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Crypto Miners in Georgia Consume 10% of the Entire Nation’s Power (thedailychain.com)
42 points by grumpypoet 49 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments

> region where electricity is free

That's your problem right there. You either need floating prices or strict regulation to prevent misallocation of resources.

"If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Stein#Stein's_Law

Wouldn't everything that cannot go on forever, eventually stop?

I mean, that is the definition of forever.

It’s a fair bit worse than this. Organized crime ensures that power is free for mining.


I wonder what can be done about this. These crypto calculations are totally useless RNG and are trashing our planet. One solution I have seen is to charge for power on a non linear scale so for normal users its fairly cheap but if you start to use very high amounts of power it becomes more expensive per kwh.

This method doesn't sit too well with me but I don't have any other better suggestions.

Electricity in this area is currently free:

> The problem reportedly persists in the Svaneti region where electricity is free due to harsh living conditions. Free electricity has drawn quite a lot of enterprises and the area has developed into a Bitcoin mining economy that is also “patronised by high-ranking officials” according to locals quoted by Kommersant daily. The locals face frequent power outages.

"What can be done" is: sell electricity at market rate, and rebate the proceeds to the residents in the area. The economic situation will be effectively the same, but bitcoin miners won't be able to freeload electricity.

This is literally how most electricity is charged. I’ve been in probably 30+ non European countries and it is frequently billed this way. Potable water is usually the same. Residential users rarely exceed the standard allowance so they never come across tiered pricing.

In fact most larger cities not only have tier pricing but also peak pricing inside tier levels.

Commercial and industrial is its own game, they have tiers and on/off peak charges along with load shedding requirements. Often it’s billed not just kWh but also peak amperage draw.

Edit: by load shedding I mean commercial/industrial end users often have to be able to accept incoming excess power from the grid that residential use isn’t consuming due to weather/events grid failures etc. Power grids are immensely complex and very interesting beasts.

In Australia electricity and gas both have a certain amount at a lower rate, with amoumts exceeding that going at a higher rate, also different on/off peak.

I suppose having a particularly steep increase over an amount only cryptominers will hit would be good.

> I wonder what can be done about this.

You can do something about this: support Proof of Stake crypto-currencies and denounce Proof of Work ones.

In contrast to proof of work, proof of stake will support itself since it doesn't come with the high power demands.

Increasing demand for renewable energy - thrashing our planet ?

Every KwH spent on useless calculations could be better spent heating a home, lighting a room, smelting some ore, or literally anything productive.

Not totally true. As I pointed out in previous HN threads, there is a lot of power used by miners that would otherwise be unused. In the Chinese regions of Yunan and Sichuan, there is such an overcapacity of hydropower that dams are forced to release water (without spinning the turbines) which amounts to over 100 TWh wasted every year. So just these 2 regions let more hydropower go to literal waste than the worldwide consumption of Bitcoin miners.

Incidentally, this overcapacity is why some estimate that half the global Bitcoin mining capacity is located in Sichuan and Yunan. Despite that, they just make a tiny dent in the wasted hydropower...

I wonder why they don't use it to make synthetic gas.

Oh, they can heat rooms/homes alright!

Overheating rooms which then have to be ventilated / air conditioned and aren't even an efficient way to heat an area compared to heat pumps.

Heat pumps can be complicated to set up, and nobody forces you to overheat...

Also having to produce more solar panels and wind turbines to run miners is not good for the environment either.

It can - if it helps with the economies of scale, and makes us "get off" fossil fuels earlier.

Normal usage has already done this. New renewable energy sources are cheaper than new fossil fuel sources. Fossil fuels exist mainly today because they have already been set up but mostly for political reasons. Many political parties have built their personal brand around fossil fuels and will continue to use them even when it is illogical.

Not if you consider the intermittency/storage issues.

(And guess what - intermittency isn't a big deal for cryptomining / SETI/Folding@Home either!)

No surprise now that bitcoin mining tends to migrate to heavily corrupt regions with subsidised power but likely something that the original design didn't anticipate when it spoke about distributed mining

As a side note; I was lucky enough to visit the town from the article, Mestia, a couple of years ago while doing a ski-touring holiday in Georgia and it was a truly remarkable place. Traveling there took hours driving on steep mountain roads which was constantly blocked due to rock slides and snow. When we finally arrived one of the first ting we saw was a wolf walking the outskirt of the town, which the town had a quite clever solution to, packs of gigantic dogs roaming free around the town. The town itself is packed with Svaneti Towers, which is placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. So if you get the chance, please visit Svaneti before tourism or/and cypto miners destroys is.

And btw; the skiing was awesome!

What changed to cause the weeklong outages they're blaming on the mining? As if they can fix that, this still seems like a win for everyone.

There are plenty of proof of stake consensus protocols out there already (Avalanche, iChing, Ouroboros, ...). These do not require the huge power demands of proof of work to provide network security. As a result, they also don't need the high ongoing investment to support the decentralized network.

You can earn free bitcoin every day https://www.bitcoingpumining.com

I guess the thinking is that there's no way to enforce legislation to stop mining? Something's gotta give here though.

You could just charge for the electricity and the problem would solve itself.

Interesting headline because it's totally accurate and there is nothing wrong with it but it still feels very misleading.

Does anyone know what the AP standard is for referencing the country VS the state of Georgia? Is this discouraged?

> [...] it still feels very misleading [...] referencing the country VS the state of Georgia

You know, there exists a world outside the US. And yet, when "Georgia" and "nation" is mentioned in the same sentence, you feel misled because it doesn't refer to the US state of Georgia? The problem is with you, not with the headline.

I'm writing the comment from outside the US. The fact that they referenced Georgia and "nation" seperately is part of what made me think they were referencing a Georgia that was part of a nation not a Georgia that was a nation. The language is confusing.

Also the GDP of the state of Georgia is 30x larger than the country of Georgia and it has 300% of the population. The state is a drastically more important world player than the country (IE it would be drastically bigger news if this was true of the state than the country). There is nothing US centric about this.

Nah. It’s still ambiguous. I also read it to be referring to the state of Georgia in the the US Nation. It would be a lot clearer to say Nation of Georgia. Then there’s no ambiguity.

> It’s still ambiguous.

It's a headline, not a summary.

> I also read it to be referring to the state of Georgia in the the US Nation.

It's okay to misunderstand the headline – if I were a resident of the US, I would have probably interpreted "Georgia" as the US state as well. But it is not justified to blame this on the headline, or to feel "misled" by it.

I live in the US and if I see Georgia in the news, I tend to assume it's the country rather than the US state.

Same, unless it's about eroding rights for women's reproductive health

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