Bitcoin Energy Usage Less Than Fiat

Bitcoin and similar algorithms that rely on PoW or mining are notorious for being power hungry, wasteful and unsustainable. Many argue that in reality the fiat system as a whole still uses more energy or resources to keep the system running. First of all fiat takes time, energy and money to produce the currency. Then there is the energy to run the ATM and SWIFT network, transport and store the cash. The argument is that as a whole fiat takes more energy and resources to function compared to Bitcoin.

This may be true but Bitcoin will continue to consume more energy to produce less coins as difficulty spikes.

On top of that there are more efficient algorithms that use less power to mine. There are also newer PoS/Proof of Stake algorithms that use almost no power especially compared to mining.

It may well be true that Bitcoin as a whole uses less energy than fiat but it doesn’t mean we should accept the status quo of wasting energy.

Google’s Co-Founder Sergey Brin Says Ethereum Mining Driving Computer Boom and Renaissance

This is very striking to me in that I find the statement makes no sense and with one word “SETI”.  SETI didn’t set off a computing revolution and still has limited participation.  SETI which is searching for signs of extraterrestrial life has used a sort of grid-computing through unused computing power of its supporters to help search through troves of data that the SETI researchers don’t have the power to do.  I admit back in high school I didn’t want to share my CPU cycles, nor did most other people.

I am drawing this comparison because SETI didn’t start off a frenzy of computer buying to “mine” SETI.  This is because there was no actual reward or benefit to doing it any practical sense.  Mining is only being driven by the hope of big rewards and profits, or in other words greed.  Yes, some computing enthusiasts are getting into mining but does anyone really think that this greed has turned people into computer enthusiasts?  Sales of GPUs would be flat if not for the profits.  If mining because unprofitable the same people who rushed in will rush out, they are speculators and investors, not computing experts or enthusiasts.

Aside from being extremely wasteful, inefficient and ineffective I believe PoW or mining is not sustainable and the long-term currencies that are to survive will be converting to PoS (Proof of Stake).

And this gets to the most ironic point.  Google has recently banned ALL cryptocurrency advertisements.  Maybe Sergey thinks “mining Ethereum is cool and so is cryptocurrency but not if you want to promote it on Google!”.

Ethereum Developers Consider Bricking Bitmain’s Antminer ETHash Based ASIC

ETHash has always been considered “ASIC resistant” which is that the made algorithm so it wouldn’t be easy to make an ASIC for it like SHA-256 for Bitcoin, Scrypt for Litecoin and others.  This has been a very controversial issue especially since Bitmain announced they have Cryptonight miners for Monero and ETHash miners for Ethereum to be released soon.

At first I thought the developers had a plan to inject some malicious code that would literally brick the miners firmware or something similar, but the idea of hardforking is much more tame and harmless to everyone but Bitmain and their clients.  There’s also a lot at stake for Bitmain who could be in serious trouble from its buyers if they ship miners that are completely useless.  It remains unseen to know if they could update their firmware to compensate or if completely new ASIC hardware would be required for the update in algorithms.  Either way if Bitmain cannot deliver, it could push them to the brink or at least serious financial damage.  It does cost a lot to R&D and manufacture these ASICs and I could see this pushing them out of business or close to it.

Monero is hardforking in less than 5 days to combat this issue but the Ethereum team is still debating what to do.

Monero-Hardforks-Response-To-Bitmain-ASIC

This is a very interesting situation with competing interests and warring camps involved.  But to me this really outlines serious security flaws with Monero, Ethereum and all other Public, Permissionless Blockchain cryptocurrencies (the vast majority including Bitcoin, Litecoin etc..).

Hardforks are usually done for bad reasons, to counterfeit and copy an existing coin as an easy cashgrab (eg. Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Cash etc.. Litecoin Cash).  That is one serious integrity and security issue there.  Why is it even possible to literally copy, counterfeit almost any coin?  It devalues the original coin and is essentially stealing from the original coin holders and developers.

But in this case Monero and Ethereum would be doing hardforks for a “good reason” but it’s still a pain.   Would you accept it if your bank did a hardfork and your account stopped working or by not upgrading on time your currency could be lost or converted to another?  I understand why they want to stop ASICs but to me Bitmain is not the problem itself, they are simply exploiting, for profit the weakness that all cryptocurrencies have.  This weakness of PoW or mining is supposed to secure the network but in its absurdity it just makes things slow, insecure and ensures “whoever has the most money to buy more hashing power will control the currency”.  Making it even worse, mining pools and large farms could wreak havoc by broadcasting false transactions, causing others to lose money where they think they’ve received money they haven’t.

Going back to the purpose of mining, in reality today it guarantees two things.  0 security, slow transactions and centralization.  It creates a virtual arms race of whoever can buy enough hashing power is the winner and owner.  This was never the intention of Satoshi or cryptocurrencies.  There’s no way a small, average person will ever be an equal stakeholder in cryptocurrency.  Whether everyone uses an ASIC, CPU or GPU the issue remains the same.  It is a flaw and weakeness in how cryptocurrencies work.

The solution in my view is to make a community-based coin that works off PoS (Proof of State).  Typically these kinds of currencies will be faster and they can be more secure if they are not permissionless (a nice way of saying no security at all and EVERYONE can access the network and broadcast any transaction whether valid or fraudulent).  The whole world shouldn’t be involved in processing my payment for a coffee and they definitely shouldn’t know about it!

So to me when I see people say “mining secures the network”, that was the intention but in practice it’s not the case.

Some serious rewrites in the architecture of all currencies need to be rewritten and the permissionless design and PoW must come to an end for cryptocurrencies to be actually be usable, functional and sustainable for both personal and business use.

The fact that hardforks are even possible or even worse, necessary to stop others from obtaining too much hashing power is proof of concept that mining just doesn’t work.

 

 

Bitmain Reportedly Creates an Ethereum ETHash and Cryptonight Monero ASIC Miner

Some analysts on Wallstreet are claiming this and I would say it is likely credible seeing as how a Cryptonote Miner is being sold on their site now.

1. Hashing algorithm: CryptoNight

Power consumption: 550W

Hashrate: 220KH/s

These are the most conservative estimates. We expect the miners to deliver higher performance and efficiency when they are ready to ship.

2. There are financial risks associated with mining cryptocurrencies. These risks can be related to changes in exchange rate of the cryptocurrency or to changes in the algorithm that is used to mine the cryptocurrency. Please deliberate well before making a purchase because we will not accept any requests for refund for orders of this batch.

3. One major cryptocurrency which is using CryptoNight hash function is about to change their PoW algothrim, and according to their public statement, it is purposely to brick ASIC mining rigs including X3. When you buying it, you are betting that they are wrong

This is one instance where I am happy with Bitmain (unlike the scam they pull where the miner you buy will mine for them until you change the config!  They could at least default it to an account on Hashnet that gives you credit).  But in all fairness for the X3 Cryptonight miner they have given fair warning that there are two significant risks and issues with using their ASIC.

Cryptonight apparently has threatened to do something that would cause these ASICs to brick.  Even if they won’t be bricked Cryptonight has pledged to stop the use of these ASICs which is a huge threat to owning these units from Bitmain.

This could get interesting if they do release an Ethereum ASIC but Ethereum itself has stated they will eventually move to PoS (Proof of State) which will essentially stop all mining.

If the above scenarios play out then I believe most people would point their GPUs at ZCash and Monero instead and those currencies would rise in value.

We’re in very curious and serious times for cryptocurrencies between uncertainty over regulation, government, mining and the future value.  Is Bitmain leading to its doom or leading the market to more growth?

Time will tell and it is really hard to call which way it heads.