This is the next big frontier in data center advancement, imo -- submerged/frigid data center installations. Microsoft's already been playing around with a submersible data center under a project codenamed 'Natick,' while piggybacking off of its extreme portability and flexibility in terms of resources toward R&D, and it's just getting started. Google has already announced plans to do the same. 
It also makes sense from a scale/growth standpoint as 50% of earth's population lives within 2 hour drive from their respective coastlines. 
Issac Arthur speculates that Titan may become a center of cryogenic industry and computing in the late 21st century.
Given that immigrants tend to settle in places that resemble their home country, I wonder if Titan might develop an ex-pat Icelandic community? (Isolated. Rugged. Cold. Beautiful in a literal otherworldly sense.)
If you're going to have a submersible data center, you probably want it to be a partially submersible spar buoy.
This gives you all of the benefits of submersion, but makes access easier. It also makes the installation immune to waves, especially rogue waves. So what else involves mooring lots of spar buoys off shore? Offshore wind farms.
Who the hell wants to ship stuff 9AU plus or minus just to freeze it? Why not just build a sun shield in orbit with a bunch of black body radiators on the back? Or you know, use conventional refrigeration on Earth. Pretty much anything is better than shipping it out or back from Saturn.
No one. So if you're already out near Titan delta-V wise, Titan is the best place with lots of resources.
Why not just build a sun shield in orbit with a bunch of black body radiators on the back?
That would work. However, the cooling will be of much greater value if it's near other things of value.
Or you know, use conventional refrigeration on Earth.
Which will happen a lot, because there are lots of things of value on Earth.
Pretty much anything is better than shipping it out or back from Saturn.
If you're in the outer solar system, then pretty much anything is better than shipping it from Earth.
"Cyrogenic industry" is freezing stuff. In the outer solar system that is like trying to sell sand at the beach.
It makes a lot more sense to talk about Titan as the gas station of the outer Solar System. Exporting methane for all of the rockets flying around doing stuff.
It's not freezing things, it's cooling things which is key. At a random point in the outer solar system, to have a lot of cooling power, you need to build huge radiators. You need to supply coolant to flow through those radiators. On Titan, you just pump fluid from a lake.
"Cyrogenic industry" is freezing stuff.
Only in the simpleton view. Cryogenic industry is doing stuff that requires low temperatures.
In the outer solar system that is like trying to sell sand at the beach.
Industry doesn't happen at the beach. It happens someplace where there is easy shipment of resources and a source of labor.
It makes a lot more sense to talk about Titan as the gas station of the outer Solar System. Exporting methane for all of the rockets flying around doing stuff.
Which means that there will be industrial infrastructure there for dealing with methane. That in turn means that other uses for that methane will have an economic leg up.
If you're doing industrial-scale processes in outer space, you're going to need some pretty massive radiators. A cold planet with lots of liquid coolant available is much more ideal.
Melting/vaporizing ice from the Kuiper belt might work OK, but it's also likely to be full of dust and other shit that will clog your cooling system up.
Tangential question: is there a better one? Is a better one physically possible?
Ideally, you'd want to manufacture computers and equipment using local materials and Titan's surface is mostly water ice and hydrocarbons. You may get away with graphene-based electronics, using ice as a building material and nuclear power shipped from elsewhere. Every location will eventually evolve manufacturing processes that are adapted to local chemistry (and import what isn't)
More like the late 31st century
I wouldn't underestimate the rate of technological progress.
That was by 1972 (1). 46 years ago. Since then, no progress on this front. Not even a repeat. This is not an accelerating rate.
Well, one could argue that since then a significant bunch of our top talents have been allocated to generating financial innovations like motgage backed securities and figuring our how to get more people clicking on ads. So if this talent was reallocated to space exploration (which again someone might argue that can't be less stupid way to allocate these resources than click industry) the speed of technological progtess might change dramatically.
Just makes one wonder if there is something fishy how the free market supposedly is the most efficient allocator of resources...
Space sounds exciting, sure, but Earth still has enough resources that there aren't any goods that can be produced in space that can't be produced more cheaply on Earth.
That's the problem. I have no better definition. I just have a feeling that the current economics 101 doctrine of free markets just might not be the right answer to all resource allocation problems. (I am vague on purpose who defines what is right and what is wrong. I have no answer to that, either. Just my personal opinion.)
We went to the moon because we could. A few more people may soon go because they can. But moon bases have been 30 years away something like 70 years. On a purely personal basis, I'd love to see it happen. But realistically, we barely have people in low earth orbit.
It's reasonable to argue that we'll get there. But the burden of proof is on the people arguing it, and the "progress is inevitable" handwave is definitely doesn't cut it.
