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Secondly, You mention that it takes 3 tonnes of C02 to produce a bit coin but then said if the price of power doubles the amount of CO2 produced halves. That makes no sense. The amount of energy produced to build the coin is fixed therefore the amount of carbon produced is fixed. The only variable in the equation is the cost of power. If the price of electricity doubles, then you need to find a way to make a Bitcoin with half the power, in order for it to still be profitable.
A by-product would be half the emissions say 1. I'm going to go out on a limb here and congratulate Professor Quiggin for writing one of the funniest, tongue-in-cheek articles I have ever read. Judging by the number of furious and super-serious replies he's garnered to date I think he may well be in line for a major comedy award complete with a Bitcoin cheque. I thank him for not keeping it until April 1 next year - in a world where conventional business models are breaking down I think it's only appropriate that spoof articles can be traded any day of the year and not have to attract the sorts of penalty rates that keeping them for only that one preordained day in April normally attract.
If I'm right, you must be laughing your nuts off reading what you've generated from the gullible here today. I think this article is a waste of energy. Thousands of computers, reading an article, that the author doesn't even truly understand the concept of bitcoin or alt-coins. I've seen hydro powered bitcoin operations. So your statement for that is invalid Gold is mostly worthless, as the plating in electronics boils down to pennies these days instead of the dollars 30 years ago.
Ask any person or company that tries to recycle gold from electronics. Most of this article is based on misguided information and a lack of fact. I think the author needs to get a clue, or become more educated in what they are tearing down. I was going to make my Daughter a kite, but after reading the worthy Professors argument about the use of "dirty" power I decided that the kite components, paper, string and plastic struts, would have used much of this dirty power to manufacture, and added to the Bitcoin crisis this was way over the top.
So I burnt it. Whilst Bitcoin has many of the advantages that previous posters have pointed out, I think many are also missing the point of this post: For households to acquire Bitcoin equivalent to their current "cash and near cash" holdings would require electricity production equivalent to several times their current annual household electricity consumption. Given we still need our fiat cash to pay our taxes etc.
That I think is the point of the article. That's not how bitcoin mining works. It's not like it costs x electricity to make a bitcoin and then twice that to make two, as if you were physically digging gold out of the ground.
It could easily cost less next month if fewer people were trying at the same time. It costs electricity and computing power to secure the network. Not to mention we don't actually need any more to be created. The world could get on just fine with the 15 million or so that are already out there. The new ones are just incentive to get people to contribute power to keep the network secure.
Bitcoin is far more trackable to authorities than cash has it has a record of past transactions called a block chain that logs and displays every Bitcoin transaction in real time, and makes that data available to anyone. It is not controlled by any government, though it can be taxed.
The free market determines its value and not the committee of a central bank or finance minister. Transactions are almost instantaneous and cost free.
Mining will stop because the algorithm is limited to 21 million coins. Each coin is divisible by 8 decimal places allowing fractional exchange. It can operate concurrently with existing fiat money, real currency gold and silver or other crypto-currencies such as Litecoin.
It may be the way of the future, in which banking will be greatly reduced in importance as lending will be peer to peer, all transaction public and coins held in an individuals own crypto currency coin wallet.
A currency revolution not less important than the invention of coinage in ancient times. Or a passing fad. In the meantime no harm in having a few Bitcoins as a hedge. This is an incredibly disingenuous article. The Professor has basically outed himself as a "flat-earther" of the economic world. There wasn't even any attempt to compare the energy use of other currencies versus bitcoin?
What about all the mining for hard currencies? Or the towers and towers of bankers sitting at computers that Bitcoin could completely tear down!? Other currencies are exactly the same, using bank's supercomputers to verify transaction, what's their energy use? Also even the slightest bit of research would have found that bitcoins have become harder to mine deliberately! Bitcoins have several advantages over fiat currencies - one of the my favorites is that they can't be devalued by central governments!
They have inherent scarcity! Just crazy, I'm ashamed that my Universities' name is also attached to this nonsense. Lots of complaints about "no research" on my part, but none of any attempts to do research by the critics.
