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    The title should really read “Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption Would be Unsustainable If Development Was Halted”. But cryptocurrencies are a fast evolving technology and a lot has already changed since this article was written.

    The current research in cryptocurrencies has multiple approaches to resolving the inefficiencies of mining - for example Lightning Network which moves most transactions off the power hungry blockchain and Ethereum’s proposed change to proof of stake security which removes the need for power consuming mining entirely. These technologies and others are already being tested and will almost certainly make their way to Bitcoin at some point.

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      We don’t need a new form of money. Especially one that is based on stone age ideas like the gold standard. We need something better than money. I don’t know what that looks like, but I personally would love to live in a world where there is no money.

      Only reason bitcoin works today is because it is convertible to state money. Can you have a stateless currency? I suspect you can’t. Why? Because historically currency was used as a tool to provision armies and states.

      What is bitcoin provisioning? Oh shit, is it skynet? It’s skynet isn’t it.

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        I don’t know what that looks like, but I personally would love to live in a world where there is no money.

        Definitely far from perfect, but a fluid reputation-esque based currency called a “Whuffie” was mentioned in Cory Doctorow’s book, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (a fun read, plus it’s available on his website for free!).

        These kinds of post-fiat currency “monetary surrogates” are largely predicated on some sort of post-scarcity society, of which we are not anywhere near (though often promised by Singularitarians and Futurists of all stripes…).

        Also, have you seen Black Mirror’s 3rd seasons’ episode “Nosedive” (spoiler alert, link goes to Wikipedia article for that episode)?

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          I immediately thought of Nosedive when I was reading your comment! Reputation based systems are fraught with danger because people are so good at gaming the system - any system.

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            I think this is absolutely true. Previous job there was a group that wanted to create company wide project stats like “number of refactors, test coverage, errors, lint errors, etc” as a way to motivate employees.

            I was like “wow, this is going to be gamed so fast”. Reminds me of the soviet Gosplan. They had an intricate system to monitor the economy using computers to make sure things are going as planned. As expected people gamed the system like making products travel over rail back and forth to increase “rail miles”.

            This is why I wonder if we can make a system that’s not money like, or point based, or whatever.

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            Definitely far from perfect, but a fluid reputation-esque based currency called a “Whuffie” was mentioned in Cory Doctorow’s book, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (a fun read, plus it’s available on his website for free!).

            I mean… the entire point of the book is that if you only reward people for being popular they start doing really shitty things. The point of the book is kinda that Whuffie is a terrible idea.

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              Whuffie’s creator describes it as a deliberately “a terrible currency”. It exists to criticize misfeatures of our current system by making them much worse.

              This whole thread is building on soft ground.

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                So is whuffie kind of like lobster karma?

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                Wow. I am confused. This is just mindless rambling yet people seem to like it.

                We don’t need a new form of money. Especially one that is based on stone age ideas like the gold standard.

                Well we might not ‘need’ it but an alternative is definitely useful. There are things that bitcoin can do better than state-sanctioned money.

                Also eating food is a ‘stone age idea’ so I guess we could stop doing that too? Just because something has been around since forever, does not make it bad, stupid or obsolete.

                We need something better than money. I don’t know what that looks like, but I personally would love to live in a world where there is no money.

                I could literally say this about anything. We need something better than cars. I don’t know what it is but I would love to live in a world where there are no cars.

                Only reason bitcoin works today is because it is convertible to state money.

                That is also not true. You could definitely buy some stuff with bitcoin without state money. The fact that state money has been around for centuries and the world’s economy has built itself around state money does mean that it is the most easily used monies.

                Can you have a stateless currency? I suspect you can’t. Why? Because historically currency was used as a tool to provision armies and states.

                This is wild speculation that is clearly false because money is useful even without states or state-sanctioned warfare.

                And just because states use money to pay for armies therefore money cannot exist without state is just a non-sequitur.

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                  There are things that bitcoin can do better than state-sanctioned money.

                  Like what? Expensive to do transactions, and at least state money can be truly anonymous.

                  Just because something has been around since forever, does not make it bad, stupid or obsolete.

