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    • Came across an article in Fortune about a startup Coinmine that is coming out with this beautiful coin mining device. Even though it is too underpowered to mine Bitcoin, it can currently mine other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Monero and Zcash.

      Given the steady decline in the cryptocurrency over the last few months is there a market for a $799 device like this? What about the fact that it only runs on a proprietary "MineOS" (Coinmine), and that it takes the 5% cut?

      If you are into crypto mining, do you care about aesthetics? Or low power consumption?

    • I went ahead and read this to understand what “crypto mining” meant.

      As I understand it, you are entering a market where every four years the value of your mining is halved. And where the competition is constantly increasing their computing power: in four years, it went from desktop PCs to $500 ASIC chips. And where computer farms or “pools” currently have 80% of the bitcoin market.

      Unless there’s something special about these alternative markets, buying this machine as an investment doesn’t pass the sniff test.

      Back when I lived in New York, the radio stations would have commercials to get you to buy your own vending machines that you could set up anywhere and fill with whatever drinks you wanted to sell.

      The catch? All of the best locations were already taken by the companies that were in this space (Pepsi, Coke).

      On the plus side, this pretty machine will fit in your trash can. Unlike a vending machine.

    • I semi-seriously dabbled in cryptocurrency last year — on the speculation side, not the mining side — and through blind luck managed to make some money off it, but I ended up selling all my holdings after coming to two conclusions:

      First, cryptocurrencies are an absolute nightmare for the environment.

      Mining a cryptocurrency is essentially trading electricity and time in return for a digital number that's hopefully slightly more valuable than the expense of the electricity and time required to generate it. But there's a huge invisible deferred cost that individual miners don't pay, and that's the long-term environmental impact of widespread cryptocurrency mining.

      That's an incurred debt against the future of the planet, which will be paid by future generations. Any value derived from it now is essentially value derived by stealing life from future humans. I just can't get comfortable with that.

      Second, even during my brief time casually dabbling in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, it became abundantly obvious that the cryptocurrency markets were being heavily manipulated by large-scale pump and dump operations, and that the markets in general were just rife with scams.

      It felt like what I imagine it would have felt like to invest in the stock market before there were any financial regulations. Scammers and schemes everywhere, and lots of little people getting hurt. I didn't want to be a part of it.

    • I've seen a lot of articles on pro-cryptocurrency sites making those exact same flawed arguments. I'll break the arguments down one by one.

      1. What matters isn't how much electricity cryptocurrency mining uses, it's where that electricity comes from.

      This argument is based on the premise that electricity usage isn't inherently bad, because it's possible for electricity to be generated cleanly via solar, wind, or hydro power. The basis of this argument is that cryptocurrency miners could be using clean power, so they might not be hurting the environment.

      Cryptocurrency miners need cheap power in order to maximize the return on their investment. That's a strong monetary incentive. But there's no monetary incentive for using environmentally friendly power, and cheap power may or may not be environmentally friendly.

      For this argument to be taken seriously, it needs to be backed up by data demonstrating that miners are actually showing a preference for environmentally friendly electricity. Without numbers, it's a red herring that fails a simple logic test.

      2. The banking industry uses more electricity than cryptocurrency mining.

      Even if we assume this to be true (which is a stretch, because it relies on a lot of assumptions about what exactly "banking" is and how the numbers are calculated), it doesn't matter. The environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining isn't lessened by the existence of a larger environmental impact attributable to another source.

      This argument is like saying "airplanes generate more CO2 than cars, therefore cars aren't hurting the environment."

      3. We don't have adequate data to support the claim that cryptocurrency mining hurts the environment.

      "Adequate" is a weasel word. The truth is we absolutely do have data to support the claim that cryptocurrency mining hurts the environment. Whether or not any given person considers this data adequate is subjective.

    You've been invited!