The Bitcoin network does more than mint money. It processes transactions allowing peers to transact without any censorship. It does this in a secure and immutable way without any central trusted party.
This nuance seems to have eluded you. John, a section of your article reads "Switching even a small part of a typical household's financial transactions to Bitcoins must therefore entail a massive increase in electricity use". This logic is incorrect. The number of transactions in the bitcoin network is not relevant to the amount of power consumed.
Miners expend energy by solving blocks, not individual transactions. A block can contain zero or many transactions. A block is mined approximately every 10 minutes regardless of how many transactions are being created. The core software controls this period automatically by altering the difficulty of the cryptographic puzzle. As more miners join the network, the difficulty is increased to keep the block solution period at 10 minutes.
As miners drop off the network, maybe because they are inefficient or have higher energy costs then the difficulty is reduced. It's not just the cost of one physical note, it's the cost of the whole system that secures, transports, regulates and supports that note and its 'value'.
Think how much better off the planet would be if all the bankers were out planting trees instead of sitting in air-conditioned skyscrapers, for example. You are right, however, that the computer cycles used in bitcoin mining could be put to better use. That is a shame, but I think Satoshi did a pretty good job with other aspects of Bitcoin. Because you don't seem to understand that bitcoin is not just the currency, it's the distribution network as well. That said, your point of energy consumption is already well known which is why there are other cryptocurrencies that use proof-of-stake, delegated proof-of-stake, etc.
Every bank in the world is researching ways which they can leverage blockchain technology to reduce their costs precisely because the current system is so inefficient. I can't speak for others, but I never disputed your core claim. Just the background and supporting evidence was anything but. There are many statements in your piece which are misleading at best. When you say this: It may very well be complex, but that calculation confirms all the previous transactions.
It has tremendous value. If you are going to make a connection between this calculation and the electricity consumed to make it work, then it's only fair to compare that against the global financial system's electricity consumption. For the benefit of me and the hundreds of others who don't know what a Bitcoin is, could somebody please explain.
Bitcoin is a form of electronic cash. It differs from regular cash in that it can be transmitted across the internet. There are many types of electronic cash, but bitcoin is the most widely accepted of them.
Please note that credit cards, paypal, bank transfers etc. You cannot use them unless you have a bank account. Your bitcoin is like the computer record in your bank that says how much money you have in your account, with the following differences: The computer record is in a public ledger, visible to anyone in the world.
This ledger is called "the block chain". You can receive bitcoins from, or send them to anyone in the world for a very small fee, and your transaction cannot be blocked by corporations or governments. Most shops don't accept bitcoin payments yet - they're mainly useful for online purchases. You keep track of your bitcoins with a program called a wallet, that runs on your computer or phone.
Your wallet has a number, which identifies your coins in the public ledger. Without your wallet, you can't spend your coins, so don't lose it! This sensationalist puff piece has no grounding in reality. The Bitcoin network along with the bitcoin tokens has enormous utility that seems to go right over the author's head. The energy used isn't just for creating new bitcoins. The computations and consequently the energy consumed is what secures the network and gives it trust.
This trust is distributed across the network, not relying on any central authority. This is why bitcoin is the people's money. Bitcoin won't go away and the value won't approach zero as the author seems to hope. Wake up, John Quiggin. The world is changing and guess what, technology matters. Have you not learned your lesson? The internet isn't just for geeks.
So here are some back of the envelope calcs to check the author's numbers. The most efficient bitcoin mining machines have a mining speed rated at 0. This is similar to the author's numbers. It seems pretty emissions intensive - and it will become even more emission-y as the mining rate continues to drop - unless a low-carbon electricity source can be cheaper than coal.
