PoW is Efficient – Dan Held

7 comments

  1. iwakan

    |Author

    I am unconvinced.

    In essence, his entire article hinges on the claim that PoW is the only adequate consensus mechanism, yet I fail to see any good evidence for why that is the case. It is true that PoW works very well in securing bitcoin, however there are other up and coming mechanisms such as PoS that the article mentions but in my opinion fails to discount. PoS is not as simple and elegant as PoW, it can’t be because it tries to avoid precisely what makes it simple: relying on consumption which is inherently hard to fake. But more and more of its shortcomings such as the nothing-at-stake problem is being addressed and we’re nearing an implementation that is very sound and robust both from a technological and game-theory perspective.

    If a cryptocurrency can be properly secured in a different way that doesn’t expend energy, such as PoS, then PoW is indeed wasteful. If two solutions that accomplish same thing, with one using a ton of energy, and the other using none, then the former is inefficient by definition. At one point he talks about how mining will get more and more efficient because of economic incentives, well in my mind the end-goal of that would be to scrap PoW altogether because that is the ultimate efficiency and thus economic incentive.

    He goes through a few points that can help with the efficiency of PoW such as its incentivisation to build out energy efficient plants by acting as arbitrage of power prices, but this can at most mitigate the waste, not eliminate it. He also talks about the far future when we have abundant clean energy via fusion plants etc, but this is frankly irrelevant, because the main point of trying to eliminate energy waste is to mitigate climate change, and that is *urgent*. In fact it’s probably even too late, but we could probably at least avoid total extinction if we pull our act together pretty fast. And the bitcoin network is not helping with that.

  2. xtal_00

    |Author

    Remember, there’s one thing you buy with BTC that you can only buy with BTC and nothing else – access to the Bitcoin blockchain, secured by all that real-world computational power. 50 quintillion hashes per second worth.

    How much is that access worth to you?

    What might that enable in the future?

    Do you understand the signifgance of that unstoppable distributed trust framework?

    Bitcoin is something new. Something new in a space where nothing fundamentally new has happened in a very, very long time.

    Hodl. These are very early times. Archie early. Gopher hasn’t even happened yet.

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