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posted by martyb on Saturday January 08, @10:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the charge-the-miners-more? dept.

Kosovo bans cryptocurrency mining after blackouts:

The government says security services will identify and clamp down on sources of cryptocurrency mining.

The mining is energy intensive and involves verifying digital transactions to get cryptocurrencies as a reward.

While all of Europe faces sharp price rises, Kosovo is enforcing rolling blackouts amid an electricity shortage.

The Balkan state's largest coal-fired power plant was shut down last month over a technical issue, forcing the government to import electricity at high prices.

A 60-day state of emergency, declared in December, gave the government powers to allocate more money for energy imports and impose stricter restrictions on power usage.

The blackouts have sparked protests and calls for the resignation of Economy Minister Artane Rizvanolli.

Energy prices are skyrocketing across Europe for various reasons, including low supplies from Russia and high demand for natural gas as economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The spike has been fuelled by geopolitical tensions with Russia, which supplies one third of Europe's gas. Russia has rejected European accusations that it has limited gas deliveries while tensions are raised


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Saturday January 08, @11:42AM (31 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Saturday January 08, @11:42AM (#1211035)

    Cryptocurrency mining is currently using energy on the scale of fairly large countries. And while the crypto it produces is allegedly valuable, it has no actual usage whatsoever. Say what you will about cash, but you could in theory burn it for warmth or melt it down for metal, whereas crypto can't even do that.

    As for the geopolitical stuff between Europe and Russia, I've always figured that had a lot to do with the EU's push towards renewable power generation, and also a lot to do with (currently failing) efforts to create pipelines between Iraq and the EU through Turkey and Syria.

    --
    Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by looorg on Saturday January 08, @12:15PM (7 children)

    by looorg (578) on Saturday January 08, @12:15PM (#1211036)

    Not sure about what the tension is really all about. It could be that. It could be for other reasons. It could be the NATO expansion, or at least that is what appears to be what Putin is trying to tell us all it's currently about. Or that we should stay the fuck out of his biz in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan (... and probably all the other *stans that are former soviet republics aka his domain). A lot of the EU power issue at the moment seems to be from everyone deciding sort of at the same time to turn of or age out their nuclear power plants and thanks to the wonders of the "green economy" where we should all get power from windturbines prices on the common electricity stockmarket (why not add stupid gambling to the commodity mix!) have indeed skyrocketed.

    Considering the massive hike and electricity prices in Europe this winter is there even worth and value in mining crypto here at the moment? Unless you steal electricity from someone else.

    That is unless you are some kind of megacorp ala Facebook and Google and sort of got into your contracts that you more or less get free electricity or heavily subsidized one for your datacenters.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by khallow on Saturday January 08, @12:21PM (6 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 08, @12:21PM (#1211037) Journal

      Or that we should stay the fuck out of his biz

      Is he going to reciprocate? He going to stay out of all that biz he's currently meddling in? Not just including the places you mentioned, but Russia too?

      At some point, you have to realize that a large part of the problem is that Putin is in a lot of biz that isn't his. Else you can't resolve this.

      • (Score: 2) by looorg on Saturday January 08, @01:05PM (5 children)

        by looorg (578) on Saturday January 08, @01:05PM (#1211044)

        I doubt it. He is indeed. I guess he considers all former soviet republics and eastern align states as his sphere of influence or something such. But I guess he takes his ideas from other "great leaders". They tend to all go for that do what I say not what I do kind of thinking. The same rules does not apply and we are not even playing the same game from the look of it. Sort of like Uncle Sam doesn't like it when other people meddle in his biz either and if the last 70 years or so is any kind of indicator you fuck with Sam at your own peril.

        The other part is that he probably knows the the EU whine and bitch a bit. After all what are they going to do? Send him a harshly worded letter? Auch. They can't really agree on much else then that, most of the time not even that. Economic sanction? Doesn't bother him and his cronies to much either.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @05:16PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @05:16PM (#1211094)

          The Russian troll is string in this one. Is he paid by Russia?

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @06:08PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @06:08PM (#1211099)

            Maybe, but string trolls are paid with balls of string, so anyone can afford to hire them.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @06:25PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @06:25PM (#1211105)

              That will keep them amused for.several hours but you still have to pay for the cat food.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday January 09, @12:16AM (1 child)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @12:16AM (#1211163) Journal

          Sort of like Uncle Sam doesn't like it when other people meddle in his biz either and if the last 70 years or so is any kind of indicator you fuck with Sam at your own peril.

