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Utopia Talk / Politics / Nat Gas plant restarted to mine bitcoin
Hrothgar
Member
Sun Apr 18 10:01:09
http://www...ew-york-bitcoin-mining-threat/

Am I crazy to feel this is completely awful? Creating power, by burning fossil fuels, for no other reason than to mine bitcoin??
__________________________________________
from the article:

A decade ago, the bankrupt owner of the Greenidge power plant in Dresden, New York, sold the uncompetitive coal-fired relic for scrap and surrendered its operating permits.

For the next seven years, the plant sat idle on the western shore of Seneca Lake, a monument to the apparent dead end reached by the state’s fossil fuel infrastructure.

But today, Greenidge is back up and running as a Bitcoin mining operation. The facility hums with energy-hungry computers that confirm and record Bitcoin transactions, drawing power from the plant’s 106-megawatt generator now fueled by natural gas.

The mining activity is exceptionally profitable, thanks to an 800 percent rise in Bitcoin’s price since last April. Seeking to ride the boom, the plant’s new owners plan to quadruple the power used to process Bitcoin transactions by late next year.

Environmental advocates view Greenidge’s ambitions, if left unchecked, as an air emissions nightmare.
Rugian
Member
Sun Apr 18 10:19:44
I really hope I'm misinterpreting your point here...are you seriously arguing that data centers are "awful" and shouldn't be using energy?
chuck
Member
Sun Apr 18 10:25:57
^ not a crypto billionaire, doesn't understand
Sam Adams
Member
Sun Apr 18 14:03:32
Data centers specifically for mining bitcoin do seem a bit wasteful.
Hrothgar
Member
Sun Apr 18 14:07:07
If it was solar and wind and hydro powered this would be a whole different convo. But pumping a bunch of CO2 into the atmosphere just for bitcoin profits? The thought bothers me.
chuck
Member
Sun Apr 18 14:16:18
It wouldn't even be that bad if it was just some random productive but crappy computer program.

Doing it for proof of work is insane though.
Wrath of Orion
Member
Sun Apr 18 14:18:52
Any large crypto farm is going to require a lot of energy. So I don't see the issue here compared to any other large crypto farm that requires huge amounts of energy. That energy, and the pollution likely required to generate it, has to come from somewhere.

Now, if you want to talk about crypto farms in general being retarded, that's another story.
Sam Adams
Member
Sun Apr 18 14:30:47
"Now, if you want to talk about crypto farms in general being retarded, that's another story."

Ya, thats the point. "Mining" is a bad idea. Cant we have a crypto where all the coins ever available are there to start?
hood
Member
Sun Apr 18 14:38:59
Powering up a coal plant that is unusable for anything other than crypto mining is a pretty big slap in the face, and certainly pertinent. It is a tangential effect of the general "crypto farms are retarded" issue.
chuck
Member
Sun Apr 18 18:33:48
> Any large crypto farm is going to require a lot of energy.

It's not just that it requires a lot of energy, it's that it is explicitly wasting energy because wasting the energy is a key part of the design of the thing.

It's like deciding to manufacture unbiodegradable plastic crap not because you need it, but only because you've found you can make a tidy profit by immediately turning around and burying it in your landfill.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Mon Apr 19 14:49:06
Has anyone compared the energy requirements for any other currency? It’s not like the infrastructure behind ordinary currency and value storage (including gold, silver, platinum etc) doesn’t require energy to function. So, system vs system is the relevent comparison. I think cryptos are going to come on top by quite a margin, especially if you start to look at it more broadly to include other negative environmental impacts.
jergul
large member
Mon Apr 19 15:14:04
The problem with this is, assuming rational market actors, the electricity cost for bitcoin generation should be equal to that of consumer electronics.

Bitcoin left unchecked will lead to very expensive electricity.
jergul
large member
Mon Apr 19 15:14:33
consumper electricity*
Seb
Member
Mon Apr 19 16:27:34
Nim:

Yes. They have. By any normalisation (value transaction volumes, number of transaction, transaction rates) cryptos, particularly any Proof of Work based cryptos, are off the charts in terms of energy consumption.

It is unbelievable how much energy is required by a all the nodes furiously hashing in order to write a new block to the ledger.

Almost all of it is wasted.

By comparison virtually nothing is consumed by a bank updating a database entry.

Sam:

No, you can't. The reason for wastage is because proof of work, which is needed to allow untrusted and decentralised nodes to perform the writing of a new block to the chain; and the "mining" of new coins is the way that the necessary calculations are performed are incentivised.

Even if you got rid of Bitcoins increasing difficulty of mining, it still requires mining and it still requires huge computational wastage.

Because the dirty secret of Blockchain is that if you control more than 50% of the nodes in the network, you can arbitrarily re-write the ledger and enforce a hard fork.

To create an untrusted payments system, you need decentralisation of the nodes, which means you need lots of independent nodes, which means you need proof of work and competition, which leads to wastage, which means you need new coins issued to the nodes.

Basically, as a technology, it sucks; and has major fundamental limitations.

You are better off using a Merkel Tree to create a publically auditable digital currency run by a central bank. It would be vastly more efficient, publically auditable. Granted the central bank (the trusted party running the ledger) can make arbitrary edits, but it would be oblivious and transparent that it had done so.

Meanwhile, Bitcoins reliance on a large percentage of its nodes being in China means it's subject to the Chinese Communist party forcing a fork on the chain.

And this is the problem with crypto currency - it suffers from the basic issue with "the declaration of independence of the intent" fallacy. Cyberspace exists in meatspace substrate and higher levels of abstraction ultimately rely on and can never be fully independent of controls on the substrate.