                  Stone age implying we found something better than stone. Stone age does not just imply old.

                  I could literally say this about anything. We need something better than cars. I don’t know what it is but I would love to live in a world where there are no cars.

                  I’m saying bitcoin isn’t a new thing. Block chain is novel, but money on it isn’t. I can’t imagine what the better thing is because if I could I would make it.

                  That is also not true. You could definitely buy some stuff with bitcoin without state money.

                  I’m making a claim that bitcoin would not work if it wasn’t convertible to state money. In fact, i can’t imagine you could prevent that from happening anyway. In fact if we lived in a parallel universe where there is no money, nobody in their right mind would think bitcoin solves a problem they have.

                  This is wild speculation that is clearly false because money is useful even without states

                  History would like to have a word with you. Yes money is useful outside of paying taxes but that’s a side effect. the seeding of it is by states. States go away so does the money and it’s usefulness.

                  Example, soviet ruble was used after the break up of the soviet union only because the former states decided to remain using it until the new ruble took over in 1993. Nobody kept using the soviet union beyond that.

                  I think money has brainwashed us. We grow up with it, of course it’s normal. It’s part of life. But it’s just an invention that has a very real and focused purpose. It’s there to provision the state.

                  We have to use a little more imagination to get rid of it, and bitcoin is not that. Bitcoin is a boring version of the same thing. The communists at least had a little more imagination.

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                    Like what? Expensive to do transactions, and at least state money can be truly anonymous.

                    Let you send money to somebody across the globe quickly without the banks taking 5%.

                    I’m making a claim that bitcoin would not work if it wasn’t convertible to state money.

                    A claim which you support with what evidence?

                    This whole thing doesn’t even make sense. What do you mean exactly by ‘would not work’? The more I think about it the sillier this as a thought is.

                    States go away so does the money and it’s usefulness.

                    You do know trading and money has existed before states, right?

                    Example, soviet ruble was used after the break up of the soviet union only because the former states decided to remain using it until the new ruble took over in 1993.

                    Plenty of times people have made their own currency e.g. scrips for community use when state money was in short supply.

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                      Let you send money to somebody across the globe quickly without the banks taking 5%.

                      What’s the per-transaction cost (in electricity generation) for BTC?

                      I’ve seen estimates upwards of $7, which puts it firmly in the ‘not really better than banks’; the receiver will transact again, either to use the money or convert it to fiat, so that’d be $14 (assuming the conversion was free, or you spent all the money on a single transaction).

                      Where does the money to pay for this electricity come from? Inflation.

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                    Technically you can buy in BTC without ever exchanging, and that’s what people are trying to achieve, but the scale of it is a niche of a niche at best.

                    Money measures value and enables trade, you can use anything for that purpose, as long as your counterpart recognizes its value. Certainly monopolization helps governments in taxation for monpolized activity like armies and I doubt anyone disagrees.

                    One problem with BTC is completely uneven injection. It’s like the “1%” that gets access to QE rounds and such, and can reap the benefits of this newly expanded monetary base, before it evens out in the market and devalues the currency.

                    So if BTC were widely adopted, the Chinese mining cabal would be the new 1% and people would rather go back trading in tobacco leaves and squirrel skins instead of putting up with that shit.

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                  … and yet people keep paying for it.

                  Clickbait is clickbait; but, it does seem like there are a lot of people working very hard on increasing the transaction rate.

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                    It’s a pyramid scheme. It’ll work out great for you so long as you’re not the one left standing with the final bill.

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                      Life is a pyramid scheme.

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                        From that perspective, is it in the current actors best interests to keep Bitcoin expensive to mine as a competitive moat?

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                          Probably, although they don’t have much control. The biggest miners are of course buying the fastest (aka cheapest per hash) hardware, but notice the company making the hardware isn’t mining. Shovels, whatever, but the point is if the top miners could cut off the supply of hardware somehow, they probably would like that.

                          One might also consider the origins of litecoin. People mined bitcoin with one class of hardware, that was quickly displaced. That rankled some of the early miners, that somebody else might buy something and mine faster than them. Thus, a new coin that remains expensive to mine.