Sure we have the means but we don't have an economically strong answer to "why should we do it"; the most of we have is "it might present some good research opportunities".
Until some breakthrough comes around that needs it or until the costs of running operations on Earth become massive we're stuck here.
Having said that, SpaceX is reducing the cost of putting people on the Moon to values never before imagined possible. If the bill is much lower, someone may consider to pay it and a whole lot of interesting activities become economically viable (even for governments who want to study the Moon). Sadly, for data processing needs, the Moon doesn't look like a great heatsink.
The really exciting thing for the moon/mars isn't what SpaceX has already has finished hardware doing though (lowering launch costs by, optimistically, an order of magnitude), but what they are actively in the process of doing. Developing a ship and rocket that they claim will be able to put on the order of 100 tons on the moon... lowering launch costs by multiple orders of magnitude.
Given their track record, the money they are (visibly) spending on this goal, and the fact that what they say they are going to do seems possible, it is reasonable to think that there is a good chance they will succeed.
The first settlement will probably be a retirement community for millionaires fleeing the chaos on Earth. Billionaires will build and run it.
However, if you look at metrics of economic activity across spans 200, 400, and 600 years after that, you get a far different picture. So basically, your point is intellectually bankrupt. It's based on too little data and uses an entirely inadequate metric.
I would welcome a return to deep space, but there has been no progress towards it recently. The dates are correct.
It might be true that this is not strong enough evidence against either, and that it still remains an open question if recent technological advances on Earth will translate into a return to space, but that's as far as it goes. There's nothing inevitable about it, it depends on what people want.
This is part of being an intellectual: I can insult your point all day. That's perfectly fine. Taking that personally -- not good form.
there has been no progress towards it recently. The dates are correct.
If you were an alien observing earth from orbit, you could have made the same observation ("no progress towards it recently") about ocean going exploration at multiple points, prior to it changing history irrevocably and then exploding in economic and political importance.
There's nothing inevitable about it, it depends on what people want.
In that case, it's likely to happen.
Not at all.
You can criticize any point all day and if someone takes that personal it is indeed not a good form. But "insulting" a point gives the impression (at least to me, and apparently to others) of insulting the person behind it, as you cannot insult a point, only a person. Quite the opposite of "beeing an intellectual".
Why in the world is saying that a point is intellectually bankrupt "insulting" a point versus criticizing it? The point is made that, "This numerical circumstance doesn't indicate exponential growth." However, an analogous numerical circumstance happened at a number of points, and was followed by exponential growth. Clearly, there is something else needed for justification.
gives the impression (at least to me, and apparently to others)
So factually, no one has done anything but criticize a point, and your reaction is all about your feels, by your own admission. If you want to defend the intellectual merits of the point, then actually defend the intellectual merits of the point. This tactic of acting offended, then offering nothing more is wearing thin. I should hope that going forward from 2018, people will generally recognize that kind of activity for what it is.
Because “intellectually bankrupt” doesn’t mean anything. It’s just strong words for the sake of pushing around people’s emotions.
Otherwise “wrong” will suffice.
If we’re not arguing in good faith, then “intellectually bankrupt” is fine, and it can be used right alongside any other insult or epithet you’d like to feel the sizzle of.
It means baseless. The point has only a semblance of a basis. "Ooooo, 50 years seems like a long gap." If you try to make relevant historical comparisons, no, that's way too little data with way too little relevance.
No, you can be wrong, but still have a basis. Just having a semblance of a basis, relying on naive impressions doesn't cut it. That's “intellectually bankrupt.”
If we’re not arguing in good faith, then “intellectually bankrupt” is fine
Not addressing the point and claiming offense isn't arguing in good faith.
Both of the words “intellect” and “bankrupt” have strong personal connotations. I think you want them to mean something different than what they do.
I am not your original "enemy" like you probably see him, I am someone else who tried to explain to you, that you were acting childish. Only that I worded it differently.
Oh an "getting an impression" is not the same as "getting the feeling". But probably wasted words on a self-righteous guy, like you are. Seriously, "insulting a point" ... come on, that is and will remain, laughable. Grownups, can admit, that they went over the line here and there, no big deal. But you make something one out of it. And yes, with the last paragraph, I came down to your level a bit. So I just stop the "conversation" here.
This is my point, exactly. It is laughable. If someone is going to spout some facts, as if they mean something, but they don't, then why not call it out? 50 year pauses before crossing profound conceptual gulfs aren't that unusual in history. Here's another one: The gap between the discovery of the light's spectrum and the implications of blackbody radiation. Also, what do exponential curves look like at the beginning? For modest exponents, they generally look flat. The point made didn't account for key points for understanding exponential progress. It was intellectually bankrupt.