State Department
Member
Mon Apr 19 16:54:36
And have fun buying even a previous generation vid card.
Sam Adams
Member
Mon Apr 19 23:37:11
"The reason for wastage is because proof of work, which is needed to allow untrusted and decentralised nodes to perform the writing of a new block to the chain; and the "mining" of new coins is the way that the necessary calculations are performed are incentivised."

I thought almost all the energy was mining looking for the next correct sequence, and that once found the tracking of who owns it is pretty simple?
Sam Adams
Member
Mon Apr 19 23:41:35
"Has anyone compared the energy requirements for any other currency? It’s not like the infrastructure behind ordinary currency and value storage (including gold, silver, platinum etc) doesn’t require energy to function. So, system vs system is the relevent comparison."

Good point, but i think bitcoin will be vastly more energy intensive. I mean a dollar bill is a glorified printer. And a really fair comparison... if we got rid of physical currency and just tracked things electronically, like bitcoin, there would be nearly 0 energy used.
Seb
Member
Mon Apr 19 23:46:00
Sam:

Yeah, that's the proof of work. Every time a new chunk of transactions are to be appended to the block chain (i.e. ownership of coins change) that's where the energy gets spent and why it can take 30 mins for the transaction to happen.

The chain itself is just a big Merkel Tree - it's authenticity is entirely based on the fact that it's the one the majority of the nodes recognise as such. Hence, ownership or control of a majority of the nodes doing the hashing for transactions gives you control over the chain, which lets you rewrite it.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Apr 20 00:08:18
But unless theres a billion nodes... that should be a small number of operations.
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Apr 20 00:26:17
Regardless, i think we all agree that an energy intensive currency is a bad
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Apr 20 00:26:43
idea
jergul
large member
Tue Apr 20 00:35:12
Its a great idea if you are an energy producer and think that new technology is causing a glut in energy that is driving down value.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 00:36:39
Sam:

Each node is competing with eachother.

So a billion nodes might speed up transaction time, overall the business model will require that each operator of nodes gets enough reward when the operator wins to cover the capex and opex of all nodes that didn't win.

So either the reward for "winning" needs to be high - which then incentivises aggregation or the probability of winning needs to be high. Which also incentivises aggregation.

All in all, it's difficult to get the economics right to deliver decentralisation and low transaction times, and so massive inefficiency is built in - not from the cryptography of building a Merkel Tree (which is trivial) - but from the competing nodes and proof of work piece which are fundamental to the basic USP of cryptocurrency: no trusted 3rd party, and immutable, authoritative, decentralised ledger that can be publically verified and audited.

You can't ditch the proof of work without ditching the decentralised untrusted properties. You can't easily increase the rate of transactions per second without massive overheads, which need to be paid for (hence mining).

Without proof of work, you need a trusted third party who can write to the chain, and all you have then is a central bank writing entries in a publically audited ledger structured as a Merkel Tree.

Though, if you are so careless as to let >50% of your nodes fall into a single jurisdiction (cough China) then your crypto currency probably isn't immutable and independent anymore; as men with guns wielding a new ledger can come along and force a hard fork in the network. Which is interesting from a monetary theory point of view.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 00:42:46
Basically, the entire idea of cryptocurrency is one of those cool ideas from libertarian tech geeks that implicitly assume you are operating in an environment where there's a unitary state obeying a rule of law that isn't going to come along and point a gun at not only you, but everyone else also.

Which is a problem when the entire enterprise is supposed to be about making a system that's independent of said people.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 01:57:00
Could it be more farcical than to compare the block chain to ”updating a database entry” at a bank? Completely disregarding the fact that there are ”banks”. These airconditioned building with parking lots and branches with staff that have computers, things some would say requires energy to maintain

On top of that, crypto is a completely new industry in it’s build up phase - The most energy intensive phase of any enterprise. - And as far as problems go, energy consumption is the wrong focus, life is energy. Crypto is being mined at the margins of the energy market, places with cheap surplus energy that would have often been wasted.

This is a new form of the singular focus on CO2 as the be all end all of environmental markers. Ok boomers, whatevs...
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 02:11:48
Nim:

That's because banks offer additional services, and many are legacy organisations that are inefficient.

Look at challenger banks built from the ground up as digital enterprises, for example. Or payments systems like VISA or even PayPal.

As I said, people have done side by side comparisons of the energy usage per transaction on a fair basis, and on an aggregate basis - any way you like it.

Crypto currencies based on proof of work are vastly less efficient.

I don't want to sound snobby, but invoking wishful thinking (this is in build up phase, build up phase often has high overheads, ergo crypto currency will become more efficient). This reminds me of a debate with an otherwise intelligent colleague that's convinced data centres will move into space, and that the heart dissipation problem "will get solved with time". It won't because it's fundamental to the nature of vacuum and thermodynamics. Similarly, the inefficiency of cryptocoins is fundamental to the maths of cryptographic scheme required to have the desired property of cryptocoins.

Bottom up analysis shows exactly how cryptocoins will scale versus an more conventional system using a trusted central party. In both cases, at any reasonable scale, the dominant energy cost is compute and storage. But the compute and storage requirements of cryoto coins by necessity are always orders of magnitude greater than a conventional scheme.

That's just a fundamental you can't get around.





Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 02:22:44
Proof of work based systems are a dead end here. An expensive way of allowing untrusted networks - the main use case being evasion of regulators.

But to hold value, it requires demand - which incentivises ransomware and other forms of crime where an individual can be forced to by bitcoin.

Essentially, cryptocoins are mostly a payment system. So the best equivalent is to compare to the energy use of Visa to any pow based crypto coin on a per transaction basis.

The cryoto network only consumes energy when transactions are being made, and we are ignoring fixed costs (idle compute) on the basis that both visa and crypto could be run on utility compute (the reality is that most crypto is run on dedicated custom built hardware that for the most part when active is performing useless/wasted cycles).

