@Brattea
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This headline is misleading. Mining bitcoin consumes this power. Even if the transactions stop the power is still spent. we should however focus on making new chains less power consuming and pressure bitcoin core to switch to some algo that obsoletes asic machines.

@roastpotatothief
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Why haven’t they done this already? It’s clear bitcoin won’t survive in the long run, without a few fixes, and redesigning the proof-of-work function is the big one.

@Thann
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The entire economic model would have to be upended. The bitcoin-core devs refused to do anything about the tx fees, so there is no way this will get any traction. They think bitcoin should rely on “layer 2 solutions” like lightning to allow for more transactions without increasing the block size.

Other cryptos like etherium are tying to solve the energy problem with “proof of stake”, but that has its own problems like the fact that it creates a digital oligarchy.

@roastpotatothief
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Proof-of-stake sounds like a terrible idea, or else I don’t understand it properly. But anyway, even sticking with proof-of-work there are much better solutions, ie ones that consume less energy and promote decentralisation.

I remember the scandal with the block size, how the devs want to cripple bitcoin’s power to handle heavy traffic, in order to promote their side-business. But I don’t see the connection. Their conspiracy can work just as well if bitcoin is using a different work-function.

@Thann
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PoW is basically “proof of power”, if you have an algo that takes half the power you will just run twice as many. an “efficient” mining algo is fundamentally counter-intuitive.

Re conspiracy stuff, my point was: they’re not there to solve problems, they’re there to cash out. hoping they will solve a problem is wasted hope.

@roastpotatothief
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Aha! Many people assume that, but there is a way. And clever crypto people have already figured it out and designed efficient PoW schemes.

Imagine a PoW scheme where, to solve the puzzle you need to load 1GB of data into RAM, crunch some numbers based on that, send 1MB of data to a random other node on the network…

Imagine you need to load a keyboard and mouse driver, or solve a captcha with input from a human…

The trick is to choose a puzzle which is easier for home PCs than it is for mining GPUs.


On the other point, IMO solving the mining problem would help them cash out. In fact not solving it is the surest way to stop them making money out of it. Doesn’t make sense - there’s something we don’t understand.

@Thann
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Yeah, people have been coming up with these ideas for at least a decade, but no actually effective CAPTCHA has ever been developed. Even if we did, rich people would just have buildings full of slaves doing CAPTCHAs =\

The whole premise of PoW is that more money investment == more mining power, this is just as true for “memory constrained” algos as it is for the current hashing one. So the only thing changing the PoW would do is piss off investors by causing them to reinvest.

I’m not saying It’s impossible for us to come up with a better system, its just that I haven’t seen any compelling replacements.

@roastpotatothief
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yes. so instead of competing for electricity, they would start competing for memory cards. so in the end they would use less electricity.

the second benefit is to change the puzzle to take away the pros’ advantage. make the requirements to play so that it’s easy for home users but not much easier for pros.

@Thann
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they would start competing for memory cards. so in the end they would use less electricity.

In general more memory cards == more power, but even if this wasn’t the case, then the price of memory chips/ silicon would go up and it would be even harder to buy a video card =/ The people/ places that had better access to chips would wield power over the network. The nice thing about electricity is there are a bunch of ways to make it, so the playing field is pretty level.

make the requirements to play so that it’s easy for home users but not much easier for pros.

This would be nice, but none of the conceived ideas have been made to be robust. Sybil attacks are seemingly always possible in a decentralized network. There are some mitigation strategies but nothing bullet proof I think so far.

Bitcoins strategy was to rely on greedy investors to secure the network. I think of bitcoin more of as an experiment than anything, so changing it would ruin the experiment. A more socially-oriented network would have to supersede it from the outside for anything to change bitcoin realistically.

@roastpotatothief
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That’s interesting about Sybil attacks. I’ve thought about that - my idea was to have a global online convention, once per year, that lasts nine minutes. During that time you must pass a turing test from an existing user, and then give a turing test to two other (new or existing) users. So it would be very hard to obtain multiple identities, without being a real user.

