@jalcine totally misses the point. Bitcoin "mining" is not about harvesting coins; that's just a side-effect. mining is what makes it have its unique status of sound money and immutability of its ledger.
Whether you generate 12.5 BTC per block now or just get mining fees in about 100 years, the mining cost will stay and it is needed for the money not to lose this unique status.
It makes no sense to see the cost of Bitcoin mining as a per coin bases and compare it with gold

@stevenroose @jalcine Well, there is an economic feedback cycle — when it costs less than US$1 to mine US$1 of a commodity, investors snap up mining opportunities until only more expensive opportunities remain. So we can expect the amount of energy used per Bitcoin to grow dramatically as energy prices fall through the 2020s, leaving gold, copper, silver, and maybe even aluminum in the dust, since mining Bitcoin costs only energy, not human lives and water pollution.

@kragen @jalcine Well, the amount of bitcoins mined per time halves every 4 years, so while electricity gets cheaper, the reward also declines.
Best would be if the price would stay low for at least the next 6 years or so.
There was a very interesting talk about these effects on Scaling Bitcoin Tokyo last summer:
youtu.be/y8hJ0VTPE34 (only first 45 minutes or so).

@stevenroose @jalcine Presumably if the Bitcoin price remained approximately constant, the reward halvings would be made up for by increased transaction fees or by reduced mining and thus reduced difficulty and thus reduced energy per coin. But it took me a lot less than 45 minutes to invent that opinion, so take it with a grain of salt :)

I agree with your dismissal of the original mindless hot take.

@stevenroose @jalcine Heh, I like the take at 4m18s: "Saying Bitcoin uses too much energy is saying it should be less secure." I mean you could imagine ways for this statement to be false but nobody has shown a way for it to use less energy without being less secure *yet*. (It's a safe bet that our original interlocutor here, like Trump voters or Grauniad reporters, have no idea what we're talking about.)

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@kragen @jalcine Yeah that's the basic idea. The question is how secure it has to be versus how much energy can we afford to use in the next 5, 10, 50 or 100 years. In the short term, before gains significant global usage, we are probably going in overkill a bit.

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