Even on that basis, Visa wins, horrendously; and current PoW based systems in principle can never scale unless we find a tremendously efficient technology for hash production that produces several order of magnitude efficiencies to bring entire crypto mining down to the compute requirements for VISA on a per transaction basis and doesn't produce similar efficiencies in general purpose compute.

It's like wishing for a faster than light engine. The loop holes in physics that allow ftl are at least identified.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 02:23:29
In short, having a business plan isn't going to cut it here. We need an entirely different technology.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 02:54:59
Even if everything you said was true, energy isn’t a problem. Our entire history since the stone age is to trade our problems for more energy consumption. It used to be cold and dark and food was raw, so we burned wood. I bet you people like you where shaking their fist at the ”fundamental” problems with burning wood. There is a better way they said. Well, do you have that better way? Deploy it.

There is no way around having the crypto debate without first establishing all the principle one is working from. This is a potentially distruptive development. You already know I have very little faith in the sustainability of the current order, I have thrown in my lot with the disruptors.
jergul
large member
Tue Apr 20 03:00:10
What exactly does crypto currency disrupt?
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 03:05:00
Nim:

*sigh*. Burning wood isn't exactly a great metaphor for sustainability.

There are examples of societies that have collapsed due to unsustainable consumption of trees.

Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 04:09:44
Double sigh.

The point is that we would have gone extinct without it. Every thing we do comes with trade offs and risks, we wouldn’t be here talking on UP about anything, without burning all that wood, coal and oil. Our civilization is layers upon layers of systems and mistakes on top of each other. Great ideas, like liberalism and democracy where impossible to implement 500 years ago, because it lacked the layers necessary to facilitate them and make them grow. Remember, we hunted whales almost to extinction until we found oil. Was that good or bad? Well the whales are happier, even though we created higher tier problems.

I am not the least bothered with energy consumption, if that energy consumption solves problems. Neither are you or anyone semi educated. I do not have faith in centralized authorities, the same way I have no faith in burning oil to fuel cars. Obsolete legacy systems that have served a purpose and got us here, but I see they won’t get us further.

Is crypto going to solve the problems I see? Maybe. I have bet some of my hard earned money on it. So, in principle I have nothing against it, I have divested in the old systems to some degree on all levels. But if bitcoin crashes tomorrow, I will be fine. One does not simply move out of the city, with their own water supply and get a hunter’s license and grow stuff without viewing it as some form of insurance against system wide collapse. My doomsday preping is on a reasonable level, but only fools do not prep for what is ultimately expected sooner or later. So, I will also be fine if this legacy system crashes tomorrow.

We know where we stand, you have faith and trust the current order, one largely set by your own country and culture, I don’t.

There are fundamental philosophical underpinnings here, that render the technical details and consumption of energy meaningless.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 04:23:47
I mean there are bitcoin assholes, the bitholes I call them, who are the most abrasive kinds of people you can hope to find, but they are really no different than any other kind of ”woke” personality type. Crossfitter are like that, feminists are like that - any extreme kind of person who think they have found the salvation for some human condition - are all like that.

With that said, there are still thing to ”get” about bitcoin. I don’t claim to understand everything about it, but I ”get it” philosophically because it also happens aligns with my proclivities and the emerging ideas in my head.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 05:39:21
Nim:

"The point is that we would have gone extinct without it."

But here we are dealing with two alternatives.

Electronic payments systems based on trusted third parties; and electronic payments systems based on a de-centralised untrusted network.

So it is more like "do we want to power the industrial revolution on wood, or coal?"

Coal scales well. Wood, less so.

At the moment it is impossible to see how Proof of Work based crypto networks can scale to the point they give equivalent performance to say, the VISA payment service - and if that was even possible, the energy spent is a huge opportunity cost.

"There are fundamental philosophical underpinnings here, that render the technical details and consumption of energy meaningless.

...but I ”get it” philosophically because it also happens aligns with my proclivities and the emerging ideas in my head."

Like I said, wishful thinking. You want it to work - but that doesn't make it so.

Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 05:41:50
jergul:

"What exactly does crypto currency disrupt?"
Anti-money laundering efforts and - I suppose - Forex markets.
Habebe
Member
Tue Apr 20 05:59:42
Seb, Well, to be fair, government control over the money supply as well....not so much now as you cant go buy a big Mac with a bitcoin.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 06:04:22
Habebe:

I don't think it will so much. Government's money comes in the form of its power to tax.

Sure, if enough transactions shifted to things that the govt can't tax, they'd be forced to switch to tax things they can.

They can also simply demand that all retailers take payment in dollars alongside cryptos. In fact, most countries do have that requirement: that you must be able to pay with legal tender.

Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 06:21:04
FYI, I am no particular -ism, I am all of them at the same time depending on context. I just stopped giving a shit about them over the course of the last 10 years. If something is adaptive and I think it will contribute to a better life on this planet, be it a social democratic policy, a communist policy or one drafted by fascists, I simply do not give a shit who authored it. Does it work? So these "muh libertarian naivety" arguments, fall on deaf ears, I am afraid.

You guys are the same people who told me the cost of transporting electricity, along vast grids was meh, despite the fact that transporting energy as electricity in grids, is one of the most expensive ways to transport energy - orders of magnitude more expensive than the same amount of energy being transported as diesel, by a diesel truck. The same philosophy of centralization vs decentralization applied to the electric grid.

I get it, you guys like centralization of authority, because it gives control. I am against it for the exact same reason you are for it. I do not trust the people who want to be (are) in control of EVERYTHING vital for life. Every year they are demanding more and more obedience of specific values "without negotiation", while they keep showing up at your door with guns to collect money. That is the modern form of tyranny, and as all other forms of tyranny, it has its' supporters. The people with vested interest in the system, who do not see it as oppressive, at all.

