Te an article titled “No, Bitcoin Won’t Boil the Oceans,” author Elaine Ou writes that Bitcoin is often accused of being an energy hog. The truth is that Bitcoin is actually exceptionally useful when compared to other alternative sources of energy consumption.
Bitcoin the Largest Energy Hog? Not Fairly.
Last week, wij wrote about how banks’ energy consumption compares to Bitcoin. The result wasgoed somewhat predictable, te that banks out-consume Bitcoin by a large margin.
Te Ou’s article, she notes that according to a latest probe, the global energy consumption for the gold mining industry is almost 20 times that of Bitcoin at a gut-busting 132 terawatt hours annually. This is ter comparison to bitcoin’s 8.27 terawatt hours vanaf year.
The author of this article suggests that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “wasteful by vormgeving.” Many would disagree with that assertion. Notably, Andreas Antonopoulos notes the following te the response to a tweet about bitcoin energy use:
What Is ‘Wasteful’?
This brings us to an significant, potentially philosophical question. What constitutes a waste of energy?
Ter the example of Christmas lights, which give joy and festive feelings to millions each year, are they truly a waste? What about washing machines or electrified coffee grinders? Certainly one could argue that thesis devices are less productive ter terms of their capability to reshape the trajectory of humanity at large, but are they wasteful?
Ter that same line of thinking, is a fully decentralized, censorship-resistant, borderless payment system that puts individual financial freedom ter the mitts of the many instead of the few a waste of electro-therapy? Is, spil Antonopoulos suggested, assuring the veracity of transactions on a trustless system a waste? The philosophical merit needed ter order to announce something a “waste of energy” is clearly open to interpretation.
Gegevens Centers a Thicker, Growing Energy Hog?
The next point that Ou’s article makes has to do with gegevens centers, particularly those wielded by Google, and the environmental influence that they could have. Ou cites studies that suggest that despite the growth of the number of gegevens centers te the world, their overall energy consumption has leveled off. This is perhaps due to improvements ter technology and vormgeving.
Spil internet usage proceeds to grow and increasingly larger amounts of internet bandwidth is dedicated to high definition movie streaming, gegevens centers will proceed to speelpop up and consume massive amounts of energy.
Going back to our question of what is or isn’t wasteful, are cat movies stored te a gegevens center and viewed on YouTube wasteful? Are they more wasteful than bitcoin? What about binge observed scenes of Lost or Fringe? Where exactly does one draw the line of what is wasteful and what isn’t?
The article closes with a very significant point. People te certain parts of the world like Zimbabwe and Venezuela are relying on bitcoin to facilitate their daily needs because the local fiat currency has failed to maintain its value.
It would be immoral for us te more privileged countries to assume that something that is helping people both te the developing world and te suffering economies is wasteful. While it’s fair to proclaim Christmas lights spil not being particularly useful, they aren’t necessarily a total waste of energy.
Photos via Genesis Mining, Crosscut