In response to people against proof-of-work. September 16, 2021 on webb's site

I encourage people to open a dialogue about this stuff. I’m open to being wrong. If you have a response or post about this I’d love to see it. All I ask is that you disclose your stake in cryptocurrencies. You can contact me using the info on this site, but I would encourage you to make a post on my public inbox.

I have owned <100 dollars in cryptocurrencies. A vast minority of which was owned as a speculative asset ages ago. I am completely against the use of cryptocurrencies as a speculative asset. I think most cryptocurrencies suck.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion around proof-of-work and the environmental impact of it. I will not deny the fact that cryptocurrencies have led to a massive increase in demand of electricity, which contributes to negative environmental change. How much that is can depend wildly on where you look, and more research has to be done in this area, but from the data we have now it’s more than substantial. I share a common goal with many people against proof-of-work – I believe that we should take more action to reduce carbon emissions and improve the environment not only for us but for our children. The stats I see is that around one percent of the world’s electricity goes towards cryptocurrency. That’s a lot!

There are many actions people are taking. Cryptocurrency projects are popping up to address the electricity usage of traditional proof-of-work systems. Many people are protesting and boycotting cryptocurrency. I think both of these approaches have their merits but fails to address the core cause of the problem. And most importantly won’t stop people from using proof-of-work currencies. The bubbles in many assets are extremely lucrative.

A technology like proof-of-work and cryptocurrency was an inevitability. It’s a new technology that benefits people (whether grifter or normal person) that’s decentralized enough to be nearly impossible to get rid of. In order to get out of this situation the solution can’t be to get rid of cryptocurrency, that’s not going to happen. Maybe people can make a dent, but it will always exist and all we’re doing is denying important tools to people who might need it.

So how do we solve this problem? The core of the problem here is that we use non-carbon neutral electricity. To solve the problem of cryptocurrency and the environment, we need to fix this core problem. I think that we have a better shot at preserving the planet if we start encouraging governments to migrate more electricity to carbon-neutral production methods. A huge plus of this is that we already have a head start. Many countries are already making great progress all over world. Since production methods like nuclear are cheaper in the long-term miners would be encouraged to switch to places that provide this electricity.

Not only does this solve the problem of proof-of-work’s hunger for power, it solves the problem of all of our electricity consumption. We wouldn’t be denying tools that are immensely useful to many people either. We’d only be throwing out the bathwater.