I accept these people, their right to live as they see fit, in whatever systems they fancy, I just don't want to live in their system anymore. My solution is more sovereignty to smaller entities to pick whatever life strategy, collectively or individually as they see fit. That can result in more energy consumption in the form of increased overhead. My response to that is, So what? Efficiency can not be the primary governing principle, just like, it may very well be better to pay the extra cost of transporting electricity along vast grids, because that extra energy solves other problems relating to how the energy is generated. Now, I think there are other problems with that, but I grant you (or if it was jergul) that the cost of transportation isn't the only problem that requires our attention.

None of that means, I am against say, regulation, single payer health care system, social safety nets, collectively funded education etc. I am not against collective efforts, but I worry when the collective becomes too big or too powerful, as it has a tendency to suffocate everything at the margins.

That is where I stand.
jergul
large member
Tue Apr 20 06:22:25
"You guys are the same people who told me the cost of transporting electricity"

I am most certainly not that guy :)
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 06:37:16
"At the moment it is impossible to see"

Many things seem impossible, but ultimately this isn't about the technical stuff that have solutions, but of principles. Have you ever considered how wasteful it is to transport some poor fat bastard having a heart attack on a ski slope, with a helicopter to a hospital? Neither of us think we should stop doing that, we think it is worth the crazy amount of energy to take care of someone, who clearly has not taken care of themselves and apparently doesn't have a clue about their own limits.

"Like I said, wishful thinking. You want it to work - but that doesn't make it so."

In that regard we are not different, you suffer from the wishful thinking that "this" *points to the world around them* is going to go on forever.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 06:44:33
I am pretty sure one of you did, in that California grid problems thread. That we can create energy where the wind blows and transport it long distances, instead of building local energy plants, say nuclear. You were a pretty strong proponent of "it's the grid stupid" and using renewable source, despite the fact that they are not very reliable, unless you transport the energy from other geographic areas where it is sunny/windy.

But in that thread I stopped posting and detailing that I actually work with Swedish energy producers and grid operators and that the cost of transportation, is always part of the calculus.

See, it is coming back to me, it was you jergul, because I told you about the electrical engineer PhD who looked at my like I was retarded, for saying we should transport solar energy from the Sahara to Europe. He told me "to transport energy requires energy". It was a long time ago and I was actually retarded on the subject, but I have read some wiki articles now and "get it" :)
jergul
large member
Tue Apr 20 06:59:09
Nimi
Oh, that. In that case, it is the grid, stupid. Distribution, not production is the predominant issue there.

My objections to nuclear is that it is not scalable in most of the western world and thus becomes prohibitively expensive.

I have pointed out in this forum that bitcoin production is just a way of selling electricity from remote locations.

In sum, you probably just misunderstood points I was making against morons.

Transmission losses are a known and have been known forever.


Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 07:38:18
Your point, is still, that transmission loss isn't that big of a deal if the goal is to have more renewable, which due to weather conditions must necessarily be transported from distant locations. Have I not understood this correctly? Prime example of that is Sweden transporting hydro power from the north to the south about 1000 km, which loses about 10% running that distance.

Ok, my point is that yo,u or my misunderstanding of what you said, is correct. Transmission loss, isn't a problem that we can't live with, provided we get something for the cost. Cleaner energy in this case.
Habebe
Member
Tue Apr 20 07:45:25
Seb, I meant more in terms of monetary policy/supply.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 08:25:12
Jergul
"I have pointed out in this forum that bitcoin production is just a way of selling electricity from remote locations."

I have heard two things relating to this. First the principle idea that currency = energy, regardless of which currency at which point in history, they all represent the expenditure of energy. Which makes sense, you do some amount of work, you get paid an amount of currency, salt, gold, SEK, Euro, USD. And in that light "proof of work" is inherent to all currency. We just don't think much of it when that energy is carbs via a chemical process in the mitochondria, because it is the proof of work inherent to breathing, which we take for granted.

The second thing, that crypto mining is good for getting rid of inefficiencies in the electric grid and production, since the miners are all looking for cheap energy.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 09:12:38
Nim:

"You guys are the same people who told me the cost of transporting electricity, along vast grids was meh, despite the fact that transporting energy as electricity in grids, is one of the most expensive ways to transport energy"

*sigh* Yeah, but you can't transport electricity as natural gas. You can transport natural gas though.

"I get it, you guys like centralization of authority,"

You don't get it at all then.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 09:18:23
Nim:

"Many things seem impossible, but ultimately this isn't about the technical stuff that have solutions, but of principles"

It really isn't. You may want a distributed payments system, a PoW based one in principle cannot scale. There are alternatives but they start to dilute the purity of the original idea with compromises.

"Instead of building local energy plants, say nuclear"
Jesus... Nuclear plants produce a very large amount of electricity (or at least conventional ones do) so you have issues there unless you have a grid.


jergul:

"selling electricity"

I get what you mean but dislike this framing - it's too much like the retarded "it's backed by the price of electricity" nonsense.

You aren't really selling electricity, you are selling the ability to settle a transaction that requires amount of electricity to accomplish it. The electricity is consumed in the process.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 09:23:52
Habebe:

Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

As long as govt can tax you, and demand that tax be paid in its currency, and back that up with coercive force (and ditto for anyone they can identify regarding accepting payments in its currency) - it can create infinite demand for its currency within its jurisdiction.

In practice, the existence of bitcoin is no more or less threatening to govt monetary policy than the existence of gold.
Habebe
Member
Tue Apr 20 09:39:14
Seb, Maybe.

Gold however has a more difficult time to acquire.