          I take it Putin will get curb stomped Real Soon Now (TM) by scary Uncle Sam?

          • (Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday January 09, @07:48AM

            by looorg (578) on Sunday January 09, @07:48AM (#1211215)

            Who knows, he might be some kind of exception to the rule. It's much easier to curb stomp small tinpot dictators instead of big once. It's not that he couldn't, it might be a question of does he want to or is it worth the effort, the price and the cost.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by khallow on Saturday January 08, @12:37PM (10 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 08, @12:37PM (#1211040) Journal

    And while the crypto it produces is allegedly valuable, it has no actual usage whatsoever.

    Except for the traditional uses that money gets put to. Those are extremely valuable.

    Say what you will about cash, but you could in theory burn it for warmth or melt it down for metal, whereas crypto can't even do that.

    In other words, a very slight value as opposed to no value. Thus in theory, there's no real difference in value between cash and cryptocurrency as a result.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @02:52PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @02:52PM (#1211059)
      There's two huge differences between fiat currency and cryptocurrency.

      1. The cost, both to produce fiat currency, and to the encirclement, is much lower.

      2. There's no limit to how much fiat currency can be produced. There's only a fixed number of coins for cryptocurrency, and when they're gone, they're gone. How you gonna mine more? At that point, the gold rush is over and the cryptocurrency collapses.

      There's also the issue of permanent loss of cryptocurrency - there's plenty of couns that can no longer be used for anything because the password is lost.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @03:17PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @03:17PM (#1211063)

        Could you expand on this meaning of "encirclement"? I see it's a military term, perhaps in a currency context it has something to do with the army of the country that issues the currency?

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday January 08, @06:11PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 08, @06:11PM (#1211100) Journal
          I'm guessing that it's something like infrastructure or investment. Translation weirdness. English has such a bizarre history and much overloading of words. For example, to encircle a town or fortification is to beseige it. But a synonym for beseige is invest.

          A military historian might well call an encirclement an investment.
        • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Saturday January 08, @10:34PM (1 child)

          by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 08, @10:34PM (#1211142)

          Looks like an auto correct of what should have been "environment".

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @11:17PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @11:17PM (#1211147)

            Yep. Damn auto correct strikes again. Even after you've supposedly turned it off, stupid browser still uses it "because it can't be turned off in the browser - for your convenience."

            Maybe I'll change the system language to something else and auto-correct won't try to fix english … or try to sanitize certain "bad words."

            And people seriously want me to consider Idiot-of-Things devices? Maybe I can sell an NFT of my saying "fuck off."

    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Saturday January 08, @06:53PM (4 children)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday January 08, @06:53PM (#1211110) Journal

      Thus in theory, there's no real difference in value between cash and cryptocurrency as a result.

      Cash is way more robust. You don't need a computer, or even electricity, to use cash/scrip

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday January 09, @12:08AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @12:08AM (#1211159) Journal

        Cash is way more robust. You don't need a computer, or even electricity, to use cash/scrip/quote How many people don't have that? And if you're speaking of some society level dysfunction, well, I bet physical cash won't fare so well in a post-electricity society.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday January 09, @12:09AM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @12:09AM (#1211160) Journal
        Trying again:

        Cash is way more robust. You don't need a computer, or even electricity, to use cash/scrip

        How many people don't have that? And if you're speaking of some society level dysfunction, well, I bet physical cash won't fare so well in a post-electricity society.

        • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Sunday January 09, @03:34AM (1 child)

          by fustakrakich (6150) on Sunday January 09, @03:34AM (#1211186) Journal

          There will always be local markets [nyt.com], physical coinage will be the only viable medium in your "post apocalyptic" society, no ATMs and 5G to count your bits

          --
          Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday January 09, @05:28AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @05:28AM (#1211198) Journal
            So local markets and physical coinage (that doesn't presently exist except as a niche collector item). So not something that you could use over the present day internet, right?

