This should be criminal:
Across America, older fossil-fuel power plants are shutting down in favor of renewable energy. But some are getting a new lease on life—to mine bitcoin. In upstate New York, an idled coal plant has been restarted, fueled by natural gas, to mine cryptocurrency. A once-struggling Montana coal plant is now scaling up to do the same.
The lofty price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has investors pouring money into power generation—and risking a backlash. Elon Musk tweeted last week that Tesla Inc. would no longer accept bitcoin as payment for vehicles over concerns about fossil-fuel use in bitcoin mining. That rocked the market; bitcoin prices are now down around 25% since last week.
The drive for power has its roots in bitcoin’s intractable mathematics: To operate securely, the cryptocurrency’s network relies on computers solving puzzles; in return the solvers get fresh bitcoin. The higher the bitcoin price, the more of these miners compete to solve the puzzles—a process that chews up electricity. The more competition, the harder the puzzles get and the more electricity is used.
A University of Cambridge index pegs the annual power consumption of bitcoin mining at around 130 terawatt-hours, more than three times higher than at the beginning of 2019. That would be more than the power consumption of Argentina.
My god. Burning coal to solve puzzles to gain money that doesn’t exist.
And we mocked the Golgafrincham “leaves=money so burn down the forests to restrict the supply” in Hitchhiker’s Guide.
There’s a sucker born every minute.
Bitcoin’s “value” comes from the trustworthiness of its blockchain, which is a distributed, rolling record of transactions.
If a majority of the miners got together and agreed that the blockchain was different, then the blockchain would be, by definition, different.
A majority of miners are in China, subject to the laws and regulations of the Chinese government.
What is Mandarin for “fiat currency”?
Hkedi [Kang T. Q.]
I also remember a person saying that cryptocurrencies were but on earth to let all of the libertarians re-learn all of the lessons of finance why specie currencies suck and the fiat system is better.
Major Major Major Major
This sort of already happened, which is why we now have Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
ETA: Also, any such tomfoolery would obviously cause the price of bitcoin to crash, so I don’t think the Chinese miners have much interest in it, to the extent they can even be conceived of as a bloc.
Interestingly, the Chinese character is a combination of those for “balls” and “vise”.
So when do fossil fuel state senators insist that the US government accept Bitcoin for tax payment? And that it’s only Bitcoin mined with domestic non-renewable energy?
@Ken: From news I’ve seen, the Chinese word are translated as ‘sketchy BS, financial instability, and crime’. Some of their government approved perspective is sketchy as well, since they have some sketchy authoritarian and corruption based motivations, but from what I’ve read, their analysis is sound.
J R in WV
A great post, Cole. And it probably is criminal in some very fundamental ways we just can’t see yet. I understand that there is a finite number of bitcoins to be decrypted, or encrypted whichever it really is. Imagine the day when that wall is hit head-on~!!~
Wailing and crying, or switch to a different block-chain “currency”…?
I’ve always felt incredibly stupid because I just could never understand what in particular was being “mined” for something you couldn’t even hold in your hand, and why it required such a destructive amount of energy to “mine” it. Now I understand a little better, and feel less stupid.
Doing anything to gain money that doesn’t exist. Do you have a credit card? Or even a bank account? Our money is only as good as the government says it is. That’s OK, it’s really nothing different than when we kept gold in a vault and said the US money is backed by gold. Which only has value because we kept it off the market in a vault. It’s value was a belief that it could be used for something of value. It’s actual value was it’s scarcity. Money is a fungible specifically because it can be exchanged for something else. The concept of bitcoin is that the value can be changed by speculation. Oh wait, so can any other form of money. And that speculation is done by computer puzzle rather than exchanged for an agreed upon value. Which means that theoretically anyone can change the value of bitcoin. Elon Musk just did.
Blockchain is nuts, at least as it is commonly implemented now.
An Ethereum transaction costs $21.29 at the moment, and is hugely volitilie.
Crypto currencies are for people who think that commodities options are too tame, and also want to destroy the planet.
@Major Major Major Major: Sure, left to their own devices, the Chinese miners are unlikely to have an interest in crashing the Bitcoin valuation, but the Chinese government is in a position of being able to confiscate those devices, should they choose.
Like that person who inserted child pornography into the blockchain a few years back, someone could stick diatribes about the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighurs into the blockchain, such that passing the blockchain around would be disseminating opinions abhorrent to the Chinese authorities. That might be interesting.
