Imagine a world where the people who build the highest skyscraper get to dictate what is true. Of course this means it’s never complete and we must find the cheapest labour and materials, externalities be damned. Congratulations, you just understood blockchain and proof of work.

@aral And there I was thinking it was an analogy of capitalism.

@aral Blockchain’s overall externalities costs is a horror, and that we can’t afford since we’re in the face of climate armageddon, and a very valid argument against it.

But it is completable; there is a limited number of Bitcoin that can be mined. That’s part of the point—it’s different from the scrip that preceded it because it is a limited resource.

@Sandra The total bitcoin amount may be limited (or might be raised, remains to be seen) but that doesn’t mean that the energy use/miners will go away when it’s all mined (if they do, the pyramid scheme will collapse). If they don’t and stay for the transaction fees, then we continue building the skyscraper as before, again, externalities be damned.

@aral Just wanted to clarify something that seemed misleading even if (or, rather, especially if) it was from “my own side”, the “hey be careful with externalities” side.♥

As in, the plan is for the mining / skyscraping to stop once all the bitcoin has been “found”.

@Sandra Again, though, if the mining stops once no new Bitcoin can be minted, Bitcoin will collapse. The mining is necessary not just for minting new Bitcoin (that’s a reward) but for validating transactions.

@Sandra @aral This is an issue with Proof-of-Work, not an issue with blockchain as a whole.

I imagine it more like a concert audience hears the first few notes of a song and starts singing, but not everyone knows the lyrics (or recognizes the song). Whatever you can hear in the back, that becomes the "correct" lyrics.

The issue being of course that by now, half the audience members bring along their own PAs so they can sing louder, and each of them is bigger than the one on stage.

It does work for the most part but using brute-force as the default can't be right.

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