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Hetzner has banned crypto mining and Chia farming (twitter.com/hetzner_online)
114 points by CharlesW 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 136 comments



Not sure if this is of use (since submissions should link to english content in the first place), but here is a rough translation:

Joshua:

> @Hetzner_online has silently changed their T&C and banned entire IP ranges this morning around 9:20 am. [I] cancelled and moved 50 AX41 in the past 36h. Deeply disappointed, even though the change does not affect me.

Hetzner Online GmbH:

> Yes it's true, we have amended the T&C and forbidden crypto mining. We received many orders for servers with large hard drives. But increasingly large storage boxes are also being rented for this. For storage boxes this leads to problems with the bandwidth of the host systems. For Chia mining, the disks are additionally extremely taxed due to the amount of read and write operations, causing them to break quickly.

Joshua:

> I understand that. But when I rent a server, I want to be able to use the hardware. That is, if I want to roast the CPU or write to the disks 24/7, I should be able to do that, because I rented the full server.


> I understand that. But when I rent a server, I want to be able to use the hardware. That is, if I want to roast the CPU or write to the disks 24/7, I should be able to do that, because I rented the full server.

No, when you BUY a server you should be able to do what you want with it, including burning up the CPU in a week. When you RENT a server, you get to do exactly what the owner says you can do.


>No, when you BUY a server you should be able to do what you want with it, including burning up the CPU in a week.

Meanwhile in a top voted comment from yesterday's thread: "I'm thrilled by [Nvidia cripples cryptocurrency mining]": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27200700


As far as I know they aren’t retroactively crippling GPUs. A vendor is well within their rights to artificially limit hardware to create market segmentation. That’s just a fact of doing business. I don’t see anything wrong with it. Want to mine? Buy a mining card or a piece of hardware from some other vendor.


Want to drive your car? The car vendor is well within their rights to eliminate your ability to drive in certain areas. That's just market segmentation.


You might be shocked to find out that speed limiters in cars are a thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limiter


Many rental car companies actually do restrict where you can drive your car, for example, by forbidding off-roading, or from taking the car over state or country borders. Most restrict rental cars from being used for commercial purposes (meaning in this context, food deliveries or rideshare services).

If you want to treat your car however you like, you can buy a car and abuse it to your heart's content.


When I buy a GPU from a retailer, it is a rental GPU?


If there were just 2 car manufacturers (which there is in the GPU space) I would agree with your counter argument. But there are plently out there. If Ford said you couldn't drive your car in the snow and labeled their cars as such at point of purchase well then you are free to by GM, Toyota, Tesla, Mazda, Kia, Honda, Subaru, etc etc etc etc.


Wait until you find out what happens to your warranty if you take your car to the track…


You've got the analogy wrong. It's more like: Want to drive your car to deliver pizza? That's market segmentation.


How does this tie in with other popular initiatives, ie. right to repair? "A vendor is well within their rights to artificially limit repairs to increase margins. That’s just a fact of doing business. I don’t see anything wrong with it. Want a repairable phone? Buy it from some other vendor."


In one instance we have society’s collective desire to reduce waste by allowing people access to fix their goods. In another, you want government to tell a vendor what product they have to sell because you personally don’t like their product selections. Furthermore the thing you want them to support is horrible for the environment. That’s apples and pine trees.

And completely off topic.


>In one instance we have society’s collective desire to reduce waste by allowing people access to fix their goods.

So you'd oppose right-to-repair if manufacturers are willing to carry out the repairs themselves, presumably negating the environmental/waste benefits?

>And completely off topic.

That's the beauty of comment trees. If it becomes too off topic for you, you can collapse it.


You want a right to repair things you have rented?


My initial comment[1] was supposed to point out that it's not limited to rentals, contrary to what OP says. The rest of the thread is talking about your rights when you purchased something.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27213202


To this outside observer, the discussion between you and tw04 appears to consist mainly of you trying to change the subject away from tw04's trenchant comment, through the introduction of increasingly distant irrelevancies. What does right of repair have to do with Hetzner's new policies?


Because it's a slippery slope in terms of user freedom. The comment I was replying to basically says "well that's what you get for renting, if you want the freedom to do what you want buy your hardware", which is starting to become false. The right to repair is a follow up to that: if you can't do what you want when you rent, and can't do what you when you buy, where does this leave other user freedom initiatives?


> if you can't do what you want when you rent, and can't do what you when you buy, where does this leave other user freedom initiatives?

Right where they were, given the rather significant difference between owning and renting.


You're still allowed to mine with those (or hit them with a hammer). They're just much less good at it.


The difference is that you're renting a server but you're buying the GPU. You should be able to do whatever you want with the hardware you own. When you're renting you have to agree to the restrictions the owner puts on your rental.


