@aral One of the ironies of the blockchain bro approach to everything is that they want centralization via a single source of truth. They just want some kind of algorithmic consensus to arrive there. The real world isn't like that, we constantly navigate multiple conflicting truths. The desire to reduce this to a single one is understandable, but not only the epitome of centralization, it's also doomed to fail at modelling how people (want to) interact.
@aral Conflicting truths are unpleasant, they create cognitive dissonance. You can escape that by either rejecting some inputs, or by looking towards a meta-truth that leaves room for both.
Raising kids, you first need to tell them a single truth (you are the source) - they need to learn to keep their imagination that they're e.g. fireproof apart from the reality that contains the hot stove. When they grow older, they take on conflicting truths. Your job then is to give them the tools to...
@aral ... resolve cognitive dissonance as above. Your job is no longer to tell them which truth to choose. When they choose meta-truth that leaves room for opposing facts, they will come to the conclusion, like Descartes, that they know nothing.
Few people do purely that. It's hard to live by.
But IMHO there's a case to be made that a mature/adult mind is at least aware that this is occasionally the necessary path forward. I can reject something for myself, but if someone else does not, it...
@aral ... would be arrogant to assume I know better than them (some of the time, maybe, but not all the time).
Again, *only* living with having to balance conflicting truths is near-impossibly exhausting. I get not wanting that.
But at the opposite end of that spectrum there's a mind that is comfortable only with unambiguous, single truths. That strikes me as fundamentally immature.
It's kind of shocking that it's the kind of system that permits only this that blockchains try to produce.
Unless they explicitly permit diverging branches, they're looking to create single sources of truth.
Some chains do permit diverging branches. All of the ones I've seen do that preach about eventual consistency - they treat divergence as an optimization mechanism that will accelerate localized consensus, which then should get eventually merged into global consensus.
The direction is still the same, even if the means are a bit different.
@Upjohn94 @aral Each database is a relatively static group consensus of truth. It's good that they can exchange information and modify each other, but it's far from adequate for modelling people concerns.
When you've arrived at the level of flexibility where each individual is represented by its own database, and they can dip in and out of multiple overlapping and conflicting ad hoc consensus groups, you'll get closer to something that reflects how people actually interact.
@Upjohn94 @aral At that point, though, if you want to keep up with some kind of verified ancestry for each data point, you're far away from a block chain, and you're also far away from a DAG. You'll have an undirected, possibly cyclic graph. And consensus making is a completely local decision with no necessary global effect.
At that point, you can do away with so much of what makes a blockchain a blockchain, you might as well give up on it and call it something else entirely.
Mostly, no one knows what #Bitcoin 's footprint is. There's no way to determine that from energy usage. Electrical energy comes in a range of footprints, even negative ones. If we can get mining to go where footprints are lowest, perhaps even stimulate development of new sources like that, it's impact could be positive.
Also, getting rid of the petrodollar should happen yesterday.
@stevenroose @aral the argument I've seen against that is simply that even if bitcoin mining moves to lower energy sources, it is using up those resources, and they stop something else moving. so no net gain... they could stimulate more, but at the moment, people are reopening coal stations instead...
@glynmoody @aral I'd be curious to see hear of who is reopening coal stations..
About that argument, that never really holds. A ton of either produced energy can't find a user or potentially freely produced energy is not produced because uncertainty of finding a user.
Bitcoin Mining helps projects building, mostly renewable (because lowest marginal cost), energy production because they are a reliable buyer of the energy.
@glynmoody @aral People easily forget that electrical energy isn't very transportable. It's not so that a kWh used for #Bitcoin mining somewhere, could have instead been put on the consumer market to lower its energy price (or footprint). This is very often not the case. In fact, energy is cheapest exactly where that is not the case. And since mining is so mobile, it will naturally move to those places.
That are remote renewables like hydro, wind, geothermal; or abandoned industrial sites.
I never understand how this sounds like a valid argument to people, that "energy is hard to transport so you might as well use it for a blockchain".
Such energy sounds like THE perfect place to host our websites, our servers and anything else that could use the energy and is connected to the internet - instead, the green energy immediately gets swallowed by the energy hungry cryptominers.
If the crypto community truly cared about their footprint, they'd give everyone else a chance to use the energy AND THEN use it if unclaimed.
@bram @glynmoody @aral Datacenters need a lot more maintenance than mining. So you probably don't want to build your datacenter in some remote mountain next to a hydro plant. Also, #Bitcoin mining barely needs bandwidth. It can be done over a satellite link. No datacenter can.
It's a fact that a vast share of all electricity generated is wasted. Sure, perhaps some other use-case could also tap that resource. Doubt if it'd be more useful than stateless money, but that's subjective, sure.
@bram @glynmoody @aral
No matter your opinion, #Bitcoin is an important development. If you study the history of monies, humans have been using hard monies for thousands of years, from shells to stones to gold. Until we stopped doing so 50 years ago. Bitcoin is a form of hard money that's digital and it's the only of its kind.
So whether it turns out useful on the long run or not, it'll always be an important part of history.
And to be fair, it can't be much worse than what we have today. IMHO.
@stevenroose @glynmoody @aral The development of cryptocurrency is as important as Floridian real estate in the 1920s.
Money today works exactly the same way. It’s just markings in the ledger of a bank. e.g., Banks basically create money out of thin air any time they lend you some.
A good/accessible read on all this is anything by Yanis Varoufakis.
Datacenters wouldn't work if you try to centralize your service, like with Google, Facebook or even a *cough* blockchain. (Yes, blockchains aren't decentralised. Look up the CAP theorem.)
Remote power plants are usually meant for remote locations. The datacenters could easily be used for remote IPFS, Matrix, XMPP, Mastodon and other decentralised services so that those economies barely suffer from a poor connection.
@bram @glynmoody @aral I don't understand your argument I think. Are you saying the remote datacenter could power the remote community's digital needs? You really barely need electricity for that though. A bunch of servers really don't use thst much energy. And remote places are called remote usually because of the lack of community 😅
@bram @glynmoody @aral
About blockchains not being decentralized. #Bitcoin isn't a blockchain. It's a protocol for people to build one. Sure, it's not fully p2p like what a digital hawala could look like, but it serves a different purpose. It serves as a hard money. And it's valuable in providing a digital hard money. Many p2p debt-based economies had hard monies on the side. Graeber's debt actually points that out in the sections on "human economies".
A digital hawala would be very cool, sure!
Another better use of surplus green energy is producing green hydrogen. That's something that we really need (in contrast to crypto).
And a problem for both hydrogen production and crypto mining is that the hardware is expensive.
It's hard/impossible to make the plant cost-efficient when it's only producing while green energy is excessive.
@clacke @aral @glynmoody @JuleLe Again, you don't seem to have watched the documentary.
Since always, money has required energy to create, for good reasons. Because if it doesn't, it's not money. The "money" we use today isn't real money and the only reason we use it is because governments force us to with violence.
Think about people digging gold that could do other work or crafting shell necklaces or searching for glass beads. Their energy isn't wasted, it's necessary to have a working money.
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