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Bitcoin and the angry dad

 
gardener
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I found this forum through ‘“Build a better world” which caught my eye because of the byline - “Instead of being angry at the bad guys”. I’ve spent at least two decades being angry at the bad guys and now well on the road to recovery. However, every now and then the ‘angry dad’ resurfaces. When the daily-ish email landed in my inbox it included ‘more bitcoin’. The angry dad started to resurface . . . I get that we still have bills to pay and this site is free to us and has running costs etc. But bitcoin . . . How can bitcoin with his colossal carbon footprint ever be right? How is this any different to putting gas in a car driving hundreds of miles to protest about a gas line . . . The example given in the book?

Now this is a place for gentlefolk and not the angry dad. I’ve only been around for a few weeks and this is the first time the angry dad has raised his head, here. One of my strategies is to get it off my chest and then get on with my day. So that’s the main reason for my post and I’ll now head off to the woods and think happy thoughts. Peace, out.
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The Angry Dad
The Angry Dad
 
pollinator
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Hi Edward.

We all get that from time to time. I feel that while bitcoin mined using renewables is better than otherwise, it's still a misuse of energy.

The anger is one problem. I try to do productive things with regards to the subject matter that's upsetting me. If I don't, it either rules me, and I externalise it onto people that don't deserve it, or I internalise it, and it builds into anxiety attacks.

Bitcoin is another problem. I have figured out a solution that would actually help the earth that uses the cryptocurrency model, but I have no outlet for it. It's a bit complex, yet simple, so here it goes.

Mine cryptocurrency using swarms of solar-powered satellites intercepting some of the sun's energy at the intervening lagrange point in the Sun-Earth system.

The only thing that's cheap right now to safely transport from the earth to orbit and back again is information. We do it every day, multiple times a day; our civilisations depend upon it.

SpaceX is launching multiple satellites per rocket launch to deploy Elon's Starlink project. The technology is there to launch satellite swarms.

The I.S.S. has what they refer to as R.O.S.A., or Roll-Out Solar Array, which is proof-of-concept that deployable solar panels can function correctly. I would be more comfortable with something origami-based, that looked like a lotus or chrysanthemum or something, but I suppose rolls will do.

So the swarm would harvest energy to maintain synchrony, to block out enough solar energy from the earth to do the job of cooling it, and would mine cryptocurrency to pay for itself. It wouldn't even add heat to the atmosphere because everything would be taking place in space.

Earth gets a solar heat shield that pays for itself and starts funding industry in space. Who can say how well a cryptocurrency that literally staves off the planet's roasting and whose long-term operational costs would include an occasional replenishment of satellites within the swarm could perform?

Sounds to me like a better option than wasting valuable energy here on the planet to crunch numbers, with exhaust heat as the byproduct.

-CK
 
pollinator
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Howdy,

Read about Bit Coin here, among other things,


https://www.hcn.org/issues/54.3/infographic-technology-the-digital-worlds-real-world-impact-on-the-environment
 
master pollinator
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Chris Kott wrote:So the swarm would harvest energy to maintain synchrony, to block out enough solar energy from the earth to do the job of cooling it, and would mine cryptocurrency to pay for itself.


It's an interesting concept, and versions have been bandied about.

Me, I can't help but think "Bond Villain!"
 
pollinator
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Edward, I share your anger, though it's maybe more a frustration? I feel a general state of unease/discomfort, because of a lack of real understanding of the problem.
The article in the last post is slightly educational, but full of bullshit statistics. Power to mine one bitcoin is equal to powering 13 homes, excellent, that clears it all up. (home/power/years is my favorite unit of energy) One bitcoin transaction = 1.43M credit card transactions, wow, it all makes sense now. They use SO MUCH WATER!, wait, where does it go when they're done? back down a borehole? to a field? into a river? the air?
Just enough information to know that these things are things, but that there's more things they aren't telling us, and those are probably the ones that matter. I want a Randall Monroe (xkcd) treatise on the subject, I need this Thing Explained.

Data centers = electricity (method of generation?) + waste heat + cooling (more electricity, or lots of water)
Some data centers making attempts to mitigate impact by running other complimentary operations, but seems like little more than a "feelgood" soundbite to allay concerns.

U.S. Dollars = mining and minting, or paper and printing; plus transport (over, and over, and over...) of all that currency. More gets made every year to account for growth and losses.
With the exception of EFT's which now dominate the banking business, which is surely more data center use, but not as many paper bills and statements, and mail trucks, and trips to the bank...
 
randal cranor
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Howdy,


"They use SO MUCH WATER!,..."

The WESTERN STATES are in an on going DROUGHT situation. Reservoirs here in southern oregon are at maybe 10% with no snow melt, rain, etc. Reservoirs on the Colo. River that make the electricity for Los Vegas are maybe at a 1/3 capacity and haven't been filled in years.

These are the kind of things you can read about in HIGH COUNTRY NEWS, a publication about the states West of the Rockies.

 
Kenneth Elwell
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Oh, I agree that water scarcity in the west is a problem, but my point was "they use so much water"...BUT HOW, EXACTLY?
The article mentions water treatment, so they're probably complying with regulations pertaining to returning water to a river or the ground, after "using it".
I'm thinking "use" the water for cooling surely isn't the same as, "use" the water to grow almonds.
 
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