Bitcoin / Bitcoins / Crypto Currency

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  • Exactly what I'm saying. The block of marble analogy only preaches to the choir

    The view that many others may take is that the by-product of all the work is largely of no use - à la the pit of dust. Sure, it reinforces the 'building an energy wall' analogy mentioned in the article.

    Or it just adds another pile of dust to an existing extremely large pile that a would-be attacker would need to slowly clear away if they were compromising the system, using yet more industry to do so. But it's all just busy work

  • Soooo what you're saying is, this invitation to choir practice needs a few more hits before it convinces people that singing in a marble-statue-infested church is cool?

  • The bitcoin now being manipulation by whales, banks and investment funds to make more money because the lack of regulation is creating an environment where the biggest boys always win and the rest are along for the ride? That bitcoin?

    This libertarian utopia looks a bit like the worst of the old finical systems on steroids, apart from the append only database that is.

  • A...

    broken financial system

    ...there may be but it doesn't seem like bitcoin is the answer, nor deregulation.

  • After a few discussions with family this weekend

    Good CryptoBoy

    (and many vain attempts to steer them away from NFT chat...)

    Bad CryptoBoy!

  • The 'problem that nobody really cared about' is a broken financial system. One that's inflating away working people's buying power through unregulated money printing.

    I'm guessing the 'more pressing problem' is climate change. But what if bitcoin ended up being a solution? We 'waste' something like 2% of all economic output just to stay ahead of inflation. I wonder how much carbon that equates to?

    This really doesn't make sense from the point of view of economics!

    'Printing money' is what governments of independent countries with their own central banks and currencies do to formulate their monetary policy. It may or may not lead to inflation, depending on how they do it and what they do with taxes.

    Creation of money is highly regulated - only banks and goverments are allowed to do it. And it is not a bad thing - zero inflation is not desirable.

    It would mean people needn't bother to buy things they don't immediately need as the price will never go up. So demand would go down and the economy would contract, unemployment up, demand further down, etc. A slump, which would soon lead to falling prices - until the government intervened, by printing some money to get things going again, like after the 30s depression.

    We don't 'waste output' to stay ahead of inflation.

    Bitcoin and cryptos may have their uses but this far right / libertarian vision of governments losing control of monetary policy would not be a good place for society to get to.

  • No Frank! Governments bad, tech bros good.

  • Or even democracy bad, tech bros good.

  • I wouldn't class myself as a CryptoBoy or tech bro, but I am curious as to why any questions asked of our current economic system result in an automatic association with a far right / libertarian stance?

    Surely it's fairly accepted that a constant and increasing degradation of purchasing power for 'normal' people is a bad thing. Why should wealth preservation over time only be reserved for those with access to property or bonds? Bitcoin (from the way I understand it) is one of the first financial instruments that’s outside of centralised control but is accessible to anyone, and in its short history, has outperformed everything else.

  • but I am curious as to why any questions asked of our current economic system result in an automatic association with a far right / libertarian stance?

    Speaking based purely on personal experiences from visiting and speaking at numerous bitcoin conferences, the assumption can sometimes come from the fact that libertarians, the alt-right and far right have a huge presence in the crypto industry.

    I have met such lovely people as Ali Alexander, Jack Posobiec and Mike Cernovich at such events and their like of crypto is directly linked to their disdain for government and distrust of economic policy. That and they like the crypto donations from their supporters.

    I have no idea if there is any way to estimate this in any way, but if somebody told me that the majority of crypto bros were libertarians or members of the alt right, I'd believe them.

  • On a sort of related note I'd love to read some sort of essay comparing and contrasting gold bugs/gold standard supporters with crypto bros.

    Or maybe a podcast.

    Actually, yeah, that would be easier.

  • It's hard to know, as a lot of it comes down to who shouts the loudest.

    Fundamentally crypto is attractive to libertarians. It can't not be. It demonstrates how one of the most important jobs of a modern state can be dealt with by private individuals.

    Possibly a more interesting question is why libertarians have become interconnected with the alt-right.

  • I wouldn't class myself as a CryptoBoy or tech bro, but I am curious as to why any questions asked of our current economic system result in an automatic association with a far right / libertarian stance?

    Surely it's fairly accepted that a constant and increasing degradation of purchasing power for 'normal' people is a bad thing. Why should wealth preservation over time only be reserved for those with access to property or bonds? Bitcoin (from the way I understand it) is one of the first financial instruments that’s outside of centralised control but is accessible to anyone, and in its short history, has outperformed everything else.

    It's really not an accepted thing, it's a right wing point of view. That is because it implicitly regards the maintenance of the value of assets, of weath, or of capital, as being of fundamental importance, overriding other factors like full employment or economic growth. It requires an extremely tight monetary policy which means cuts in spending on services - no wasting money on doctors or nurses or teachers, or filling potholes in roads.

    A left view would be that such assets are not sacred and should be taxed, and would generally favour a more expansionary monetary policy - the state not being afraid to spend money, which it has created out of thin air, or printed, to provide better services and to make investments which lead to creation of jobs and economic growth. A bit of inflation inevitably goes along with that.

    In very simple terms, a tight monetary policy - no printing - favours owners of capital (ie the rich) over sellers of labour (workers who live on their earned income) and a loose one - more printing - favours labour over capital.

  • It would mean people needn't bother to buy things they don't immediately need as the price will never go up. So demand would go down and the economy would contract, unemployment up, demand further down, etc. A slump, which would soon lead to falling prices - until the government intervened, by printing some money to get things going again, like after the 30s depression.

