It now uses half as much energy as the entire United Kingdom

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28 Responses to It now uses half as much energy as the entire United Kingdom

  1. John A says:

    What a furphy!!

    Has anyone calculated the cost of minting/printing present currencies PLUS the cost of handling all the transactions through the economy and then through the banking & payments processing system?

    Apples? Oranges? More like Acorns and Forests!

  2. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    More importantly it’s being used by disreputable types to skirt sanctions.

    Study Finds 4.5% Of All Bitcoin Mining Is In Sanctions-Hit Iran (23 May)

    A prominent crypto analytics firm has issued a new report suggesting the Is lam ic Republic was able to successfully weather the Trump-era sanctions storm of the past few years by generating up to a billion dollars a year through mining cryptocurrencies.

    The Norks appear to have recently started up a big bitcoin mining operation too. Chinese people also seem to use bitcoin mining as a way to evade CCP currency controls. Something like 65% of bitcoin mining takes place in China using coal fired electricity.

  3. mundi says:

    Bitcoin is simply a bubble fueled by the cheap QE going on. It originally had good intentions as a decentralised libertarian currency. But it’s outgrown the experiment. The average bitcoin transaction is over $200,000 AUD. Any transactions under this size are actually just fake IOUs by the intermediaries – you cannot transfer bitcoin until you have six figure amounts, this is because of the way it was written was nieve compared to the success it would have – it don’t scale properly.

    Needless to say, people are not conducting day to day transactions in bitwarden. It’s just banks and exchanges swapping money back and forth, with the miners taking some of it in fees.

    It’s going to come crashing down once governments stop the money printing….

  4. Dot says:

    Exactly John A.

    Fiat currency is simply a bubble field by cheap QE…

  5. Dot says:

    More importantly it’s being used by disreputable types to skirt sanctions.

    J u s t l i k e t h e p h y s i c a l U S D a n d
    a c t u a l g o l d !

  6. Adelagado says:

    I didn’t understand it before, and I understand it even less now.

  7. Fair Shake says:

    The Bitcoin movement is driving a huge demand for semi conductors, graphics cards and harddrives so I have been told by a nerd friend in theindustry.

  8. Rohan says:

    John A says:
    May 24, 2021 at 11:25 am
    Has anyone calculated the cost of minting/printing present currencies PLUS the cost of handling all the transactions through the economy and then through the banking & payments processing system?

    Probably not. I do know that running the government mint would be a small fraction of power in terms of running the printing presses. I would estimate that it would be in the order of that of a medium to large timber mill at an educated guess. So you’ll need an a heafty 22 kV supply. But that’s not enough to justify installing or bying your own power station.

    The cost of traditional electronic transactions is far less than that of bitcoin. For starters, you don’t have to datamine/decrypt every posting so CPU workload is minimal in comparison. Australia’s big 4 banks don’t own a datacentre each. They lease a reasonable amount of rack space, but that’s it.

    Decrypting AES 2056 bit encryption (assuming that’s the level of encryption employed) takes a lot of CPU power to brute force and a lot of time to break it. CPU’s in blade or rack servers with the overhead to crunch that kind of encryption are rated well above the power of your standard laptop or desktop PC. A 28 core Xeon W requires 255W to run. If you have 4 CPUs per rack or blade, then the power supply will need to be rated at at least 2000W each, as you still need to power ancillaries etc within the blade.

    Most modern datacentres hold up to tens of thousands of rack or blade servers, thousands of switches, routers, SANS, you name it.

    And all that number crunching means those servers will be running hard, so that translates into a truck load of heat. Cooling load means power consumption there would be higher than that for the servers.

    So yes, you can justify purchasing a small power plant rated in the order of 500-600MW to power one facility. In fact one ChiCom owned company did exactly that near Newcastle a few years back IIRC.

    And there’s a lot more than one datacentre purpose built for mining Bitcoin.

  9. Tator says:

    Fair Shake, all crypto currencies have created a huge demand for GPUs mainly as the custom built mining systems have up to 8 graphics cards in an array.
    Even Nvidia attempted to limit the hash rate at what their newer cards could do but a leaked bios removed that limit.
    It is incredibly difficult to purchase new graphics cards for any decent price. I last upgraded to a AMD 570 just over 3 years ago for$170 and there is now nothing in the market under $800 that I can upgrade to as everything under $800 is a lower spec card.

  10. RobK says:

    We’re gonna need a lot of solar panels and leave your EV plugged in please.

  11. Baa Humbug says:

    Bitcoin = digital Gold. Both are “mined”
    Lose your encryption key or get hacked, lose your Bitcoin.
    I suppose you can also get robbed and lose your gold.
    Might as well have the real thing, physical gold, or better yet cut out the middle men and buy shares in gold mining companies.

  12. RogerW says:

    So we need to mine all that coal to run the power stations to mine the bit coins…
    Got it, I think.

