Bitcoin industry sceptical of creator claim

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Updated December 12, The recent upsurge in the price of Bitcoin seems to have finally awakened the world to the massively destructive environmental bitcoin foundation new zealand of this bubble. These consequences were pointed out as long ago as by Australian sustainability analyst and entrepreneur Guy Lane, executive director of the Long Future Foundation. In recent months, the Bitcoin bubble has got massively bigger and the associated waste of energy is bitcoin foundation new zealand much more widely recognised.

In essence, 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. Bitcoin foundation new zealand crucial feature, as is common in cryptography, is that the calculation in question is very hard to perform but easy to verify once it's done. At present, the most widely used estimate of the energy required to "mine" Bitcoins is comparable to the electricity usage of New Zealand, but this is probably an underestimate.

If allowed to continue unchecked in our current energy-constrained, climate-threatened world, Bitcoin mining will bitcoin foundation new zealand an environmental disaster. In the early days of Bitcoin, the necessary computations could be performed on ordinary personal computers.

But now, "miners" use purpose-built machines optimised for the particular algorithms used by Bitcoin. With these machines, the primary cost of the system is the electricity used to run it. That means, of course, that the only way to be profitable as a Bitcoin miner is to have access to the cheapest possible electricity. Most of the time that means electricity generated by bitcoin foundation new zealand cheap coal in old plants, where the capital costs have long been written off. Bitcoin mining today is concentrated in Chinawhich still relies heavily on coal.

Even in a large grid, with bitcoin foundation new zealand sources of electricity, Bitcoin mining effectively adds to the demand for coal-fired power. Bitcoin computers run continuously, so they constitute a "baseload" demand, which matches the supply characteristics of coal.

More bitcoin foundation new zealand, even in a process of transition to renewables, any increase in electricity demand at the margin may be regarded bitcoin foundation new zealand slowing the pace at which the dirtiest coal-fired plants can be shut down. So Bitcoin mining is effectively slowing our progress towards a clean energy transition — right at the very moment we need to be accelerating.

A widely used estimate by Digiconomist suggests that the Bitcoin network currently uses around 30 terawatt hours TWh a year, or 0. If the current high price is sustained for any length of time, Lane's estimate will be closer to the mark, and perhaps even conservative. The cost of electricity is around five cents per kilowatt hour for industrial-scale users. Miners with higher costs have mostly gone out of business. As a first approximation, Bitcoin miners will spend resources nearly all electricity equal to the bitcoin foundation new zealand of a new Bitcoin.

However, to be conservative, let's assume that only 75 per cent of the cost of Bitcoin mining arises from electricity. Under current rules, the settings for Bitcoin allow the mining of 1, Bitcoins a day, implying daily use of 24,MWh or an annual rate of nearly TWh — about 0.

Roughly speaking, each MWh of coal-fired electricity generation is associated with a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, so a terawatt-hour corresponds to a million tonnes of CO2. Digiconomics estimated that Visa is massively more bitcoin foundation new zealand in processing transactions. A supporter of Bitcoin, Carlos Domingo, hit back with a calculation suggesting that the entire global financial system uses about TWh per year, or three times bitcoin foundation new zealand much as the Diginconomics estimate for Bitcoin.

As a defence, this is far from impressive. First, as we've seen, if the current high price is sustained, total annual energy use from Bitcoin mining is also likely to rise to TWh. More importantly, the global financial system serves the entire world.

By contrast, the number of active Bitcoin investors has been estimated at 3 million. Almost all of these people are pure speculators, holding Bitcoin as an asset while using the standard financial system for all of their private and business transactions.

Another group is believed to use Bitcoin for illicit purposes such as drug dealing or money launderingbefore converting these funds into their own national currency. The number of people who routinely use Bitcoin as a currency for legitimate transactions might be in the low thousands or perhaps even fewer. Shifting the whole global bitcoin foundation new zealand system to Bitcoin would require at least a 2,fold bitcoin foundation new zealand, which in turn would entail increasing the world's electricity use by around per cent.

With the current threat of climate change looming large globally — this constitutes an unthinkably large amount of energy consumption. The disastrous nature of Bitcoin's energy consumption should not lead us to abandon the associated idea of blockchain technology altogether.

There are alternatives to the "proof of work" method of validating changes to the blockchain, such as "proof of importance", which is analogous to Google's page ranking systems. Projects such as Gridcoin are based on calculations that are actually bitcoin foundation new zealand to science.

