Elon, the energy cost from bitcoin mining is proportional to its monetary value. Mining is a competition where each participant is incentivized to spend as much money on equipment and electricity as is profitable. This market will exist for any truly decentralized cryptocurrency. Other cryptos cost less to mine right now because they are worth less, not because they provide more transactions per block. Bitcoin started with just one computer in 2008, using a CPU to process blocks. It could scale back down to that size one day if people stopped valuing it and discontinued mining. The majority of energy used to mine is not spent on processing and recording transactions, it is spent on “rolling dice” for a chance to be the winner of each block and receive the associated transaction fees and block reward. Elon, your affinity for other cryptos with increased block size and block time may be functional for some nodes who have access to gigabyte Ethernet and abundant hard drive space, but that’s not scalable globally right now. People in many countries cannot afford multiple terabyte hard drives to store the entire blockchain. Currently, Bitcoin requires less than one Terabyte, and that’s after 10 years of use. The risk of such a change, to faster block times and larger block size, is that we could see a choke point emerge with cloud hosting becoming the only way to support and participate in a larger blockchain network, as is the case for E, which relies on Amazon Web Services running Infura. E is not decentralized and will become increasingly political with a transition to proof of stake, if they are able to accomplish this. The point of bitcoin is to overcome human directed monetary systems that can be influenced by majority stakeholders, lobbyists, or law makers. Bitcoin is a responsive system that scales up and down, seeking out stranded energy, providing a new way to use excess energy globally, and communicate value broadly. It is absolutely scarce, just like our time. This is what makes it worth trading our time and energy for.
This message is in response to The B Word talk today, which can be viewed here https://youtu.be/XKCipYaDIGw if you see anything that is incorrect or wish to provide clarification, please do.