Cryptocurrency: Energy - The True and Necessary Cost of Freedom vs Servitude

grarpamp grarpamp at
Sat Jul 3 19:29:04 PDT 2021

The Bitcoin Energy Debate Is One Of Freedom Versus Servitude

If you’re arguing against Bitcoin, then you’re in favour of serfdom

In the most recent edition The Crypto Capitalist Letter I cited
Elizabeth Warren’s comments in a senate banking committee meeting
where she said

    “Digital currency from central banks has great promise. Legitimate
digital public money could help drive out bogus digital private money,
bogus crypto currencies”

My remarks were that as a creature of the state she has it exactly
backwards. This is predictable. For years I’ve been saying that the
most oft-used criticisms against Bitcoin (backed by nothing, ponzi and
tulipmania) were more accurate descriptions of the US dollar, social
security, and meme stonks, in that order.

In TCC we spend a lot of time thinking about the coming bifurcation in
digital money: how Central Bank Digital Currencies will be the rails
for things like UBI and welfare dependency while crypto currencies
will be actual stores of wealth and capital formation. If there was
one distinctive feature that would enable one to tell the difference
between a “bogus” digital currency and a real one, it would be this:

If you can hold your private keys, it’s real. If you can’t, it’s bogus.

Precisely the opposite of how Warren is spinning it.

The exact phrase I used in this month’s issue was :

    “The era of private, cryptographically secured money is here, and
there’s not a damn thing any bureaucrat, any politician or any nation
state can do about it.”

That particular phrase “private, cryptographically secured money” is
important. If you do not fully understand the implications of that and
you unwittingly accept establishment arguments against  Bitcoin, then
you are tacitly ceding authority over your entire life, every
transaction, every decision, every interaction with the world at
large, to The State.

Warren also piled onto the energy argument, which seems to be the
latest unified front against the upstart non-state currency:

    “Cryptocurrency has created opportunities to scam investors,
assist criminals and worsen the climate crisis”

The energy argument fails on two fronts

There are two distinct rebuttals to this issue. One is by putting
Bitcoin energy usage into perspective and showing how the benefits
justify the costs. (Even the World Economic Forum recently published a
remarkably clueful paper saying that the arguments against Bitcoin
were mainly FUD and that the energy usage was worth it given the

The total electrical usage of all Bitcoin mining is approximately 110
TWh (Terra Watt hours) per year. It is estimated that as much as 20%
of all electrical energy produced is wasted. The Energy Information
Administration (EIA) puts it even higher, at 34%.

The total electrical energy usage of the world in 2018 was around
22,000 TWh and 20% of that would have been 4,400 TWh (at the higher
EIA figure it would be 7,480). Seen in that context, Bitcoin mining
uses somewhere between 2.5% and 1.4% of all wasted electrical energy.
It’s been written up by others how Bitcoin by its nature can be moved
toward sources of energy waste and thus covert otherwise lost energy
into real economic value. Great American Mining is already doing it
(and one of the companies we hold in our Crypto Capitalist Portfolio
is in a joint venture with them).

Another example of providing context is when people like Alex
Gladstein document how the US military empire is really a support
structure for the US dollar, and compared to that, Bitcoin has a
smaller carbon footprint and causes a lot less damage. Bitcoin is not
actively conducting drone assassinations in multiple foreign
countries. The petrodollar is.

The other approach to the energy usage criticism by people like Nic
Carter is the categorical rejection that any Bitcoiner is under any
obligation to explain or justify their energy usage. If Bitcoin and
cryptos have to rationalize their energy footprint, then that follows
for everything. From “Keeping Up with The Kardashians” to NASA, can
anybody truly rationalize their energy expenditure over the supposed
conservational benefits of that activity not occurring?
Energy as Authority

It’s this attack on individual rights to use private,
cryptographically secured money that I want to focus on in particular
because to even accept  that Bitcoin energy argument as valid, you are
tacitly accepting that some authority other than you has the ultimate
verdict over all energy usage including your own.

Isn’t watching (or being) the Kardashians an exercise in
self-absorption and triviality that glamorizes wealth inequality?

Should NASA really be concerning itself with space when we have so
much social justice to undertake here on Earth? We only have one
Earth. Don’t those rockets use a lot of fuel and deplete the ozone

There are already serious academics suggesting that we should
genetically engineer humans to be less harmful to the environment.
Here is a bioethicist and NYU professor in a 2016 symposium making the
case for genetically engineering humans so that they are born allergic
to red meat and grow up to be on average 12 cubic centimeters smaller.
For climate.

In 2015 the UN adopted 17 sustainable development goals for working
toward Agenda 2030. On the surface, these goals appear laudable and
uncontroversial. They include objectives such as No Poverty (#1), Zero
Hunger (#2), Gender Equality and Clean Water for All (#5 & 6), who
isn’t in favour of any of these things?

If you’re running the list you would almost gloss over SDG-12:
Responsible Consumption and Production, because “By 2050, the
equivalent of almost three planets could be required to sustain
current lifestyles”

You see where this is going. I’ve said it before, all this talk about
Great Resets, The New Normal and Building Back Better is about getting
the masses to ratchet down their lifestyles so that the managerial
elites and experts can keep running the show (and maintaining theirs).