But these ideas are in their infancy. For the moment, the problem is Bitcoin and how to deal with it. There is no obvious way to fix the inherent problems in its design. The sooner this collective delusion comes to an end, the better. Originally published in The Conversation. First posted December 12, If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC. ABC bitcoin foundation new zealand 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. Insofar that metaphors are needed to illustrate the graft and sleaze that accompanied the reign of Najib Razak, it is hard to see much beyond the foot Equanimity, writes Linton Besser. Just when it seemed we were starting to take the housing affordability concerns of young people seriously, along comes a budget favouring a shift towards housing asset based welfare for elderly homeowners.

Ahead of the 40th Eurovision, Andrew McGarry looks back at the best, worst and oddest from the last four decades. So how long does it take for microorganisms from your kitchen floor to attach themselves to that slice of pizza you dropped? Perhaps you're asking yourself the wrong question. Shifting the financial system to Bitcoin would increase the world's electricity use by per cent. What the bitcoin bubble tells us about ourselves.

What's the worst that would happen if the crypto 'bubble' bursts? The digital currency making millionaires. A digital cryptocurrency It operates on a decentralised peer-to-peer network, with no central authority or government backing They can be bought with fiat currencies like Australian dollars from online exchanges or created through mining.

Will the Bitcoin bubble burst? The boss of JPMorgan Chase said if his staff were caught trading bitcoin he would "fire them in a second" and it's a "fraud". Here's what would bitcoin foundation new zealand if the Bitcoin 'bubble' burst Analysts are sceptical of Bitcoin's meteoric rise. Here's why some are predicting a crash, and what that would mean.

Why we buy cryptocurrency despite the risks Will those who've made cryptocurrency profits pay their tax? Meet the investors sticking with bitcoin despite the market crash Iceland will soon use more energy mining bitcoins than powering its homes What bitcoin crash?

Aussies eye initial coin offerings This is what happens to your bitcoin when you die Bitcoin buying among students so prevalent one school held a meeting Will Bitcoin go the way of MySpace and floppy disks?

What the bitcoin bubble tells us about ourselves TGIF! But don't spend your bitcoin on beer Bitcoin explained: Top Stories David Goodall ends his life with a final powerful statement on euthanasia Shorten criticises 'mate's rates tax plan', promises bigger breaks than Coalition Trump greets American hostages freed by North Korea Officer stood down after dramatic new footage emerges of police car knocking man to the ground Analysis: Labor's got a leg-up on the Liberals in the citizenship by-elections SPORT Fremantle Dockers sponsors issue please bitcoin foundation new zealand notice as second club complaint confirmed WA budget slugs households with fees and charges hikes in search of a surplus Malaysia's Mahathir declares 'urgency' to be sworn in today amid raised doubts Kenyan dam burst causes 'huge destruction of both life and property' Former milk millionaire jailed over bags of cocaine found bitcoin foundation new zealand his Gold Coast apartment AMP cops record protest vote as company issues an apology to Australia 'Catch me if ya can': Fugitive ex-bikie blogger caught in Adelaide 'NASA conmen' in 'space suits' paraded by Indian police Ancient cave reveals secrets of technological innovation in the Stone Age Tasmanian child protection whistleblowers detail claims of abuse in foster care Chart of the day: Australia's income tax is getting progressively less progressive Teenagers killed in fire after Tesla crashes, battery bursts into flames 'No more fat to cut': ABC News boss takes aim at budget reduction Developer pleads guilty to illegal demolition of historic Melbourne pub Council tears up 'handball court' after residents complain about noisy children Israeli rockets blast targets inside Syria after Iranian forces 'attack bitcoin foundation new zealand outpost'.

Connect with ABC News. Got a news tip? Editorial Policies Read about our editorial guiding principles and the enforceable standard our journalists follow. Razak forced from power Insofar that metaphors are needed to illustrate the graft and sleaze that accompanied the reign of Najib Razak, it is hard to see much beyond the foot Equanimity, writes Linton Besser. Budget ignores millennial housing woes Just when it seemed we were starting to take the housing affordability concerns of young people seriously, along comes a budget favouring a shift towards housing asset based welfare for elderly homeowners.

Is bitcoin foundation new zealand 5-second rule enough? Labor's got a leg-up on the Liberals in the citizenship by-elections Fremantle Dockers sponsors issue please explain notice as second club complaint confirmed WA budget slugs households with bitcoin foundation new zealand and charges hikes in search of a surplus Malaysia's Mahathir declares 'urgency' to be sworn in today amid raised doubts Kenyan dam burst causes 'huge destruction of both life and property' Former milk millionaire jailed over bags of bitcoin foundation new zealand found in his Gold Coast apartment.

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