The answer to the final puzzle is 42.
Goodness, and I feel guilty when I use a credit card for less than $10. It practically cries out “not intended for legitimate transactions”.
To be fair at least in NY they are burning gas not coal – “In upstate New York, an idled coal plant has been restarted, fueled by natural gas”
Still a very assignign use of energy for a currency that can’t be used to pay your taxes; but is great for laundering drug money by reselling your crypto paid Tesla.
Bitcoin BS is endless. Their junk doesn’t qualify as money on the most important criteria.
Money needs to be a store of value, at least for short term. Bitcoin’s value can fluctuate so much in a day that anyone doing ordinary intraday transactions, like small businessperson turning receipts into pay for workers or goods is taking the risk of risky naked shorts (not be confused with Cole’s naked pants) every week.
Bitcoin is very inefficient at large transaction volume. Here is the classic example: transaction and time costs of processing tickets at their own convention were so high they had to switch to ordinary totalitarian big government money:
A bitcoin conference has stopped taking bitcoin payments because they don’t work well enough
Saheli Roy Choudhury, cnbc, Jan 10, 2018
It can’t handle a dinky little conference. How is it supposed to adapt to the trillions of dollars of transactions needed for daily business and banking all over the world every day?
The bitcoiners whine about inflation, but as I understand it, there is a hard limit on the the total possible amount of bitcoin, so it will eventually become extremely deflationary. So, will produce an incentive to hold on to money, which can create instability and destroy many useful markets for real goods and services.
And as bitcoin nears the upper limit of its hard limit on supply, the resource costs of producing another bit of it will explode. It’s been known and carefully explained since Adam Smith that it is inefficient and risky to tie up a lot of valuable resources in producing money.
Just occurred to me that bitcoin is an attempt to return to a new gold standard, except with far more disadvantages than gold. After saying that, I owe an apology to gold, which has a lot of valuable uses, besides sitting in lumps and looking pretty.
The Bitcoin badness happens in the other direction too. Season 3 of the Zig Zag podcast looked at town in New York that had miners building server farms to take advantage of the town’s clean hydroelectricity. So instead of shutting down coal or natural gas plants and using this hydro power in those communities, Bitcoin mining.
@Baud: The Baudist crumpled lotto ticket standard has a lot in its favor. If only Baudists would stop losing them all the time.
Hey, you gotta burn money to make money! Yeah, this is definitely an example of market lunacy.
It’s only available to those who have been vaccinated.
Bitcoin is the ultimate Scrooge McDuck economy. In the bitcoiner’s dreams the sole value of society is a little bunch of people who hoard expensive tokens that would in their dreamworld make them immensely rich for simply having huge vats of it.
The comic Scrooge McDuck economy was actually better, since at least Scrooge McDuck had a vast swimming pool of shiny gold and silver, glittering diamonds, and cool looking bond certificates and bills he could dive into. Bitcoin is literally nothing but bits that can’t do anything other than serve as a McGuffin for people to chase at the expense of any useful or interesting economic story.
@jl: Plus, the disappearance of one of Scrooge McDuck’s giant money vaults would be the plot hook for an entire story. When someone loses or damages the flash drive with their Bitcoin wallet, it’s just “too bad, so sad”.
If some goober comes up with a way to mine bitcoin by rolling coal in their pick’m up truck, I will eat a bug.
@Baud: GIVE ME MONEY!
As far as alternative currencies go, I like local/regional currencies since they’re designed to have an economic multiplier effect on specific geographical areas. Bitcoin doesn’t sound like a currency at all, just like techno-horseshit. But I’m not an economist or libertarian, so WTF would I know?
I’ve often wondered if someone (I have no idea if or who) created bitcoin as a sociological study to see what type of people would go to the trouble to try and create wealth without any constraints or concept that money equals stuff, IOW money for money’s sake, rather than as an exchange process.
This post reminds me to look into the fate of the San Francisco bitcoin commune that lived together in a big house, like a commune. But a host of ordinary daily household activities were supposed to be formal transactions (glibertarians pay their way every second of the day), and they only ate meat. I don’t know how that worked, if you defaulted on your contract to clean up your dishes, or didn’t pay your kitchen water faucet charge, were their several lawsuits from everyone else in the house, or did they use binding, or nonbinding, arbitration? Or just duke it out?
