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You can watch YouTube for over 52,000 hours, or make one Bitcoin transaction

You can watch YouTube for over 52,000 hours, or make one Bitcoin transaction

Posted on 3rd March 2020

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Bitcoin and blockchain are something that exercise an increasing number of financial aware techies. Blockchain, as we have written about in previous blogs, has the potential to transform transactions by introducing a super-level of security into the process.  However, it seems that there is a flaw.

News at the weekend suggests that the cost of the energy involved in all bitcoin transactions in one year is 77.78 terawatt hours - equivalent to the entire electrical consumption of Chile. 

Alex de Vries, a blockchain expert at PWC and founder of the Digiconomist blog, has done the calculations that show that blockchain is the problem here.  If you want to know the details, have a look at this link, but essentially there are rather a lot of computers running pointlessly for year, using energy and producing heat.  It’s not hard to see the problems in all this.

At one end, we have Greta and Extinction Rebellion telling us we have to stop doing, if not everything then certainly a lot of things that we like doing but which use a lot of electricity, and at the other we have the government and the tech industry who, by and large rightly in my view, want to use technology to improve productivity, grow the economy and help generate the money to pay for the demands (pensions, healthcare, etc.) which society, again rightly in my view, makes on them.  One thing is certain: we are going to have to find a way to generate more electricity to power the economies and societies of the future, but in a manner that doesn’t wreck the planet.  Answers on a (digital) postcard please…

Matt Druce, Be-IT

Posted in News, Opinion

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