It may not put cash entirely out of business, but I would think it could effect how money supply is controlled if it one or several grew large enough.
Habebe
Member
Tue Apr 20 09:40:01
They still have some.hurdles, like. How slow it is (10 minutes for bitcoin IIRC)
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 10:01:25
Habebe:

Hard to acquire a bitcoin unless someone wants your dollar and will give you a bitcoin for it.
Rugian
Member
Tue Apr 20 11:55:25
DOGE DAY MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!

http://www.newsweek.com/dogecoin-price-420-doge-day-1584960

GET HIGH, BUY DOGECOIN. TO THE MOON!!!!
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 12:06:23
Seb
You need to start breathing normally, all these sighs are depriving you brain of oxygene.

Seriously, the two issues where, more power generation vs better grids to transport electricity, not turning it into NG. In that discussion I mentioned that transporting electricity, ever longer distances, isn’t necessarily the answer, because it costs electricity, to transport electricity. It is the same caculation anyone needs to make for any item in a supply chain. Should we source it locally or from far away? Because things cost money to transport. And that angle was missing in that discussion. Dear lord... And now I brought up again, to say:

”Transmission loss, isn't a problem that we can't live with, provided we get something for the cost. Cleaner energy in this case.”

Don’t you understand what juxtaposing is?

”It really isn't.”

I am not sure what you are responding to, but this is _really_ a matter of principle and philosophy for me. I told you last time, I am not married to bitcoin, but I am married to my vision for the future and that future needs something like Bitcoin or Monero or Dogecoin. We do not share the same vision of the future at a fundamental level. You can take my position on the BBC and peer review as largely indicative of how I view everything else. Death to the gate keepers. Death to regulation that stifle speech, abolish hate speech, abolish every diversity position, stop wasting our money and goodwill on nonsense. You simply do not think these things are ”a big deal”, I do. I think each and every one these issues are like a small non-lethal dose of radioactivity injected into society, it’s all fun and glowing in the dark, until you get cancer.

However one aspect of my vision for the future is that is leaves room for people like and those that think like you to create and maintain exactly the kind of society you want. The future you want does not have room for what I am saying, because ”overhead costs, inefficient use of energy”.

Are you in principle for a de-centralized currency? Forget about liquidity and energy use, just the idea of having digital gold to that no one can touch and that you can use to buy things with?
Sam Adams
Member
Tue Apr 20 12:50:11
"DOGE DAY MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!"

Damn, and i was thinking about investing a few days ago. Could have made 6-10x. Ahhh well, im well-off enough anyway, meh.
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 12:55:55
Nim:

"but this is _really_ a matter of principle and philosophy for me"

Right, and it can be a matter of principle to me that I travel a daily commute to the moon and back.

Doesn't make it technically possible, unfortunately.

As it stands, PoW based crypto currencies are so inefficient that they can't hope to replace conventional payments without a drastic collapse in economic activity.

Your dream is of radical decentralisation - the reality is this technology can't, in principle, achieve that vision. It is far too inefficient and always will be.

Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 13:01:11
Bitcoin, Monero and Dogecoin are all just different implementations of exactly the same thing.

Zero difference, though the ones with lower difficulty will involve less prolific wastage; but still vastly more than the others.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 13:11:24
For or against seb?
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue Apr 20 13:15:09
And don’t mangle what I said into something else, word for word. For or against?
Seb
Member
Tue Apr 20 14:19:51
Nim:

"Are you in principle for a de-centralized currency? Forget about liquidity and energy use, just the idea of having digital gold to that no one can touch and that you can use to buy things with?"

The question is impossible to answer Nim, for a number of reasons. It's radically unclear what this actually means in practice and whether you can actually build a functioning economy with such a thing; or what problems it's trying to solve.

It's pretty clear that the gold standard was a terrible idea, so any such thing needs to not have the inherent deflationary properties of gold. But if you *want* to store your wealth in gold, or even digital gold - you can already. Knock yourself out.

Bitcoin isn't a currency - as much as it purports to be one - it is a payment system. Currency needs to have some kind of backing. Digital currency has no intrinsic value. But to the extent one exists, you have an over 6000 crypto currencies.

Am I for or against them? Probably neither really. I just don't think they can ever work as money for an even moderately sophisticated economy. But it doesn't really matter because unless someone tries to mandate them (which I would oppose) or abolish fiat currency (which I again oppose), they are inherently self limiting, because they misunderstand what money is and the role it performs in society.

Therefore I don't think I need to be for or against them. As I said, the key issue is cryptocoins don't really work from an economic perspective as money, as a stable store of wealth, or as payment systems.

Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Apr 21 01:52:09
See you added things, a ”functioning economy”, actual gold isn’t part of a ”functioning economy” in any meaningful way and bitcoin is already functioning as a currency. gg.

But if we read between the lines of your convoluted answer, and the answer is, we do not want the same future. And I can play the same game and say ”your ideas of the sustainability of the current local maximum is like thinking you can violate the laws of physics to commute to the moon every day”.

Easy peasy.
Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 03:51:47
Nim:

Yes I added outcomes because obviously that's the whole *point* of currencies - perhaps you should have a think and explain why you want "a digital gold"? What personal or societal harm are you trying to hedge against, and what societal harms does that entail?

"we do not want the same future"

A lot to unpack here. Firstly, I'm not sure what your future entails; secondly assessing whether I should support "digital gold" (which you haven't also really defined, in a context that is unclear) in order to assess if we share the same values is a reach. Even if I understood exactly what you meant by "digital gold", we could legitimately disagree on what impact that would have in the here and now. Finally, arguing that supporting PoW based cryptocoins that have tangible social and environmental disbenefits now is justified in principle surely at least ought to come with a well thought out description of the benefits of your future (and ideally a cogent theory of change).

I mean, you are demanding rigorous scientific proof and A/B testing on giving people a harmless hour long workshop in being mindful of race; but casually giving the thumbs up to something that's actively harming the environment on what amounts to a whim. Seems ... incoherent?

This just seems incredibly reductive. It's basically a purity test your setting, but without defining the choice.

