Ecology and Bitcoin : match made in heaven

This is part 1

Intro

I’m a bit of an anomaly. The kind of people who brand themselves green, want to be active in the struggle for a better future, but at the same time see the potential for bitcoin.

I’m also a long-time bitcoin enthousiast, ca. juli 2010, I write long-reads on substack and am not part of a company, lobby-group or political party. So you know.

I might be a rare breed. Most people are programmed, or nudged, to not even consider this as a possibility. Bitcoin equals being a polluter, for them, and people who are concerned about the environment, most likely don’t want anything to do with bitcoin. That’s the way we’re supposed to think. That’s also easy for everyone. The media can brand you a polluter at any time. It’s easy: as soon as you do anything to progress yourself or the world, you are in fact polluting. Unless you’re one of their own crew. The untouchables. They pollute as well, but you can’t say that.

Most people’s opinions are usually formed by the first impressions they get on the news or so. These impressions were usually from that same main stream media outlet that declared bitcoin dead over 40 times, or further back in time, when they stated that the Internet was a fad, that would never do much more than display text or “indecent pictures’“ on a screen.

By 2021 we should all know better than the stick with the very first thing we hear about something. Certainly about technology. But apparently, somewhere along the line in history, we lost our curiosity.

Imagine being a colonist, during the Wild West era, enjoying yourself in a saloon with your buddies, playing cards.
All of a sudden, a young man runs into the saloon yelling
“I think I found gold, bits and piece of gold in the river!”
There’s no way that the settler would have taken a newspaper from the table, and point at the title on the front page saying “This so-called “gold” is nothing but a dirty yellow metal that makes you very ill.” Which would be the Wild West equivalent of what we do these days by being so bad at checking sources.
As it turns out, such a newspaper article could have been written and printed by the same town banker that wanted to secure the best gold mines for himself first.

goldminer town
There’s gold in them hills

Luckily for them, in the Wild West, people were still curious enough to check things out for themselves.
They would seek out new places to farm, to harvest, hunt (and unfortunately kill) and took as much resources as they could, by digging, investigating and searching.

The more technology we seem to have, the less we the average people like to investigate, poke around or at least ask questions. It’s even worse, when people actually ask questions, they’re usually not meant to learn something new, but to seek confirmation of the same things they’ve already have stuck into their heads.

The cowboys and saloon patrons, would at least go look and check if that young man was right. It has, let’s say, a lot of upside, to do so. When they would indeed find nuggets of gold, after inspecting the nearby river, a check would be made to see if the gold was genuine and all would benefit.
Modern “cowboys”, on the other hand would wait until the newspaper confirms their initial bias, which was that gold is dirty and smells. A news headline would soon establish their bias: “Gold found in rivers was fake, … said a local banker (and owner of the grounds it was found on).”
”You see,… we were right to not go and look for that dirty gold after all”.
They would keep reading their newspaper, pay the barkeep and be none the wiser.

Our modern-day cowboys venture on the internet, do Tik-Tok dances and get into real-estate, stocks, crypto and the occasional buying of precious metals.

The bitcoin investors among them especially, are mostly ridiculed by the large majority of the people, who only get in spending fiat money when they hear about it on TV. Bitcoin holders went from being looked at as weird nerds, to kind of cool, to rotten bastards for most people, usually proportional to their accumulation of wealth.

These normies usually tend to get scared out of their investment quiet easily. An investment they usually made when they expected a “pump” to the moon a few hours even after they’ve bought in. Which it never does.

When the prices are low, they sell, because their scared money is a bit too much to explain to their partners. They sell at the bottom, when everyone they know is in the red as well, including their hairdresser and neighbor.

Buy high, sell low. The same method they have in buying stocks, they repeat in bitcoin (or crypto, whatever you fancy). And that’s probably what they’ll soon do with their totally overprices houses, I’m sure their discontent with bitcoin holders will only rise with every hit they take in the so-called real economy. That real economy transformed to a semi plan-economy while they were watching Friends, Game of Thrones or sports on TV.

