Reflections on the Blockchain in Energy Forum 2019

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Photo By: NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

Last week, Greentech Media hosted their annual Blockchain in Energy Forum in New York’s Financial District. The event was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of IBM and Jelurida, two leading software companies with very different approaches to blockchain technology. I was fortunate enough to speak on the final panel of the day, which focused on increasing transparency in renewable energy markets and green finance.

In a fitting twist, the discussion sidelined away from renewable energy and focused almost entirely on what real transparency and accountability look like with blockchain technology in general.

Perceived versus real transparency

The proposition put forward by my co-panelist from Data Gumbo for increasing transparency is similar to the IBM philosophy: simply having all major players in one industry operate on and maintain a single ledger inherently holds all participants more accountable. …


10 million people placing one hypothetical order of fries on Ethereum requires enough energy to power 5.67 million US homes for 1 day.

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Credit: Wikimedia

An all-too-familiar criticism of blockchain technology is the fact it consumes too much energy. Once people hear that one Bitcoin transaction consumes as much energy as it takes to power 18 homes in the USA for a full 24 hours, or that annually the Ethereum network’s energy consumption has surpassed that of the entire country of Bolivia, they get turned off. Rightfully so.

For those that decide to start asking questions, there are those around that will be quick to offer a simple correction: the wasteful proof of work consensus mechanisms used by market leaders Bitcoin and Ethereum are not an inherent property of blockchain technologies. …


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The launch of a Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) by University of Cambridge is just the latest in a series of research projects focused on determining the true costs and externalities of the market-leading cryptocurrency.

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Screenshot of cbeci.org — all rights related to cbeci.org belong to University of Cambridge

Tuesday marked the release of The University of Cambridge’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI), an online tool providing real-time monitoring of the Bitcoin network’s electricity consumption. This comes several weeks after Coinshxtares released a widely-shared study detailing the origins of the electricity that powers the Bitcoin network. While some, including myself, have criticized the methodology of the Coinshares research, both of these developments represent the fact the Bitcoin industry has matured towards acknowledging the need to better understand the network’s true costs and externalities.

When Digiconomist released their initial Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index in 2017, Bitcoin advocates were quick to belittle the fact that one transaction on the Bitcoin network consumes as much electricity as several US homes do in a single day. Many argued that existing banking systems and data centers do not share any of their electricity usage with the public; therefore, the fact that Bitcoin’s electricity demand can be tracked publicly in the first place represents an unprecedented level of transparency. …


Yesterday, June 19th, I found myself attending The World Supply Chain Federation’s 1st Global Supply Chain Summit in New York City listening to various experts across fashion, logistics, and maritime about the cost savings and environmental gains new technologies are enabling in those industries. To no one’s surprise, blockchain reared its head with a full two-hour session dedicated to its potential to revolutionize supply chains. It was an informative event organized by The New York Supply Chain Meetup.

My intention was to learn more about the approach supply chain managers are taking to keep their businesses modern and in touch with new technologies. …


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By Skylar on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

Greenwashing comes to Bitcoin.

The past few weeks, Bitcoin has been getting a makeover. Thanks to new research from Christopher Bendiksen and his team at CoinShares, users online are suddenly claiming Bitcoin is the cleanest technology on the planet. Apparently, everyone has been wrong for all these years and Bitcoin is powering a “renewable energy revolution” right before our eyes. Let’s take a look at what the team found and why the outcomes of their research must not be taken at face value.

Before diving in, there is no denying the team at CoinShares put a significant amount of time, energy, and resources into developing this report. …


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By Skylar on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

The future of privacy and data integrity is on the line.

A common response I have come across when discussing public blockchain networks with friends and family is they believe in blockchain as a technology, but not in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. It’s a casual response that gives the feeling they have looked in to things, but simply aren’t impressed. All too frequently though, it is a cop-out. I mean no offense, but if you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’ll paint a clearer vision of what exactly that statement implies.

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Why Blockchain?

The entire reason anyone is talking about the blockchain, or distributed ledger technology as a whole, is because it provides a transparent record of transactions on an immutable ledger that isn’t controlled from a central server. …


Financial Freedom and Democracy Depend on the Public Discourse around Blockchain Evolving. Fast.

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https://www.pexels.com/photo/car-emergency-light-77943/

There is no denying that public blockchains (cryptocurrencies) remain a controversial topic for regulators, mainstream investors, and most businesses. Major developments over the past two weeks require everyone set their emotions aside and take a critical look at what has been, until now, a mostly harmless, energy-wasting technological experiment.

Two news stories dropped recently that seem unrelated on the surface, but should scare absolutely everyone concerned with data privacy and financial freedom in any form:

1. Coinbase, the trusted US gateway for entering cryptocurrency markets, acquired a blockchain analytics company called Neutrino just as Texas began discussing a bill to require crypto users to verify their IDs. …


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By Skylar on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

USD rules the black market. Cryptocurrencies aren’t anonymous. And why anonymity actually matters.

Esteemed economic commentator, Martin Wolf, recently published an opinion piece titled, “The Libertarian Fantasies of Cryptocurrencies,” in which he correctly argued in favor of a more cohesive regulatory regime aimed at the budding cryptocurrency market.

Concerns around energy waste, scams, and tax evasion are justified and require a legitimate debate — but 3 assertions in Wolf’s piece softened the punch it ought to have had.

First, the US Dollar, and cash in particular, remain the currency of choice for illegal activities globally.

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“Danger Falling Rocks” from Pixabay

Second, most cryptocurrencies are not anonymous — they are actually entirely public.

Third, it is actually this lack of anonymity inherent to public blockchain networks that should be feared most. …


Ethereum’s Reign As “ICO King” May Soon Be At An End

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Created by Skylar Hurwitz. Thanks to Riker, CryptoTony, and Maj for comments.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued subpoenas to dozens of ICO projects this past week, representing the start of a major crackdown on securities issued by projects under the guise of being “tokens.” Cryptocurrency veterans such as Charles Hoskinson have long anticipated such a move — particularly with the explosion of ERC20 projects in 2017 (ERC20 standard is basically a clonable crypto-asset that makes it simple to raise funds on the Ethereum blockchain). The SEC’s move became all the more likely in light of Bitcoin.com’s recent study showing 46% of ICO projects in 2017 have already failed. …


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Image source

Since taking the spotlight in December with a prolific bull run to $20,089, Bitcoin has continued to dominate headlines. From CFTC and SEC hearings in Congress, to 70% price corrections, it has already been an exciting 2018 for the oldest blockchain in the cryptospace. Mainstream news and businesses are beginning to take a serious look at cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Bank of America identified cryptocurrencies as a threat to traditional banking. Early believers are no longer the odd ones at family gatherings — they are suddenly sought after for investment advice. …

About

Skylar D. Hurwitz

Political organizer. Former U.S. Congressional Candidate in PA-01 endorsed by Demand Universal Healthcare, Our Revolution PA, and the local Sunrise Movement.

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