Where's the line? I rented a EC2 node to calculate a fractal. It involved running a 36 physical cores machine at 100% CPU for a few days.

I paid AWS for that, but I surely impacted the lifespan of that box compared to someone else that would use it for something more traditional. AWS seems happy to let people use EC2 for whatever they'll pay for, for the most part, but does this mean that Hetzner doesn't want me to calculate the next version of my fractal on their machines?

Or has Hetzner just decided they don't want Cryptocurrencies, and that's exactly the line?


Scale. Crypto mining on rented hardware will scale itself up to infinite machines if you let them, while “real” hardware-taxing use-cases are niche.

Renting out hardware involves setting a price point that turns a healthy profit assuming some average hardware lifespan.

Crypto miners that rent hardware are leveraging arbitrage though, where the price of hardware rentals is just low enough that the crypto mining generates more money than the rental cost.

This means they will rent as many resources as Hetzner will let them and hammer them as long and hard as Hetzner will let them, because it’s pure profit. All the risks associated with buying hardware for crypto mining is dumped on Hetzner’s collective lap for a fee that’s too small to justify it.

Either Hetzner can raise prices to eliminate this arbitrage opportunity (at the expense of their normal/primary customer base and core business), bet big on crypto and pivot to being a crypto mining company and cut out these middle-men, or just ban crypto and go back to business as usual. If Hetzner has any faith at all in their core business model, banning crypto mining is the obvious choice.


Or that crypto mining is not really profitable.

Hetzner calculates tightly on the assumption that many renters don't tax the hardware. This assumption enables a profit on rented hardware. Like already said, arbitrage, but different: by taking away profit from Hetzner.


Also if there is a crypto-mining profit to be made, why wouldn’t Hetzner want to capture that profit themselves?


Same argument as with Nvidia for example. Why won't Nvidia just take part or all GPU and mine some tokens on them? Technically they can, but if they will do it, they are forfeiting every single tech innovation they have made over last decades in the area of graphics, drivers, interoperability, all the software they have created and so on. By doing that they will immediately stop getting revenue from that efforts and start losing non-crypto customers.

Same with Hetzner. They aren't just renting a box to people. They rent a box and SLAs, basically promises that that box performs as advertised. And to achieve that they have invested a lot, which will be pointless if they'll start mining themselves.


Because Hetzner is a hosting company, not a cryptocurrency operation. Both of them are obviously two different things and just because you're good at one of them doesn't mean you're good at the other. Or maybe they simply prefer to offer hosting to people rather than a financial network, what do I know?


Where is the line between allowed and banned? Mining crypto you created and researching on? Mining crypto where mining doesn't use ie. drive, ie. maybe is latency based or something else? Doing research project with your own blockchain on git or whatever?


>Where is the line between allowed and banned?

Uh, in the contract (here the Terms and Conditions) the customer agreed to? That's kind of how business transactions work. Hence why they updated the T&C. This isn't some abstract question of philosophy, it's their hardware that they rent under their T&C which they can revise at will (and customers may then go elsewhere, or not).

In the case of rental in general, it often includes some expectations around non-abusive usage. Part of the entire freaking model of "rental" is that a customer of some property can cease usage at will on a rapid time frame, dealing with no capital expenditure/depreciation/maintenance issues, and then the property can be rented to new customer. If one customer destroys said property or massive degrades it such that it can no longer be used for future customers, that completely changes the entire equation. And most rental businesses outside of special (and extremely expensive) situations don't want to deal with that. There isn't anything unreasonable about that. If people want to use hardware to the absolute max with absolutely zero control except the law and contracts for their energy/bandwidth, that's what colo is for.


You missed my point. I know it's T&C. I'm asking where is the line between "mining crypto" that is banned and that is allowed. You can't say that T&C ban mining crypto for proof of stake, because it doesn't abuse any rented resources; or your own, experimental proof-of-number-of-starts-on-github or proof-of-hn-karma, or proof-of-lowest-latency, proof-of-lowest-ip-address-and-port-xored-with-elon-musk-latest-tweet-hash etc. In other words "mining" is equivalent to "computation" of any sort, which doesn't need to be intensive at all.


>I'm asking where is the line between "mining crypto" that is banned and that is allowed.

Well specifically here, their T&C has 9.3 (https://www.hetzner.com/rechtliches/agb):

>9.3 We are also entitled to terminate the contractual relationship for good cause without notice.

>Another important reason, that can result in block or determination without notice, may be that the customer uses content, which affects the performance or the safety of the server.

So basically, "Are you being an asshole and fucking up our equipment and/or experience for other customers? Do that and GTFO." And that's it. It's not a big deal.