“Demon” electricity

The ‘specialists’ you often hear spewing their same tired 2015-rhetoric in the media, are often an echo chamber for clever PR-companies, with websites specifically created for the purpose of propaganda against bitcoin in specific.
The average Joe might not see the purpose of bitcoin (other than paying a ransomware-scammer which infected their seven year old computer), the Central banks and big financial firms do know what’s up. They know what’s at stake here as well. And soon, we’ll see even more budget being poured into this war of currencies. Where fiat vs bitcoin will be the main battle, in a war about pure power over monetary policy, and ultimately about world-governance.

To see where we’re up against: an example of such a PR-website is “Digiconomist” (by A. De Vries. A person that set up a data analytics function at the Dutch Central Bank and is functioning as a spokesman or consultant for this same Central bank. The websites highlight a few aspects that are either wrong, sound good, or are only half the story. The old trope of “electricity use is bad” … doesn’t need much explanation and was fairly thoroughly debunked many times over, mostly by Nic Carter and a few other notable bitcoiners.

As electricity-use is demonized for some purposes and at the same time not even mentioned for another purposes, you have to ask yourself why they do that.

You can also make the equally stupid case of demonizing water use.
Water is most of the times polluted whenever we use it for any industrial purposes, especially in the textile industry. Also washing machines are polluting the oceans, with micro-plastics from our cheap fast-fashion clothes. So… àll water use is bad. When you take a shower, when you take a swim in local swimming pool or when you wash your car: it’s all destroying the environment so we can conclude that water use, especially washing machines; so let’s ban them all!

You don’t hear that sort of generalizations about water at all.
The nuance in the electricity debate is gone. The main purpose of all these PR-companies is of course to magnify one specific aspect of bitcoin mining that makes bitcoin secure and have actual real purpose: Proof Of Work (PoW).
When PoW models would be hit, they could potentially undermine (no pun intended) bitcoin for real, something the Central bank planners failed to do up to now.

The PoW model of course, just like producing something in a factory, consumes electricity. When their narrative equally demonizes the PoW model ànd the use of electricity (bad power plants etc..) they hit a sore spot on the bitcoin narrative.

Of course we can’t deny that a portion of Chinese industry in general isn’t exactly “planet friendly” to say the least. Producers of industrial foam for example, pour millions of tons of banned CFCs in the atmosphere. In 2018–20 there was a mega-spike in their emissions, especially from the construction industry and “foam” producers.

But no one batted an eye. Yes, there were some reports (the BBC was one of the few outlets going big on this story back in 2018), while other countries didn’t see much of a

Not important for them, it’s not fitting their fiat vs. bitcoin battle. So the news-app scrolling apes we’ve all turned into don’t get to read it. And if we doe, it’s only a headline and a stock-picture of a physical bitcoin coin (oh, I hate these).

Purely looking at this from a green-perspective, it’s disgusting that one sort of pollution is largely ignored, while another is magnified to downright cartoonish levels.

The burning of the Amazon rainforest, the 1.4 billion combustion engine cars on the road world wide, or the emissions from agriculture are all deemed “very useful” (even if we refuse to invest and research or experiment in other distribution models for basic goods, in order to avoid every senior citizen still having a to have a car to ride back and forth between their home and the supermarket for example). We have clean solutions ready! Things that can be modernized and used underground even. They were invented back in the 19th century and run without emissions (like the telpher systems created by Charles Van DePoele , There’s a RHoB epsiode about him).

old telpher systems
old telpher systems
Telpher systems can be modernized for underground distribution

But still, we’re stuck in the same old, tired, polluting fossil-fuel model, where we largely ignore the way we need to really change our way of life, the way our cities were build and the way our society interacts with resources they need.

At the same time, we’re largely pointing at the exact thing that can save us from this very lapsed system in the first place! We ignore that the very heart of this discussion is: how is our energy, effort and value REALLY measured and transacted? How has it become a short-time frame utility/consumer token (dollars, euro) and not a functional system for transfer and value storage?

Bitcoin wasn’t invented just for the lolz or memes, not for the moonbois and go-getters, not for geeks that want to have some fun, it was out of necessity. The financial system was collapsing during that time, the distribution and production chains were coming to a standstill even, and about 250$ billion was pulled from other funds to inject into the banking system, which was failing rapidly.

