The scandal of mining currency with energy we don’t have

Published by marco on

From the article New botnet infects cryptocurrency mining computers, replaces wallet address by Dan Goodin (Ars Technica)

“Records show that the attacker-controlled wallet has already cashed out slightly more than 1 Etherium coin.[1] The coin was valued at as much as $1,300 when the transaction was made. At the time this post was being prepared, the records also showed that the attacker had a current balance of slightly more than 1 Etherium coin and was actively mining more, with a calculation power of about 2,100 million hashes per second. That’s roughly equivalent to the output of 85 computers each running a Radeon Rx 480 graphics card or 1,135 computers running a GeForce GTX 560M, based on figures provided here.”

A sane or at-all well-run society wouldn’t allow such a stupid waste of energy without a license. Why can any idiot with fake money waste so much power and heat to create more fake money in a currency that’s so volatile it yoyos up 2000% in a year and then plummets 50% in a month?

This is just a spectular waste of know-how, effort and energy that could be better expended elsewhere. Our stupid capitalist system encourages this kind of onanistic bullshit.

A thought experiment: what if this energy waste was a significant part of the energy budget of the Earth? Say 1%? What then? Would we regulate who gets to do this? The market-pricing doesn’t reflect the actual cost to the planet because the primitive measures imposed by our system simply don’t account for it. Pollution, environmental and ecological impact are all negligible side-effects absorbed for free by everyone while the thieves clean up.

From another article a few days later, In Iceland, bitcoin mining will soon use more energy than its residents by Cyrus Farivar (Ars Technica)

“We are spending tens or maybe hundreds of megawatts on producing something that has no tangible existence and no real use for humans outside the realm of financial speculation,“ Smári McCarthy, and Icelandic member of parliament told the AP. “That can’t be good.”
“Cryptocurrency mining requires almost no staff, very little in capital investments, and mostly leaves no taxes neither,” he wrote. “The value to Iceland / value-generated ratio is virtually zero. Closer to zero the higher the value of cryptocurrencies.”

This is absolute madness, a microcosm of the sickness affecting our society.

[1] From the same article:
“After gaining control of the coin-mining software, the malware replaces the wallet address the computer owner uses to collect newly minted currency with an address controlled by the attacker. From then on, the attacker receives all coins generated, and owners are none the wiser unless they take time to manually inspect their software configuration.”

So the mining computer was wasting all of that energy and a trojan funneled away all of the profits to someone else’s bank account. Nice.