>You can't say that T&C ban mining crypto for proof of stake

They certainly could. They can put anything not contrary to law in the T&C they want, and they don't need any reason for it either. They can flat out forbid cryptomining period regardless of if it's proof of work or proof of stake or proof of steak or anything else. They can do it because it mostly tends to be abusive and it's too much of a PITA to sort through and "why the hell don't you just buy your own server and colo", or the can do it if they feel it's morally wrong, or whatever.

>In other words "mining" is equivalent to "computation" of any sort

It's not though, it's mining. They can discriminate by application if they like. Now as a practical matter sure, if you're doing something that causes zero issues then even if they say "no mining" you're highly unlikely to face any sort of trouble. They don't seem to be actively and zealously out to get customers, they just don't want assholes as customers. It's obviously unlikely they'd bother anybody merely doing reasonable computation. But a blanket "no mining" rule may still be worth it to them for what to point to in case of issues given the business incentives involved. And that's ok.

I mean, it seems like you're trying to be cute here and rules lawyer as if they're a computer running a program, not humans running a business. That's not the case though. Customers and Hetzner have 100% short period consensual transactional relationships in a crowded market. Neither side owes the other anything in particular outside a single billing cycle. They don't need a bright line, and indeed bright lines tend to be INCREDIBLY challenging and a bad idea when it comes to this kind of general population service limits (ie., outside of high price serious SLA ones where someone genuinely is paying for everything). It gets too complex to tailor to situations like "John Doe has been a great customer for 10+ years and needed to do this one time super heavy thing and we're going to cut him some slack" vs "Joe Blow who just joined a few months ago on a bottom barrel tier and whined at support constantly and suddenly thrashed our hardware pursuing the latest pump and dump", which businesses certainly can and do treat differently even if both parties "used the same amount of hardware resources in a given period". If it becomes a big enough deal, a judge can sort out whether something was for "good cause" or not, but it's unlikely to go to court over such chickenfeed money (nor would an abusive customer win anyway).

In short: If you want a specific SLA with bright lines and so forth, you need to negotiate a specific contract to that effect. Expect to pay for it. If you want the "sign up in 30 seconds on the website come one come all!" offer I'd pay close attention to the T&C and in particular sections like 9.3 above, which if anything is fantastically generous to the customer vs what you'd get from American companies.


They were OK with me running Ethereum testnet on their servers, but I have a 12+ year business relationship with them.

That said, Hetzner will wield the banhammer whenever you do things that interfere with their network infrastructure, so port scanning or connecting to many potentially unroutable IPs is a sure way to get your server taken offline. And I believe most if not all cryptocurrency networks run decentralized with P2P connectivity, which means they would cause a high rate of unroutable connection requests.

Also, they can't really offer a beefy server and free HDD replacements for €50 monthly if too many people abuse it and run Chia. So as a current customer, I'm quite happy that they keep the noisy neighbors out ;)


Can confirm the P2P problem when testing Ethereum Swarm. FYI I managed to resolve it using the Docker+UFW script from Github and banning outgoing bogon requests from both Docker and the host, though I had to request server unbans several times before I got it to work.


I don’t work for hetzner, you would need to ask them.

If you’re asking philosophically: the answer is exactly the same. The line is wherever they say it is, it’s their hardware.


> I understand that. But when I rent a server, I want to be able to use the hardware. That is, if I want to roast the CPU or write to the disks 24/7, I should be able to do that, because I rented the full server.

I wonder if the legal concept of “wasting” has been (or could be) applied to rented servers.

Edit: Wikipedia[1] for anyone curious but the article seems a bit incomplete/inaccurate to me because it insinuates the concept applies only to "real property" but it can apply to trust assets, including personal property, as well. I suppose the difference is a trustee owes an equal fiduciary duty to all beneficiaries, including future beneficiaries, while a server user has no such duty to the server owner or future potential server users. I don't see why an anti-wasting provision couldn't be included in the rental agreement, though.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_(law)


Such concept exists? If I want to rent a car to go on relaxing drives up and down the interstate, what business do they have to stop me (assuming the car rental comes with unlimited miles)?


>Such concept exists?

Yes, terms against costs incurred due to extreme, malicious or negligent conduct by a renter are fairly common I think across nearly every service aren't they? I mean for a completely different category, take typical tenant agreements for housing rental. A lot of rentals include some level of utilities, particularly if they're in a location with stuff like public water/sewer. And in turn there is a lot of language like this (first result from a quick search on google [1])

>UTILITIES & SERVICES

>"III. Tenant may not be negligent in his/her use of any included utility or service. If by tenants negligence, the utility bill or service fee dramatically increases, tenant will be billed for any overages which will then be due and payable by tenant as additional rent."