Grownups, can admit, that they went over the line here and there, no big deal.
Grownups can admit when they're factually wrong, and they can shake off a few words on the internet that aren't even directed at them personally. Taking the pose of offense while then avoiding the factual and logical issues reveals something else entirely.
But if you like, stay where you are. But just one last hint, buy a punching ball or something similar to blow off steam. Your aggression, masked as "intellectualism" is a bit ridiculus.
No one should have been insulted by my words. If someone thinks you made a bad point, and you disagree, you might be a bit frustrated or exasperated. The only way someone having their feelings hurt makes sense when their point is called "intellectually bankrupt," is either if that person is emotionally fragile or if they think the objection might be valid.
I was just trying to explain to you, that you were insulting others
One can't be ruled by people claiming to take offense.
Your aggression, masked as "intellectualism" is a bit ridiculus.
This form of aggression which claims offense would be ridiculous, were it not such a pervasive thing in 2018. I'm not going to stand for it. It's really nothing more than cheap emotional blackmail masquerading as morality.
Bad example. Believe it or not, exploration wasn't invented in the 1400s. Groups have had strong command of the Pacific and Indian oceans for much much much longer.
No. That supports my point, actually. Graph out the economic activity and wealth associated with that ocean travel. There is a dramatic change which starts around 1400.
Groups have had strong command of the Pacific and Indian oceans for much much much longer.
Those groups have also shown regressions and pauses in exploration and travel.
But we're sending probes on Mars now; and Mars is a lot more interesting than the Moon.
I don't have any narrative for why people will colonize space, but it will probably be done for sending people there, because exporting stuff for Earth isn't really reasonable.
In the early fits and starts of the exploration of Earth, there were multiple spans of 50 years where progress was seemingly abandoned and nothing happened.
We assume that we'll have the technology for deep space exploration but we tend to forget the logistics nightmare of any such endeavor.
Environmental technology will be harder than we thought at first, then we'll get the hang of it. Some people will die along the way. Then it will improve exponentially, as economic impetus comes into play.
Unless you know a lot that no one serious claims to know, then this is a statement of what you hope for and maybe personally believe, but for which no evidence exists. The sheer bulk of unknown unknowns in environmental tech, not to mention other assumptions you’ve been making about industry in space and more, are too numerous and prevalent to allow for confident statements either way. You may be right that humanity’s destiny is in the far reaches of the solar system, but it could go many other ways. Maybe we’ll die in the dirt, or maybe we’ll thrive in completely different ways. For all that you know, rather than personally wish to believe, our future may more closely resemble something like a Dyson Swarm constructed by drones rather than hurling ourselves into the dim and cold reaches of space. Maybe we’ll figure out a mutually amicable way to control population rates and make the Earth a Paradise, and leave space for robots. Who knows? Not me, not you.
All of which is to say, please stop passing off something that is less than a hunch as an argument. The core of science is skepticism and a demand for evidence, while the core of pop science is an inverse relationship between knowledge and enthusiasm. Claiming to know what will happen in 50 years is a joke, in 100 years delusion, and in 1000 years religion. There are so many branches and twists and turns, both positive and negative and just plain unforeseen that futurism is crap.
Is why I would bet that lots of people will die while we're getting the hang of it.
You may be right that humanity’s destiny is in the far reaches of the solar system, but it could go many other ways. Maybe we’ll die in the dirt
Tell you what: If we all end up dead, I'll buy you drinks! But if I'm not wrong, you can owe me my net worth, rounded down to the nearest billion.
All of which is to say, please stop passing off something that is less than a hunch as an argument
Call it what you like. I call it a conviction.
Claiming to know what will happen in 50 years is a joke, in 100 years delusion, and in 1000 years religion.
Don't sweat it. I'm not about to judge you morally and strap you to a tree over it.
There are so many branches and twists and turns, both positive and negative and just plain unforeseen that futurism is crap.
How about, "Science Fiction?"
The whole Red Scare/Space Domination rhetoric was a Big Thing. The United States was sure that: sending something into space meant you could hit a target anywhere else in the world (with quite a bit of validation). If you do remember, it was because we essentially stole tech/scientists (willingly, or at least intelligently from a political and "i'm going to not be locked up in the gulag" point of view) from the Nazis at the end of the WWII that we were even able to get into space.
It was a craaaaaazy time.
This alone makes it pure science-fantasy that is unlikely to happen on any timescale and unsuitable as a guide to what our future holds.