1. Gold Standard
Ok, so let's start with Gold Standard. When you talk about digital gold, do you mean (another) form of digital gold that exists along side current currencies.

In terms of your question: do I support "digital gold" - I don't know what that actually means. We have it already, and it hasn't created the future you want.

Bitcoin isn't functioning as a currency, it's functioning as a volatile speculative asset. The fact you can trade with it to a limited set of suppliers doesn't make it a currency, and the volatility of any given commodities price in bitcoin demonstrates the point. As does the rise in various "stablecoins".

But when you say "gold isn't part of a functioning economy" it clearly is. You can buy gold (physical or paper) if you want to store wealth, and convert it to whatever you want. There are even cryptos backed by gold (which is deeply silly as while the tokens are decentralised, there is a central bank promising redemption in gold, defeating the entire purpose and highlighting the fact the tech is actually about payments, not providing a currency).

So, does that mean you actually want to move onto a digital gold standard - where that's the only or main form of currency, and it has the properties of gold, with no ability for Central banks to inject liquidity into the economy and debt creation is constrained across the economy?

If so do you look at for example, austerity inflicted on Greece and say "yes, that's the future I want"?

Or the depression that led to the rise of fascism across the continent in the 30s? "Yup, let's have a bit of that!"

I think not. So we probably don't agree on what future we would arrive at in the event bitcoin displaced fiat currencies.

--

Three positions I hold, which are true irrespective of principles about the kind of society we want:
1) Gold standard type currencies are a terrible fucking idea.
2) Proof of Work based crypto coins have no path to scale to support current levels of economic activity given energy consumption
3) Proof of Work based crypto will always be more inefficient than conventional systems, and even at the relatively minute scale they operate at now, are hugely energy intensive and present at best large
opportunity cost that needs to be justified.

2. "The Future" we want.

In terms of the future you want, this radical decentralisation, it's too vaguely couched. The closest thing I have as a mental model for it (because you haven't articulated it) that I can map to is the "adolescent tech bro utopianism" which is just anarcho libertarianism reheated with magic tech dust.

The tech bro utopianism is a fantasy that says we can use technology to achieve individual sovereignty and do away with or greatly reduce the scope of laws and authority; but at the same time continues to assume society keeps basic features of a society governed by laws (normally invoking some kind of software or other physical technology - cf smart contracts) which requires an authority to create and enforce said laws.

But it never addresses the question of why anyone will agree to be constrained by software.

Untaxable Crypto coins won't help when an armed gang come up and kick you out of your house and take your phone. You get to keep your string of numbers, but they have all your stuff. Which one has more wealth?

--

So to come back full circle, I can't get behind something with such concrete deficiencies on the basis that it might bring about a future which is defined without argument or analysis on how it will actually work and what outcomes will result.

Asking me to do so as a purity test for your values is unreasonable.

My country is currently providing an object lesson in buyers remorse when you try to have the freedoms of radical autonomy while at the same time expecting the benefits of a rules based system.

And yes, you can say this is because of a slavish or totalitarian desire for authoritarian rule - but this is a false dichotomy and a dumbed down rehearsal of the social contract debates of the 17th century, and even then (in societies where it actually was possible to go off and live independently without sacrificing nearly as much access to the kinds of sophisticated economies we have now) nobody actually seriously doubted the need for a state, more about how to maximise freedom within a state and recognising that the freedom without a state is the freedom to be oppressed by whoever comes along.

Basically, before you can sell me the necessity of certain measures to deliver your future; you need to explain how is going to work and not turn into the collapse of the state.

In the mean time, I think crypto currencies offer no such disruptive change to the status quo on their own, but if you are justifying their externalised social costs (massive pollution and waste) on the basis of the supposed benefits of your utopia, you probably ought to show the theory of change as to how crypto currencies will enable this future, and how this future will deliver benefits.

Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 04:07:33
"your ideas of the sustainability of the current local maximum is like thinking you can violate the laws of physics to commute to the moon every day"

I'm not comparing the sustainability of the current local maximum to commuting to the moon. I'm comparing the scalability of proof of work based cryptocoins to support any reasonable sized economy to commuting to the moon.

Your problem is you are conflating the desire for cryptocoins as part of an ill defined solution to "the sustainability of the current local maximum" with whether it is technically feasible, let alone practical and desirable path to an alternative to the current local maximum, without having even established if this alternative is actually going to be better than the local maximum.

Wishful thinking cakeism.
jergul
large member
Wed Apr 21 04:26:29
Seb
I suppose. More correctly. Bit coin mining allow some electricity producers to sell from what would otherwise have been stranded assets
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Apr 21 04:37:20
"perhaps you should have a think and explain why you want "a digital gold"?"

I can and do explain things, you don't read, or read and refuse to correct when I explain you didn't understand it correctly. It is futile, which is why just wanted to get to the root of it. We don't want the same thing and when we do not want something we make up all kinds of excuses as to why it isn't possible or violates the laws of the universe etc.

"Asking me to do so as a purity test for your values is unreasonable."

Because this is the world you live in. It was asked to establish that we do not want the same thing. It makes all these discussions about what is and isn't possible (according to you) pointless, because on a first principle basis, we do not want the same thing. And we go through the details of this fact 1 thread at a time, from peer review to the be or not be of public service and on and on.

"In terms of your question: do I support "digital gold" - I don't know what that actually means. We have it already, and it hasn't created the future you want."

So, you actually DO know what it means, as you have identified that it already exists, but now the problem is that the future I want isn't already here. Your expectation on my abilities are flattering, your expectations on the speed of such a development is "slightly" unrealistic.

You can marvel at this local maximum and go oooo, aaaaa, but I am not impressed. When you work with organizational issues you develop an intuition about these things. You look at the world and how it is structured and just *know* that, of all the ways to shuffle the deck, it is statistically impossible, that this order is the optimal one for prosperity. You realize that the cards are stacked in this order primarily due to 2 reasons.