I think the ran it off bitcoin, but it may have been some other cryptoscam.
For some reason these people got a series of stories in the local news a while back.
@Ken: Good fodder for another adventure for the nephews!
@Baud: Correct. But since the Universe has already been destroyed, who cares.
BTW, do you know where your towel is?
@Ruckus: That IGOTMINE FU goes to 11
I like Paul Krugman’s question: what do cryptocurrencies accomplish more easily and efficiently than what we use now? He can’t get a straight answer.
I laughed with delight when Mr Musk did those tweets. (Reasons; there is a back story.) There is something to be said for having an enormous twitter following, and he has a fetching disrespect for the markets. (And is a science fiction fan.)
The Bitcoin people in particular should be organizing a tactical retreat, but they won’t; it’s always arrogant berserker-style for them.
 solid (not bullshit) arguments, including social/environmental costs/benefits (and shifts away from proof of work where possible).
” BTW, do you know where your towel is? ”
Uh oh. Glad I missed that storyline. Have to go now. I’ll never look at this thread again for fear I’ll learn the nature of whatever enormity that is.
@jl: Are you sure you aren’t thinking of What We Do in the Shadows? It had that same “disfunctional roommates arguing about who was supposed to do the dishes” joke. They were vampires, not libertarians, but I can easily see how they might be confused.
@Bill Arnold: I heard a news report that Musk was also concerned about the high cost and inconvenience of transactions, but haven’t seen any follow-up on that angle from media or Musk.
I also heard a news blurb that Musk proposed creating his own crypto thing that sounds like a billing system with the crypto label slapped onto it.
I don’t know how much of that is true, and how much it is Musk saying random shit until he finds something that has serious legs in getting attention.
Why? Money is a concept, you don’t need bills to have money, any more than the treasury has to have gold in a vault. Have any in a bank account? It used to be numbers on a ledger now it’s numbers in a computer, not bills (or Gold!) in a vault. I have a debit card, which has no minimum restriction, only a daily and overall, my balance as a limitation. There is no cost for usage of any of that value. And if I have enough in the bank I can make a very small percentage of interest. The bank makes money on my money by loaning it out to others. If I have enough, I get a small slice. I have Apple Pay and there is an Android Pay, I don’t have to do more than a couple of clicks and pay once a month by transfer. In current time that means I don’t handle anything anyone else has touched to complete my transactions. No bills/coins or credit card reader.
@Ken: No, I distinctly remember the stories on KCBS news radio. Maybe they were pranked? I dunno.
Edit: the dishwashing bit was my joke, not part of the news story. I apologize for putting out Fake News on this premier almost top 10,000 All-American news blog.
Someone needs to tell TFG what a great investment Bitcoin is. Maybe he can develop his own Cryptocurrency and call it TrumpCoin. That will kill it faster than anything — though only after people who can’t afford to have invested in TC and gone broke. But, hey, that’s life in TrumpWorld.
As long as it isn’t the other kind of berserker-style attacks.
(Though I have toyed with the idea that the inventors of Bitcoin are aliens bent on the destruction of humanity, working with what Terry Pratchett characterized as “a species that could be persuaded to shoot itself in the foot”.)
@Ken: I read once that the Viking berserkers were hopped up on some kind of combo bad speed/hallucinogenic that they made from fungus that grew on tree bark.
So, may be some crypto loon and berserker connection.
Hunh, that creates an interesting possibility. Put NFTs for records of the Xinjing atrocities onto the Bitcoin blockchain and see what the Chinese government does.
Bruce K in ATH-GR
I used to think that cryptocurrency was an interesting technique in search of a decent application, even when I loathed Bitcoin evangelists for pushing a scheme that was inherently deflationary, privileging early adopters, and no damned good as either a reliable medium of exchange or a stable store of value.
Now that I’m reading about how the energy costs of cryptocurrency transactions are skyrocketing? Screw the whole thing. It’s like Intel’s last generation of CPUs before they went back to the drawing board with the Core chips – the chips were fast, but they were hideously inefficient and ran incredibly hot, so they got abandoned.
But you won’t have a towel to cover your head with if threatened by a hideous bugsplatter beast of Traal.
DoggieCoin, a joke e-coin, has a market value of 75 billion, so I’d think Musk could make some serious (e-) coin by slapping a pointless blockchain onto his billing system.