What it's not is self-starting. Why would someone want to move permanently to the Moon? I can imagine a community starting around scientific research, first government-sponsored, then, maybe, if costs can be driven down enough (thinking SpaceX and lots of hardware reused from previous missions - maybe a couple cyclers that can be replenished/refurbished while in transit) universities in partnership with governments and then, eventually, we'd have critical mass for partners and others unrelated to scientific research to bootstrap a functional society. If manufacturing of equipment can be automated in part and done on the Moon, then using the Moon as a stepping stone to more research on Mars is viable too. In that scenario, I'd consider paying my own ticket.
But, still, we need to bootstrap it with a government sponsored research station that can grow into a self-sustaining colony.
You'd have to be crazy to want to do that. Fortunately, Sol system is inhabited by humans.
Jobs. Aluminium-based refueling stations? Research? Cheap real state? I don't know, get cheap flights there, and people will find something useful to do.
Here's the most compelling reason for starting settlement off planet: Polities that exist in a larger context will come to dominate human culture. A solar system wide culture based on relatively primitive, inefficient O'Neill colony habitats could still support a human population in the trillions with only known resources, solar power, and only small extrapolations from current technology.
To refuel what?
> Cheap real state?
Location, location, location. Shipping people and goods is expensive. Latencies for data are terrible.
That's because they are operating on a much grander scale and there are plot constraints(it would be too slow and boring otherwise).
It doesn't take an Epstein drive to move stuff (or people) to and from Mars. Transit time will be very inconvenient, as wekk as launch windows. But this is not too different from early sea-based exploration on Earth, voyages would take months at a time.
Now, if you want to go to Saturn and back in reasonable timeframes (or even further), then yes, that's beyond current capability.
EDIT: The TV version is amazing. You should watch it. The attention to detail, while not perfect, is outstanding.
> The Expanse
Science fiction and especially science fantasy tend to be pretty inaccurate when it comes to predicting anything.
Scales for all of those things will be far different in space. Venus, Mars, Ceres, and Titan are quite cozy by those standards. Travel to Mars in 3 months may become routine in our lifetimes.
Yes. You wouldn't spin Ceres for "gravity" and Epstein drives are just as fantastical as Warp drives if you start to account for waste heat.
Citation needed? IMHO putting a datacentre under water is a horrible idea, why not pump the water 10 meters higher and cool a DC near the shoreline?
Second reason, land on shorelines is expensive. Many people dream about living on a seaside (except for people who did, practically speaking the idea is not that great, humidity, noise). Also many other businesses require shorelines, beaches, marinas, ports.
Google's already doing that -- http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2010/09/15/googl...
As for the Google's undersea data center plans, I'm unable to find a citation for you at the moment, but I'm fairly certain that it's in the works.
The tradeoff is the need for watertight seals all around your datacenter (including the doors and cable access), dealing with corrosion over a larger surface area, accessibility problems, dealing with marine life (barnacles!), anchoring it against storms, environmental impact, and so on.
IMHO it is a silly idea and won't prove practical in the long run.
> If anything we should welcome higher and higher energy use because it means higher standard of living for the humankind.
Why would it mean that? If we were talking about households using more and more it might, but it might not. My tv uses far less energy than the one I had twenty years ago but there's no chance I'm going back to that heap of CRT junk. Likewise all my other appliances, my car etc. My life has improved as my energy usage has decreased. But even if the opposite were true, it's not households, but industry that in this case is consuming more and more power. An industry that produces no goods, provides no service, does no research, improves only the lives of the direct owners of that industry. It's as if they're building enormous, energy sucking diamond factories, but with the added chance that diamonds might be worthless by the time they have them.
Even if I'm wrong, even if higher energy usage means higher standard of living, that's a short term outlook, because over a hundred year period it will mean a much, much lower standard of living for everyone who hasn't drowned or starved yet
And I disagree that higher energy expenditure overall will mean lower quality of life later on. We are swimming in energy even though we currently might not know how to convert some forms of it into productive use. That'll change.
By the way, don't get me wrong, I am totally for cutting waste on the local level just because it frees some of the money (and that is proxy for resources) for other, more productive uses.
Did you not just literally say that higher energy usage is itself a good thing?
Also on your point about production: My old tv had to be built, my old car also had to be built. It cost energy to replace them, but it does not equate to higher energy usage going forward.
I do agree with one thing you said though. We're swimming in unharnessed energy right now. If we can swap all the coal plants for fusion then maybe we can afford to waste energy on generating digital money, but right now bitcoin server farms mean more carbon in the atmosphere
You both understand each others points.
If I'm generous with the definition of "value", Bitcoin's main demonstrated value is as a speculative instrument. That is, something people gamble on. There are plenty of things for people to gamble on that consume less energy. Or none at all. For example, they could be gambling on the weather (as the degree-day markets do). There are other practical reasons -- much less common ones --people use Bitcoin, but those too can be done more efficiently.