  13. flyingduk says:

    Leaving aside the fact that BTC mining uses ~75% ‘renewable’ energy – more than any other large industry (if you think that matters), is the problem that BTC mining uses a lot of energy, or is the problem what the energy is used for? If its the former, well we all better turn off our airconditioners, because they use an order of magnitude more energy than bitcoin. I think its actually the latter – the ‘its using too much energy and will destroy the planet’ argument is just a convenient stalking horse for the old order which simply doesnt want BTC to succeed, because it threatens the existing monetary order.

  14. Dusty says:

    Crypto is harder currency than any fiat currency in the world because of the strength of the encryption plus the fact that there is at any one point only a finite amount of them. Businesses are starting to accept bitcoin in the mainstream- at least one delivery service around me has a wallet. All of the alt-coins such as doge and the like provide a valuable and wonderful insight into what money really was when no single central printer existed- the closest that came pre federal reserves was kings who demanded signorage for melting your gold into coins that could be used to pay taxes. Value fluctuated as faith in any currency did, but far more naturally and more in line with the quality of product from a nation.
    Cryptocurrency is the future of money- why the hell do you think governments all over the world are shitting themselves over it? If mass uptake becomes reality, they effectively have zero control over it, and their entire scheme of control *DIES*.
    CHOKE THE STATE. BUY CRYPTO.

  15. Kneel says:

    “Decrypting AES 2056 bit encryption (assuming that’s the level of encryption employed) takes a lot of CPU power to brute force and a lot of time to break it.”

    No-one seriously into BitCoin mining uses general purpose CPUs – they either use graphics GPUs or custom hardware.

    And if you mean AES-256, with current GP CPU hardware, you need about 128 of them for about a month to break it. As the number goes up, the time required goes up exponentially (if 256 equals 1 unit, 257 is 2 units, 258 is 4 units etc.) So when you get to “serious” encryption at say 8192 bit ciphers… that’s a spicy meat-a-ball!

    However, CPU power continues to also grow exponentially, so in fact 2048 bit X.509 certificate (secure web site certificate) is deemed secure until only 2029.

    Of course, if someone discovers a way to find the prime factors of large numbers easily, that will change.

  16. Squirrel says:

    At least the tulip bulbs were pretty to look at when they were cultivated.

  17. Makka says:

    More importantly it’s being used by disreputable types to skirt sanctions.

    Like when Obambi shipped pallet loads of greenbacks by plane to Iran?

  18. Nob says:

    I would just like to hear – in detail, please – from somebody, anybody, who uses Bitcoin repeatedly to buy high-value tangible assets.

  19. flyingduk says:

    I would just like to hear – in detail, please – from somebody, anybody, who uses Bitcoin repeatedly to buy high-value tangible assets.

    BTC is a tangible assett – and dont go on about ‘its only digital’ – so is music, photos, information, and, incidentally, MOST government money. Have I spent any yet ? Hell no, why would I, it triples in value (on average) every year.

  20. Joe Blow says:

    Nice to see some push back against anti bitcoin dinosaurs. I visit several left wing sites and they hate it and I go to right wing sites and they hate it too. You should both join together!!

    It is quite clear that bitcoin ( forget most of the other rubbish ) is creating a kind of ‘hard fork’ in the future of civilisation. On one side will be the lefties and righties arguing with each other about increasing irrelevancies, while a new world is being built – despite you guys.

  21. C.L. says:

    I don’t hate BitCoin, Joe.
    I just thought the Fin Times analysis of its energy requirements was interesting.

  22. Baa Humbug says:

    Joe Blow says:
    May 25, 2021 at 10:55 am

    Nice to see some push back against anti bitcoin dinosaurs.

    And there it is, the disparaging labels. This is what the left does to anyone sceptical of their opinions and propositions, out come the insults. Well go Blow Yourself Joe.

    So long as BTC is not legal tender, its just another non physical asset, rather like Carbon Trading and should be treated as such.
    Because some places accept BTC or other cryptos doesn’t make it legal tender. Lots of places used to accept Bartercard too, it didn’t become legal tender.

    I have a biased view because I’m into gold and silver.

  23. Speedbox says:

    I originally bought Bitcoin back in mid/late 2016 when the price was about $1,000. I don’t remember the exact price(s) I paid but it was about that. I sold them a year later in for a very substantial profit. I also held ETH and several others that I would trade from time to time.

    The problem for Bitcoin is that it has no underlying backing. It is worth what ‘the mob’ say it’s worth. Back in the day there were several who speculated that BTC could reach $100k. Today I see that some think BTC could reach $500k. Maybe, maybe not.

    Cryptocurrency is the future of money- why the hell do you think governments all over the world are shitting themselves over it?

    You can be certain Dusty that if a major government (or some/all of them) determine that BTC is undermining their fiat money supply and their respective economies, transactions using BTC will be banned. NOTHING is allowed to come between a government and its money creation/accumulation/trade as the very essence of a nation’s GDP would be threatened.