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                            People mined bitcoin with one class of hardware, that was quickly displaced. That rankled some of the early miners, that somebody else might buy something and mine faster than them. Thus, a new coin that remains expensive to mine.

                            In fairness to the Litecoin authors, the mining hardware argument isn’t just about their own bottom-line. In order for a blockchain to be tamper-resistant there needs to not be large groups controlling most of the mining power, and specialized hardware advantages the large groups who can pay the up-front cost. Whereas if general-purpose computers are as good as you get, anyone’s reasonably power-efficient PC is about as competitive as the larger players.

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                              The biggest miners are of course buying the fastest (aka cheapest per hash) hardware, but notice the company making the hardware isn’t mining.

                              Oh, I was under the impression the ASIC manufacturers and mining cartels were two sides of the same operations.

                              Hmm, that does change things.

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                                Consider the easy scam: You build ASICs on predorders from miners, you do “QA” by running them for a week or two, and you ship them to users, and pocket the coins generated during QA. At least early on, I seem to recall this was going on.

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                                  Build and run ASICs until they’re not profitable at scale, sell ’em off. I had mistakenly assuumed that was what all the big mining operations all were doing.

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                                    The logistics of that don’t make sense to me. It’s easy to imagine if you picture it as an individual, like the etsy of miners, where some guy builds a miner, tests it under his desk, then ships it a week later. But if you’re building many thousands of miners? Where do you store and power them during this week of testing? And then you’ve got some guy going up and down the aisles of a datecenter, pulling out last week’s ASIC for shipping and sticking in a new one for testing? Why not just ship the new one and leave the old one running in place? At which point the scam becomes why ship anything at all, ever? Now that I could believe. Use fake preorders as a means of raising capital for one’s own mining op.

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                                      Some friends and I dipped our toes into ordering ASIC and it was the silliest scam ever. Constant delays and when they shipped, the price had risen conveniently that it was hard to break even.

                                      This is obviously a short-term scam; I doubt people will get suckered into this many times.

                                      But it’s an easy thing to believe the manufacturers jacked up the price first.

                                      Is there evidence, though?

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                                    I mean, they can be, but I think they’d have a hard time preventing some upstart from selling better ASICs if the mining operation decides to shut down manufacturing.

                                    I think the closest thing they have to a moat is controlling 60% and forking the chain if they don’t like some new development, but that’s a two edged sword.

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                                Can you explain what you are referring to when you say “it” is a pyramid scheme? I assume you’re not referring to Bitcoin as a whole; I’m not sure how one could imagine Bitcoin in general to be a pyramid scheme in any meaningful capacity.

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                                  Edit: fake html tags got stripped, replace.

                                  —– BEGIN SARCASM —–

                                  I didn’t know there’s food production and real estate business and hardware manufacture that gets paid only in Bitcoin and transacts this created value with other value-creators in only Bitcoin. Like within a nation state or monetary union.

                                  I thought it was primarily a means of speculation with a smaller set of users who convert back and forth between government-recognized currency to trade in things whose creation was backed by government-recognized currency.

                                  —– END SARCASM —–

                                  If the price is still on a rising trend and you can’t go all-in, what would you say it looks like?

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                                    Even if your argument was economically reasonable (it’s not; everything you said applies to 99% of investment vehicles, including stocks, bonds, gold, etc. as well as most fiat currencies), you still haven’t described a pyramid scheme. “Pyramid scheme” has a pretty specific definition, completely unrelated to anything you said.

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                                      I don’t think I called it that, @tel made that comment.

                                      Sure, it’s not exactly a traditional pyramid scheme, but unfortunately people sometimes use expressions like that and scam and rip-off etc even if it’s not literally correct.

                                      Here it means that the actual usable money flows to the speculators and miners. (The way I see it)

                                      Currency speculation, if that’s what you refer to, is of course a thing. A helluva lot of a smaller thing than in the BTC.

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                              I think this ignores difficulty. If it became unprofitable to mine because of expensive energy costs, then in theory the hashrate of the network would drop due to people pulling the plug. As the rate of newly minted blocks fell, the difficulty would fall too until mining became economically viable again.