The flaw in the argument is that this is only the cost of creating the coin. Among other things, it also includes the cost of distribution, security and auditing. For the value you have calculated to have meaning you would have to compare it with the cost of either: Or - Mining and refining the materials used, turning those materials into a credit card, assigning and adding value to that credit card, transferring the value from the users bank to a credit card transaction clearing house and from the credit card transaction clearing house to the sellers bank, the systems both IT based and people based used to detect and prevent fraud in all three organisations, The systems used to keep internal and external parties from gaining access to this highly sensitive information, The systems used to monitor the other systems for maintenance purposes.
Once people become a part of these "systems" the cost financially and in CO2 emissions goes up exponentially. Bit coin removes duplication and people from the equation.
Yes, you make some good points and of course fiat currency has embedded and ongoing emissions. Do you have any data to compare? Do the calculations for bitcoin mining actually need to be otherwise purposeless? If these computers were doing something useful as part of mining Then none of this would matter. Or if it has to be otherwise useless, can its creation be limited to electricity markets with proactive carbon prices? Professor, What is the cost to the environment of inflation and government regulation of fiat currency?
Perhaps you should be doing more research into the possible applications for bitcoin. I was initially sceptical about Bitcoin, that is until I did my own research on it. Bitcoin will be the single most transformative technology the world has seen since the internet, like many emerging technologies it takes time for the infrastructure to be built. I've become a strong believer and supporter of Bitcoin, it is here to stay, it can't go away and is gaining in popularity and acceptance.
Australia's big four banks have attempted to stifle bitcoin in Australia, that alone should be reason to check out for yourself why they are so scared about it and the benefits to you of a decentralised currency. Also check out what the Winklevoss Twins the guys who started Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg are saying about Bitcoin - In their own words they "eat sleep and breath Bitcoin". It is far more than just a currency.
It is the future and it's here to stay. Just a thought here from someone who doesn't know much about Bitcoin: All the Bitcoin supporters in this comment section repeatedly mention Bitcoin creation is limited to 21 million Bitcoins. What is to stop an interested party from purchasing every single Bitcoin created and refusing to trade them, essentially making Bitcoin redundant? You will need to have a lot of money. Current market value is over 5 Billion AUD, and this would increase if someone was buying them up.
You will have to convince all current owners to sell to you. What's to stop someone buying all the gold in the world? Really fundamentally the same thing, the only significant difference there is that more people care about gold and the remaining supply of gold on Earth is substantially larger than the remaining supply of bitcoins.
Maybe I'm stupid, but I just don't see how this is could possibly result in significant harm to the environment. This article claims that generating four Bitcoins consumes the same amount of energy that the average US household uses.
Taking that on face value, we need to know how many Bitcoins are being generated in order to see exactly how much energy is being wasted. As there are currently somewhere around 53, Bitcoins being mined each year, that's a worldwide total energy equivalent of 13, average US households. That's a minuscule amount compared to, for example all the energy consumed by the hundreds of millions of US households. The number will halve next year and continue to halve every fourth year.
The article also seems to assume that the amount of energy consumed has some connection to the number of transactions made. Quiggin does not once mention the word "blockchain. Consider this sentence from Quiggin's article: Fortunately, it's unlikely that the digital currency will survive long enough to generate the environmental disaster that would arise if it became a major part of the financial system. Fortunately, it's unlikely that the blockchain will survive long enough to generate the environmental disaster that would arise if it became a major part of the financial system.
In many cases, arguments for or against "Bitcoin" can be resolved by substituting "blockchain" in the appropriate places. Bitcoins themselves are nothing more than a way to pay anonymous individuals working to maintain a fully distributed, non-centralized network. There is no Bureau to write to, no phone number to call. It was hypothesized by Satoshi that such payment tokens would have fiat value because they would represent the work that was done to produce a valuable product -- the blockchain.
The gold miner Howard in "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" insisted that the value of gold "represents the labor that went into the findin' and the gettin' of it. And what use is the blockchain? I think primarily it will first be used as a worldwide notary public, first by individuals for their own private records and assurance and possibly as evidence in court. Next, it will be used as a way of absolutely, positively knowing whether or not your database has been hacked into and changed and proving it in public, all for a pittance in cost.
