“Crytopmining Capacity in U.S. Rivals Energy Use of Houston, Findings Show” (New York Times, July 15):
the seven companies alone had set up to tap as much as 1,045 megawatts of power, or enough electricity to power all the residences in a city the size of Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city with 2.3 million residents.
Note that the headline contains multiple lies. The population of Houston is roughly 7 million if we include the actual city and ignore arbitrary political boundaries. And there are a lot of industrial users of electricity in Metro Houston, e.g., oil refineries. So the amount of electricity usage implied by the headline could be 20-30X what is described in the body (just residential usage and only for the 2.3 million people who live in the center of the city).
The good news is that we will be rich. Crypto can’t fail, like real estate, because of the old adage “they’re not making any more bits.” Yet the U.S. will be making some more bits while China is eating our dust (literally, after it blows around the world a bit).
People used to complain that we were exporting our pollution to poorer countries. Now it is China that is exporting pollution to the U.S.:
The United States has seen an influx of cryptocurrency miners, who use powerful, energy-intensive computers to create and track the virtual currencies, after China cracked down on the practice last year. Democrats led by Senator Elizabeth Warren are also calling for the companies to report their emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is the main driver of climate change.
I’m a little concerned that I find myself in agreement with Elizabeth Warren!