    In the context of a discussion about the energy use of bitcoin is "demand for products would fall" a good argument?

  • Exactly this. I think we're conflating government intervention with a reworking of the capitalist growth trumps all model. Is it right wing to suggest that we're consuming too much of our finite resources in the never-ending pursuit for 'more stuff'?

  • Yes because demand doesn't have to be for products, it could equally be for services, it could be for anything - solar panels, saplings to plant trees, carbon capture tech, etc.

    And it feels like an intellectual trick to conflate two debates - left vs right economic policy vs protecting the environment. If we bundle all our questions together it's harder to find solutions.

    If you say we can't cut carbon emissions until we have overthrown our economic system, that actually starts to sound like the argument that the person who doesn't want to cut carbon emissions would make.

    We should run our economy properly and reduce the carbon impact of what we do, what we buy, etc.

  • (Caveat 4 pints in the pub...)

    The problem with Bitcoin right now (and specifically right now) is that it's not really serving any real useful purpose. The transaction fees are astronomical - in terms of real cash and energy requirements. It just seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy based on what magic it may perform in the future once reduced returns for mining render the huge mining farms obsolete (or uneconomical).

    Right now it's consuming a metric fuckload of energy[1] that doesn't really have any positive gain for the majority of the people in the world. It just seems to be making a very few richer.

    The end game of Bitcoin is a massive price crash, and with many of the little fish holding the bag. I can't see a way it can maintain its current levels once the mining reward drops (in ~3 years, and halves again in 7 years).

    Maybe I'm just bitter that I didn't put any money into it when I first heard of it.

    1. And whether some of that energy is renewable or not is immaterial. If Bitcoin didn't exist then that renewable energy it is consuming would mean less non-renewables would have the be burned in its place. Until the world is nigh on 100% renewable then the environmental cost of Bitcoin is, IMHO, unjustifiable.
  • I didn't say questioning financial systems is inherently rightwing or libertarian. I would suggest that in general, solutions that include lack of government involvement/oversight are.

    As Stonehenge has shown me, removing the need of a trusted 3rd party is a good thing in certain situations. Mostly where political structures are far more disfunctional than our own. This doesn't mean that it's a one size fits all solution and, even if it was, bitcoin wouldn't be it due to energy consumption. There are better crypto currencies out there.

  • I can't see a way it can maintain its current levels once the mining reward drops (in ~3 years, and halves again in 7 years).

    Thats what people said for the first three halvings

  • Haha! Love the caveat.

    And whether some of that energy is renewable or not is immaterial. If Bitcoin didn't exist then that renewable energy it is consuming would mean less non-renewables would have the be burned in its place. Until the world is nigh on 100% renewable then the environmental cost of Bitcoin is, IMHO, unjustifiable.

    That's not strictly true. Bitcoin mining currently uses a higher mix of sustainable energy than any major country or industry. And as for bitcoin not existing to 'free up' renewables, miners are actually exploiting many energy sources that would otherwise be wasted / can't currently be stored and converted into useable energy by other means. In Costa Rica, two hydropower plants came back online (plus the associated jobs) to power mining rigs after previously being shuttered due to lack of infrastructure. Surely that's a positive?

    EDIT: Forgot the Costa Rica story source: https://www.dw.com/en/bitcoin-can-crypto­currency-mining-ever-be-environmentally-­friendly/a-60818440#:~:text=In%20fact%2C­%20until%20recently%2C%20renewables,of%2­0it%20cheap%20Chinese%20hydropower.

  • The scarcity of positive examples like this only highlights just how much renewable energy that could be used in place of non-renewable is being used for Bitcoin mining.

    Two 1MW hydropower plants hardly make a dent. https://ccaf.io/cbeci/index estimates the current Bitcoin network power demand at 15.75GW, so they are only providing 0.013% of the Bitcoin energy requirements.

    For every positive story like the Costa Rica one, there's one like this: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2­022/feb/18/bitcoin-miners-revive-fossil-­fuel-plant-co2-emissions-soared

  • Stop nitpicking, if you carry only with that realistic attitude, the price will drop and the hype bros will lose their shirts

  • Two 1MW hydropower plants hardly make a dent. https://ccaf.io/cbeci/index estimates the current Bitcoin network power demand at 15.75GW, so they are only providing 0.013% of the Bitcoin energy requirements.

    My council recycling box hardly makes a dent either, but I still sort my rubbish, fill it, and place it outside each week... Granted there's no financial incentive to do so, but the cumulative impact makes it worth doing.

  • But of the rubbish you make, it makes a significant difference. And I'm presuming that the stuff that was packed by the rubbish had a justifiable purpose whereas Bitcoin...

  • Just going to insert the unpopular opinion that Bitcoin's terrible energy consumption is a rounding error in the grand scheme of our climate situation and that while it desperately needs to be fixed we shouldn't do so without keeping in mind that there are much bigger fish to fry.

    I mean, the US burns twice as much power as Bitcoin in a year just on appliances in standby mode. An hour on instagram is the equiv of driving a combustion engined car for 300m or so. Spam email...uses far more energy than Bitcoin. Banks and insuranace companies use x60 the power of the Bitcoin network (not a like for like comparison I know but its still valid imho).

    Its a shitty inefficient and environmentally damaging tech, but lets not pretend its worse than the other stuff.

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Bitcoin / Bitcoins / Crypto Currency

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