Friday, August 25, 2017

Environmental impact of POW algorithms

hush slack comment

The current equihash is pro-GPU (ASIC-resistant). Making the algo more CPU or smart phone friendly will use more electricity compared to hardware expense because so many of those hardware units are sitting idle and miner competition means more money will be spent on electricity than new hardware. Maybe in the beginning there could be an evnvironmental benefit, but over the long term this is not to say a CPU/smartphone algo will have less of an environmental impact. Also, any algo that could do this is too new for my comfort. Equihash had a small hope for helping CPUs compete with GPUs, but it did not work out. The environmental impact is exclusively determined by how important society thinks POW coins are. The more society pays for POW security, the more miner competition there will be. Miner competition will involve paying for both hardware and electricity. If the algo shifts costs to hardware, the money is ultimately being spent on engineers or shareholders lucky enough to own good intellectual property (like NVIDIA). Those engineers and shareholders are just going to spend the money on things that will ultimate require more electricity. So there's no way to reduce expense on the total amount of electricity or other resources are use: economics demands POW because it is the only proven security. Competition means hardware and electricity expense (waste) will equalize with society's demands for the POW security. A caveat is that some jurisdictions allow free electricity which means those miners have more money available to spend on hardware to compete with each other, wasting electricity. So a shift to hardware can be good for that reason. Also a shift to CPU/smartphone hardware could be good for the coin because it means better even distribution of mining which invites more users and provides 51% protection. But HUSH devs can't fix these problems (shift to hardware or shift away from POW) because they are the most difficult to fix that the best minds in the world have not yet solved. But they can be smart enough to not try any of the newer ideas because it will reduce the security of the coin.

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