7 items tagged “bitcoin”
One could never price a thirty year mortgage in bitcoin because its volatility makes it completely unpredictable and no sensible bank could calculate the risk of covering that debt. A world in which Elon Musk can tweet two emojis and your home depreciates 80% in value is a dystopia.
In 2015, the men controlling 80% of Bitcoin mining stood on stage together at a conference. Three or four entities have run Bitcoin mining since then. The only thing preventing miner misbehaviour is wanting to avoid spooking the suckers — it’s completely trust-based. Bitcoin now uses a country’s worth of electricity for no actual reason. You could do the transactions on a 2007 iPhone.
Over the past several months, everyone in the industry who provides any kind of free CPU resources has been dealing with a massive outbreak of abuse for cryptocurrency mining. The industry has been setting up informal working groups to pool knowledge of mitigations, communicate when our platforms are being leveraged against one another, and cumulatively wasting thousands of hours of engineering time implementing measures to deal with this abuse, and responding as attackers find new ways to circumvent them.
It’s probably a bad idea to risk paying your ransom, though — the US Treasury Dept has issued clarifying guidance that companies paying off ransomware, and all companies facilitating the payment, can be charged with sanctions violations if the bitcoins end up at North Korea or sanctioned cybercrime groups.
Every bitcoin proof-of-work mined is an incremental addition to a vast distributed summoning ritual powering the demon-soul at the heart of the maze, the computational equivalent of a Buddhist prayer wheel spinning in a Himalayan breeze.
In one case this winter, miners from China landed their private jet at the local airport, drove a rental car to the visitor center at the Rocky Reach Dam, just north of Wenatchee, and, according to Chelan County PUD officials, politely asked to see the “dam master because we want to buy some electricity.”
Consider Bitcoin a grand middle finger. It’s a prank, almost a parody of the global financial system, that turned into a bubble. “You plutocrats of Davos may think you control the global money supply,” the pranksters seem to say. “But humans will make an economy out of anything. Even this!”