network based on this LNG-powered site the report is based on. For what it’s worth, that’s not really a feasible way to mine Bitcoin. It suggests energy generation is their real product.

                The real answer is a rhetorical question: what is the impetus for the traditional finance system to operate sustainably, either now or in future? Because for Bitcoin miners it’s clear. The monetary policy essentially dictates it over time. Reward yield decreases for the same amount of work. You don’t need to get into whether it’s environmentally sustainable, because it’s not economically sustainable unless you’re generating a fully renewable energy source.

                • @EatATaco@lemm.ee
                  link
                  fedilink
                  English
                  16 months ago

                  You’d need to qualify what you mean by ‘exchanging any value of money’.

                  Previously you said “whether it would replace any more or less efficient actions” and I’m trying to get to the bottom of what you mean. I even asked for clarification if i was asking the wrong question. I feel like I’m now being asked to qualify what I just asked you to qualify.

                  The real answer is a rhetorical question: what is the impetus for the traditional finance system to operate sustainably, either now or in future? Because for Bitcoin miners it’s clear.

                  This sounds like it’s agreeing with the premise of the article here: Bitcoin is not sustainable. This isn’t to say other things are sustainable. It’s just pointing out that it uses a ton of water, and a lot of it has moved to a place that can’t really handle the increased water usage so it might cause a water shortage. If this is the reason the article is “not how any of this works” and “BS clickbait” then I disagree.

  • @Michal@programming.dev
    link
    fedilink
    236 months ago

    False. Mining is what uses electricity (and water) in bitcoin, not transactions. Adding more transactions does not add to the cost. Calculating consumption per transaction is misleading as the two are not related.

    What does add to the cost is complexity, and complexity is calculated based on number of miners in the network in order to achieve the sweet spot of 1 block every 10 mins (if i remember correctly). If there’s a lot of competition, each miner will have to use more electricity to win.

  • @jarfil@beehaw.org
    link
    fedilink
    216 months ago

    Because of these transactions, many countries, such as the United States, could face freshwater shortages if the currency becomes more widely adopted.

    False.

    Blocks get mined (secured) with the same amount of power no matter the number of transactions in each.

    Interesting that an article like this would come out right as Bitcoin’s value is going up and the US SEC is considering approval of several Bitcoin ETFs.

      • @GenderNeutralBro
        link
        English
        21
        edit-2
        6 months ago

        I don’t think that’s really equivalent. They are averaging the energy usage of mining and usage across the number of transactions. The overwhelming majority of that energy would be on mining.

        What is the equivalent of mining in terms in VISA transactions? How much energy does that use? What is the marginal cost of a Bitcoin transaction? If you’re including Bitcoin mining in your per-transaction costs, shouldn’t you include the entire operating costs of VISA, along with the partners they rely on like banks, mints, and even physical mines?

        Bitcoin is not a 1:1 equivalent of anything in the traditional financial world, so coming up with a meaningful comparison is difficult. It’s a little bit currency, a little bit transaction processing, a little bit “mining”, and a little bit banking. Despite the hype, I don’t think it’s a full replacement for any one of those things.

        • @Overzeetop@beehaw.org
          link
          fedilink
          156 months ago

          You can’t have a transaction without mining. Mining is the work done to solve a batch of transactions, so the exact cost of a transaction is easy to determine provided that you don’t include the cost of plant (buildings and IT to run the miners, though this is usually very minor compared to the actual calculation consumption). Each block contains (typically) between 3000 and 4000 transactions and is solved every 10 minutes. As of today, it takes 2.6GWh to solve a block, given the current number of miners (137TWh/yr per https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption), which is 744kWh per transaction at 3500 transactions per block.

