Monday February 19th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊.
Here is today’s climate change related topic: Bitcoin Trouble
(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
I’ve known of the existence of Bitcoin for a few years but only recently, and to my horror, I didn’t realize how much energy it took to run the new financial investing system. Many choices to build nest eggs, such as stocks, have fluctuated wildly the last few weeks, and so has Bitcoin producing a surge in trading requiring more energy. Let’s look at how Bitcoin and other currencies like it work and why it is so bad for the environment. First, what is Bitcoin? I’ll use Wiki for the definition:
“Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system.:3 It is the first decentralized[a] digital currency.:1 Its conception is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary.:4 These transactions are verified by network nodes through the use of cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009.
Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there are 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.“
Here is another linked article describing what Bitcoin is by Mick I’ve:
So, what is up with Bitcoin? It didn’t take me long to see wild articles promising the moon for a “meager” investment. Here is one with the following “booming” headlines: https://pro.choose-yourself.co/p/ALR_masterclass1col_1017/PALRTC30/?msclkid=d1e782447922124a4415d8cf46bfe7f8&h=true
After doing some reading it appears that many people profited greatly when Bitcoin was introduced from 2008 until now. The thing may have peaked as described in the article, so there could be a “Bitcoin bust” occurring now or in the near future, dashing people’s hopes and dreams much like the stock bust of the 1920s, the dotcom bust of the 1990s, and the housing bust of the 2000s. I digress. Greed is partly responsible for keeping the carbon pollution industry going, and greed will keep the high energy using cryptocurrencies in circulation. In the long run there probably will be more losers than winners with crypto Ponzi schemes, but the biggest loser could be the environment. What’s scary to me is that the cryptocurrency revolution may be in its infancy now much like Facebook was only a decade ago. Greed may help doom civilization in yet another way unheard of before the turn of this century.
Let’s look at why cryptocurrencies are such energy hogs. Please listen to this BBC material: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05qgnhv
Here is more:
Quoting from this article:
Mr Carstens, the former head of Mexico’s central bank, conceded that many of the world’s main central banks have closely examined the potential to transform their own operations using blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT), which underpins cryptocurrencies.
But he said: “In practice, central bank experiments show that DLT-based systems are very expensive to run and slower and much less efficient to operate than conventional payment and settlement systems.”
Pointing out that the “mining” process to create new bitcoins uses the same amount of electricity as Singapore each day, Mr Carstens said “the current fascination with these cryptocurrencies seems to have more to do with speculative mania than any use as a form of electronic payment, except for illegal activities”.
A “Solar Coin” has been proposed using nothing but solar energy to process transactions, but what a waste! Instead of powering homes energy from all sources is being used to process and “mine” the coins. People setting up high powered computer trading centers want as much cheap electricity as they can get their hands on, so usually energy from coal is tapped; thus, keeping demand higher for that fossil fuel than it would be without such entities as Bitcoin. I just shake my head knowing that as soon as the human race seems to be getting ahead of energy demand, the more new inventions, and in this case schemes, increase that demand.
Well, as in the case of most relatively new issues, there are two argument sides to every coin.😉 Perhaps the energy sector can evolve to meet cryptocurrency demand. Cheek out this more optimistic piece:
The heat was rolling😉 in Alabama today. Here is a record from Birmingham:
Here comes that record warmth in the East:
It will be chilly enough for cold team to wrack up some points in the West:
The coldest air of the season has arrived! Record minimum temperatures will be possible Tuesday morning. Take precautions.
The Climate Guy