Bitcoin Q&A: Solar energy & mining in space

Bitcoin Q&A: Solar energy & mining in space


[QUESTIONER]: Suppose the solar technology advances very well… [ANDREAS]: Yes. [QUESTIONER]: It will capture a lot of [solar energy] with very high efficiency. So marginal costs will become zero. Then would proof-of-work still work, with marginal costs at zero? [ANDREAS]: That’s a good question. Suppose that solar energy advances with its efficiency and you can capture a lot of the solar energy, would that make proof-of-work unworkable, because the marginal costs of the solar energy are zero? Well, yes and no. Mostly no. Even if you have really efficient solar energy, you have to consider three factors: the first one is that you pay for the solar panels, so you have capital costs; the second is you pay for the… .. mining equipment, so you have more capital costs. [QUESTIONER]: Competition depends on marginal cost. [ANDREAS]: Yes, but at the same time you’re competing against people who will] apply more and more capital. But the third one, the most important one, is that presumes you have basically no opportunity costs, meaning that there is no other use the energy could go to other than mining, meaning that either you’ve so far… .. exceeded the demand for electricity that you have all of this excess capacity. [QUESTIONER]: That’s right. [ANDREAS]: Right. The problem is, at that point we’ve solved the energy problem of the world. At that point, if proof-of-work is the one thing that doesn’t work, you’ve gone to a Star Trek universe where money doesn’t exist. [laughter] Right? If you solve the fundamental issue of energy scarcity on this planet, completely solve it, for the marginal costs to go to zero, you have to have zero opportunity costs – which means that you can… .. generate abundant energy anywhere, anytime, and always have excess capacity. You’ve solved much… .. bigger problems. I hope we get there. Then we need someone as brilliant as Satoshi Nakamoto to come up… .. with a new proof-of-work algorithm. I would suggest Sudoku. [laughter] It works. Sudoku is an asymmetric… .. algorithm, meaning that if you make the Sudoku puzzle bigger it still can be verified relatively quickly as to… .. whether it’s correct. If you make it billions and billions of times bigger, then it gets really hard. You could… .. make it so that you only have to do it on paper, with pencil, with human beings. That would literally be a… .. proof-of-work algorithm, just like the slaves of Egypt who built the pyramids. “Solve Sudoku harder!” [whiplash] Okay, enough of that. Yes? [QUESTIONER]: Another problem with what he’s saying is that another… .. party who has the same technology- [ANDREAS]: Well, it equalises everybody. So then it’s about access to… .. miners, access to internet capacity, access to storage to put the blockchain on. There’s still costs. [QUESTIONER]: Secondly, you’re still limited by the amount of solar radiation received, which is 2000 watts.. .. per square meter, so that’s the facts from an engineering point of view. [ANDREAS]: You’re limited… .. by 2000 watts per square meter, which is the maximum energy you can get – on the surface! Which means: mining… in… space! [laughter] Actually, that’s not a joke. There are many reasons why mining… .. in space could become a very interesting possibility. Solar panels, no atmosphere obscuring anything…

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20 thoughts on “Bitcoin Q&A: Solar energy & mining in space”

  • Dragomir Goroshevich says:

    I can barely hear what the people from the audience asked, if you can repeat the questions or give them a microphone as in other videos, that would be great.

  • One of the most beautiful things about what you guys created is that you helped Everyday People to become smart to take control of their own destiny

  • Well as usual great video with interesting informations. Had to laugh about the startrek and no money, right but they used Energy credits as a sort of money, so we can compare cryptos to EC we have similar thing here. Well I need to say that as I learn more and more people about cryptos the first thing they think of is that it is sort of sci-fi thing.

  • amusingly, andreas posted this on the same day that Blockstream announced their blockchain satellite broadcasting project

  • 24063457467984263567 says:

    elon musk will be the first space miner, mark my words, and he will not mine gold on asteroids or something 😉

  • BlockChainTecno dedicates this track to Andreas https://blockchaintechnorats.bandcamp.com/track/bitcoin-will-make-everything-alright-feat-andreas-antonopoulos #areyousatoshi?

  • in a world where ownership of anything will be a disaster. I mean I flip the entire future upsidedown from the BTC valuation system, I wiped with the envision. Imagine taking ownership of 100 baskets of rice will end up like having a hot-potato on hands against BTC. By then the old system be gone and cash has become history, BTC will be forever in shortage and each Satoshis is going to worth more against anything on earth as time goes. We will enter into a world nobody is willing to own anything. Everyone rents everything. No one will be willing to spend. Only the miners who maintains the network get pay. they will be the ones who keep BTC's circulation momentum.

    when the days come everyone will be miner, it's the only way to survive.

  • I do have a question for anyone who has the answer. What happens when we reach the point where no more bitcoins are being produced? How will the miners be compensated? From my understanding the miners are there to store all the information across the network and keep pushing transactions but if they are no longer incentivized why would they still do it.

  • This is the first time I have had an issue with any of his talks. Renewable energy needs to be taken a bit more seriously that the answer given. Patronising and rude. very unlike him.

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