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proof of waste algorithm 

"Bitcoin's increasing energy consumption has triggered a passionate debate about the sustainability of the digital currency. And yet, most studies have thus far ignored that Bitcoin miners cycle through a growing amount of short-lived hardware that could exacerbate the growth in global electronic waste. E-waste represents a growing threat to our environment, from toxic chemicals and heavy metals leaching into soils, to air and water pollutions caused by improper recycling.

• Bitcoin's annual e-waste generation adds up to 30.7 metric kilotons as of May 2021.

• This level is comparable to the small IT equipment waste produced by a country such as the Netherlands.

• On average generates 272 g of e-waste per transaction processed on the blockchain.

• Bitcoin could produce up to 64.4 metric kilotons of e-waste at peak Bitcoin price levels seen in early 2021.

• The soaring demand for mining hardware may disrupt global semiconductor supply chains. "

sciencedirect.com/science/arti

proof of waste algorithm 

This is mostly tied to the use of ASICs:

"In 2013, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) entered mining and quickly replaced GPUs as the standard hardware. As implied by the name, ASICs perform one specific task: finding the required proofs at optimal efficiency. In fact, ASICs are so specialized that they only fit one mining algorithm. Bitcoin ASIC-based mining devices cannot be used to mine any alternative digital currency. This hyper-specialization of devices also implies that miners rapidly cycle through vast amounts of increasingly powerful mining devices."

And apparently ASIC-resistant algorithms are not effective either:

"In other words, it may be impossible to remove the incentive to build an ASIC miner in the first place; this is explicitly confirmed in a recent proposal by the community of the digital currency Ethereum [...]. The proposal explicitly states that “a custom ASIC to implement this algorithm is still possible” and that an efficiency gain of 1.1–1.2x over regular GPUs should be expected. More research is therefore required to determine if a strategy that includes frequently changing mining algorithms can actually help to mitigate e-waste output or if this simply creates the world’s most unsustainable game of whack-a-mole."

proof of waste algorithm 

Proof of Stake is the only way out:
"A more desirable route from a sustainability perspective would be to replace the PoW system in its entirety. In fact, there are already more than 350 cryptocurrencies where PoW was abandoned partially or entirely in favor of less energy-hungry and hardware-heavy Proof-of- Stake (PoS) consensus algorithms (Cryptoslate, 2020). A PoS-based system removes the incentive to engage in a computational arms race (Saleh, 2018) and only requires a device with an Internet connection to participate. These devices can be any computer, phone, or tablet that can also be used for other purposes. As such, excesses in energy con-sumption or e-waste generation would be mostly eliminated. We, therefore, conclude that the only effective way to mitigate e-waste and the large amounts of energy these devices consume during their active lifetime would be to replace the PoW-system in its entirety with a more sustainable alternative; this would remove all incentives to develop and use specialized equipment."

How likely is it though that the transition to PoS will happen for established blockchains like Bitcoin? Honest question, I don't know.

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra Bitcoin is owned and monopolised by the operators of the big mining pools. They represent a massive, massive sunk investment (that is, waste) that a non-proof-of-waste algorithm would instantly deprecate.
This means any move to less waste would in effect mean a hard fork. And Bitcoiners abhor that idea, they've had a few already for less important reasons.

Fundamentally though, Bitcoiners are all billionaire fanbois. They don't respect science, society, or humanity. It is unlikely that most of them even accept that reducing waste is important. Only wealth is important.

proof of waste algorithm 

@seachaint Yeah, that is what I figured. There is too much invested already to allow the system to be obsoleted. That is the real proof of stake ;)

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@rra Ethereum, the second most popular crypto, is transitioning to proof of stake, their roadmap says will take them a year or maybe a bit more. Bitcoin will never move away from proof of work but it may become irrelevant in the future and lose its place as number one.

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@Moon Isn't etherum's PoS essentially cryptocurrency's 'the year of the linux desktop'?

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@rra people have said that for a while, but progress has finally been taking place. they already have it turned on and validating transactions but proof of work is still the consensus mechanism. I've been eth2 staking since december. The actual switch is supposed to happen sometime before middle of 2022.