Which is just another case of writing out legally a pretty common sense social contract "don't be an asshole" type of thing. The included utilities are so that billing is easier and bills more predictable by everyone for something everyone uses and the costs of which are spread out across many. But as adults everyone is expected to not do things like leave the water running, forget and then go on vacation for a few weeks wasting tens of thousands of gallons. Since some people have inevitably decided they can do whatever with no consequences if there isn't force behind it contracts have to cover massive amounts of stuff these days which can be irritating. But the principle itself is not an unreasonable thing is it?

----

1: https://auctioneersoftware.s3.amazonaws.com/ash/2021/2/VDhxp...


> If I want to rent a car to go on relaxing drives up and down the interstate, what business do they have to stop me

This is fine. If you use your rental car to drag race and off-road, it’s reasonable for them to ban you from doing business with them.


Yes, you should read those rental contracts.

Aside from not being able to do anything illegal, including speeding, it has language around various overages and things that will result in additional charges, like taking vehicles off-road or damage to it from negligence.


Given that there is a fairly limited number of car renters, I’d imagine that they share data on customers that over-use services. Such practices exist in banking, retail, and hospitality.


This would be illegal within the EU. And I also doubt that many companies are sharing customer data, not because of privacy reasons but for business reasons.


relaxing drives on the interstate should be fine -- but if you negligently damage the car by driving 500 miles at high speed with the parking break on, then you are wasting.


Just FYI they already disallowed crypto mining a long time ago. I believe it was because it tends to attract people using stolen credit cards to rent servers.

EDIT: found it.

"there is just generally a lot of bad actors out there, even people not directly doing mining -- people who don't pay their invoices, commit fraud" https://www.reddit.com/r/hetzner/comments/jijeby/why_is_hetz...


> I understand that. But when I rent a server, I want to be able to use the hardware. That is, if I want to roast the CPU or write to the disks 24/7, I should be able to do that, because I rented the full server.

Since this is Germany, we had similar discussions in the early 00 years with the term "flatrate" for internet access as well as downloads. In the beginning many internet access providers advertised using the term "flatrate" but what they meant was "fair use". Reminds me of that.


Sounds like they should have communicated these changes to their customers. If the customer is not breaking the TOS and you cut them off with no notice because you want to change your TOS going forward that's a bad look.


Most TOSes contain both a provision that they can be changed at any time and that you can be cut off for any reason (so long as it's not an illegal one) and for no reason at all.

Not saying that it's right that they do, just saying that they do.


A quick google in German turns up a legal site that says a contract for ongoing services can't be altered unless there is a clause and they must be notified. I can confirm people were not notified as I'm a customer.

A translation

> In the case of current contracts (so-called "continuing obligations"), e. B. Rental contracts, be it for apartments, web servers, software or the use of a social network, GTC may not be changed during the term.

> In the case of continuing obligations, the contractual partners can either voluntarily agree to the new terms and conditions. However, it is also possible to include an amendment clause that allows tacit change. Then the contracting parties must be informed of the changes and that the changes will come into force if they do not contradict them.

Germany has pretty strict laws about Terms and Conditions since they assume no one reads the things anyways or are able to properly understand them if they did.


> since submissions should link to english content in the first place

I don't think this is the case. I certainly don't see anything like that in the [guidelines](https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html)


> I understand that. But when I rent a server, I want to be able to use the hardware. That is, if I want to roast the CPU or write to the disks 24/7, I should be able to do that, because I rented the full server.

If you have a single server and you're maxing out the CPU and drive: this probably isn't that much of an issue; most people don't and having the occasional user who does is okay.

An entire community of people doing this en-masse: well, that's a bit more problematic.


Oh boy! Wait till he finds out about "unlimited" traffic.


Seems fair enough - just like you can't take your rental car racing because it causes more risk + wear on components than day to day driving. These guys are wise to ban this activity if it causes more wear on their SSD drives and attracts more risky customers.

I do wonder how they'll monitor it though?


I don't think this meaningfully reduces the life of a CPU. It is more about sucking up shared resources and making the customer experience all around worse for everyone else not mining crypto.


This is also exactly analogous to why cryptocurrencies should be banned entirely. They are sucking up shared resources and making the things around them (e.g. electricity use, turning on of fossil fuel power plants, mucking up the GPU markets for productive or entertainment purposes) all around worse for everyone else not taking part.


> They are sucking up shared resources and making the things around them (e.g. electricity use, turning on of fossil fuel power plants, mucking up the GPU markets for productive or entertainment purposes) all around worse for everyone else not taking part.

that seems like an overly broad definition of "shared resources". With the exception for rentals with unmetered utilities, those are all billed by usage. Nobody says that driving a SUV is "sucking up shared resources (fuel)" simply because it uses more fuel to do the same thing as a sedan.


To be fair, SUVs are widely criticized for that reason, too.

https://www.wired.com/story/suvs-are-worse-for-the-climate-t...