We desperately NEED something like bitcoin. And the very heart of this discussion is a power struggle between the war-mongering polluters and their top 20 families’ power/resource structure, and the rest of us: the Uber drivers, the McDonald’s employees, the 9-to-5 workers and average Joe who can’t even tell their kids to “work hard, save your money and buy a home” anymore,… because they soon won’t be able to do so. This is mainly related to the inflation and the “real” inflation (not the consumer price index’), the real inflation is what you see happen to markets like real-estate, second hand cars, land, art and bulk goods.

eurostat on housing
eurostat on housing
rents, house prices in Europe

At the same time the worst polluters, and downright industrial-level destroyers of our planet, are roaming free; building more cruise ships, and yachts while letting their TV channels say “bitcoin is very bad for the environment”.
The 0.04% emissions (probably less) from bitcoin, pale in comparison with the other emission sources: https://ourworldindata.org/emissions-by-sector

As an environmentalist, it’s highly maddening, not to say blood-boiling, to see the most blatant pollution getting a pass in the media and public opinion, while a system that actually can make green power (for example) more affordable, or preventing resource-wars, or getting average people their proper multi-generational value transfer, gets demonized.

People saw the Amazon rain forest burn for months…
but hey: “look, a bitcoin miner!”
The reasons to confront all of this from the Central banks, is not at all about the planet, they never gave two shits about the environment or climate.
Maybe they do now -it might be- under pressure, but still: I don’t see less deforestation, I don’t see less combustion engine cars on the road, and I certainly don’t breath any cleaner air in the place I live (Antwerp, Belgium). So I don’t buy it. I don’t see them change anything for real, in the really real world. (Their conferences might be fancy, as are their statistics).
The goal is clearly to hit bitcoin, in the fiat-vs-bitcoin wars.
The emissions are only used as gimmick, a trick to get the public to choose the “gold smells” approach, and to keep as many cowboys away from that river full of gold nuggets.

By the time this war is over, bitcoin will have risen in the ranking of green power source users. The bitcoin network does better than most countries already by the way.
The share of “evil” electricity the bitcoin miners use world wide, sits around 46–76 % depending on what stats you want to believe … many, many countries are far behind. With most vocal countries’ Central Banks (like the Netherlands) being the lower end of the spectrum.

Following their won logic: using Euros to pay for anything, should be banned, because the countries involved print these euros out of thin air, while using more than 65% of dirty, evil, rotten, environment-destroying electricity!
They would be better of using Bitcoin, which uses over 50% green energy!
(Also check: endthefud.org for more information and stats on bitcoin)

energy use
energy use
some more stats on energy expediture

Value

The 1% thinks multi-generational, facilitated by the same laws they helped construct (through their politicians), to get them to this advantage making them tower over to the plebs. A very rich person, can hardly nòt get even richer in this sort of world structure. No matter what they do, the money keeps flowing in, as their empires and resources make them invulnerable.

The average people can have this sort of advantage as well, a small, very small step up, maybe even an equalizer, in the form of Bitcoin.
The younger generation of the 1% gets that.

They’ll do anything in their power to prevent it from happening. Even if that means, getting really dodgy rhetoric about “green power” in their narrative, while totally ignoring that very same green issue whenever a new INEOS plastic shale gas factory needs to be build in Europe. (I guess these factories, which created plastic nurdles by the billion tons a year, are probably very clean and a total positive for the world — compared to some data centers near a hydro powerplant mining and securing a network).
The main battle for them, is to get as many people as possible away from the gold mine, the bitcoin, the value transfer and the means to take your financial well-being and capital in your own hands (or in your own head, actually :).

Imagine… a few billion people who all of a sudden can upgrade themselves from expendable work-drones to something better?
The powers that be, really, really can’t have that.
Not until the robots can replace us all.

(end part 1)

deadeyes

Ik schrijf kortverhalen, technische info, verhalen en opinies over economie, maatschappij en het elven in Antwerpen.