    BTC is ‘tolerated’ as a distraction but if it becomes an economic threat, it will be outlawed and transactions will be banned and/or exchanges regulated out of business. It will only exist as a ‘currency’ on the dark web. Don’t forget that nations are also moving towards their own emoney equivalents – BTC will not be allowed to compete with government issued currency.

    Never underestimate the capacity of governments to legislate and regulate against any form of opposition.

  24. Joe Blow says:

    C.L. The FT article is pure clickbait FUD. Notice how it is a freebie? They know it’s a hot button issue and will become more so as the establishment tries desperately to stop it. FUD is now coming thick and fast. One week it’s the environment, the next it’s tulips, and after that it’s that only crims use it. Followed by it will be banned or it isn’t and can’t be money. On and on and round and round. All so predictable. You would honestly think that some people here would prick their ears up a bit and take a deeper look, but no they would rather go back to sleep. I find it very interesting that both the left and right seem to hate it for the same reasons – maybe they aren’t so different after all??

    The thing is bitcoin is uniquely placed to become the worlds hardest asset, being absolutely scarce. It will be extremely volatile for a while yet ( volatility is going down slowly ) but could eventually take its place alongside gold. All other cryptos ride on the coat-tails of bitcoin, which is obvious when you look at the graphs. People will buy into bitcoin at the price they are comfortable with and therefore the majority will miss out on the huge gains. Even many early fans mostly sold after 10x to 100x gains. Now some institutions are buying bitcoin ( NOTE: virtually none of the other ‘cryptos’ ) and eventually even Central Banks probably will. Recently the main Singapore Sovereign Wealth fund started accumulating and Australia should do the same.

    Contrary to FUD, use cases are slowly growing as well, though this isn’t a real requirement for it as its asset properties will be enough.

    Also pundits and detractors alike tend not to understand that the energy used for bitcoin is to protect the network from attack, not for transactions. The greater the perceived threat, the more energy required. State level attacks are already probably too difficult, but we will see. Think of it like a ‘force field’ protecting around $1 trillion.

  25. Terry says:

    flyingduk says:
    ‘Leaving aside the fact that BTC mining uses ~75% ‘renewable’ energy – more than any other large industry (if you think that matters)…’

    Is that the 75% “renewable energy” that is made from 100% fossil fuels?

    ‘… (if you think that matters)…’ – It doesn’t, at least not in the attempted positive spin it was intended…

    BTC is a waste of energy. Deliberately so to encourage scarcity. Leaving aside the merit of DLT in general and BTC specifically, if you are going to use energy for this kind of thing you would want the cheapest and most efficient (Coal/Nuclear) – Windmills, Solar Panels, and wood chips are not the way to sell the benefits (because they ain’t benefits – more like this particular “industry’s” industrial waste).

    That’s without considering the secondary waste products like distortion of the Silicon Chip market (more waste/misapplied productivity).

    DLT has some serious merit. Whether BTC is part of that future or is just a bubble remains to be seen.

  26. Joe Blow says:

    Terry – BTC doesn’t use energy to encourage scarcity, absolute scarcity is built into the protocol itself, by limiting issuance to 21 million over a period of 100 or so years. BTC uses energy to protect itself from outside attack and ensure that blocks are added roughly every 10 minutes. A’ force field’ protecting $1 Trillion value, if you wish. This is why people arguing that each BTC transaction costs $40 in energy is so ridiculous.

    As a side issue – it seems that even so called libertarians here have fallen for the idea that some energy usages are OK and others are a ‘waste’. Once you go down that path you are no better than a socialist. If people wish to purchase electricity and mine bitcoin then it should be nobody else’s business.

  27. Joe Blow says:

    The other thing to remember about bitcoin mining is that it really does seek out the cheapest energy. This causes it to often use stranded energy sources and even innovative ideas such as monetising flared gas. The reason why bitcoin is often mined using dirty coal in China is that the electricity from coal there is subsidised, so it is cheap. Instead of complaining about the BTC mining, people should be encouraging the removal of subsidies which distort the market.

    Recently in Iran it was found that BTC mining was happening in schools and mosques. Why would they do that?? Free electricity, that’s why. Again, a market distortion, and the uninformed blame bitcoin. Doubly uninformed if it comes from people that supposedly understand market forces and their roll in the good of mankind.

    Same with solar and wind. I happen to think they are now cheaper than coal etc. but if you don’t, then complain about the subsidies, not the fact that bitcoin miners are wasting the energy they purchase.

  28. Terry says:

    ‘the idea that some energy usages are OK’
    ‘you are no better than a socialist’

    I must have missed the call (from anyone) that BTC miners should be banned from doing so (ie being denied the opportunity to purchase electricity for whatever purposes they so choose).

    Observing the activity as a “waste of energy” is my prerogative, but then I am not the one purchasing the energy, so it is not my call.

    ‘I happen to think they are now cheaper than coal etc.’

    Then let’s hope (for your sake) your knowledge and understanding of Bitcoin is better than the economics of electricity production and supply.

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