Re: Bitcoin minting is thermodynamically perverse


2010-08-07 17:46:09 UTC - Original Post
It's the same situation as gold and gold mining.  The marginal cost of gold mining tends to stay near the price of gold.  Gold mining is a waste, but that waste is far less than the utility of having gold available as a medium of exchange.

I think the case will be the same for Bitcoin.  The utility of the exchanges made possible by Bitcoin will far exceed the cost of electricity used.  Therefore, not having Bitcoin would be the net waste.

As an overall point, I also do not agree with the idea that the very high computational burden of coin generation is in fact a necessity of the current system. As I understand it, currency creation is fundamentally metered by TIME - and if that is the fundamental controlling variable, what is the need for everyone to "roll as many dice as posible" within that given time period? The "chain of proof" for coin ownership and transactions doesn't depend on the method for spawning coins.
Each node's influence on the network is proportional to its CPU power.  The only way to show the network how much CPU power you have is to actually use it.

If there's something else each person has a finite amount of that we could count for one-person-one-vote, I can't think of it.  IP addresses... much easier to get lots of them than CPUs.

I suppose it might be possible to measure CPU power at certain times.  For instance, if the CPU power challenge was only run for an average of 1 minute every 10 minutes.  You could still prove your total power at given times without running it all the time.  I'm not sure how that could be implemented though.  There's no way for a node that wasn't present at the time to know that a past chain was actually generated in a duty cycle with 9 minute breaks, not back to back.

Proof-of-work has the nice property that it can be relayed through untrusted middlemen.  We don't have to worry about a chain of custody of communication.  It doesn't matter who tells you a longest chain, the proof-of-work speaks for itself.