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rslade
Influencer I

Blockchain is causing female green sea turtles

When green sea turtles lay their eggs, the gender is not yet determined.

 

If the sand is above thirty degrees, celcius, the hatchlings turn out to be female.

 

If the sand is cooler than thirty degrees, the hatchlings turn out to be male.

 

Global warming is driving an imbalance in sea turtle gender.

 

Blockchain is driving global warming.

 

I used to say that Flash was causing global warming. I mean, when you went to a news media Website (and they used a lot of Flash to run videos, video ads, and animations) and you were using a MacBook or similar, you could actually see the battery life cut in half. Flash used a lot of power, and, multiplied by all the visitors to news Websites, it must have been a huge use of power resources.

 

However, now I think that blockchain is to blame.

 

First off, blockchain is not a thing. It's a collection of technologies. Part digital signature, part distributed database, and extremely variable in implementation.

 

It's also heavily tied to cryptocurrencies. Most of the cryptocurrencies use blockchain of some type. Part of the power drain is not actually blockchain's fault, since so many people are chasing the elusive lure of cryptocurrency "mining." To create a new cryptocurrency "coin," you have to find a number with certain cryptographic (and therefore numerical) characteristics. It takes a lot of computing power to find such numbers, particularly as the "easy" ones are found first, and the later ones get harder and harder to calculate.

 

But after the mining, it's all blockchain.

 

Part of the blockchain is digitally signing a transaction. There a little bit of a power drain there, every time you use part of a cryptocoin to buy a pizza. But that's minor. The thing is, the other part of blockchain is a distributed database. Everybody who is using a cryptocurrency is a portion of the distributed database. They don't just keep track of their own transactions, but also a certain proportion of all the transactions made with that cryptocurrency. So, even if you aren't buying silly things with your cryptocurrency, other people who are using the same cryptocurrency for trivial transactions are causing transactions to be recorded, and digitally signed, on your computer. And on thousands, or even millions, of other computers, all over the world. For each and every transaction. And, as they say, a few million milli-amp-hour milliseconds here, a few million milli-amp-hour milliseconds there, pretty soon it adds up to a real power drain.

 

We should be developing actual digital cash, if we want that, rather than this kludge of cryptocurrency that is backed up by a rather weak blockchain backstop.

 

Now, in addition to cryptocurrency, there are Non-Fungible Transactions, or NFTs. Cryptocurrency is based on a belief in the value of the scarcity of numbers with certain properties. NFTs are based on the belief that people will speculate on anything. Or even nothing. NFTs are pretty close to nothing. Some of them are possibly valid artworks. Others are simply based on the promise that they are the only one in the world. Since digital art can be endlessly copied, and the copies, to any generation you want, are completely identical to the original, the promise of singularity is attested by a digital signature. Backed up by a blockchain. And each time you trade or speculate on a Non-Fungible Transaction, all kinds of computers, all over the world, are adding their contribution to global warming.

 

The law of unintended consequences. Blockchain is causing female green sea turtles.


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1 Reply
ericgeater
Community Champion

Re: Blockchain is causing female green sea turtles

Technology companies really should be leading the way to use renewable energy.  If the smelters require consistent utility service from coal- or gas-powered plants, that's really a separate cross to bear.  But technology companies are more closely connected to the efficiencies made available by miniaturization and condensed infrastructures, than any other industry.  They're the ones who should be the drivers of a self-contained, self-sustained ecosystem.

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I've always said, "There's nothing an agnostic can't do if he really doesn't know whether he believes in anything or not."