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The world is slowly, but very surely, turning its attention to climate change, and to the human activities that are having the largest impact. The recent U.N. General Assembly on Climate Change broached these topics in detail, looking at how politics, economy and human activity need to change in order to limit the damage being done to the environment. 

While industries such as oil and fashion leave a prominent carbon footprint that is difficult to reduce, that should not deter others, such as the tech industry, from finding solutions that limit their impact. It is pointless for industries to claim that they are veering away from older, flawed paradigms if they continue to make the same mistakes, such as failing to incorporate sustainability and fair access from the very beginning of a project. This is where emerging technologies have the opportunity to change the game. 

Technology has the potential to address many of the issues plaguing humanity, including climate change and environmental degradation. As technologies continue to evolve, however, sustainability is not always a top priority when it comes to their ongoing development. This must change, and quickly, if the sustainable future we dream of is to be achieved.

As with most technologies, blockchain in its current iteration has a number of major weaknesses when it comes to functioning in a sustainable manner. This is perhaps most evident in the mining of cryptocurrencies, and particularly in the case of Bitcoin (BTC) and the vast amounts of energy required to mine it.

Studies show that, across the network, mining Bitcoin requires between 52.9 and 73.12 TWh of electricity a year — an amount on par with the annual energy consumption of Austria. This has massive implications for climate change, of course. But for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that all this energy is coming from low or zero-emission sources like hydro or nuclear; and yet, the need for so much power still creates other systemic issues that cannot be ignored. 

It presents an enormous barrier to entry, for one thing. Small miners are often unable to afford the high costs associated with this amount of energy use, not to mention the exorbitant prices of high-end mining rigs capable of running the Bitcoin network, meaning they are priced out of the activity from the get-go. This has led to the need for economies of scale and the emergence of mining pools. That is, a wave of centralization that is contrary to the ethos that underpins blockchain technology as envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Tech, and especially emerging tech such as blockchain, has the opportunity to take an alternate approach to its own development. The innovators of yore were starting from the ground floor, unable to visualize the potential long-term impact of their inventions. But today’s innovators have the advantage of centuries of hindsight. We have all seen the cost –– in both capital and lost productivity –– required to upgrade outdated, wasteful technological infrastructure. Though there will surely be future advances that we can’t even begin to imagine, incorporating sustainable methods from the beginning will make this process less painful in the long run. 

When speaking about power in the context of technology, literal power in the form of energy is of course paramount. But there are also more nebulous kinds of power, such as those that arise from accessibility. As discussed in my previous article, blockchain has the potential to give power back to the people. But that can only be the case if it’s accessible to as many people as possible.

With this in mind, those developing new blockchain projects need to do some soul searching and decide, from the outset, exactly what sort of project they want theirs to be. If they find that they want it to be truly decentralized, available to everyone regardless of economic background, then they need to choose consensus mechanisms and platform architectures that enable this — as opposed to energy-intensive operations like proof-of-work that favor the already wealthy and promote centralization. 

Proof-of-stake, the preeminent alternative to proof-of-work, solves the energy problem, but creates a new barrier to entry and new sources of centralization. One still has to buy into the system in order to participate, and — by design — those who have invested more have a higher probability of reaping rewards. The mechanisms driving centralization and inaccessibility in this case may be different, but the outcome is similar.

This is why I believe that proof-of-space-time, a protocol which utilizes unused disk space on ordinary desktop PCs to run the network, holds so much promise. It’s permissionless like PoW but uses only a fraction of the energy needed for such. It achieves this by having network participants commit free disk space on their hard-drives and creates a blockmesh as opposed to a blockchain. 

Ultimately, by developing technologies in a more sustainable and egalitarian manner, movers in the industry can actively take part in shaping a society where the environment is respected and there is no restriction in the power of access to newer technologies or better models. By shaping blockchain technology differently, we have the chance to not only build a tech that does not have such a burdensome effect on the environment, but which also gives everyone the power to access it and impact its future, bringing it back to its democratic roots. 

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Tomer Afek is the CEO and co-founder of Spacemesh, a fair and distributed blockmesh operating system powered by a unique proof-of-space-time consensus protocol. A serial entrepreneur, Tomer has more than 20 years of experience across the tech, digital and finance industries, having co-founded and held C-level roles with ShowBox, ConvertMedia and Sanctum Inc. With Spacemesh, Tomer is on a mission to build the fairest possible decentralized economic infrastructure.

Cointelegraph By Tomer Afek , 2019-11-09 11:00:00 ,
https://cointelegraph.com/news/the-power-in-energy-and-how-new-technologies-can-shift-it
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While Bitcoin’s price seemingly moves without rhyme or reason — collapsing by dozens of percent and embarking on face-melting rallies on a whim — the cryptocurrency market is filled to the brim with fractals.

Related Reading: Analyst: Bitcoin Price Likely to Fall to Low-$8,000s as Chart Remains Weak

A brief aside: A fractal, in the context of technical analysis and financial markets anyway, is when an asset’s price action is seen during a different time. This form of analysis isn’t that popular, but it has proven to be somewhat valuable in analyzing Bitcoin.

One recent fractal popularized by a well-known cryptocurrency trader is implying that BTC is going to return to the low-$7,000s in the coming days.

Bitcoin Fractal Implies Retracement to Low-$7,000s

A well-known crypto trader going by “Tyler Durden” on Twitter recently posted the chart below, which shows that a Bitcoin price fractal may be playing out. The fractal has four phases: horizontal consolidation marked by one fakeout, a surge above the consolidation phase, a distribution, then a strong drop to fresh lows.

If the fractal plays out in full, BTC could reach the low-$7,000s again, potentially as low as $7,100. This would represent a 20-odd percent collapse from the current price point of $8,800.

It isn’t only a fractal that is hinting Bitcoin has the potential to visit its lows. As we reported on Saturday, Bloomberg believes that if the GTI Vera Convergence Divergence Indicator flips red, a downtrend could push the cryptocurrency back to $7,300.

Related Reading: Stephen Colbert Pokes Fun at Bitcoin in Monologue: Mainstream Gone Wrong?

Can Bulls Step In?

But again, many believe it is irrational to have such bearish interpretations of the cryptocurrency’s chart at the moment. As reported by NewsBTC earlier, Popular crypto trader Mayne recently noted that the “people waiting for $6,000” are irrational. He quipped that Bitcoin retracing and consolidating after its fourth-biggest bull move in history ($7,300 to $10,500, a 42% gain) is perfectly par for the course, but noted that it’s totally possible we can go lower from $8,800.

The medium-term technicals support this.

Trader and CoinTelegraph contributor FilbFilb found that by the end of November or start of December, the 50-week and 100-week moving averages will see a “golden cross,” which he claims is far more significant” for the Bitcoin market that other technical crosses.

Also, a Bitcoin price model created using Facebook Prophet machine learning found that the leading cryptocurrency is likely to end the year at just over $12,000. What’s notable about this model is that it called the price drop to $8,000 months in advance, and forecasted a ~$7,500 price bottom for BTC.

To put a cherry on the cryptocurrency cake, Crypto Thies observed that when Bitcoin bottomed at $7,300, it bounced decisively off the 0.618 Fibonacci Retracement of the move from $3,000 to $14,000, which correlates with the two-week volume-weighted moving average. He added that summer 2019’s consolidation was marked by Bitcoin flipping major resistances into support levels, implying that a bullish reversal and subsequent continuation is likely possible in the coming weeks.

Featured Image from Shutterstock


Nick Chong , 2019-11-10 12:00:38

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