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

Arnold Reinhold agr at me.com
Tue Nov 14 10:24:35 EST 2017

On Thu, 9 Nov 2017 18:28, Christian Huitema wrote:

> There are periods at which the wholesale price of electricity is
> negative: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=6730 <https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=6730>. So,
> imagine that you are the operator of a nuclear plant that cannot be shut
> down, or of a wind farm that is just getting wind when the market is
> saturated. You have free electricity, in fact negative price
> electricity. It makes perfect sense to send that to a Bitcoin mining rig.

I mentioned this a while back. The problem is that the times of negative energy cost are sporadic and depend on the day of the week (weekends) and the time of year (early spring, when the days are longer and air conditioning is not yet needed). I suggested that  a good use of obsolescent cyber-coin mining boxes might be to ship them to wind and solar farms. There mining could take place whenever the wholesale price of electricity falls below what the mining gear could earn on for the same energy. The only real cost would be transporting the mining equipment (perhaps just mount the old boxes in an ISO shipping container and ship it to wherever). 

But this kind of energy scavenging is not going to materially alter the overall energy cost of mining. At some point it might make sense to build solar-powered cyber-mines in remote desert sites, where sunlight is plentiful but energy transmission costs are prohibitive. One question: does satellite internet service have enough bandwidth and low enough latency to support mining in locations far from landline Internet connections? I assume most of the traffic would be downlink; the occasional success message could be sent via low earth-orbit satellites (e.g. Iridium), or even HF radio, it the geosynchronous orbit time delay is too long..

Arnold Reinhold
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