Home / Crypto Currency / Op-Ed | Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Consume Significantly Less Resources than Fiat Money

Op-Ed | Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Consume Significantly Less Resources than Fiat Money


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Earlier this week, I wrote on social media that it costs significantly less energy to produce cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum. The responses were, “that’s not true, once fiat money is created, no additional energy is required.”

Perhaps a better way to phrase the statement was to replace energy with resources, as fiat currencies do require significantly more resources than cryptocurrencies.

Myth

Currently, the vast majority of people are comparing bitcoin’s electricity consumption to the production of paper money at central banks like the Federal Reserve, dismissing manual labor, energy, and electricity required to distribute and transfer money.

Fiat requires commercial banks, central banks, ATMs, armored cars, hundreds of thousands of employees, among other things to work. The central bank, in this case the FED, does not magically distribute the US dollar to every person in the country at their doorstep. The FED distributes its US dollar to banks and its friends, who then distribute money with the hopes of trickling down the US dollar to the bottom of the economy.

Cash requires a truly massive infrastructure to function. In the US alone, there are more than 6,000 banks that process cash transactions. Most people no longer uses cash in its physical form to transact. They rely on third party service providers and banks like JPMorgan, Visa, and MasterCard to process payments. The amount of resources and energy these companies and their hundreds of thousands of employees consume should be included in the comparison between the energy consumption of bitcoin against banks.

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer financial network and due its decentralized nature, no third party is required to transact. Alice can send Bob $100 by broadcasting the transaction to the mempool, which is than picked up by miners to process. In return, miners are incentivized by receiving bitcoin and transaction fees included in the block.

Hence, while it may be accurate to claim it requires more electricity to mine cryptocurrency, it is false to claim that to create or generate bitcoin, more resources are required than to create cash or paper money, as the majority of the energy used by the miners is attributable to confirming and validating transactions, which most of the banks do globally.

Improvement

bitcoin mining farm
Bitcoin Mining Farm

John Lilic, member at Ethereum blockchain development studio ConsenSys, stated that the cost per transaction is significantly higher with crypto and that is undoubtedly correct. Major banks like JPMorgan processes trillions of dollars on a daily basis. Lilic said that in the long-term, blockchain projects will have to find better ways to process transactions and information more efficiently.

“The per unit cost of each tx is significantly higher with crypto. Data centres banks use are much more efficient than mining operations & legacy systems process orders of magnitude more tx’s per day than crypto. We need specificity around the energy issue, not conjecture. The real question is whether the gross energy inefficiency costs in crypto is worth the benefits like custody over assets. My contention is Yes! It is worth it but only if our industry prioritizes & continues to work towards energy efficiency gains like Proof of Stake.”

As cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology mature, they will experiment with more efficient methods of consensus algorithms and mining methods that may decrease the energy output of cryptocurrencies in the long-term.

Images from Shutterstock

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FBI: “Call of Duty” Players Remotely Stole $3.3 Million in Cryptocurrencies

A group of “Call of Duty” players from Indiana are accused of stealing more than $3 million in cryptocurrencies after coercing an Illinois man to aid them in remotely hacking unsecured crypto wallets on more than 100 cell phones. Man Coerced Into Hack After SWATing Incident The episode began in Bloomington, Illinois, where a local man told the FBI he met the members of the would-be group of cybercriminals online playing Call of Duty. In the simulated warfare game, players are able to communicate with each other in real-time and with relative privacy. The group, based out of Dolton, Indiana, allegedly coerced the man from Bloomington into working for them using an intimidation tactic called “SWATing,” a nefarious, illegal, and dangerous phenomenon that has become increasingly popular in online gaming communities. SWATing is when police are called with a false report of a violent crime at someone’s home, which prompts a response from a SWAT team — oftentimes leading to door breaches, gunfire, and even the accidental deaths of unknowing victims. It’s often used as a decidedly dark method of payback, or, as in this case, to intimidate or threaten an individual. Afraid of further retaliation the man succumbed to the hacker’s requests, to which they handed over names, phone numbers, and other information that permitted him to remotely access the cell phones of their victims. According to the FBI affidavit, the man admitted to taking over the cell phones of more than 100 people. Once the group took over a phone, they were able to hack into a victim’s cryptocurrency account and drain their funds. The group is suspected of stealing at least $3.3 million in various cryptocurrency, including about $805,000 in Augur’s Reputation Tokens, according to the FBI. The suspects then allegedly moved stolen tokens through cryptocurrency networks, such as Ether or Bitcoin, to their own digital wallets. As of yet, the Chicago Sun-Times isn’t naming the suspects identified in the affidavit because they don’t appear to have been charged with any crimes. In an online interview the Bloomington man proclaimed his innocence — even going as far as to say that considers himself a victim: “I have done nothing but cooperate with Augur and the FBI,” he said. “I have never once profited from anyone [by] crypto-hacking, ever.” Crypto Thefts in First Half of 2018 Total Over $1.1 Billion According to recent study from cybersecurity firm Carbon Black, the total amount of cryptocurrency that has been stolen through cybercrime this year alone is over $1.1 billion — primarily through ransomware and exchange hacks. The firm’s report claims that many criminals are using the dark web to appropriate cryptocurrency from their victims, estimating that there are over 12,000 marketplaces with almost three times that number of crypto theft listings between them. Rick McElroy, security strategist at Carbon Black, spoke on the trend, noting how easy it is for cybercriminals to operate these days: “It’s surprising just how easy it is without any tech skill to commit cybercrimes like ransomware… It’s not always these large nefarious groups, it’s in anybody’s hands.” Part of the reason for this is the accessibility and user-friendliness of the tools of the trade. McElroy said that certain pieces of malware even come with customer service to aid would-be cybercriminals, adding that the malicious software costs an average of $224 but can be picked up for as little as $1.04. Many of the attacks against crypto users, companies, and exchanges originate from an organized group of criminals like those out of Indiana, however, McElroy says, they’re just as likely to be the product of a trained engineer who is out of work: “You have nations that are teaching coding, but there’s no jobs… It could just be two people in Romania needing to pay rent.” Image from Shutterstock The post FBI: “Call of Duty” Players Remotely Stole $3.3 Million in Cryptocurrencies appeared first on NewsBTC.

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