          The cost of a Visa transaction is more difficult because there are people involved and other plant costs (buildings to house the people who work for Visa). The actual cost to process a Visa transaction, in direct transactional power usage, is trivial because a Raspberry Pi can “process” hundreds of thousands of transactions a second locally - it’s literally a couple hundred bytes of login/query/reply data, and adding or subtracting from a ledger which is mirrored to distributed servers. Distributed across a server with enough transactions to keep it busy it’s probably a few hundred milliseconds on 1/8 of a 50W processor - call it 0.001Wh at the server, which is the equivalent of the 700kWh per bitcoin transaction. If we say that there are 10 machines all doing the same virtual transaction on each physical transaction (incl. POS, backup, billing, etc) and we figure a 5:1 cost of total power (a/c, losses, memory, storage) then we’re all the way up to 0.00005kWh (0.05 Wh, or 180 watt-seconds) per transaction. That means that the overall cost for visa to process your charge is 1.5kWh/0.00005kWh for the computers or 30,000:1 due to humans being involved in the process.

          Here’s the thing, though: Bitcoin gets harder (more compute intensive) as time goes on, and the rate of increase is faster than the ability to solve, on a Wh basis. IE - Bitcoin transactions will get more expensive over time unless bitcoin changes their code - and there is always resistance to that because there is a financial disincentive to reduce the work in Proof of Work systems. This is mitigated on other blockchains by using Proof of Stake, but that has other implications. Visa, otoh, is taking advantage of AI and drops in processor and storage costs to lower their per-transaction cost because there is a financial incentive to reduce processing costs as the fees charged are fixed (nominally 3% of the transaction cost) and anything left over is profit.

          • @GenderNeutralBro
            link
            English
            56 months ago

            It seems I have fundamentally misunderstood how bitcoin mining works. Thanks for the correction.

            I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this. If the marginal energy cost of a transaction is 744kWh, shouldn’t the transaction fees be astronomical?

            • @gus@beehaw.org
              link
              fedilink
              46 months ago

              The reward for mining a block is over a quarter of a million dollars these days. $250k / 4k transactions = apx $62.50 per transaction. Around $8 is from the transaction fee from the sender, the other $54 is from the block reward minted out of thin air.

            • @EinfachUnersetzlich@lemm.ee
              link
              fedilink
              2
              edit-2
              6 months ago

              Yeah, at current electricity prices where I live that would be just under £300,000 per transaction. Doesn’t seem right.

              Edit: as pointed out, I was out by a factor of 100. Electricity costs 40p per kWh here.

              • @GenderNeutralBro
                link
                English
                46 months ago

                You sure you have the magnitude right on that? From a quick search, I think it should only be about £200 in e.g. London, with similar prices in big cities across the US. I thought those were relatively high prices to begin with.

            • @conorab@lemmy.conorab.com
              link
              fedilink
              16 months ago

              Unless I am mistaken, the total number the other comment is raising is how much power the entire network spent calculating the transaction, not how much the winner (the one who got paid out) spent. You calculate the energy consumption of the entire network because that power was still spent on the transaction even if the rest of the network wasn’t rewarded. I have no idea if the numbers presented are correct but the reasoning seems sensible. Maybe I’m wrong though. :)

          • @commie@lemmy.dbzer0.com
            link
            fedilink
            English
            26 months ago

            Bitcoin transactions will get more expensive over time unless bitcoin changes their code

            other events could precipitate a decrease in power used per bitcoin transaction.

            • @Overzeetop@beehaw.org
              link
              fedilink
              46 months ago

              Again, it would take a substantial change to the code or reality. The options are to change the block size (more transactions per block), alter the difficulty curve (which is intended to limit growth in the limited bitcoin supply), alter the way blocks are solved (massive theoretical mathematical breakthrough or, possibly, a move from asic to quantum computing), or switch away from proof of work. The first increases the storage of the blockchain (substantially for a substantial reduction), rewrite - and get approval - to change the difficulty steps which had been a hallmark of the system, the third is magical thinking, and the fourth completely undermines the egalitarian ethos of the coin.

              I’ve heard of no substantive move on any front to alter the plan because, for now, it working. And the true believers are generally libertarians who have faith that market forces will correct any shortcomings organically. This usually results in everything working perfectly right up until it doesn’t, at which point the wheels come off and the bus slams into the class of kindergarteners crossing the road.