@Ruckus: A goldbug once told me “gold is nature’s money.” he really did not get that nature doesn’t HAVE money, It’s purely a human concept.
Oh I think it goes a lot higher than 11.
@Bruce K in ATH-GR:
As Another Scott posted above, an Etherium transaction is $29.12 today, and it was designed to be friendly to actual use. If that’s the best crypto can do, it’s not remotely close to being useful.
We have cogeneration facilities in the region that take waste heat or steam from things like food processing plants and generate electricity that’s fed into the grid by the local utility. FFS if all those server farms are gobbling electricity most of it is wasted producing heat and that heat must be usable as a second energy source. Or is that just too disruptive for the big brains that brought this clusterfuck to us, unbidden?
At least you can eat caviar. Make that “nature’s money.”
@dm: Typically it is expressed in millimeters, I believe.
As in 9. Applied to the back of the skull.
@Ken: I think there was a Heinlan story where a doctor convince the heir to a huge company that the founder had actually been an alien from a race that breathed what we would call polluted high CO2 and they were building all the factories to cause humans to become extinct and make the planet habitable by themselves. The doctor cut open the “corpse” to show the alien inside. I can’t recall if it was a fake alien or if it was real but the new boss was convinced enough to start funding cleaner factories and reverse pollution. I read this probably more than 40 years ago.The bitcoin stories remind me of it.
@Ken: Literally “cangue for the (family) jewels”.
The best explanation I saw was on twitter.
“Imagine if running your car generated solved sudoku you can trade for heroin.”
Major Major Major Major
Sure but what would they gain?
@Ken: In fairness, “Libertarians” and “above board business interaction” don’t really gel, in my limited experience.
Yep. All part of the grand Liberterrian dream to drag us back to the bronze ages, brought to you by people too stupid, selfish, and myopic to realize that if the race ain’t going to the swift, it damn sure ain’t going to their ass just because they have a little money…
Major Major Major Major
I’ve read theories about fly agaric mushrooms and/or henbane, but it could have been anything (or nothing)…
@CODave: I can give Mr. Krugman a straight answer, that he won’t get from any cryptocurrency advocates: cryptocurrency makes it easier to hide illegal transactions.
@Ken: Very good points.
Y’ever notice how the cardinal sins are always a lot more pathetic in execution than they are in concept?
@jl: Was that the one that self-destructed when some of them started selling weed and wound up very, very dead a couple years ago?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I don’t understand the Bitcoins, and I doubt I ever will. But it was over 86 degrees in the Russian Arctic this week.
@gvg: That would be interesting, never heard of that.
The entire universe???
That must be one farkin’ zooll of a hyperspacelane bypass…
Major Major Major Major
I find this take to be as annoyingly cranky as it is common. This is maybe a good heuristic for bitcoin in particular, but it’s applied to every new technology, including first-gen stuff that’s going to be unfeasible for at least a few years but ends up being quite valuable (e.g. electric cars).
Someone ain’t bein’ a hoopty frood…
When I saw Death to Bitcoin, I was very much hoping this was breaking news, not a wish.
Alas, I was disappointed. Maybe someday soon, though.
Somewhat related… I get kind of cranky when people use acronyms that aren’t well known, and 10 or 25 or 100 of us all have to google to find out what it stands for.
Every google search takes energy for the servers Google has in place to handle the load.
Winner winner chicken dinner! Krugman nails why it’s all irrelevant bullshit: contra the predictions of those cryptodudes, no actual economic activity is conducted using cryptocurrencies. It’s a bunch of guys getting together bidding up the price of Magic:The Gathering cards.
Hal Clement, yes I read that one too, in fact I think I still have it.
A truly maniacal crypto loon might use a combination of DMT (oral with a MAO inhibitor) and Ketamine. (“Avatar”, I saw the combination called once, maybe on zerohedge.)
(It was described as powerful.)
@SiubhanDuinne: Yeah. Wish it was mine…
Major Major Major Major
@Bruce K in ATH-GR:
This really is more of an implementation detail than something universal to the concept of a distributed ledger. Fortunately.
@Bill Arnold: Holy shit. That…uh…yeah. You gonna’ visit the Spirit World on that shit, my dude.