"SUVs are the second-biggest cause of the rise in global carbon dioxide emissions during the past decade. Only the power sector is a bigger contributor."

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/...

"If SUV drivers were a nation, they would rank seventh in the world for carbon emissions"


Billing by usage is a method by which shared resources are allocated. It isn't the only way, and it assumes that the economic value an individual derives from use of a shared resource is proportional to, or at the very least correlated with, the benefit that society gains from allocating the resource to that individual. For cryptocurrency validators (I refuse to use the term "mining" as it is entirely inaccurate), the benefit to the individual validator is anticorrelated with the benefit to society.


>Billing by usage is a method by which shared resources are allocated.

By this logic, is every resource a shared resource? Does the concept of ownership not exist anymore? Am I committing the heinous crime of "sucking up shared resources" if I buy a $2000 gaming PC and use it to browse HN rather than to game?


By this logic, yes, every resource is a shared resource. I think that's a reasonable way to view things in a world where resources are limited. The purpose of money is to allocate shared and limited resources.

Ownership is a useful heuristic, both for planning ahead and for describing resources that are currently held exclusively. I'm not really sure what your point is on that one.

Intended actions matter. If you buy an expensive PC with the intent of video gaming, but then find that your interests shift, I have no problem with that. On the other hand, if you buy an expensive PC for the purpose of conspicuous consumption, to show off that you have bought it, then I'd be tilting my head at you. If you buy an expensive PC for the purpose of running it 24/7 to contribute to a system that is used primarily for speculation and that has enabled the rise of ransomware, then I have a large problem with it.


The CPU is not an issue, it’s the SSDs. Chia mining (or more precisely the creation of plots to farm Chia) is a write-heavy process that will literally wear out SSDs. See https://github.com/Chia-Network/chia-blockchain/wiki/SSD-End...

It might be worth noting that Hetzner is known to use consumer hardware for some of their lower tier offerings and consumer SSDs usually have a relatively low TBW (Terabyte written) rating.


That is definitely a concern. I can’t even believe Chia is a real thing, heh.


AX41 is not a shared resource, it's a dedicated server based on Ryzen 5.


If crypto mining on their systems becomes profitable for us, why would they continue renting out their servers? Instead, they could cease their operations and become full-time miners themselves.

Their pricing seems to rely on customers that don't maximize power consumption and hardware wear all the time, and I can fully understand if they ban specific use-cases like this from their hardware.


>If crypto mining on their systems becomes profitable for us, why would they continue renting out their servers? Instead, they could cease their operations and become full-time miners themselves.

Long term vs. short term thinking. It's more beneficial for them to maintain long term customers than mine a volatile cryptocurrency in the short term.


> If crypto mining on their systems becomes profitable for us, why would they continue renting out their servers? Instead, they could cease their operations and become full-time miners themselves.

This does not logically follow. Why does Nvidia bother to sell hardware then when they can just keep the most powerful cards for themselves and use them for mining?


Operating a datacenter for crypto mining is a bit more than just having suitable GPUs for it.

If you rent out your servers at a fixed price and they can mine crypto on them for a profit, then there is a high chance that your flat-rate pricing is not high enough. They would need to consider their missed earnings from not mining themselves as an opportunity cost of renting out servers instead.


Translation:

"Yes, it's true, we expanded the ToS and banned crypto mining. We received many orders for servers with large disks. Large storage boxes (?) are also increasingly often rented. With storage boxes 1/2"

"this leads to bandwidth problems on the host systems. With Chia mining, there is the additional problem that the many read and write accesses put a lot of strain on the drives which will lead to failure. 2/2"


I've been suddenly unable to order any storage servers from Hetzner. I already suspected it was Chia even though they only cited "exceptional circumstances with hardware deliveries". Nice to see it confirmed.


I'm in the market for a storage server so hopefully this brings us some stock!


I'm curious what they mean by "bandwidth problems".

At most, wouldn't you upload enough data to the servers to fill the drives once and then use a trickle afterwards? That seems like the best case for a storage box's bandwidth.


It's possibly a reference to internal I/O bandwidth on shared machines hosting VPSs, i.e. plotting is very I/O intensive so other virtual machines running on the same host will suffer.


This is something people don't seem to understand about Chia. Mining ("farming") Chia is a very low-resource activity that can be done easily on Raspberry Pis — it's mostly just doing a few disk seeks every 30 seconds.


If they're just farming, sure, but plotting is extremely I/O intensive.


For Hetzner's business model chia is a big issue. The run an auction system to resell machines others no longer want. If you mine your SSDs to death for chia and then cycle them to newer ones, someone unhappy is going to bid on that machine.


You can just request your ssd to be replaced if it fails/breaks/burns.


