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Energy cost of mining crypto more than the cost of mining precious metals

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Energy cost of 'mining' bitcoin more than twice that of copper or gold (via The Guardian)

Article based on the following research: Quantification of energy and carbon costs for mining cryptocurrencies (note: URL so long because of entitlements- if you remove part of the URL, you will only get a preview)

One dollar’s worth of bitcoin takes about 17 megajoules of energy to mine, according to researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, compared with four, five and seven megajoules for copper, gold and platinum.

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I've been sort of on the fence in regards to this whole cryptocurrency movement, and haven't gotten involved out of mostly impetus to do so.  I've thought that the other arguments against it were spurious, however.  But this...  I don't see how you come back from this if true.  I didn't look deeply into the methodology behind the findings, however.

Any thoughts?



The problem will probably be ignored, because it is too big to understand.

Stoic Joker:
TBH I don't have time at the moment to even skim the articles, but just a first impression - knee jerk reaction - to the titles:

Cost to start a Bitcoin mining operations is about $500 for equipment, and ~$100 a month for electricity.
Time effort put into the mining process: Pick a pool and done, so none really.

Cost to start precious mining operation is well into the 6 figure mark just for the equipment.
Time and effort put into mining operation: All consuming + payroll for staff to run equipment.

And either way the chance of a big payoff is a total crap shoot.

Mining for new BitCoin (not trading in existing BitCoin) is expensive in every way. Yes, you can put up a simple 500 USD system and start mining with it, but don't expect to find new BitCoin any time soon. BitCoin is notoriously inefficient to "mine" and this is by design. More or less all the "low hanging fruit" has already been picked.

A system that gives you a reasonable shot at gaining new BitCoin is going to cost you. You still need many GPUs, preferably a motherboard with enough PCI lanes to properly support these GPUs, a processor that can support those lanes as well, a power supply that can support this setup, a case that allows for all this equipment to be mounted in and you will be needing an airconditioned room to put this contraption in. Several thousands of USD such a system will cost you. Still nothing compared with actual mining equipment.

Depending on your geographical location and your power source, you will keep spending a varying amount for the monthly electricity bill. Here in Paraguay, which has hydro source of electricity (and a shitty grid in most of the country), such a system would easily cost you around 300 USD a month (with the current exchange rate). Electricity is quite cheap here.

Even with a rig like that, getting new BitCoin will take quite some time. And with the wildly varying value of BitCoin, it could either be very profitable or a big loss leader for you. Might as well buy a lottery ticket. A lot less effort on your end, admittedly a lot less chance of getting lucky, but the payout can be massive. The environment will appreciate the lottery route more.


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