[Cryptography] One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses as Much Energy as Your House in a Week

Karl Semich gmkarl at gmail.com
Wed Nov 8 18:08:26 EST 2017

> On Nov 8, 2017, at 9:42 AM, Phillip Hallam-Baker <phill at hallambaker.com> wrote:
> The fact that it is taking $100 worth of electricity per BitCoin
> transaction is in fact significant.
> What it is proving is precisely the fact that BitCoin is not a
> functioning payment system, let alone a currency. It is simply a
> digital asset that people are fighting over. It is the electronic
> equivalent of valuable baseball or magic the gathering cards.

It’s true that bitcoin is more like a baseball card than a coin at this time.  But this is unrelated to the energy cost divided by the transaction count (the $100 you quote) because that cost stays the same regardless of the number of transactions in the network.  The more transactions, the cheaper this number is.  We are paying this cost precisely because it is how much we value *acquiring* and *keeping* these baseball cards; it’s not the cost of *trading* them.

> Of course the bubble will burst, they always do.

And then the energy use of the network will drop proportionally.

Just like the infrastructure costs saved when the bubble of metal coins was replaced with paper bills.  So much cheaper to move across the world!  And the high value they could represent probably really incentivized people moving them around.

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