              • @commie@lemmy.dbzer0.com
                link
                fedilink
                English
                26 months ago

                the network is self-adjusting. if hash power begins to decrease, the network will decrease difficulty to maintain the target of 10 minute block times. lots of things could lead to decreased hash power. the whole network could be run with a cleverly configured raspberry pi

                • @Overzeetop@beehaw.org
                  link
                  fedilink
                  16 months ago

                  the whole network could be run with a cleverly configured raspberry pi

                  Which would defeat the entire purpose of a distributed blockchain. I’m ribbing you, of course, on that ;-) Bitcoin was not built for efficiency and the very basis of distributed proof of work trades efficiency for security. The more “successful” it gets, the larger the incentive to waste power in a fight to win each block reward becomes - by design.

        • Sonori
          link
          fedilink
          56 months ago

          Even when you throw in the entire electrical consumption of Visa down to the last lightbulb and ATM you’re going to be dwarfed by bitcoin. Mining is inherently necessary for bitcoin to process and records transactions, but even if it wasn’t the scale of waste just kills bitcoin. Running a few office buildings to serve hundreds of millions of people just can’t compete on a per transaction cost. And comparing the energy needed of one way to send money online to another way to send money online seems fair enough to me.

          For scale, in an electric suv like the Ionic 5, 708kwh is enough to drive from California to Florida, and that’s necessarily for every single transaction.

      • @Michal@programming.dev
        link
        fedilink
        26 months ago

        But does it account for manufacturing of the plastic cards, delivering it to the user, and the added expense of the extra weight when carrying it around? /s

      • admiralteal
        link
        fedilink
        11
        edit-2
        6 months ago

        By design.

        Bitcoin has pretty much no incentive to make the transactions efficient. The load is distributed to other people (their customers), and their biggest customers have a perverse incentive to want the transactions to be as inefficient as possible in order to discourage competition.

        Vista et al have to pay for their own transactions, so keeping it light is simple cost savings and totally rational.

      • @wolframhart@lemmy.today
        link
        fedilink
        English
        26 months ago

        Sorry, I’ve not kept up to date with crypto, but wasn’t ethereum due to move from computational mining to staking? Wouldn’t that be a lot more efficient, or is that not a thing yet?

        • coffeetest
          link
          fedilink
          8
          edit-2
          6 months ago

          ethereum moved to proof of stake sometime back. BTC and I think a few other (very) minor cryptos still use proof of work which is where the significant power usage goes. Not something I track but I believe the vast majority of non-BTC cyptos are proof of stake or something not proof of work anyway and BTC is the only one that uses proof of work and is used at all. That might not exactly be technically correct but it is in the practical realm.

      • @jarfil@beehaw.org
        link
        fedilink
        16 months ago

        Most importantly, VISA, MasterCard, etc. are far more profitable for VISA, MasterCard, etc. stock holders.

  • @Moonrise2473@feddit.it
    link
    fedilink
    126 months ago

    As tradition I won’t read the actual article and only comment on the headline - while BTC is a massive energy waste, it seems unlikely that each transaction would waste so much cooling water. Maybe each mined block, but each block should contain thousands of transactions

  • @Mikina@programming.dev
    link
    fedilink
    126 months ago

    700kWh per transaction? That’s absurd amount of power. That’s 70 EUR of energy per one transaction at current (EU) exchange price.

    Is there anyone here knowledgeable enough about this issue to say whether those numbers are correct, or just an overestimate? It feels wrong.

    • @sushibowl@feddit.nl
      link
      fedilink
      96 months ago

      The number varies a little bit (I’ve seen estimates 600-1200 kWh) but this is well within an order of magnitude of being correct. It’s the nature of the competitive mining network and the proof of work system: if you can spend more computing power (i.e. energy) than everyone else there are lucrative mining rewards to be had. At the same time adding more computing power to the network doesn’t add more transaction processing power, because mining difficulty is constantly adjusted to keep the speed more or less constant.

      This naturally leads to exorbitant power consumption per transaction. Note that most of this power is not being purchased at EU exchange prices (mining naturally moves to where electricity can be had for cheap to maximize profits).