Doing anything of value does require expending energy. But expending energy is no proof that anything of value is happening.
Even if that’s different now (which I’m not sure it is), there will always be the next important cause.
The government will keep printing more USD and being opaque...
BTC has 21,000,000 solutions ever ever ever.
(and USD is a decent currency, there are countries with hyperinflation)
I think it's primary value is for money laundering and hiding money transfers from the eyes of jealous lovers / spouses / governments.
That farmer driving the tractor down the field using energy in the form of oil is typically massively more productive than the manual pea patch laborer or even the era where "working animals" were helping with a lot of the farm work. Sure, the tractor using energy, but the tractor farmer is overall way more efficient.
It would be interesting to see how crypto's cost per unit compares with a relatively energy inefficient way of monetizing, paper currency and coins. Due to the various costs involved in manufacturing and distributing a coin or bill, I really can't say whether it's more efficient or less (and Google's not helping me here). What I think is fairly obvious is that most electronic cash systems do not have this initial upfront massive energy requirement crypto has, so best guess is from a resource perspective crypto is quite a bit less efficient than most electronic cash systems.
I think the point is that cryptocurrency mining is not valuable, at least not compared to the amount of resources required for it.
"Saying that this activity is pointless just because you are not seeing any value does not mean that it is actually pointless."
It also doesn't mean that it's not pointless.
"If anything we should welcome higher and higher energy use because it means higher standard of living for the humankind."
No. That does not logically follow.
"And just to address 'waste' here, energy is not free so 'waste' that actually wastes resources cannot go on for long lest the waster goes bankrupt."
This also does not logically follow.
Not at the cost that it currently takes. Personally, I ascribe far, far, far less value (if any) to any cryptocurrency mining compared to using the energy for other stuff, or not using it (and not having the mark up on graphics cards).
"but I think eventually it'll settle down to some stable level that is acceptable to all market participants."
The "market participants" would only be those mining crypto, though.
> The "market participants" would only be those mining crypto, though.
Not only them. All people who would use bitcoin in some capacity and benefit from it, they all would be participants in that market. Miners could not exists without them, in the end of the day they get their pay from packing transactions into blocks, no transactions - no pay.
Based on what? And if people aren't getting value from using the blockchain, why are they using it?
> far, far, far less value (if any)
Can you put a number on that, and justify it?
It creates value for individuals at a bigger cost to society - a classic negative externality. Making drug dealing easier is immensely profitable and that's where all blockchain profits eventually come from - everything else is a smokescreen of intermediaries to create just enough deniability to let respectable business participate in the drug trade. It's just like outsourcing manufacturing to countries with lower environmental standards to profit from pollution (another example of something that's negative-value overall, but positive-value for the individual engaging in it).
In what way?
> Making drug dealing easier is immensely profitable and that's where all blockchain profits eventually come from
Do you have a source for this, or is this just what you believe?
Suppressing the drug trade is evidently something that society puts a high value on, given how much society spends on it.
> Do you have a source for this, or is this just what you believe?
Just looking at the whole blockchain ecosystem as a black box: any profit has to eventually come from outside, the rest is just moving that around. Speculators can move value around but aren't creating it. So who are the people getting something actually valuable in the real world from blockchain? I mean sure there's a bit of money laundering and evading capital controls, but the big one is drug dealing.
You're assuming rationality. You're also assuming they're actually paying for the electricity. And you're forgetting that they're not paying for the negative externalities of their energy waste.
"Can you put a number on that, and justify it?"
Take the smallest number you can think of. Now, take a number smaller than that.
Then explain why the people using bitcoin are being irrational. Are the miners processing transactions and receiving fees in return being irrational? Are the people using bitcoin to send and receive funds being irrational? Please enlighten us (and them, apparently).
> You're also assuming they're actually paying for the electricity.
> And you're forgetting that they're not paying for the negative externalities of their energy waste.
Classic case of moving the goalposts. The same applies to any economic activity requiring the use of electricity.
> Take the smallest number you can think of. Now, take a number smaller than that.
Dodging the question, I see.
Bitcoin's value (not price, mind you) is still very questionable.
If you can see that, you can begin to exclude yourself from fiat money which requires centralized control of currency.
I trust rare numbers more than I trust the United States government.
That's such a silly statement. Rare numbers do not control the value of bitcoin, the market does. Your rare number might be worth half what it was in December 2017, and twice what it was a year before that. Tomorrow it might be worth nothing. Or $1000. Or $1. The rareness of the number is about as relevant as the colour of the dollar
Statements like that make Bitcoiners come across as digital survivalists, the internet equivalent of redneck militia.
