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Author Topic: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs  (Read 430 times)

numerobis

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Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« on: December 06, 2017, 05:37:42 PM »
There was a grist article that made the rounds predicting that Bitcoin mining would take more power than the US uses by two years from now. Ars Technica points out that's not likely:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/12/bitcoins-insane-energy-consumption-explained/

The number of bitcoins is controlled to grow by roughly a set amount per time period. If it's increasing too fast, the network increases the computational cost per bitcoin.

As bitcoin prices rise, miners fire up their computers to mine bitcoin, increasing the energy cost. That increase the rate of bitcoin production, so the network increases the computational cost. That reduces the bitcoin benefit per $ spent on computation, so miners start to drop out, and there's an equilibrium reached.

In short, bitcoin energy cost grows roughly as the number of kWh you can buy for one bitcoin grows. It doesn't grow without bound.

numerobis

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 05:56:55 PM »
One comment on the Ars thread mentions bitcoin mining in winter only, displacing electric resistive heat. There's very little wasted energy in that context!

Bob Wallace

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 08:03:32 PM »
Someone installed bitcoin mining computers in his Tesla S so he could use Tesla's free charging.

He'll get cut off....

numerobis

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 09:55:22 PM »
Vox reports that data centre computing is consuming about 3% of US electricity supply:
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/12/6/16734228/google-renewable-energy-wind-solar-2017

Bob Wallace

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 10:42:19 PM »
Let's hope the bitcoin bubble bursts soon.

We could close a more coal plants and cut way back on our NG use.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 11:41:31 PM »
New Scientist has been running a (probably paywalled) series of articles on the topic. My (brief!) take:

https://twitter.com/V2gUK/status/936929253614071809

From outside the wall:

Update: as this feature was in preparation, bitcoin was continuing its unprecedented surge, hitting a value of $10,000 on 29 November 2017
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Sigmetnow

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 03:52:16 PM »
This is nuts.

LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Bitcoin rocketed above $15,000 for the first time ever on Thursday, up more than 10 percent on the day, after adding more than $2,000 to its price in fewer than 12 hours.
http://www.nasdaq.com/article/bitcoin-surges-above-15000-after-climbing-2000-in-12-hours-20171207-00657
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abraca

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 09:50:49 PM »
Bitcoin equilibrium is 1% of whole electricity consumption per each $50k value of bitcoin. So it's 0.3% already - it is starting to be a really significant part, it seems to be growing faster than we can produce new renewable sources. This can very soon have a real influence on CO2 production and electricity prices.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 11:02:43 PM »
The greater fool theory states that the price of an object is determined not by its intrinsic value, but rather by irrational beliefs and expectations of market participants. A price can be justified by a rational buyer under the belief that another party is willing to pay an even higher price.

But at some point the planet runs short of fools....

oren

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 11:18:39 PM »
Let's hope these specific fools run out very soon, or the planet will suffer. Somehow economic stupidity has a tendency to translate to more emissions, not less.

magnamentis

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2017, 06:45:44 PM »
the crash of bitcoin will happen as certainly as the amen in the churche, hence we just have to wait till things get cut down and then i'm as certain that regulations or attempts for such are imminent, could even be the or one of the triggers for one or the next crash.

it's a hype that will flatten like all others, only that most probably replacement is in the pipeline as well ;)
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numerobis

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Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 02:48:07 AM »
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/11/tsunami-of-data-could-consume-fifth-global-electricity-by-2025

The communications industry could use 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025, hampering attempts to meet climate change targets and straining grids as demand by power-hungry server farms storing digital data from billions of smartphones, tablets and internet-connected devices grows exponentially.

This strikes me as one-sided: one thing that’s been noticed is the millennial generation spending time on their phone (evil telecommunications) rather than driving around and buying big houses.