@Major Major Major Major: He addressed that, too. He points out that no significant real-word trans are denominated in BTC, *twelve years* after the stuff was introduced. He points out that Venmo went from startup to “Joe Biden gives his grandkids money using it” in those twelve years; Zoom, the iPad, etc, all went from new to ubiquitous.
I’m so old I remember when some online retailers took BTC (five years ago); I haven’t seen that for a while, but also, even when they did, they did so by turning around and handing the purchase to Coinbase or someother exchange, which gave the retailer back dollars on-the-spot. So that “commerce conducted with BTC” was really not so — the retailer never held and BTC, and never used it to pay its bills.
It’d be like an American online retailer offering to accept payment in Francs (but immediately turning around and trading those francs for dollars, *before* completing the sales transaction). In no sense would francs be a currency in the US. Heck, you could do the same with pokemon cards.
Major Major Major Major
@Chetan Murthy: As I said, it may be an okay argument for bitcoin in particular, but that doesn’t even extend to every cryptocurrency, and certainly not every distributed ledger scheme. For example, the ‘folding at home’ protein-folding crowdsourcing system distributes ‘foldingcoin’, which is tradable; this is a great example of a proof of work algorithm being used sensibly.
@jl: Your comment got me curious, so I googled “San Francisco bitcoin commune,” and they seem to still be around, and still seem to be Glibertarian douchebros. Wealthy ones, natch.
@Major Major Major Major:
Getting more into the weeds, this is an implementation detail of a proof-of-work decentralized ledger.
(1) proof-of-work means that the way that we prevent just anybody from adding records to the global ledger, is by demanding that they computational work, before letting them append
(2) decentralized means that modulo #1, *anybody*, and I mean anybody including coca farmers in Peru or poppy farmers in Myanmar, can append entries to the ledger.
(3) there are other ways of achieving the goal of #1 (which I’m sure you know, M4): proof-of-space (as in the Chia network). Proof-of-time (as in the stuff Intel’s been pushing, that requires their fancy hardware).
What all of these things share is #2: the idea of “a priori, anybody can participate, and there is no central cabal that limits membership”. This is the *key* libertarian idea in cryptocurrencies — when banks maintain ledgers, they have a fixed or controlled set of computers doing that maintenance.
Any method of maintaining a centralized ledger where anybody can participate, has to waste -something- — it has to force would-be participants to spend *something* in order to control the influx of participants.
So it’s the “decentralized” (free-for-all) nature of these things, that’s the problem.
@Major Major Major Major:
I don’t know anything about folding-at-home, but I remember the original folding-at-home network was centralized — that is to say, it had a central set of servers that managed everything. That is an attribute that sets it apart from all cryptocurrencies.
There is nothing wrong with distributed ledgers: heck, there is a well-known example of one: Google Spanner, that is quite impressive. The bad part is not “distributed”, but “decentralized”. As in: “no central control authority”.
@trollhattan: There are huge server farms in Eastern Washington near the Columbia River dams – Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) – in places like Quincy. There the old frozen food storage facilities (peas, corn, etc) were refurbished because they’re capable of cooling servers. And the big boys like Google, Microsoft, and Apple can run their Clouds on “clean energy”. They’re using so much electricity that some of our local utilities are scrambling to obtain more clean energy sources and to terminate their contracts with coal plants in Montana. Cryptocurrencies are using these server farms as well. BPA generates huge amounts of power but that works until there’s low snowpack in the Columbia River Basin. These shortfalls are likely to become more extreme as the climate crisis worsens. Solar and Wind are abundant in Eastern Washington but the locals hate having their pristine landscapes filled with panels and windmills even though it makes big bucks. It helps that the BPA power corridors conveniently link to major metropolises and to power grids.
Major Major Major Major
I don’t think that’s bad at all. It’s particular, but just because most people misuse it doesn’t actually make it bad.
Occam’s Scalpel by Theodore Sturgeon.
List of collections it’s in:
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: At the same time the Russian Arctic is in a heat wave the Jet Stream has been wild, as predicted by global warming models. The Jet Stream track dips down to Soutgern California and whiplash to northern Manitoba today. This is pulling an Arctic excursion down the west coast and subtropical air into several places in the Arctic. These may be our new normal. The implications for our forests and for agriculture are disturbing.
@Chetan Murthy: Crypto enthusiasts wish these were like MTG Cards. MTG Cards actually have downstream value. You need to own (or rent) valid unforged cards to play in a tournament and tournaments have prize money. This is one of things that drives the value of rare cards.