            To give an example of the advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrency, there's those bitcoin wallets with large amounts of bitcoins that have been untouched by everyone, owners through national actors. If everyone knew that there was a billion dollars of cash piled up somewhere, something would have happened to that cash by now, backhoe operator or national tax collector. The existence of these dead wallets indicates that there's a place to put stuff that's beyond the reach of even the most powerful. You can't do that with cash.
  • (Score: 1, Troll) by crafoo on Saturday January 08, @02:48PM (4 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Saturday January 08, @02:48PM (#1211058)

    What is so predictable but so funny as well:

    "Energy prices are skyrocketing across Europe for various reasons"

    Oh, right! Various Reasons! It wasn't the Greens completely raping your energy economy with their squirrel-like understanding of economics and practical decision making skills.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @05:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @05:21PM (#1211095)

      Ah ha...another Russki troll, right here in Soylent City.

    • (Score: -1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @09:07PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, @09:07PM (#1211126)
      Name one EU country where the greens hold a majority. We can wait …
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday January 09, @05:42AM (1 child)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @05:42AM (#1211201) Journal
        See Germany. They don't have to hold a majority to shutdown ~20 GW of non-fossil fuel nuclear power (16 GW so far since 2011 and the remaining 4 GW later in 2022).
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by owl on Sunday January 09, @03:03AM (5 children)

    by owl (15206) on Sunday January 09, @03:03AM (#1211181)

    Be careful with comparisons, it is always possible to invent any desired outcome.

    I.e., watch: Research: Bitcoin Consumes Less Than Half The Energy Of The Banking Or Gold Industries [nasdaq.com]

    A recent report from Galaxy Digital found that the Bitcoin network consumes less than half the energy consumed by the banking or gold industries.

    A recently released research report from Galaxy Digital has calculated the energy consumed by the Bitcoin network and then compared it to other industries, including the banking industry. It found that Bitcoin consumes 113.89 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, while the banking industry consumes 263.72 TWh per year.

    So based on that comparison, Bitcoin is only 43% as bad as the traditional banking sector.

    Now, granted, "Bitcoin" is but one cryptocurrency in the set of cryptocurrencies, but the reality is, these 'comparisons' that begin with "Thing X, uses 3x the Y of country Z" are setting up a specific narrative to convince you to believe a specific point. If there is no discussion of why "country Z" or why "Y" was chosen, then the default assumption should be "to spin the story in the direction someone wanted it spun.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @01:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @01:45PM (#1211238)

      OMG! how can bitcoin use less energy then the system it relies on?
      the "price of bitcoin" is always in a fiat currency.
      it makes no sense to say "one bitcoin is valued at 0.78 bitcoins today".
      also so much infrastructure required for cry-top is bought with fiat and energy bills are paid in fiat.
      no fiat, no bitcoin (value).

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @04:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @04:46PM (#1211258)
      Next look up the number of transactions done by the banking sector per day vs the number of bitcoin transactions done per day.
    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Sunday January 09, @05:21PM (2 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Sunday January 09, @05:21PM (#1211268)

      So here's another way of looking at it:
      1. What would happen to the world if all crypto suddenly disappeared?
      2. What would happen to the world if all banking suddenly disappeared?

      That should give you a good gut check about whether crypto is a good use of energy.

      --
      Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday January 10, @05:36PM (1 child)

        by Freeman (732) on Monday January 10, @05:36PM (#1211546) Journal

        That's dumb. The world would keep on ticking, if I didn't get a nice cup of tea every now and again. Sure would suck, though. Just because the world won't come to a screeching halt, if X thing ceased to exist, doesn't make X thing good/bad.

        --
        Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
        • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday January 10, @05:53PM

          by Thexalon (636) on Monday January 10, @05:53PM (#1211554)

          It's not about good vs bad, it's about essential vs luxury. When you're trying to allocate resources, "what if it doesn't happen at all" is always a useful question to ask.

          As a simple example, "Should I pay the rent, or should I order another round of drinks?" is an easy question, because of the consequences of not paying the rent vs not buying another round.

          --
          Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Monday January 10, @06:30PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @06:30PM (#1211571) Journal

    If they were to mine enough cryptocurrency, then they could afford to upgrade their energy infrastructure. And thus afford making more cryptocurrency.

    And if money grew on trees, I could just plant more and more trees, and pick their leaves frequently, but leave enough leaves so that the tree doesn't die.

    It would be my secret. Nobody else would think of a brilliant idea like this.

    --
    While in an airport, never use the word "balm".