I used to have a 3000 sq ft house, a car, a job I spent 3 hours a day commuting to in my car, every labour saving gadget you can think of, climate controlled everything, etc. I even drove to the laundromat frequently to pay someone to do my laundry because I was too busy to do it myself.
Now, I live in a small apartment in the country side, generally only minimally heat and do not cool my apartment (temp ranges from 5C to 35C during the year), I work from home, do not drive, eat seasonal, local food, preserve my own food, etc. Admittedly I got married and my wife does the laundry :-P. The improvement in my life is like night and day.
Like I say, I'm playing devil's advocate and I don't really imagine that everybody would be happy with my lifestyle. However, I really do think that the assumption that more insulation from the reality of nature is not necessarily a "higher standard of living". For me, especially, it's quite the opposite -- which would have been very surprising to the younger version of myself.
Even economically, the modern world is moving inexorably towards a place where "labour" refers to mental labour, not physical labour. For people who frequent HN, I think it's kind of assumed that this all right and proper. However, when I was teaching English in the rural high school in Japan where I now live, most of my students wanted to be fishermen or farmers. But they know that this is the way to eternal poverty. You can't realistically make a living doing that kind of thing. They end up working unhappily in a factory.
As we've fuelled the increased standard of living by reducing prices for necessities, we've created a world where everything needs to be a massive enterprise with high volumes and super low margins. Even the other day I was joking with my wife that I will quit my current job as a programmer and open a shop making artisanal cheese. "How many cheeses do you think you'll have to make in a year?", she asked. "Only about 20,000 I think" was my reply. Again, in my rural Japanese town, only 20 years ago you would have found a tofu maker, a miso maker, a sake brewery, 4 or 5 fruit and veg stores all drawing from the produce of the local area. And while the JA (national food distributor) is great about prioritising local food distribution, gone are the days where you can set up a shop or produce a product for just your local area.
It's the ubiquitous cheap energy that enables this increase in scale. It expands deliverability (I can mail order low temp pasturised milk from 3 prefectures over and have it delivered in a refrigerated truck o_O). It allows super efficient, mega scale operations from far away to under cut local, high labour intensive operations and reduces prices. In may ways it's amazing.
But, I'm not sure "increased standard of living" is actually the best term for it.
However, one side effect of this is that increasing demand for clean, cheap electricity is a good thing. Miners are basically subsidizing the development of eco-friendly energy infrastructure which ends up being good for everyone.
It's literally waste heat from conversion of energy that could do some good, into numbers controlled by rich people. We might do better to just say outright 'all rich people, you now have twice as much money just for being you' and use the energy elsewhere… or use less and avoid cooking the planet.
In practice this is a dumb, bad idea even if you stand to benefit.
If bitcoin isn't benefiting any human being, why are so many human beings using it?
honest question: isn't crypto currency a closed system of speculators selling to speculators? From the outside, to me at least, it seems like an incredibly energy hungry ponzi scheme designed around printing monopoly money using ultra rare deep sea squid ink.
So are people using it for any purpose other than to sell it to the next rube?
All honest questions. I really don't know of any economically useful way that crypto currency is currently used for.
Mining BTC requires exceptional investment, which basically makes it feasible only for the rich.
Understanding BTC requires technical knowledge 99% of the world does not have.
Heck, with all the regulatory hurdles, even using BTC requires more effort than most people have the time to expend.
(Yes, you can transfer BTC from one wallet to another fairly easily. But turning that BTC into actually useful local currency can be ridiculously complicated, depending on your local laws.)
To speak plainly, I highly doubt you believe what you're claiming to believe (that cryptocurrecy is being used solely for speculation), which leaves dishonest rhetoric as the only alternative.
not at all. These were honest questions. I don't personally closely follow crypto, and outside of the occasional web anecdote of "there was some guy somewhere who once paid for pizza with btc" I've not seen or heard of the currency used for practical purposes.
Point-of-sale systems have been doing this for 15-ish years (in the US). We found value in that over using cash, and now many are finding value in blockchain over banks.
>now many are finding value in blockchain over banks
Debatable, people are using it for speculation, yes. But 90% of the people hyping blockchain probably don't even know what specific problem it solves and when this trustless model is even useful. It usually doesn't hold up to closer inspection.
Bitcoin speculators have profited from bitcoin, just like ACH industry investors and executives profited from $0.50 per transaction ACH fees. The only difference I see is bitcoin hasn't driven up the cost of goods for everyone.
So to be clear, we still need the POS systems plus we would also need the computers doing a meaningless busy-work math problem to generate the blockchain.