      • @Mikina@programming.dev
        link
        fedilink
        106 months ago

        I just hope bitcoin will finally die. It’s literally just wasting absurd amount of energy, only to allow scammers to scam billions of dollars from victims, and regular people to steal from eachother by investing into it. I mean, if the only use of bitcoin by now is for speculation and investment, then it means that any dollar you made, you literally stole from someone else who will be left with useless bitcoin once it’s all over. There’s no value, and with the ledger getting bigger and bigger, and bitcoin more expensive to mine, it will eventually be worthless. And we all know it, so anyone who makes thousands of dollars, there’s someone who probably financially ruined himself by making a wrong and stupid investment at the wrong time.

        I hate crypto so much :D.

        • @quackers@lemmy.blahaj.zone
          link
          fedilink
          06 months ago

          You can exchange it for goods and services in the same way as the dollar. Which is the goal of it in the first place. Disregarding the cost for the sake of this point, it functions in a similar way as the dollar, which you could argue is also just used for speculation, but it would be equally inaccurate. Then there is describing bitcoin as all of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, which is also incorrect. It’s an evolving technology, and the system bitcoin uses is legacy and expensive, and is currently being kept alive by being the first in the space, money interests wanting to keep it dominant because of investment and a horde of cultlike followers. However, in the ethereum ecosystem, transactions keep getting cheaper through layer 2 protocols and upgrades to the system. It uses proof of stake which is vastly cheaper. I think there certainly are valid arguments against cryprocurrency, but the stuff everyone keeps NPC copypasting is generally nonsense.

          • davehtaylor
            link
            fedilink
            66 months ago

            You can exchange it for goods and services in the same way as the dollar. Which is the goal of it in the first place. Disregarding the cost for the sake of this point

            But you can’t disregard the cost. No big box retailer is going to start accepting BTC transactions at the point of sale. It takes too long, and is too resource intensive. So you’re essentially limited to secondary markets or person-to-person transactions where seconds in processing the transaction don’t count. Not to mention the volatility of the exchange rate. A business or a government aren’t going to accept that the currency they accepted today could potentially be worth half its value tomorrow. Without some sort of major catastrophic world event, something like that isn’t going to happen to the dollar. That kind of shit destabilizes entire economies and nations.

            There’s also the issue of reputation. Regardless of validity, cryptocurrency is seen as something used for criminal activity. If your local city government said they’d start accepting BTC for your water bill or trash bill, the majority of average folk are going to think “that stuff people buy drugs with on the Internet?”

            BTC has never been and will never be viable as a mass market currency system.

          • @Mikina@programming.dev
            link
            fedilink
            15 months ago

            You are right I shouldn’t have equaled bitcoin with the rest of the crypto ecosystem. While most crypto is utter scam, it’s true that there have been some slight advances here and there, and there are coins that may be actually useful for some cases, mostly Monero and I suppose Ethereum. I’d still say that crypto has done more harm than good in the world, and I say that as someone who’s really focused at privacy, care about it a lot and have invested significant amount of time and effort into staying as private as possible.

            But it’s great that Ethereum managed to solve most of the issues with Bitcoin - unless I’m mistaken, it’s not really used for investment speculation, and if it managed to keep the energy requirements low, that’s good. But last time I remember researching about blockchain (it was few months, so feel free to correct me), isn’t it running into serious issues with ledger size, that makes it infeasible for long-term (decades) of use, without sacrificing some of it’s guarantees? Which is one of the main issues with blockchain tech in general, that I don’t think has been solved so far.

            • @quackers@lemmy.blahaj.zone
              link
              fedilink
              15 months ago

              It’s a process. There certainly are a lot of scams, and correct regulations need to be in place. It is a tool used by people who do harm, though it is not the cause of harm. At the same time, it’s helped a lot of startups innovate in non-traditional ways, and i think a global and affordable currency that is not tied to the local currency has the potential to help a lot of people. Ethereum in theory should be more stable in terms of price as it keeps being minted and destroyed trough use of the blockchain. You can speculate with it, or the ERC-20 tokens in it’s ecosystem. Ledger size is an issue i’ve had to deal with myself setting up a node, but it’s also an issue that can be fixed in several ways if it looks like it could become a significant enough issue, as they did with PoW to PoS.

              I think it’s hard to measure what good and bad crypto is done when you only hear about outragous corruption and crime but not how the everyday person uses it. I use it in a way that helps myself and others and I’m no north korean drug lord scamming people.