The problem with crypto is there is nothing currently downstream.
@Major Major Major Major: Hm …. ok, so just to be clear, both Paxos (majority) and BFT (2/3 + 1) schemes are centralized in the sense that the set of replicas (== “miners”, sigh) is managed by the set of replicas themselves (they vote to see who can join) and so, it isn’t decentralized. The current “quorum set” is the central authority.
With that out of the way, I know of no example of a “consensus protocol” (even one whose definition of “consensus” is “wait N hours and check that your transaction is still in the ledger”) that doesn’t rely on some sort of costly overuse, in order to constrain new replicas from joining. And constraining new replicas from joining …. is critical to making the “ledger” something even remotely honest, right?
Maybe I’m really saying “I don’t understand the meaning of the word <<particular>> in your sentence”.
Ha! I stand corrected! Hencefoward I will use “beanie babies” as my go-to example!
@J R in WV: it’s basically unregulated gambling at this point
@Baud: UCLA has a large monument for 42 along Bruin Walk.
Reading your comment I was going to reply that Bitcoin is TechiGold, but you got there first.
@trollhattan: depends which heat you’re referring to. the waste heat from power generation? sure, the economics of it just rely on the fuel offset being more expensive than the waste-heat-to-power/district-heating system, whatever that is, under whatever metric
waste heat from the servers (i.e. every watt that they consume)? that heat is pretty much just heat. their “exhaust” is likely just air at about the warmth that blows from the outdoor unit of a central a/c, or lukewarm water. that’s not to say it’s useless, just that it’s not really hot enough for generating a notable amount of electricity
@CODave: Bitcoin is a tech solution for an economic problem that doesn’t exist.
Or it’s a parody of gold, motivation unclear.
@Fair Economist: One of the reasons money was created is to reduce transaction costs over barter.
@buck2202: I don’t remember my thermodynamics much, but I think the issue here is that in order to use waste heat from a process to drive a generator, you (1) have to have a “sink” into which the heat will go, and (2) you want the heat to come at the highest temperature possible, so that the gap between source and sink temps is largest: the larger the gap, the more-efficient your generation will be.
But having a high source temp (of the air/water coming out of our CPU cooling system), is the same as saying you didn’t cool your CPU much. Uh, I think. Uh, I think.
Major Major Major Major
@Chetan Murthy: I think you’re sort of conflating the theoretical pure-anarchist philosophical use with the technology as a whole. As you note, your options are some sort of authority, or prohibitive computational costs, or (probably other things, I don’t feel like thinking very hard right now). But you can easily keep costs low and maintain trust by locking down who’s allowed to participate.
Or, in the case of foldingcoin, the researchers track who contributes and distribute the coins accordingly, but then they’re spent on (iirc) an open ledger.
ETA: looks like it’s Counterparty, which runs on the bitcoin ledger, but both these facts are for expediency’s sake. https://cryptorating.eu/whitepapers/FoldingCoin/v2.1.pdf
@Chetan Murthy: that’s right. The theoretical peak conversion efficiency (Carnot efficiency) is 1-Tcold/Thot (with temperatures in rankine or kelvin). If you figure heat source at about the same as an A/C condenser (~120F = ~322K), and a cooling sink of ambient air (let’s be generous and say it’s winter. 20F=~266K), that’s a theoretical peak efficiency of 17%. At 60F, you’re down to 10%. Some advanced, large-scale, combined-cycle power generation can get to ~80% of Carnot, but I’d challenge anyone to use 120F air to generate the steam that those plants run on
edit: really, my temperatures are bogus. if it’s 20F outside, an A/C condenser won’t blow at 120F. so, it’s worse than this…but, the point is just that it’s low-quality heat
Villago Delenda Est
@J R in WV: Musk and that @jack jackass both need tumbrel rides.
Villago Delenda Est
@?BillinGlendaleCA: It’s a glibertarian solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. The way you actually solve the problem is to put the glibertarians on a rocketship to Praxis.
might be time to buy gold again before the panic buying starts up. every time the libertarians blow thru another Ponzi scam they inevitably turn back to their first love. now that TFG has turned out to be a bad bet, once the bottom fall out of crypto, it’s gold or beanie babies.
“Someone ain’t bein’ a hoopty frood…”
I just broke my promise not to come back to this thread. Glad I have no clue what that means.