Cryptos could remove all barriers to entry for inter-personal financial exchange. This is something we take for granted, without realizing how much such barriers are really holding us all back. Or maybe we do realize it, but imagine these are necessary obstacles. Think of the, what now probably numbers in the dozens of, different payment platforms people jump through just to try to be able to give their money to people who they want to give it to (and all the new tertiary problems those said platforms then introduce into the process). It's really quite remarkably how backwards our global financial capabilities truly are.
I'm one of those people. Paying me is honestly pretty damn trivial and a solved problem.
Heck, I've hired people in the US and paid them online right from my bank's interface.
output "sound bite about bitcoin mining energy use unrelated to the article"
I would guess that collectively, millions of dollars are being spent each day on cancer research around the world.
These mining farms were built for a purpose. It’s not like all these spare ASICs were laying around waiting for somebody to find a use for them. The people running these farms would be on some other venture if cryptocurrency was never invented. And those ventures probably wouldn’t involve curing cancer either.
More pernicious are people who cloak themselves in ideology or Utopianism somthst they convince themselves that this waste of resources is a good thing. Some may even believe it, but most just don’t care and are too busy finding greater fools so they can make money.
Bitcoin is VALUED in a way similar to the stock market, where people collectively decide it's super good and useful because they're invested into the system. This process is exploitable, and is purely social engineering.
If it gets too big to fail, we're all in bad trouble, but we were already in trouble from many other things that have financially become too big to fail.
Sure, they could create a centralized digital currency. But the market might not want to use that, so what's even the point of spending all this effort making it in the first place.
Whereas a decentralized currency has features that sounds me customers want.
A large market is a more stable market. Crypto may get large at some point (I don't see why they would, but I don't see everything), but today they are nothing. Thus, preaching that people massively want them is nonsense.
(Despite it not being really necessary for like 95% of problems, of course.)
It's still pretty hard, long and costly to transfer cash from a bank to another one. In fact at mine, still until recently it took 24 hours just to add someone to send him fund from the same bank. Interac, which is the provider of debit in Canada, recently made a way to transfer cash that many banks decided to add for a cost of 1$ per transaction. It's now widely used and banks use that as an incentive now (2 free transactions a month, amazing!).
This is all due to old antiquated technologies used by the banks. They clearly don't want to evolve. Bitcoin at least is universal, simple and works.
It's also disrupting international wire transfers and venture capital, two antiquated industries ripe for it.
> SWIFT handles about $5 trillion per day,
> SWIFT payment message volumes are usually around 11.5 million per day
Now, daily Bitcoin-USD traffic is below a billion https://www.blockchain.com/en/charts/trade-volume and even at its heyday it was five billion give or take. That's 0.1% of SWIFT. And Bitcoin couldn't handle more than 600k transactions a day even if it tried and these days it's 150-200K https://www.blockchain.com/en/charts/n-transactions which almost reaches 2% of SWIFT...
Also, it's unusable for legit business transfers since you absolutely have no idea how much money the other ennd receives.
SEPA has higher volumes but lower values https://www.ebaclearing.eu/services/step2-sct/statistics/ but even that lower value is a magnitude above Bitcoin -- worldwide. With SCT Inst it even beats the transfer speed of Bitcoin.
I expect that many financial institutions will be using private blockchain in the future.
Although this is much more boring than it sounds. A blockchain is just a kind of database, where entities sign their transactions with their private keys and then share the results.
You don't even need to do any "mining" for private blockchains.
What for? If you have trusted parties, why do yo need a blockchain?
1: even a private blockchain significantly helps with trust. If someone attempted to double spend, such an attack would be immediately obvious to everyone. At which point you send in the lawyers. That's valuable.
Blockchain Purists will disagree. But the point is that it is easy to make untrusted transactions with people, if attempted attacks are merely illuminated, and you know who the attack is coming from.
And 2: even if we assume everyone is "trusted", financial settlement is a very outdated system. Mistakes are easy to make when people are looking though filing cabinets to figure out who owns what.
My definition of a "Blockchain" is merely a shared database where people sign transactions with their private keys.
The mere act of everyone signing everything with private keys, and store in a shared data as is valuable in and of itself.
Can you expand on this? What do you mean you don't know how much the other end receives?
I am sending you 1 BTC, how much money do you have? Calling a Nakamoto scheme a "cyber"currency is just part of the scam. Money is like USD. So, how much money do you have?
How much money do you have if you receive 1 BTC?
Check the spot price after several confirmations (or one to none, depending on your facilities)
How much money do you have if you receive $1MM USD?
Check DXY in ~3 business days when your deposit clears.
Now yes, of course BTC fluctuates in value substantially more than USD, but this is not a problem in BTC, but rather in the existing market conditions. Your comment is akin to saying that USD was not money in the 1930s.