The turing tests can be video calls where you ask each other to draw pictures, on video, of things that have never existed.

Actually that’s not mentioned in the wiki article. Maybe I’m the first person to think of it.


I’ve been thinking a bit about what you said. If the puzzle were changed, so that instead of just competing for electricity and GPUs, they are competing for RAM cards too … how would that affect the difficulty and the strain on global resources (not just talking about electricity now).

You change the mining function somehow, that makes it much much more expensive for pros, but are free for normal people mining on laptops. Some kind of function that requires:

  • allocating 1GB RAM and 10GB disk space

  • human input

  • once a block is made on this computer, it can’t start work on another block for a while

  • can only mine for 8 hours a day

That sort of thing. The result, I think, would be this:

More people will mine. The difficulty will go up. The share of blocks going to pros will go down. The profitability for pros will go down in proportion with the share of blocks they are getting. Many pros will stop mining. The global resources used for mining will go down.


EDIT: After not much research, somebody has thought of this before.


The example of a mining function like this (i had to look it up again) is Monero and randomX. Proof of allocating disk space also already exists. And there is also a currency which changes mining algorithm every block, but I forget which one.

It’s an idea a lot of people have been working on. If my logic above is sound, this approach not only solves the electricity wastage problem, but also the hardware wastage problem.

But there’s a good chance all these headlines are just a distraction. The real problem is datacentres using vast energy to train AI to better manipulate us. There is a big push to take the heat off them by focusing on bitcoin.

@Brattea
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So try this perspective, if everyone gets the same % return does any one else get richer relative to another? Furthermore chains like cardano mean everyone is staking funds that are instantly spendable. And everyone can stake by delegation without running hardware. Spending any of the interest is effectively losing money in comparison to other hodlers. You could get rid of staking by requiring people transacting to do a proof of stake using the funds they are sending to process a transaction after it. That way you get rid of the money = more money issue.

Another thing is our current financial system spends more energy anyway, Mining gold spends more energy. As others have replied to the thread below switching to a CPU only algo would reduce consumption a lot because to miners profit is the only thing that matters to these ASIC buyers. But using general purpose hardware makes it so that spending more power to make more money has an exponential hardware investment curve disincentivizing it and distributing it more evenly. Which also improves price stability.

RandomX is the solution. Proof of Space Time and Proof of Capacity show promise and proof of stake is ideal after distribution is complete.

@MedicareForSome
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They argue that the owners of ASICs are unlikely to attack the network because they’d quickly make the ASICs obsolete by changing the PoW algorithm and destroy their massive investment as the ASICs would be totally worthless.

However if they use an ASIC resistant PoW, an attacker would still have valuable generalized computing hardware even if they attacked the network.

So basically, if you centralize Bitcoin in the hands of a few wealthy people, it makes it more resistant to attack.

Probably true but also spits in the face of the whole core concept of the entire thing.

@roastpotatothief
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i had not heard that argument before. sounds like a “not a bug it’s a feature” kind of motivated reasoning.

the whole point was to be decentralised, otherwise is just like fiat currency. and anyway decentralisation would be a stronger protection against the 51% attack.

@OsrsNeedsF2P
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The goalposts for Bitcoin keep moving. Let me know if I missed one

Peer to peer cash

Only 21M circulation (Noobs buying on fractional reserve exchanges)

Most blockchain transactions

Highest miner fee reward

<--- You are here

Highest marketcap

Store of value


BTC might still be a fun pyramid investment but it’s not what people think it is

Adult_InThe_Room
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Ouu, ouu, I can’t wait to hand over my cash to people I do not know, somewhere in the world with no insurance, and no regulation and no reason to expect that I can of it back!! Yippee! I’m also in line to be one of the first to live on Mars! Buy up the land of Mars before anyone else gets there!! WhooHoo!

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