1. It is arbitrary and random to a degree, because that is the order we found the cards in.

2. You can't stack the cards in whatever way because there are prerequisites. Layer of systems that are needed to create the next system.

And then a couple of thousand of years into this card stacking, you realize it is impossible to re-stack the cards, even when you have found a better way, without bringing the house of cards down first. Legacy bullshit as I call it. There are many technical analogues of what I am talking about that you are already aware of. It applies to every systematic effort, not just software, pipes and wires.

Stone age emotions, medieval institutions and exponential technology.

"I mean, you are demanding rigorous scientific proof and A/B testing on giving people a harmless hour long workshop in being mindful of race"

See what I am talking about? You make up this kind of bullshit, I correct you and explain in detail (in that thread), you repeat them without shame as The Truth. Futile.

In fact my willingness to experiment with bitcoin (despite not having "definitive" science" because I find it interesting, aligns perfectly with everything I wrote in the Implicit bias thread.

You are being very dishonest, because I know you are not this stupid to misunderstand so many things and remain impervious to feedback.

Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Apr 21 05:10:18
"The tech bro utopianism is a fantasy that says we can use technology to achieve individual sovereignty and do away with or greatly reduce the scope of laws and authority"

My world would allow for the "tech bros" to try to implement their fantasy. Not the society I want to live in, but the experiment should run it's course.

Do you think facts about what is good/bad works/doesn't work regarding organization, fall from the sky, or emerge through experiments, Mr I-was-a-scientist? This current order is about maintaining that which already is. Everything is stacked to suffocate the ideas on the margins. Here is an example. We all expect Spain to block Scotland from applying to the EU, in case they go independent. Why? Because it would mortally wound their own effort to maintain the integrity of their own country. Not because 1 Spain is the optimal resolution, but ego, nostalgia and other kinds of legacy bullshit thinking.

We need more countries, that is the world I want. Like hundreds or thousands of more independent cities and provinces. Then let people organize however they want, observe and learn stuff. It is the only way to learn anything, but at the same time the experiments can't have a scope that spans a continent (Russia, China, India, Brazil USA), because we already know some of them will fail miserably.
Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 06:09:18
Nim:

Right, so basically after all this, what you mean is "Do I support bitcoin or PoW based crypto currencies".

Then the answer is no:

1. They are hugely inefficient and result in huge environmental costs. Moreover they are never likely to be efficient. At best in a future world where we can guarantee that are all using green electricity, that electricity could have been used for something more productive.

2. They do not achieve what they set out to be, being neither effective as a means of exchange or a store of wealth.

3. As a payment mechanism, it is slow and unable to scale you the volumes and speeds needed for the actual economy.

4. They inventivise or enable other social harms (ransomware, money laundering, tax evasion) - this can be overlooked to a degree (we don't ban cash) but weighs in the negative territory.

5. As a platform for an anarcho libertarian future, it fails completely:
a. The business model required to support distributed computing incentivises aggregation; and aggregation gives authority over the Blockchain at a point. Therefore it is not anarchic.
b. As the coins are intangible and require property rights to be linked to tangible products or even intangibles that cannot be entirely encoded within the Blockchain itself. Ergo you still need an authority for these currencies to work as currencies or stores of wealth. Therefore they cannot eliminate them.

Ergo, whether I believe in your vision of the future or not, or whether I believe in your vision but disagree in whether it can be made to work, is irrelevant.

In so far as I understand your vision, Bitcoin and all PoW based cryptocoins fundamentally are square wheels. They don't do what they purport. And that's irrespective of whether you want the outcome.
Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 06:11:49
"My world would allow for the "tech bros" to try to implement their fantasy. Not the society I want to live in, but the experiment should run it's course."

Sure, go ahead. Nobody's really stopping them. There are over 6000 crypto currencies. What we are seeing is the usual pattern of uncovering in 6 years the previous 6000 years of social development around money that has been mistaken as bugs rather than necessary features.

Chesterton's gate.
Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 06:13:55
I mean there are actual reasons we stopped using raw gold as a means of exchange, and started stamping kings heads on it, and then got rid of the gold itself.

And even "I want my money to be also be a guaranteed store of wealth" reached the end of the road in the last century.
Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 06:28:42
Jergul:

Fair. I mind that a bit less than the fact it actively encourages the massive diversion of resources created to dedicated assets which appear to increasingly have value only in so far as they enable the transfer and storage of value extracted by criminal enterprise.

Sure some of it is about supply and demand dynamics. A lot is about being a medium of exchange for darknet.

Buy some bitcoin to allow a seller of child pornography to cash out his earnings. Effectively at some point the price of Bitcoin is effectively set by the value of goods and services denominated in bitcoin. If that's predominantly guns,drugs,extortion,ransoms, stolen data and pornography, there's an element there where even buying into bitcoin has ethical implications. Of course opex of the system itself flows into this. When bitcoin prices fall below the cost of the electricity to generate a bitcoin, it will collapse unless the generation of value denominated in bitcoin is enough to sustain it and so far I think the bulk of genuine bitcoin denominated "value generation" is actually criminal activity.

Don't know where we are now, but that seems to be the steady state we are heading for.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed Apr 21 07:18:48
"Nobody's really stopping them."

Everyone and everything, is stopping them that is how the deck is stacked. The fact that you even care about the integrity of the "United Kingdom", is symptomatic of the nostalgia that is in the way of them, or anyone wanting to create a society based on social justice, free from the systematic racism of the legacy software. Even I, in some flawed portion of my mind want Iran to remain a single country, but my reason tells me, we may be better off with 5 or 6 Irans.