Apart from that contention, I completely agree that BTC has not (and in my opinion, will not) disrupted SWIFT.
USD has the benefit of active management from a central bank, active management from Congress, and being a government-backed currency with a minimum threshold of demand (being the currency which is used for government spending and taxation).
Insofar as a completely different universe where BTC is an actively-managed currency of a world superpower is "existing market conditions" then yes, BTC is just like the USD. /s
The better comparison is gold, which is a commodity like Bitcoin, and yet much more stable than BTC. Thing is, there is also a minimum level of demand there, for jewelry and industrial purposes. Small, but real. Nobody actually has an interest in Bitcoin stability, it's just investors who want to make money on it going up or down. So... it does.
(the real rollercoaster was back when Tether was printing hundreds of millions of dollars on a daily basis and injecting that into the crypto-economy. Ever since they knocked that off, it's been hanging around the $6000 mark.)
And also improve electricity access in more remote areas (where real estate is cheaper) - especially pushing distributed solar power.
"We are going to place a point-of-presence for an intrinsically global network, hardware and a skeleton crew, in your geographic territory for as long as you're the dumbest power provider in the world."
"If you're not that dumb say so, I have a list."
All this energy wasted mining a virtual currency that no one uses.
We have to ask ourselves: is Bitcoin mining really the best use of our resources? Is it worth adding to our already engorged carbon footprints?
To avoid the risk of volcanic eruption?
What evidence do you have of this? In other areas where this happens, like up by the hydroelectric dam in Washington State, this very much does not happen, and in fact, many mining operations are illegally attaching to the grid.
When I am interested in the predictions about the future of bitcoin... my first thought is not to ask a "business development manager at the HS Orka power plant in Iceland"
Lol... sales people, in particular, have no credibility about predicting the future... It's always what they are selling.
Seeing as this guy -- who could make reams of money if he's an accurate price predictor by shorting bitcoin by buying deep, out-of-the-money puts -- isn't rich by doing so, indicates he's inept at making price predictions.
 If bitcoin's price catastrophically collapses, a put option would yield ~1,000X / 100000% returns.
The premium:payout ratio of such a trade requires him to be right only once in 5-10 years for him to walk away profitable.
Yo, Options have Theta-decay. Push options too long, and all your money decays away.
Seriously, don't just... buy options without understanding the risks. You can MITIGATE Theta-decay by rolling over your options to longer-and-longer terms, but it requires maintenance, and you still lose out on money each time you roll options over.
Assume you let all options expire OTM the following still holds:
>The premium:payout ratio of such a trade requires him to be right only once in 5-10 years for him to walk away profitable.
Minimizing theta exposure extends that duration.
That's how the options market works. Someone pays theta-decay for the long-tail chance of hopefully being right sometime in the next year or two... while someone else collects that theta-decay over time.
Its insurance, plain and simple. Sometimes, the insurance company wins, and sometimes the buyer wins.
But with any trade, there's the other side. If you go long-put, someone else has decided to go short-put against you. Your final bet is that the short-put giver will actually give you the money when you win your bet.
And that's a bet within the BTC market I don't believe in. Too many BTC markets have gone kaput, I'm not trusting anyone in this market.
Also, Delta and Gamma are the causes of big-swings. So I think most people fear those and give them appropriate amount of respect.
Theta on the other hand is the difficult one. Option sellers collect the pennies in front of the steamroller, while option buyers are hoping that they're right eventually. Typical human psychology doesn't really handle this case very well, on either side.
What big, reputable players are selling Bitcoin put options at the moment? As of last fall, the market seemed to have been extremely immature: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/033115/it-po...
That totally sounds like a well capitalized counterparty…
"In option trading on stocks risk management is handled by trading through standardized options contracts listed on futures and options exchanges. These markets provide accurate, up to date information, and back all contracts."
If you're right, then the counterparty is not LedgerX, but some internet rando. Not sure that this would make me more complacent about counterpart risk.
Repeatedly purchasing options to take tail risks is a bad strategy. (Repeatedly purchasing options to negate a tail risk you already have, on the other hand, could be smart. Or it might mean you have a great options salesman.)
For the bet to pay off, it has to happen on schedule. With options relating to something like Bitcoin, moreover, there is the additional risk that catastrophic failure wipes out the exchanges, leaving you in years of litigation enforcing your contracts. (See this story of a short seller whose short went to zero .)
Will be (a) solvent and (b) willing and able to pay out if Bitcoin goes to, essentially, zero. "Willing" is an important limiter because when assets catastrophically crash they tend to take out their pricing infrastructure. So two parties may reasonable disagree about what something is worth at the time of option settlement.