And for that purpose it will be used by millions of individuals and institutions. I suspect that eventually governments will actually require banks to back up their hashed data onto the bitcoin blockchain as an act of public accountability, the way individuals and institutions today have to publish Legal Notices in newspapers.
These uses will have a positive cumulative impact on the environment. It sounds trivial at first, but consider the number of car-trips that will no longer be made to your local Notary Public, and the number of Notary Public ledgers that will no longer be printed. Once the blockchain is legally certified for this purpose and it almost certainly will be you will be able to just do it yourself at home.
As for data backup and security, consider the reduction in fraud, lawsuits, and waste once companies can know for certain that the data.
As regards blockchain, I have a genuinely open mind, and some questions. Can you spell out how you achieve the necessary proof of work for, as you put it, "a pittance"? Are you assuming as I read you that it is the specific Bitcoin blockchain that is going to play this role, or blockchain technology in general? If Bitcoin, this would seem to imply a massive increase in velocity; my reading suggests this would raise a wide range of problems starting with the size of the blockchain.
As regards trips to the notary, this seems to suggest a problem looking for a solution. There are perfectly workable digital signature systems out there - they don't get much use because most people are happy to accept a scanned signature for the purposes for which they used to get a handwritten one. Professor Quiggin, I can't follow ShroudWriter's argument, but I think he may be objecting to your assumption that it requires energy to create a bitcoin.
That is not so. Creation of the bitcoins associated with a block requires only a tiny amount of energy, a fraction of a joule. The link that you failed to mention is that newly minted bitcoins are only given out in payment for a service.
That service is the secure maintenance of the public ledger at the core of the bitcoin system also known as "the blockchain". It is the securing of this ledger against fraud by discovering a checksum that meets specific criteria that consumes energy.
People aren't really "mining" the actual bitcoins to "create" them. That is only a metaphor. Because of this I think it is a mistake to say, as you do, that "the creation of a new Bitcoin requires the performance of a complex calculation that has no value except to show that it has been done.
To be fair, this is not equivalent to the cost of printing a dollar bill. It is equivalent to the cost of running the computerised accounting and auditing systems of all of the banks in the world. Wouldn't it be fair to say that it has value because people WANT to use it for certain things? Furthermore, what about government currencies that people are required to use that people don't want to use?
What happens to the value of those currencies? The article totally misses the point. Yes, there is an environmental cost associated with mining bitcoin, but so is the case for almost everything we find useful.
The question is, what do we get for our money? In the case of bitcoin, what we are buying is a decentralized, anonymous currency that can be traded globally without government interference. How can an economics professor not see the value in this? The writing, transmission and display of this article is a true waste of energy.
I blame the liberals for raising the retirement age. Good to see Professor John rightfully slapped down for a very short sighted article. Professor John's comment "all viable currencies are underpinned by the fact that the currency has a use outside its role as a medium of exchange" is just plain wrong with respect to gold.
And this doesn't apply to just gold and Bitcoins What is the true economic value of gold? Will these items also tend to zero or at least a very low number? How is it an economics Professor doesn't understand this? Regarding whether bitcoin has "value" and why: There is a value in being able to provably and irreversibly sending money that cannot be counterfeited over the internet. There's a value in doing this with an open-source, decentralized, peer-to-peer fashion instead of being at the mercy of a confiscatory government.
The blockchain, and its mining mechanism, provide all of these features provable, irreversible, non-counterfeitable, reliable, trustless, decentralized, peer-to-peer. Happy to write a follow-up if you are interested in why exactly this requires mining in the form that bitcoin has. Just so that we understand this correctly: In that case keeping your TV on for the sole purpose of watching TV is a waste of energy or playing videogames on your PC for the sole purpose of playing videogames is a waste of energy.
BTW the value of a Bitcoin is exactly where it's supposed to be, that is it's the market that determines the price. The buyer accepts that the bitcoin algorithm is worth x amount of money. It is no different than banknotes. The intrinsic value of any printed banknote is the same which is the cost of the paper. Quiggin welcome to the 21st century. Or, as an academic, when confonted with a complicated kind of human behaviour not easily explained in your world view, you might have a closer look to figure out what's going on.