You have this idea that I care about bitcoin and not a fungible digital gold. You keep obsessing over energy consumption, meanwhile all currency represents the expenditure of energy. We have for thousands of years traded problems for more energy.

So, your arguments that it isn't efficient use of energy, is anchored to the fact that you don't think it solves a problem, because you don't think there is a problem in the first place. Meanwhile, I am not bothered by "efficient" as long as it is "effective".

It is a totally disingenuous way of arguing. Because even someone solve the, according to you, impossible energy "problems", you would STILL be against it, because it would fatally undermine your stack of cards.

And that is why I don't bother with the technicalities here. It is like when I argued abortion with our friend Nekran. We go over all the intricacies of human reproduction, just to have him tell me, he thinks it should be legal to abort 9 month full term babies. Well then it doesn't really matter what week the brain develops or what is defined as "human life" during gestation, does it?

It turns out, again, I understand you better than you understand me. I quickly identified that there is a principle and philosophical difference.
Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 10:44:51
Nim:

You are making a lot of assumptions about *why* I want to keep the United Kingdom.

A lot of *wrong* assumptions, if you think it is about nostalgia.

"You have this idea that I care about bitcoin and not a fungible digital gold"

Yeah, I get it, you want a digital token that holds value, is widely accepted as payment, and which isn't subject to a central authority.

Currently there's no way to do that. The closest is PoW based cryptocoins. But the bigger issue is that digital/tangible property connection.

Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 10:48:10
"So, your arguments that it isn't efficient use of energy, is anchored to the fact that you don't think it solves a problem,"

*Weeps uncontrollably* no. No no no. I think it's inefficient in the sense that the power needed per transaction is so great that the power requirements to perform transaction rates at the volume required for a decent society substantially exceeds that available. It doesn't matter how high a price you are willing to pay on decentralisation, even if you price environmental impact at zero (either because you don't care or you think it's a price worth paying), there simply isn't enough power produced.

It is a physical constraint.



Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 10:48:43
I don't know how much clearer on this I can be.
Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 10:56:36
"It is a totally disingenuous way of arguing."

That's an absurd accusation.

Firstly I've been utterly clear on my position on bitcoin, I think it's a bad idea even from the perspective of centralised libertarian paradises because it's ineffective.

Secondly, if you solved the energy problem, as I've made clear, it still doesn't threaten fiat currencies because without proper backing (and no backing is possible without a central authority) it cannot function as a stable store of value or medium of exchange. And in any case the value of fiat currencies comes from the ability of the state, backed by force, to demand you pay them tax in their currency, forcing you to collect it; as much as it does from people selling goods denominated in said currency. Woohoo, you have bitcoin. But unless you pay your tax in dollars to the federal govt, you are going to jail. So better sell those coins and buy some dollars. Same as if you tried to use gold kruggerands.

The assumption I'm ideologically opposed to it as a threat to my world view is just not well founded. It's back to front.

I think cryptocoins *can't* deliver the promise.

As for your anarcho libertarian future or whatever it is, I don't think you've thought through what a world operating on a system where debt creation is basically impossible means.
Seb
Member
Wed Apr 21 11:02:17
Flip it around then:

Do I want to ban cryptocoins?

Not particularly. But I do think cryptocoin miners emission costs should be priced in some how (like everyone else's); and I think money laundering requirements ought to apply to exchanges that allow cashing out (like any other financial exchange).

Otherwise it's just regulatory arbitrage.

So I want to get rid of fiat currencies and sovereign Central Banks? Fuck no. Anyone who has looked at the economic history of Europe in the early to mid 20th century and the Euro ought to look at that and shit their pants. Especially if they believe in decentralised authority. Total fucking nightmare.

Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Fri Apr 23 04:10:50
"It is a physical constraint."

I am sorry, but as far as a technical understanding of bitcoin goes, you _should_ weep uncontrollably, because you are not even wrong. There is no "scaling issue", unless you are under this illusion that bitcoin in here to replace Visa (payment system) and not Fedwire (settlement system).

The base layer (bitcoin) would be a settlement system between banks and large institutes and on top you have a second layer for payment systems like the lightning network, a payment system like Visa.

Incidentally, or perhaps not so, this is exactly the way the current financial system works, or are you fooled by your debit card to think the payment you make, settles instantly because the numbers change on your interface? It takes 1-3 days for a debit card transaction to settle, because the money often has to move BETWEEN banks for the payments to actually settle. None of these payments are final, the way a bitcoin (or fedwire) transaction is final.

Fedwire is constrained, in the same manner bitcoin is constrained to 100 000's transactions in a day. Banks do not settle every payment people make instantly, because it isn't very efficient. But no one actually thinks this says anything meaningful, since a block chain transaction can settle a huge cluster of payments.

You are comparing apples to oranges and then loudly yelling at the apple, that it is physically constrained from being an orange.

It is thus a wholly uninteresting conversation to have you. You don't actually understand the physical reality and on top of that you have a principle resistance to the idea being presented. And the most basic idea presented is, a non state owned currency.


"anarcho libertarian future or whatever it is"

"Whatever it is", is closer to the truth, because the truth is, you still don't understand what I am saying. Let me explain in terms of apps in an app store. You keep talking about apps (organization based on ideas and ideologies) and I am talking about the app store (the world order in which the apps emerge). I keep saying I wan't an app store that is radically different to allow for more apps (even the apps on the margins) and you keep trying to identify which app (in the current eco system) I would enjoy the most. Then you tell me, that all these new apps will require new companies with fresh overheads and energy consumption.

There are things to get, which you are trying very hard to not get, and I have no idea why. Not a flattering idea anyway.

"Fuck no."

And I predicted that and remained adamant despite your denial, that you disagree with me on a principle level. The technical "impossibility" spiel is wrong on a technical basis and incidental/supplementary to the principle disagreement.
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