But then Hetzner has to pay to replace it and the customer isn't happy. Not exactly a good situation to be in.


I can understand the reasons, but it would probably make more sense to transfer the costs to the customers (for example for excessive IO, energy consumption,...) and let them be if they are willing to pay them. It's not illegal after all.


> transfer the costs to the customers

Have friends in the hotel business. There is a particular type of rich customer who serially trashes every room they stay in.

Some hotels indulge them. These customers pay for their damages and then some, after all. Others turn them away. The extra cash doesn’t make up for the toll taken on employees and other guests. These are both sensible business decisions, and they each have consequences.

Miners are the loud, trashy guest who can pay. Hetzner is saying they don’t want them because they’re ruining the experience for their other customers.


> Miners are the loud, trashy guest who can pay.

I upvoted your comment, but I think it is worse than that. If miners were willing to pay for their own damn hardware it would be closer to ok. They instead want to externalize the costs they create, by trashing the hardware without paying for the repairs. Remember that Hetzner rents servers for a fixed monthly fee and the miners weren't getting charged more than anyone else, or getting stuck with the repair bills.

SSD's are rated for a given number of DWPD and if you exceed it, the warranty is invalid (the drive firmware monitors the usage). So Hetzner has to pay for the drive replacement that the miner trashed. Even if warranties covered the replacement, that just shifts the costs to other SSD buyers instead of to Hetzner. It's not an attractive proposition either way.


Indeed. It should be common knowledge that shared platforms work because the company can make assumptions about load patterns and provision resources accordingly. Some might call that fair use, others overprovisioning.

Mining crypto under such a cost structure would force other users subsidize your buttcoins. Personally I wouldn't feel too happy about such an income transfer.

> transfer the costs to the customers (for example for excessive IO, energy consumption,...)

That would be fair, but enabling it might have costs beyond the plain consumed resources: io/cpu/etc schedulers that take the exceptional loads into account and mitigate performance impacts, metering and other business overhead, productisation, investments into all that, etc.


>Mining crypto under such a cost structure would force other users subsidize your buttcoins. Personally I wouldn't feel too happy about such an income transfer.

The "buttcoins" part or the "income transfer" part? I guess if you have a grudge against crypto users there isn't anything worth arguing. On the other hand in a multitenant situation there's always going to be users using more resources than others, which means the "income transfer" part will always exist.


The latter. I don't care about buttcoins one way or another

> there's always going to be users

... that fit those predictable load patterns I mentioned.


I don't know what the German tweets are saying, but it's an interesting thought experiment.

If all the major cloud vendors were to make it so regular consumers are unable to spin up a server and participate in mining, then what makes it 'distributed' and fair?

I don't even know to what extent mining is prevalent on Hetzner. Is this more of a statement or are they having shortages for non-crypto applications?

A similar case could occur with GPUs where the ones effective for mining are not generally accessible to the public and only those who can get them, a small subset of people in some position of power, isn't that different than a non-crypto-distributed currency. The 51% is really being tested by China. How many countries have governments/citizens with the capacity to be represented at that scale?


If all major cloud vendors altered their TOS to forbid mining, only those who can sustain it themselves would mine and we'd be forced to internalize the externality that cryptomining is not a sustainable way to produce currency and record transactions.

If anything, a ban such as that would be good at finally putting the nails into the crypto-coffin. Currencies and transactions are really one of the worst blockchain applications that could have been chosen for the first large-scale use of the blockchain.


> Currencies and transactions are really one of the worst blockchain applications that could have been chosen for the first large-scale use of the blockchain.

But that's the only reason it exists? All the other uses so far have flopped.

It is a disaster that somebody made a system by which wasted electricity could be turned directly into financial speculation, though - a subsidy for raising the temperature of the earth.


> If all the major cloud vendors were to make it so regular consumers are unable to spin up a server and participate in mining, then what makes it 'distributed' and fair?

Not everything is cloud. You can still have regular colocation where you bring your own hardware and pay for rack space, network and power consumption. Then you can trash your CPU and disks as much as you desire.


My only issue with this is it seems like they've secretly changed the terms and conditions without telling anyone and that people haven't agreed to and then put them into force.

I got bit by this before with a hoster when I was much younger and starting out where I put a webproxy on a web host. The web host then changed their terms and conditions and blocked my account without informing me. Then to add insult to injury they said they would unblock it for 3 hours a certain day for me to remove. I'm still salty about that to this day.


No one can anticipate every possible risk. That's why rules change over time. They should give advance warning, let people out of long-term contracts, or refund prorated monthly bills if they're changing the ToS mid-cycle, but there's nothing wrong with defending yourself against unforeseen abuses. The people mining crypto on shared resources know they're abusing the system; they're just trying to take advantage and spoil things for everyone around them.


