Unlike my tech-loving friends, who are fervently convinced that a cryptocurrency revolution is upon us, I waver between unease and unconcern. Unease because of a random fear that hackers may descend on my laptop, kidnap it, and demand I pay them in bitcoin that I have not the first idea how to buy or deliver. Unconcern, because I still cannot convince myself that this revolution is anywhere in sight.
But bitcoin and the like have the feel to me of beta-versions of the Model T Ford in the early days of motor cars. Fine for proof of concept, but too problem-laden to be useful to most of humanity.
Advocates of blockchain are right to claim that the platform they have constructed is for all practical purposes unhackable. But they overlook the fact that the apps currently operating on the platform can be hacked.
Bitcoin can only manage seven transactions a second (though this apparently involves around 10 million trillion calculations).
Taking bitcoin alone, its “mining farms” consume more electricity than eBay, Facebook and Google combined… In trying to eliminate the anonymous power of banks, our cryptocurrency wonks seem to have created huge anonymous power in their “mining farms”. Instead of eliminating the concentration of power, they are simply shifting it.
I would go further: Bitcoin’s price is not the only aspect of the blockchain revolution that is unsustainable.
Eulogy made by David Dodwell