Standards of living are all about energy inputs. As people and
communities become more prosperous, their per-capita energy usage
rises. The official canon of the national and supra-national elites is
that this has to stop. Never mind that history is the story of
humanity achieving exponentially higher productivity gains and energy
efficiencies, never mind that the world was already on a trajectory to
achieve many of the SDGs  already without overbearing government
intervention (see Ana and Hans Roslings’ “Factfulness” or Matt
Ridley’s “The Rational Optimist”)

All that matters is that the experts, the same technocratic class that
brought you double masks, double vaccines and two years of lockdowns,
have decided that this is the way things have to go. Incidentally, the
COVID pandemic (which was arguably brought about by the very experts
who were purportedly trying to prevent one) is the perfect opportunity
to fast track new policies toward these Sustainable Development Goals.

Make no mistake, the same climate technocrats who are saying Bitcoin’s
energy footprint isn’t justified are already thinking in terms of a
totalitarian system of energy and carbon rationing based on purported
benefits of any given activity.

If you think I’m exaggerating the extent to which the coming “resource
based economy” model will subordinate your day-to-day activities and
life choices to some greater good narrative, take a look at this
recent research paper from  multi disciplinary Sustainability
institute about the cognitive dissonance and anxiety “PEBEXs”
(Pro-environmental Behaviour Experts”) have to struggle with because
their aspirational climate ideology clashes with the demands of
everyday life.

These are the people who’s job it is to advance policy and advocate
for everybody else ratcheting down their consumption patterns (SDG-12,

    “A practical behavior applied by participants to feel better about
their consumption is to minimize it. These PEBEXs question their
private and job-related consumption to acknowledge that they (and
others) are better off with less. These narratives also contain social
criticisms of materialism, perceived as a social norm of the Western
world” (emphasis added)

One of the tensions PEBEXs experience is the seeming futility of
“engag[ing] in individual sustainable practices, to avoid a suboptimal
allocation of their resources”, because at the individual level,
change is insignificant

    “I don’t believe that much in individuals deciding to do things
different. I want more the structures to be changed. I don’t know if I
want to change people’s behavior, I want to change the society. So
that we consume less energy. That is two different things for me.”
(Emphasis added)

For a fairly short quote, there’s a lot in there, including:

    the mindset that society should be restructured to accommodate
these people’s feelings. The idea that the entire climate alarmist
narrative is not settled science (see Steven E. Koonin’s “Unsettled”,
or Michael Shellenbergers’s “Apocalypse Never” for example) is not
even imaginable to them.

    the compartmentalization between working for a radical structural
change to society is different than ordering people’s lives on an
individual level. Very similar to the progressive mindset of cost-free
entitlements. Second-order effects are ignored, all policy objectives
can be achieved by wishing for them to be true.

    that change at an individual level is meaningless or
insignificant. Again, telling. Because the overall policy is
collectivist and for many of these people, individualism is a mental
disorder.  Suffice it to quote Samuel Konkin’s “Liberty cannot be
achieved en masse. It can only happen individual by individual”)

As if to drive the entire point home for me, no sooner had I posted
this when I came across  a “think piece” from Time Magazine lecturing
us on  air conditioning:

The upshot is that air conditioning is bad for the environment and
problematic, thus, it must me ‘re-imagined’ I guess…:

    The troubled history of air-conditioning suggests not that we
chuck it entirely but that we focus on public cooling, on public
comfort, rather than individual cooling, on individual comfort.
Ensuring that the most vulnerable among the planet’s human inhabitants
can keep cool through better access to public cooling centers,
shade-giving trees, safe green spaces, water infrastructure to cool,
and smart design will not only enrich our cities overall, it will
lower the temperature for everyone. It’s far more efficient this way.

    To do so, we’ll have to re-orient ourselves to the meaning of
air-conditioning. And to comfort. Privatized air-conditioning survived
the ozone crisis, but its power to separate—by class, by race, by
nation, by ability—has survived, too. Comfort for some comes at the
expense of the life on this planet.

    It’s time we become more comfortable with discomfort. Our survival
may depend on it.“

Ok. That’s not hyperbolic at all.

And yet again we see that same diminution of individual agency and
autonomy in favour of the collective. Private is bad. Public is good.
I’m sure the offices at Time have the a/c switched off as do the staff
remote working from home. If they don’t, then whoever wrote this may
be experiencing the same anxiety as the aforementioned PEBEXs.

This kind of sanctimonious shrieking doesn’t take into account that
pretty well everything being made in industrial society today is
becoming more energy efficient over time. It doesn’t take into account
that four times as much energy is spent on heat than on air
conditioning.  Or that without widespread private air conditioning, a
lot of people would actually die, especially among the elderly and
medically at-risk.

The idea to redesign public spaces to afford more cooling areas aren’t
bad ideas, but the real solution to addressing the disparities in
underdeveloped communities is to increase economic prosperity for the
citizens who inhabit them. One way to do that could happen if they had
access to some kind of private cryptographically secured money, whose
purchasing power increases over time… or something.

Just a thought. But that would be better than  marshalling them into
communal herds of dependency (which is basically what the ultimate
aspiration is for everyone except the billionaires and elites zipping
around the world on private jets to climate conferences).

Bitcoin today. Cars tomorrow.  Then hamburgers. Heated bathroom floors
Air conditioning after that. Second homes. Cottages. Excessive
wardrobes. Rationing shoes. Vacations.

If you accept that anybody has the moral authority to tell you what
you can and can’t do with your own wealth and how you consume energy,
then you are submitting to their judgement on every aspect of your
energy consumption, and thus, your entire life.

What people don’t realize is that there is an overarching framework
that already mediates energy usage and consumption, one that allocates
resources toward optimal outcomes. This already exists (or at least it
used to), it’s called free markets that are driven by economic

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