    • @Michal@programming.dev
      link
      fedilink
      76 months ago

      It’s incorrect. I would comparing to fuel consumption in a car based on how many times you turned. If you make more turns on your way, it would seem your car is more efficient, when in reality there’s very little relation between turns and fuel usage, just like there is little relation between number of blocks mined and transactions.

    • FaceDeer
      link
      fedilink
      56 months ago

      It’s an overestimate. Right now the total cost per transaction is around 82 US dollars, which at current exchange rates is 75 Euros. That cost covers everything - electricity, rent for the building, salary for staff, taxes, depreciation of mining equipment, and whatever profit is required to keep the miners in business. I don’t know what proportion of miner costs actually goes to electricity but I expect it’ll likely be much less than 70 Euros.

      Perhaps someone got that 700 kWh figure by doing the reverse calculation - looking at how much a transaction cost and then assuming that all goes toward electricity.

  • Melody Fwygon
    link
    fedilink
    126 months ago

    Not only is the science underlying all these findings completely non-existent, they only “guesstimate” what the water usage of what every thing that uses water is; then blindly divide that by the transaction volume per time period.

    Not only is that method highly flawed; it’s incorrect. Computers do more than mine crypto; and 1 transaction typically costs not even 1 tenth of a percent of most miners’ overall computer resources. This is due to the fact that many miners are utilizing either a GPU or FPGA style device to power optimize and optimize the mathematics necessary to secure a transaction.

    • JWBananas
      link
      fedilink
      English
      76 months ago

      That might have been true a decade ago. But GPUs and FPGAs have long been obsolete for mining Bitcoin.

      Mining is happening on custom silicon in large-scale operations. They specifically observed several of those large-scale operations in multiple nations and extrapolated out. I don’t see how that methodology is flawed.

  • @redcalcium@lemmy.institute
    link
    fedilink
    126 months ago

    When the alternative to prove of works (vouched by those hoarding compute resources) is prove of stake (vouched by those who can afford to park piles of money), both are suck for their own reasons.

  • @cwagner@beehaw.org
    link
    fedilink
    106 months ago

    Not even a mention of lightning? I have no idea if it works as I’ve been hearing both yes and no for several years, but writing such an article without mentioning what at least theoretically would be the solution just seems bad.

    • FaceDeer
      link
      fedilink
      56 months ago

      Last I saw Lightning was pretty much DOA, it’s been around for many years and almost nobody’s using it. At the time I was checking there was an order of magnitude more activity transferring Bitcoin on Ethereum using WBTC tokens than using Lightning on Bitcoin itself.

      • @Zworf@beehaw.org
        link
        fedilink
        26 months ago

        Yeah I made a bitcoin payment recently and I was very suprised to learn that my wallet (CakeWallet) doesn’t support Lightning payments at all. So I had to do it the old way.

        Very weird because bitcoin advocates always pushed it as the holy grail. But I guess bitcoin as an actual payment method is just really too niche for it to take off.

        • FaceDeer
          link
          fedilink
          26 months ago

          I recall back when Lightning was first come up with thinking how incredibly hacky a solution it was, full of awkward workarounds for the limitations of Bitcoin’s blockchain. A few small changes to the blockchain would have made it so much simpler and more robust, but at that point Bitcoin’s immutability had become such a fundamentalist religion that any such changes were absolutely rejected. They wouldn’t even fiddle with the block size, let alone consider expanding its scripting capabilities.

          Then Ethereum came along with the exact opposite philosophy, it’s willing to continue making changes to the foundation layer with the overall goal of making Ethereum more functional for diverse applications. Ever since then it’s just been a slow transition of everything useful moving over to Ethereum and Bitcoin becoming ever more insular and obsolete by comparison.

          It seems like I haven’t thought about Bitcoin in years. When this article came up it took me a moment to shift the mental gears and go “oh yeah, that. I guess it’s still around.”

      • @cwagner@beehaw.org
        link
        fedilink
        16 months ago

        See, that’s another “no”, but then I read just as convincing “yes” posts, and I just don’t care enough to make my own research, so I have Schrödinger’s lightning network ;)

        But any way, it would have to be mentioned in a serious sticker.