J R in WV
Nope! We have regular posts from Great Blighty across the Pond AND the Malaysia AND China!
So International news blog!!
@J R in WV: IIRC, then Balloon-Juice is an almost top 100,00 blog.
@J R in WV:
Bitcoin is not ‘Money’ in any modern or meaningful sense of the world. Its an attempt to return to the economy of the gold standard. Theres a reason that we don’t use pets.com stock certificates as money.
I’ll let somebody else find the original author:
“Idling your car to solve sudoku puzzles that you can trade for heroin”
J R in WV
My bad, cut me a break.
You ARE the corespondent from Malaysia, right?
@Ken: For the older Anglophile “Shallow Grave”. A group of young people, some of whom kill.
Yes, but you see, that’s where they went wrong. If only they’d had the kind of economic theory and marketing we enjoy today, we would have have Money™ right off the bat, and probably still be living in widely-scattered villages of thirty people.
@Major Major Major Major:
You do realize that there have been electric cars and trucks for well over a century don’t you? At one time, early in the 20th century there was legitimate questions of which would be accepted as the basis of transport. Batteries were the main problem at the time, all that worked were lead acid, too heavy, too maintenance intensive and in an accident there may be liquid acid involved. Now the shoe is on the other foot because of pollution, and the cost and depletion of oil over the last 100 yrs along with the ability to create electricity with solar and wind power. As long as we are mechanized we will have to produce machinery which will require energy and we have/are creating better ways of capturing and using that.
@Villago Delenda Est: [snort]
I’d argue that Bitcoin is a potential solution to 3+ problems:
1) Letting the CCP and DPRK and Vlad and the like generate/spend “money” outside the control of the US banking laws.
2) The same for the narco kingpins.
3) Is part of a US plot by the NSA, CIA, Tri-lateral Commission, etc., to catch 1) and 2) laundering “money” and seeing where it goes.
4) An elaborate scam to get money out of people who think they are too smart to fall for a Ponzi scheme.
Maybe it’s all of them and more…
Sister Golden Bear
@Robert S: Appears to be the original reference. The 24/7 reference definitely makes it a sharper analogy.
@Major Major Major Major:
The trouble with separating blockchain technology from blockchain ideology is that blockchain tech is just distributed database tech with functionality removed for ideological reasons.
Remove the ideology, and build systems that aren’t attempting to be trustless, and you’re just talking about boring, well-proven, longstanding distributed database tech. And given that even in a trustless ledger you still have to trust the inputs to the ledger, that covers 99.9999999% of use cases anyway.
@Major Major Major Major:
If Foldingcoin are trusted to issue coins, why wouldn’t they be trusted to track transactions? They’re using blockchain for a problem that was solved in COBOL.
@slightly_peeved: *precisely*. And also, every database has a “ledger” inside it. It’s not formatted for external consumption, but that’s a *detail*. You could easily imagine a database (heck, Spanner) that published its tran-logs in a manner such that anybody could inspect them and verify that at various points-in-time, various rows had such-and-such values. And as it turns out, there is technology that does this: it’s called “log-based database replicators”. They watch the log and use completed transactions to construct messages to another database (perhaps faraway, perhaps different vendor) that instruct it to perform various update operations, in order to maintain that remote replica in sync with the local one.
None of this “public ledger” stuff is unique to cryptocurrency.
It is from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and essentially refers to someone who has their shit COMPLETELY together.
Very, very much a tongue-in-cheek series
If you like Terry Pratchett, you really ought to pick up The Hitchhiker’s series.
No money “exists” in any objective sense that could not, in theory, include something like Bitcoin. That doesn’t change the fact that Bitcoin is stupid.
The International Energy Agency has recommended that oil and gas exploration and opening of new coal mines should be discontinued starting this year in order to achieve net zero carbon emissions by year 2050. Perhaps this will be a point of departure for defining willfully negligent corporate behavior with regard to climate change. It’s going to be years or perhaps decades before fossil energy corporate officials are being prosecuted for ecocide. But you can see the judicial foundation being laid now. My reading recently has turned towards green criminology – trying to determine when a faceless corporate apparatchik such as me needs to start lawyering up.
No One You Know
“Burning coal to solve puzzles to gain money that doesn’t exist.”
Someone must have noticed that’s the stock market, with coal.