Bitcoin is a triple entry global accounting ledger. Not only are the books balanced, every transaction is notarized through proof of work. Sure a bitcoin is a unit of account in this system and so people assign value to it but it can host any matter of valuable good that can be expressed digitally including equities, real-estate, identity, votes, domains, contracts, you name it.
The energy invested in the mining process is the energy invested in the security and verification of this global resource. It is far from wasteful. This looks like an orchestrated article sponsored by the NSA. The computations keep the network secure and prevent double spending. Bitcoin transaction fees are a lot less than this, and this is partly because the overall cost. Professor Quiggin may be a professor, but he's evidently not very clued up on Bitcoin.
His argument is flawed because he hasn't taken into account the following: That would mean, this hypothetical household's monetary supply could be mined in less than 5 minutes by an average mining rig. Hardly the catastrophic environmental wastage that he is peddling. I know nothing about butcoin, but bought some coin and tried to do a trade in January.
Nothing arrived and I presume it is untraceable as it is meant to be. I wonder if trading binary options perhaps we can trade binary options on bitcoin, why not is a simple way of capturing the complexity of the modern business world.
It seems to me a hoax, and nonsense, to be trying to make money in this way. But perhaps we can take "trading binary options" as a proxy for many other problems that are currently hard to solve - e. Maybe trading binary options, like studying something else exotic like philosophy or art, helps us understand the world better. Presumably if we spend more time on some activity, rather than less, we are hoping that this will "pay off" in some way, e.
When greed, lust for power and human fallibility make their way into the Bitcoin world it will end up like every other currency and every other utopian belief system.
It is hard make more of it So are cowrie shells. Bitcoin is still alive! What a foolish argument. Paraphrasing, "Bitcoin should die because it uses a lot of electricity. What makes mining bitcoin any less valid than searching for ET? If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC. ABC teams share the story behind the story and insights into the making of digital, TV and radio content.
Read about our editorial guiding principles and the enforceable standard our journalists follow. Items found in a suitcase that hadn't been opened for decades leads a team from Museums Victoria on a hunt for an unknown soldier.
The man who investigated the collapse of Storm Financial says the financial planning industry does not deserve to be called a "profession". Boat conservators with precious skill sets are eager to pass their skills on to a new generation of craftspeople.
Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy, says that the rate of casuals in the Australian workforce has been steady at 25 per cent for the past 20 years.
A chain of block erupters used for bitcoin mining. Comments Add a comment. Alert moderator mike j: Alert moderator John S: Alert moderator David Ferstat: Alert moderator ron n: Alert moderator Old Red: Alert moderator Paul M Covers: Eric Alert moderator worrierqueen: Alert moderator Nick Santamaria: It can also be hacked and stolen as has been shown many times already Alert moderator mark op: Stop spreading misunderstanding Alert moderator Rex: Kindly, Sam Alert moderator worrierqueen: Alert moderator Peter S.: I invest on these platforms Alert moderator Tropicalcat: Alert moderator mark op: Might not seem like a big deal to you, but ask the greeks what they would prefer after having the government dip its hand into their back pocket and take money directly out of their bank accounts Alert moderator Gordon: I don't think its logical or helpful to demonize an entire technological accomplishment because one aspect of it doesn't exceed the current system, especially when almost every other characteristic is far superior Alert moderator James Picone: Alert moderator Mena Reno: I am positive he has a bank account in a brick and mortar bank with millions and millions of dollars in it thanks to people buying and transacting Bitcoin Alert moderator Richard: Alert moderator James Picone: Alert moderator Craig of North Brisbane: Alert moderator Dr Bombay: D Alert moderator notathome: Alert moderator Living Room of Satoshi: Alert moderator mick white: Richard Mullins Alert moderator You what now: Malaysia forex trading Google finance forex charts Gcm forex mobil indir.
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