I have issue with changing the ToS and not notifying people and giving them a chance to make a decision. Not just randomly find out the service they pay for is no longer the service they thought they were paying for.


A better link for T&C in English:

"We strive to keep our networks operating at the highest possible level, so all of our clients benefit from it.

Therefore the following actions are prohibited:

* Operating applications that are used to mine crypto currencies"

https://www.hetzner.com/rechtliches/root-server/


As a long term customer, I think banning mining is reasonable.

I base this on personal experience: a few years ago, I rented a server with a GPU to run my own deep learning experiments. If my DL queue emptied, a script would run to start etherium mining. I monitored the GPU temperature and configured the mining software to only utilize about 75% of the GPU. I bet lots of people wouldn’t bother to do this.


Soooo, Chia farming. If I read the article right, you're not actually storing anything useful, like copies of the Library of Congress or SciHub or, say, anything that might be useful to humanity in the long run.

You're just storing a pile of randomish numbers?

Bitcoin, et. al., sounds like a scam to me, but Chia farming sounds like next-level stupid.


Storing data has low cost versus continuous computing. This is what makes Chia mining have less external impact. Unused storage space can be used to make a little bit of money.

If the "useful" data you're talking about has nobody willing to pay for its storage, is it really that useful? That's where the economical argument is with Chia: rewards are already low, and will get lower with time. So if some data has any kind of value, then there's no incentive to mine Chia instead of storing this data. Just store the SciHub library and rake in donations.

Hetzner decided there's more value in reserving their hardware for other usages. If the incentive to mine starts getting very big, then they can just mine themselves. From a blockchain-security PoV this is the same as customers-managed mining. Crypto mining incentive mechanisms are working as intended here, so as a cryptocurrency enthusiast I don't consider this development negative.

It's easy to look at something new, the use of it you don't understand, and instantly conclude it's stupid. "Why make data use up x10 more space by encrypting it? You should just store it in a secure location to begin with! Disk encryption is a scam!". "Why waste resources to secure some distributed ledger when you could just use Visa and Mastercard? Cryptocurrencies are a scam!"


Chia is basically taking a cryptographic proof that would normally take a long time to run, and running them in advance and storing them in a sort of a backwards space/time tradeoff. The farmers keep collections of millions or billions of these in hope that they'll have a few winning lottery tickets over time.

If you accept the premise of cryptocurrencies at all, it's not as stupid as the pure proof-of-works, which essentially require endless scaling to eat any improved capability and efficiency. Big if there though.


Ethereum Swarm is the saner model where you rent out your disk space for other people and get paid for it in ETH. It's still in beta tho.


correct, you're storing random bits. there is filecoin that actually stores things, but it has its own problems


I rent an AX41 from hetzner and from outside my activity looks like mining - I run all 4 cores at 100% 24/7. However I don't mine, I use it for machine learning. Wonder if they will axe my setup too? what are the criteria?


This is a double-edged sword. Changing the TOS silently is a no-go but so is the absurd resource-burning just for crypto mining. Had they done this with a couple of days’ notice it would be a non-issue.


I've never had AWS block me from S3 - they just charge more for more tx.

I've never had AWS block me from compute - they just charge more if I want more.

I used to chase the "unlimited" services various of the cheaper providers offered - partly because HN always suggests that. But there are often weird limits. Ie, unlimited but... at some point its not worth dealing with. Either peering and latency is garbage, there is some fine print, or they just can't actually deliver the traffic volume. AWS same availability zone latency / bandwidth is really pretty OK between most nodes I've found.


AWS generally charges based on actual usage, where Hetzner is largely a flat-fee model with acceptable use policies.

Hetzner is also much cheaper than AWS.

Very different companies with very different business models. You can’t really compare the two.


hetzner never blocked me for traffic or compute. The only time i had a problem when i tested an ipfs node which triggered their DDos detection, but that's fixed with a command line option.


AFAIK AWS prohibits GPU mining as well.


Precisely. That’s why I just use AWS. Costs more but they just do what they say on the tin.


Because some crypto mining wears out the SSDs, or because it doesn't do enough network access to incur bandwidth charges?


Bandwidth is more or less free on Hetzner


[flagged]


You posted multiple flamewar comments in this thread. Can you please not do that? We're trying for something different here, and you can make your substantive points without it.

Comments like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27212899 are particularly bad. Please don't do that on HN—it destroys this place for its intended purpose, which is simply to have an interesting forum on the internet that hopefully doesn't suck.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Ok understood


It costs them more to serve these resources to you. They're not obligated to deal with customers whose use of the resources goes beyond the ordinary or regular.


Charge appropriately


If you don't like their service simply don't use it? Why should anybody be expected to cater to you instead of someone else?


I’m speaking generally about this move. I absolutely don’t use their shit service.

