Why the power consumption issue may not be as simple as you think

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Image: “Gas Flare” Licensed Adobe stock by Background Photo

I recently wrote an article about how Bitcoin’s mining operations could ultimately end up being good for the planet.

Some considered it controversial and pointed me to various facts and surveys indicating how damaging it is, many of which I had considered when doing research for the piece.

They’re right, of course. There’s little doubt that if we carried on down the existing path, Bitcoin’s mining impact could have a significantly adverse effect on the planet in the long term.

But the overriding point made in that article is that I firmly believe that the path we’ll ultimately end up on is not the same one as we’re on now. Further, I feel I am uniquely placed to argue the point since I am both a Bitcoin miner and an environmentalist — a seemingly irreconcilable position. …

No, we’re not suddenly in uncharted territory. We’ve always been there.

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Image: Licensed Adobe stock by knssr

It’s quite stressful having skin in the game in a bear market.

You watch your net worth drop — sometimes dramatically and sometimes by the minute like some sort of slow-motion financial car crash — and wonder what the right call is.

Do you realize that paper loss and walk away, poorer in money terms, but (perhaps) richer in experience? Or hold on and keep your faith in whatever asset or product it is that you believe in?

The answer is an almost impossible calculation of variables, probabilities, emotions, and personal circumstances unique to each individual playing the game.

But what no-one tells you is that the stress levels are just as real when you’re experiencing a bull market, especially if it’s your first time witnessing it. …

As Bitcoin sets new All Time Highs, what’s the right move?

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Image: Licensed Adobe Stock by F8studio

I’ve been writing and talking about Bitcoin for some years now and I can always tell what stage of a market cycle we’re in by the questions I’m asked and how frequently I’m asked them.

Most of the time, for example, if I’m out with a group of friends or colleagues (back in the days when you could actually do this) Bitcoin will not be mentioned for fear that I should “go off on one” for a solid ten minutes or so. …

Whether it’s last minute or planned, what’s the best way to give it?

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Image: Licenses adobe stock, by Andrii

Most if us are lucky enough to have had a childhood where we experienced at least once the joy of opening a birthday or Christmas card and watching with excitement as a currency note fluttered to the ground. It was usually a small denomination, but in our minds, we were rich!

Many of us still use notes in cards as gifts at special times of year, but as we grow older we find that we’re now the ones providing them rather than receiving them, such as it should be.

So while the process for cash is well proven and millions of dollars, pounds, euros and many other currencies change hands every year in little envelopes physically sent through the traditional mail system, how does this line up with the ever increasing digital world? …

Selling out or going mainstream?

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Image: Licensed Adobe stock, by prima91

Back in the 1990s I was directly involved with driving the adoption of the internet. Since then, the internet has developed into something very different from how we imagined it. It’s also considerably better than we thought it would be.

While we dreamed of the giddy possibilities of a face-to-face video phone call or downloading a piece of software on demand, we never, ever imagined web 3.0 apps like Uber or Airbnb. They were so far off the scale, they didn’t even register.

Bitcoin’s journey (and ours with it) is likely to be similar in the end, and some of the steps on that journey may not be linear, or even obvious. …

Wait, what?

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Empty shelves for Bitcoin? Perhaps not. Image: Licensed adobe stock by Julia

With only 21 million bitcoin ever going to be available, the logical conclusion is that we will “run out” of bitcoin if, for example, 21 million people decide they want to own one.

In fact, the situation is even worse than that since it will take another 120 years to mine the last 3.5 million coins and we’ve collectively lost somewhere between 3.5 and 4 million coins (source: Chainalysis), almost certainly for good. In our lifetime, therefore, the best we can hope for is around 16 million coins being available.


Because even that assumes the early adopters with large balances, Grayscale, Microstrategy, PayPal and an ever increasing list of high net worth individuals plan to keep at least part of their newly acquired bitcoin in circulation, especially as they are currently absorbing more than miners are producing. …

How it works and how to apply

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Image: Luno, Bitcoin and Ten Pounds, by Author

Luno, one of the world’s most trusted cryptocurrency wallet and exchanges, has recently launched a new program designed to drive the adoption of Bitcoin across the UK … by giving it away for free!

However, this needs to be done in a way that gives every recipient a way to store it, understand it at a very basic level and have a way to find out more information about what they’re receiving. To do this, we created the role of Bitcoin Pioneer!

Your job will be to give Bitcoin away to anyone you see fit in £10 chunks using a simple, slick process. You will receive £10 each time you complete that process, up to a maximum of £500 in a month. …

Y’know, like the cash in your pocket.

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Image: Licensed adobe stock, by metamorworks

Anyone who is full time in the cryptocurrency space — like myself — will tell you that most objections to cryptocurrency in general (and Bitcoin in particular) are based around a few key issues.

Generally speaking, these are to do with Bitcoin not being physical and therefore not real (covered in this article), Bitcoin not being backed by anything (covered here) and Bitcoin being no more than an experiment.

Interestingly, most — or even all — of these objections are experienced by the majority of current users, holders or advocates of Bitcoin at some point on their journey to fully understanding it, and it was certainly true in my own case. …

Not even close. Here’s why.

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Image: Licensed Adobe stock, by grejak

Ah, how I sigh when I think back to the heady and wild days of the cryptocurrency boom in late 2017 and early 2018.

It’s funny, but somehow I now think of that crazy brief period of madness in the same way as I think about all the stupid stuff I did as a teenager on various “lads” holidays decades ago in (thankfully) pre-social media times.

In both cases, even though one is considerably more recent than the other, I can’t help defer to the universal “get out of jail free” card of:

We were young. We didn’t know what we were doing. …

A controversial proposition that might just hold water

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In early 2018, an analyst called Alex De Vries at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC for short, thank goodness) produced a report titled “Bitcoin’s Growing Energy Problem” which seemed to provide a plausible calculation of the power consumption of the Bitcoin network.

It seemed viable, was generally well supported and, rightly or wrongly, went on to become the basis on which many lasting assumptions about Bitcoin’s power consumption were made.

It was timely enough that I even included a detailed reference to it in one of the chapters of the book I was writing at the time, called “How to Explain Bitcoin to Your Mum.” …


Jason Deane

I blog on things I am passionate about: Bitcoin, writing, money, life’s crazy turns and being a dad. Lover of learning, family and cheese. (jasondeane@msn.com)

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