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Bitcoin Mining – What a waste!

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Bitcoins – What a waste!

So, we have all heard of Bitcoins. Even if most of us don’t really understand what they are or even why you would want one. And I definitely would not know how to spend one. Most people understand that Bitcoins are a Crypto currency which people of suspicious character demand from you when they hold computers to ransom.

What people don’t know is how Bitcoins are manufactured. According to Bitcoin.org

“New bitcoins are generated by a competitive and decentralized process called “mining”. This process involves that individuals are rewarded by the network for their services. Bitcoin miners are processing transactions and securing the network using specialized hardware and are collecting new bitcoins in exchange. “

So, to cut a long story short, ANYONE with a computer and the right software can “Mine” for bitcoins. It just means leaving your computer on all the time! In practice however, people set up servers and server farms JUST to do this.

If fact this has become such a large industry, that Bitcoin mining now consumes around 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. To put this into context the UK generated 64.3 terawatt hours of electricity from all wind power in 2019.

What a waste!

3 Comments

  • A waste indeed!
    Someone should market a combined bitcoin miner/home heater, for those with no alternative fuel source. Since all electric heat sources are prety much 100% efficient, and you could become the proud owner of bitcoin, it’d be a win-win!

    It’s worth noting that Ethereum et al, all consume a fair bit of energy. I guess bitcoin is by far the worst, as it was the first.

    If you want to leave your computer on, however, you could consider protein folding.
    https://foldingathome.org/?lng=en-GB
    It’s similar to bitcoin in that nobody understands it, but could be more worthwhile.

  • Hi Richard,
    As worrying as the power consumption, and a significant motivation, is the very lucrative money generation behind this. I see lots of investment scams as enticing as the pyramid sales schemes of old. The ideas behind it sound so technologically plausible that people are being fleeced, even some large companies have been foolish enough to throw money down this route. The technology is premised on the mining costing a lot of energy to prosper and being so fundamental a part of the design, without it, you have no cryptocurrency. This is SO bad for the environment that I am astonished that it’s not ringing more climate change alarm bells; the technology is mathematically ingenious but badly flawed and really good for financial scams. Big names like Bill Gates and Elon Musk have been repeated cited as proponents in fake news.
    Regards, Ian
    (Sent in by email)

  • Rant 1

    I am informed that Gloucestershire is considering changing all 30 mph speed limits to 20 mph, which will drive everyone mad. No problem near schools or accident black spots, but not everywhere.

    Rant 2

    Witnessed today on wide suburban road in Exeter, introduction of 2 cycle lanes so you can’t park now. There was plenty of room for cyclists before, quiet road apart maybe from rush hour, ill thought out and waste of money. Not a cyclist in sight.

    Grumpy Chris
    (Sent in by email)

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