Look, I don’t know what’s so hard here. If you sell cloud compute it should be on the basis of usage. If that usage is 100% then charge aptly.


It's their business and they can do what they want. Why is it hard for you to understand that your opinion is not authoritative? You can hate their business just as much as they can hate your patronage.


I absolutely agree!

Just don’t market yourself as an open and non limited compute resource charged by usage.

Market yourself as a QOS’d, shaped sub service.


Show me a single cloud provider who charges per CPU-second or CPU-minute, per GB of RAM, and per GB of disk.


Smart business decisions driven by profit considerations are virtue signaling now I guess?


I guess being anti-crypto is virtue signaling now. Guess that means we're at the turning point where crypto isn't this cool magic money thing anymore now that the harsh light of day is being shone on the industry.

Or, I think more likely, is that the parent can't actually form a cohesive argument and is part of a group of people for whom the term "virtue signaling" has become synonymous with "bad" but is used to try carry more intellectual weight than it actually does.


Only a moron would cloud mine crypto.

This is bad for a single reason. It creates apartheid based on compute purpose.

If you can’t figure that out yourself that’s ok. I’m sure you’ll be ok. You seem to know some really big words already.


They have forbidden crypto mining on their cloud services (i.e. shared cpu hardware) since it started, but until recently they allowed it on dedicated servers. Stopping it now seems to be a result of Chia having a real impact on their equipment availability and longevity. Chia has apparently also driven up the street price of large HDD's by a significant amount, 30% according to a forum post I saw.


I'm a happy customer for their reasonable prices. If the prices require banning extreme cost outliers like crypto mining I'm okay with that.


Great hopefully you never need a compute resource they consider an outlier.


Do you take the same attitude to a rented apartment? A hotel room? Build your own datacenter if you want to own it.


If I was told that I get 1300sq ft to live in, and then got in trouble or kicked out for using all of it, I'd be pretty pissed off.


There are plenty of things that you cannot do in an apartment. If it's a building with multiple tenants, you'll be forbidden from doing stuff that's an unnecessary disturbance to other tenants. But even apart from that, there are physical limitations. For example, many apartment buildings forbid large aquariums because the building is not designed to handle the uneven load distribution.


Look, this argument basically just boils down to "businesses can't fire customers for whom it doesn't make financial, operational, or reputational sense to serve." And like sure that sounds good except that we currently take the opposite stance by having protected classes. They are the single carve-out exception for the general idea that you can otherwise fire your customers for any reason you see fit.


Interesting point.

I’m not looking for crypto to be protected.

I’m looking for all compute classes to be treated equally.

Overriding this, a company should absolutely have the right to offload a customer.

That said, don’t then market yourself as general purpose computing in the cloud.

If I pay for xCPU @ xHz with yRAM I don’t want to have you then tell me what I can do with it. Just charge me aptly for my use.

Tbf I wouldn’t like to think they’d even know what I’m doing. Privacy should be ok.


All compute classes have never been treated equally though. If I open an AWS account and launch dozens of instances and DDoS other customers / locations on the internet AWS will terminate my account and shut everything down. The provider always has discretion on whatever it really wants to provide service to you or not.


It’s a fair point.

Folks need to wake up to the fact that if we all end up relying on 3 cloud providers, we also end up having to live with their discretion regarding what is acceptable / moral use.

Also, this isn’t really the same as a DDOS, this is localised computation effectively. Running a hash function.


We are talking mostly about Chia, which destroys hardware, unlike computational applications.


This whole chia thing is new to me but i have terabytes of unused space on usb connected disks to my pc. Sounds like I won’t meet criteria?


> Tbf I wouldn’t like to think they’d even know what I’m doing. Privacy should be ok.

that would be my biggest concern. how are they deciding what i'm doing, and what happens when my usage pattern triggers their magical detection?

am i booted immediately? do i get a useful number of business days to say "nope, i'm actually doing something else entirely!" and they leave it at that? or do i have to somehow "prove" what computations i'm going to run before i do so?

it's well and good to let them have whatever ToS they want, and that's certainly the direction i lean in, but enforcement of some ToS can imply concerning things.


You do get abuse notices that you have to respond to before your server gets isolated from the Internet. If you don't, you can request unblocking later from support staff.


I don't fault a company for not wanting to waste compute cycles, that could otherwise be doing useful work, on crap like crypto mining.


To be clear I don’t mine crypto.

That said I think your view is short sighted.

“Crap” may turn out to be useful. Have you noticed the US debt ceiling?


Mining is not general purpose.


> If I pay for data centre resources

The biggest reason it's banned is credit card fraud.


Hetzner have always been picky about who they allow as customers, and I can't even blame them for it.


You can pry my terracotta Elmer Fudd with lush green hair from my cold dead fingers.




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