Saturday, 9 December 2017

dig dug

Stock-market traders leveraged a design weakness in bitcoin and other virtual, sometimes-cryptocurrencies by treating what was meant to replace money as an investment vehicle and that greedy impulse has created potential obstacles in becoming the better stewards of the environment that we absolutely have to become, as Things Magazine explores from several angles.
As the speculative value of the electronic currency goes up, the computing power needed to maintain the protocols of the network increases exponentially and thus the power needed to run the platforms and despite vanishingly small returns, the computing power needed to “mine” for new coins. It’s hard to keep one’s sights on savings and efficiency and reducing one’s carbon footprint while carpet-baggers are willing to spend presently a day’s worth of the electricity needed to power nine Western households on virtual spelunking. There’s still a profit to be made and there have been examples of calculated efforts to use greener sources of energy—like geothermal sources in Iceland to power server farms but that’s after plane-loads of cargo were dispatched there. What do you think? It strikes me as demoralising and I don’t trust this scheme to drive us toward innovation. If we continue on the same trajectory mining for virtual currency will soon surpass the energy needs of the entire industrialised world and that could in no way be a sustainable situation.