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@rra to answer your question directly, I think it used to be "yes" but now I'm optimistic because they're actually running code and distributing (future) rewards

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra
Ethereum 2.0 is working on it I think.

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra Trouble with PoS is that the rich people have the power. I mean, with cryptocurrency culture they do anyway, but this makes it built into the system.

proof of waste algorithm 

@dheadshot could you expand a bit on this? Is it because it requires a lot of computational capital to proof your stake in a system?

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra There's also the recent Chia coin, created by Bram Cohen (of BitTorrent fame) which aspires to be "green" as it's based on proof-of-wasted-hard-drive-space instead of proof-of-wasted-energy. Apparently it can trash an SSD within a weeks¹. It has also triggered huge supply shortages and price jumps for hard-drives². Interestingly, they are going to fund themselves by listing on a US stock exchange instead of an ICO.

1. newscientist.com/article/22786
2. pcgamer.com/chia-mining-can-wr

proof of waste algorithm 

@praxeology
Calling it the Tesla of cryptocurrencies is soooo... :facepalm: @rra

proof of waste algorithm 

@xuv @praxeology oh crazy that these literally wear through SSDs due to the write amounts. This is also adding to the ewaste pile.

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra @xuv Even if they didn't wear out within a month or two, it wastes all the energy of manufacturing and your "farm" is only worth something if the drives are not being used as drives.

Hmm... we already have some things that are basically proof-of-gold and proof-of-wheat or rice more or less exists and has been kind of awful. Maybe we need a coin that is proof-of-fossil-fuel-power-plants - so you get coins based on how many non-functioning lignite coal power stations you own?

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra @xuv But I suspect there might be some weird, not-so-nice consequences of people trying to game the system.

It's almost like these "virtual" currencies aren't just some video game and actually have effects on the material world. :unwanted_thinking:

proof of waste algorithm 

@praxeology @rra Proof-of-carbon-captured you mean? ;)

proof of waste algorithm 

@xuv @praxeology proof-of-carbon-released

proof of waste algorithm 

@xuv @rra ATM my favorite physically manifested transactions are:
proof-of-repaired-bicycle
proof-of-recycled-lumber
proof-of-well-cooked-meal
proof-of-written-books

Strangely, speculators seem totally uninterested.

proof of waste algorithm 

@praxeology

fractional reserve of proof of large, flat round stone what fell off a boat and sits on the seabottom

@xuv @rra

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@rra wait, why?
why is the hardware so short-lived?
because they push it so hard to the limit??

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@meena Because the proof of work algorithm is written so that essentially with each bitcoin mined, the next one becomes more difficult to calculate. This means that you need increasingly fast computers. You can also use the same computer but then will spend a longer time waiting (and paying more electricity). However, if you keep using the slower computer, someone with the faster computer might mine the coin instead. The more people mine, the faster that process goes. The problem here lies specifically with computers which are built only to mine bitcoin (ASICs), they are not general purpose computers that can be used for other tasks afterwards and so they are discarded when they are too slow to mine.

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@rra so they build fresh ASICs whenever the "old one" gets too slow?

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@meena @rra Yeah, ASIC's aren't trashed because they break. They're just trashed because it isn't profitable to burn electricity anymore.

re: proof of waste algorithm 

@meena yes, when they are too slow they are no longer profitable and new ones are bought. Here is a great graph from the paper that shows the process.

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra
»may disrupt global semiconductor supply chains.«
haha, anyone tried buying a graphics card in the last year? I have two broken PCs here, with two broken graphics cards, the "better" one if which cost me 100€ new, in 2018. I could not get an equivalent reolacement for less than 250€ now. For a 3-year-old lower-end graphics card.

Cryptocurrencies *are* a huge drag on global semiconductor supply, right now.

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra Mining is definitely disrupting the supply chain and using a ton of electricity, but doesn't most of the used hardware just get re-sold?

proof of waste algorithm 

@rra ( @bonifartius boosted )
Sadly it may become even more necessary in the near future: https://archive.ph/740Rb
>Bank of England tells ministers to intervene on digital currency 'programming'
>Digital cash could be programmed to ensure it is only spent on essentials, or goods which an employer or Government deems to be sensible

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