Per popular request we're exploring alternative payment options. Let's assume we keep Paypal and ONLY add as an option, will you use Bitcoin for future purchases?

@PINE64 I am very concerned about the energy expenditures of Bitcoin. During the climate crisis we must conserve energy, and proof-of-work intentionally wastes energy as a fundamental design goal.

E-mail sometimes uses proof-of-work to defeat spam, and I still use e-mail. But I avoid using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum that rely on proof-of-work or similarly wasteful algorithms. There must be better alternatives, like proof-of-stake or Filecoin's proof-of-storage.


@skyfaller @PINE64 Bitcoin doesn't waste energy so much as it uses waste energy that isn't being bought

@tomosaigon Citation needed.

Regardless, you could have used that energy to do something like Folding@Home and maybe cure a disease.

Or store it for later in a battery or some less obvious storage solution.

Or power a small country of actual humans, we're not talking about small amounts of power here. Build infrastructure to get it to where the people are.

If Bitcoin miners weren't using that energy, I find it difficult to believe that nobody would.

@skyfaller that's not true at all. You can't use Bitcoin mining hardware to run Folding@Home. That would require purchasing separate hardware and then paying for the electricity but who's going to pay? You?

@tomosaigon OK, so you're saying that because Bitcoin mining rigs already exist, they are the only way we can use the "spare" electricity they are currently using?

Even if we had to preserve every existing mining rig (why?), at the very least we could gradually phase them out as their specialized hardware wears out.

Alternately, I seem to remember Bitcoin mining causing GPU shortages. I bet I could make money selling GPUs to scientists, gamers etc. who need those GPUs.

@skyfaller Briefly: regarding your points on F@H, battery, powering a small country, nobody using the energy, GPU shortages - each point is flat out wrong.

@tomosaigon I don't know if there are GPU shortages right now, but there have been GPU shortages in the past:

Is it unreasonable to believe that there would be GPU shortages again in the future if Bitcoin were to increase in popularity?

@tomosaigon OK, whoops, you've got me there, I didn't look very closely at the article I linked :) That is Ethereum.

Can we just insert here whatever specialized hardware Bitcoin miners like instead, or is their specialized hardware literally only useful for mining Bitcoin and no other productive activity?

@skyfaller Nowadays, you can mine Bitcoin with anything but you will be wasting money/electricity/time if you aren't using efficient specialized Bitcoin mining hardware. Literally designed to be really good at mining Bitcoin at the hardware level.

@tomosaigon Wow, I did not fully comprehend the situation. Some quick skimming supports your point, apparently modern Bitcoin mining rigs using ASICS are specialized for that specific hashing algorithm and can't even be used for other cryptocurrencies? That's wild!

I will admit that means breaking down Bitcoin rigs for other purposes probably won't work, but I think my point stands that we could at least phase them out and stop making more of the things.

@skyfaller The thing is, there's no 'we' who governs the policy of what to do with such hardware. As long as it makes more sense to efficiently mine bitcoin, market participants will find a way, and better hardware will get designed, more sources of untapped electricity will be produced.

@tomosaigon Fair point.

I would expect people like myself and Pine64 failing to adopt Bitcoin would limit demand and therefore the market price, de-incentivizing increased Bitcoin production. Which I think would be wise!

But the price of Bitcoin fluctuates weirdly enough that perhaps ordinary market considerations don't matter. A whale could negate anything you or I or a small country might do:

Also, during a pandemic, maybe gov'ts should fund e.g. Folding@Home.

@skyfaller You think you can store a dam's worth of energy in a battery? I'll stop here.

@tomosaigon I suggested multiple things you could do with spare electricity because you can do multiple things with a dam's worth of electricity, you don't have to choose only one. You could store some electricity, export some, and use some.

If you're trying to balance out inconsistent energy sources like wind or solar, storing a lot consistent energy e.g. from a dam seems like a decent plan.

@skyfaller you are wishing for energy storage technology that doesn't exist at any sort of usable price for this scale

@tomosaigon You're right that current battery technology is expensive and difficult to scale. That said, energy storage is something we'll have to figure out if civilization relies more heavily on renewables, and it's certainly something you'd expect to see investment in with any Green New Deal. I feel confident storage will improve.

My personal favorite concept is Energy Vault, which stores energy by lifting heavy blocks. It just looks cool:

@skyfaller These kinetic storage towers do look cool. Molten salt storage is another neat concept.

Our civilization will need to make large improvements on not only energy storage but production and distribution. Right now, much of that energy goes to waste bringing it to where it's needed, or being stored inefficiently until it can be distributed.

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