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Old 01-08-2021, 08:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cryptocurrency Mining

I dislike Bitcoin because it's fundamentally flawed and wastes enormous amounts of electricity, but I do like blockchain and distributed ledger...

Hard to ignore the price of Bitcoin these days though. That got me to thinking (I'm pretty slow), I have powerful hardware laying around, I've banked excess electricity from solar, and this is the heating season...

I finally figured out how to find how much excess electricity I've banked. It's at the bottom of my $12 bill ($11 for the connection, and $1 taxes). 800 kWh.



I don't know how much electricity the mining rig would consume, but it has dual 1600 watt power supplies requiring 240v. If I pulled 1000 watts continuously, I could mine for a month using my banked solar credit. 2 months if it only pulls 500 watts.

As a bonus, I'd run the gas furnace less during the ~6 month heating season.

Here's a similar setup to what I've got to work with, only 1 GPU instead of 2. I think it can take up to 3.


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Old 01-08-2021, 11:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Makes a lot of sense. There are certainly worse ways to use electricity, you're getting resistive heat out of the deal and already have the appropriate hardware. Might be worth considering lifespan impact of the GPU(s), I find they tend not to last nearly as long as anything else.

I mined a couple of coins very early on in Bitcoin when I could get electricity for free in college, but didn't feel it was really worth my time (they were a few tens of dollars). I think I sold them and cashed in $100 or so.

Across the lake from where I live, in Plattsburgh, there's a huge hydro dam, and the town gets electricity for something like 2 cents per kwh. When Bitcoin got big, the city started having brownouts from all of the miners that moved in.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I advised a coworker to sell his Bitcoin at $70 pointing to the fact that it's flawed and worthless. I just missed the prediction on when worthless would occur, and the intervening high worth.

My friend has 2.4 bitcoin from his setup of 10 GPUs x2. One is at his house, the other at his moms. It consumes the max power a 15 amp circuit can handle. Good thing he didn't listen to me tell him to sell at the last peak, maybe.

Anyhow, I like the process more than the prospect of riches. Wealth doesn't bring me joy, but I do want to have enough one day to comfortably say whatever is on my mind and not care how people take it; not to abuse people, but to be candid. That freedom will be worth more than Bitcoin in the future we're constructing.

Crazy to think a $500 investment back in the day could have you at $40M today. Maybe I should become an expert at combing the dumps for people who threw away computers containing their Bitcoin. Split the find 50/50.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That was six years ago. I got a hard wallet at Fry's but never got over the hurdle of sitting in a coffee shop and handing someone cash.

A year ago March I gave it to my son and asked him to transfer some of his into it and I'd reimburse him. I figure he owes me six grand at this point.

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Anyhow, I like the process more than the prospect of riches.
If you have Bitcoin, I think you print out the 50-digit address or laser etch it on stainless steel ingots or something so it won't go away. The value is held in common by the network.

The energy requirement is a flaw, but as you see that can be exploited. Iceland's geothermal power is best, but IIRC it's exacerbated by competition between the miners.

When the value of a single Satoshi equals $1, a single Bitcoin will be worth 1 million dollars. After the Democrat depression, if not already, a single dollar will be worth a single penny. I think it's about 4 now.
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Old 01-09-2021, 01:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There's other flaws besides power requirements. What will be the incentive to participate once the last Bitcoin is mined? I suppose nodes could charge transaction fees like everyone else. While the ability to print money is a great evil, the inability to print money creates problems as well. There are legitimate uses of monetary policy to stabilize inflation. As we can plainly see, the USD is more stable in value than Bitcoin at the moment, and stability is a cornerstone of a currency.

Anyhow, if Aerohead isn't going to schedule compute time on my setup, I might as well learn about crypto.
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Old 01-09-2021, 01:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
There are legitimate uses of monetary policy to stabilize inflation.
I don't follow the financial side of things, but I understand that the Federal Reserve is now under the Treasury Department. So the runaway inflation of the dollar may be halted.

Transaction fees will persist after miners have wrung out all that they can. Bitcoin will continue to deflate. Satoshis will attach to smart contracts at negligible cost. Wealth transfers will subsidize the system.

Bitcoin aren't printed. They're agreed to.
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Old 01-09-2021, 01:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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As with all things, the greatest strengths are simultaneously the greatest weakness. The government can't regulate bitcoin, which is a great advantage, but the government can't regulate bitcoin, which is a great disadvantage. Taxes must be collected, and if there is a way to shirk that responsibility, then people will do it. Economic sanctions on countries are sometimes necessary diplomatic tools, yet cryptos provide a pathway to circumvent it...

Probably our method of governance, education, and other institutions are archaic and in need of fundamental updating, but a smooth transition is preferable over abrupt and violent change.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree. As Scott Adams sez, people can't tell really good news from really bad news.

Maybe this is the smooth transition.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't know squat about BC. Buuuuut...if it can be mined on something other than a GPU - ie CPU - then it occurs to me that the very low power (consumption) on the CPUs of things like my Netbook (1.6ghz, quad core, 10 watts) might equate to making profit rather than spending more on electricity...

Just a thought. (Not that I can be bothered!)
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I read Satoshi Nakamoto's white paper back in the day. IIRC it is only eight pages. But it went right over my head when they got to Merkle Trees. I get what they do, I just can't explain how.

Mining is a competition as I understand it. In early days you could run a PC in a closet, but then the custom ASICs upped the ante.

Ten watts? Pshaw.


raspi.tv/2019/how-much-power-does-the-pi4b-use-power-measurements

Can you imagine a Beowolf cluster of these? That reminds me I haven't visited Slashdot in a while.

edit:
Yikes! This is on-topic: it.slashdot.org/story/21/01/08/2132205/a-crypto-mining-botnet-is-now-stealing-docker-and-aws-credentials

This is the sort of content I went to Slashdot for: tech.slashdot.org/story/21/01/09/0645247/the-case-against-section-230-the-1996-law-that-ruined-the-internet

This one has a good comment section. We talked about this 20 years ago on /. (Score:5, Insightful)

Quote:
One of the major points brought up about the slash system was it was user moderated, not owner/administrator moderated. That was what allowed it to operate under 230. Twitter, Facebook are actively employing people to moderate.

Twitter and Facebook do have a system in place to allow user moderated content, you can follow or unfollow someone. That is fair. What's been going on lately though is these platforms have been choosing who you can and cannot follow. Who is and isn't allowed on the system. From a purely technical standpoint, TD has not ddos'd these sites. He has not done anything to hinder the sites themselves. He's just posted things these sites disagree with. I don't think 230 should be repealed, but at the same time sites that are actively engaged in who you can follow, and what content gets posted should not get the protections 230 affords.
[snip]
Unfortunately society as a whole is starting to welcome powers that be to think for them, deciding what they see and what is allowed to be seen, and that's scary.

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