01/26/2024 0 Comments

1. Bitcoin Mining on Mars Might Be Possible

The Challenge

The Bitcoin cryptocurrency has a fixed block production time of 10 minutes. While this may be too slow for your coffee service, it is too fast considering the distances across planets.

Consider the planet that keeps Elon Musk and many other people (I prefer Venus) hopeful about the future – Mars. Fast-forward to the future, many humans are living their best lives as Martians. That means they need Bitcoin.

Mars is, on average, 140 million kilometers from Earth, a prohibitive distance to travel for rockets and radio signals. A rocket-powered mission carrying Mars rovers Bitcoin miners will still take seven months to reach the Red planet, while a signal propagating from Earth to Mars to instruct these miners to start mining takes at least 5 minutes to arrive.

Five minutes is too long in the Bitcoin mining game because while everyone else is halfway through the race, the Martian miners will just be starting.

The Solution

One part of the solution is a quantum network to form a multi-chain. We want to connect two cryptocurrencies that are both Bitcoin (how?)—one on Earth and one on Mars.

The other part is synchronized atomic clocks.

Martians need not compete with Earth-people using some notion of absolute time. As Einstein showed, that does not exist. A special form of relative time is the idea here. Synchronized to appear as if there is no barrier called outer space, 140 million kilometers across.

The Martians should first have their own cryptocurrency, as many narratives have laid out. But unlike those narratives, laying out a law of hash horizons, we shall discuss here how to bridge these hash horizons using quantum mechanics.

Let’s call the version of Bitcoin on Mars “Mars Bitcoin” or MBTC. MBTC could be built to behave just like Bitcoin at the time when MBTC was created. For example, say Bitcoin is going to be at block height 1,000,000 in 8 months and only 3.125 BTC are what Earth-people shall be mining then, that is exactly what the Bitcoin community on Mars should also be mining.

To set this up, we could copy all the critical Bitcoin core code at that time and add a unique MBTC Genesis block modeled to start at 3.125 BTC and count downwards. Now it might seem like there will be too little MBTC for the Martians to do business, but this shall be remedied with networked quantum computers and atomic clocks to allow bitcoins to flow from Earth to Mars and vice versa.

How to move Bitcoins from Earth to Mars without losing time

This is a hypothetical idea, so let’s make more assumptions, like good scientists do. Many of these are currently impossible.

Assume in our scenario we can keep two large entangled quantum states coherent for minutes and even hours, even while one of them is traversing the chaotic distance between Earth and Mars.

Assume we have found a way to inject an entangled quantum state into a quantum computational system without it losing its coherence. We also assume we have found a way to seamlessly connect quantum computational systems to classical computational systems so that there is a process control flowing in either direction.

Therefore, on Earth, we connect a quantum computer to the Bitcoin blockchain, to an atomic clock, and to a system for sending and receiving signals. The Martians also repeat the entire setup on Mars.

Assume there is planetary and interplanetary unity to let all this happen, facilitated by hyperbitcoinization. Otherwise, it wouldn’t happen.

Steps for Mining on Mars like you are on Earth

  1. Connect your MBTC miner to a source of electricity, e.g., a nuclear battery.
  2. Press “Synchronize with Earth miners”. This will make you wait for some minutes.
  3. Do wait the way Earth people have to wait for banks to process international payments.
  4. During this time, your atomic clock is adding a time delay while synchronizing with the Earth clock. This time delay takes into account the time taken for your system to query the Earth system, make it create two entangled states, send one to you, plug it into your system, and get on standby. Some time delay is maintained in the background to mimic the Earth clock exactly, which is 5+ minutes ahead.
  5. At the correct entry point, the two entangled states are measured by the Martian flipping a switch to start mining. A switch is also synchronously flipped on Bitcoin software on Earth machines.

Remember that the time delay is canceled out by the atomic clocks.

Steps for Sending Bitcoins from Earth to Mars

  1. You on Earth doing the sending should ask the Martian recipient to connect their MBTC node to a source of electricity like a nuclear battery. If they don’t, you will burn your coins somewhere in those 140 million kilometers of emptiness.
  2. Tell them to enter “Receive Mode”.
  3. Create a transaction and broadcast it to their node across space, using a packaged signal with an entangled state (for synchronicity with atomic clocks, as in mining above) and a non-entangled state of the signed transaction referencing their public MBTC wallet, which will bypass the quantum computers and go straight into the classical computer, then standby.
  4. As the two cryptocurrencies are multi-chained, they will behave as one blockchain.
  5. The Martian is notified, “Incoming transaction. Press to receive”. They press ENTER and voilà. The states are collapsed on both planets, and both the MBTC and the BTC blockchains record the transaction with a unified time. With the time delay removed.
  6. In reality, the bitcoins sent to Mars enter special wallet addresses on Earth’s blockchain, not addressable without a special MBTC–type key. The same goes for bitcoins from the Mars to Earth system.

2. AI and crypto mining are driving up data centers’ energy use

Data centers could gobble up twice as much electricity by 2026 thanks in large part to cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

We rely on data centers to store all our emails, photos, cat videos, and everything else floating around in the cloud. More and more, data centers are cropping up to mine Bitcoin and train AI.

That’s already triggered backlash over the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies and AI tools like ChatGPT, since all those data centers are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions tied to their electricity use. The world will need a lot more renewable energy to clean up pollution from power grids and satiate skyrocketing electricity demand from data centers at the same time.

Data centers, cryptocurrencies, and AI made up around 2 percent of global electricity demand in 2022, using 460TWh of electricity, according to the IEA’s annual electricity report released today. Crypto mining alone is estimated to account for nearly a quarter of that electricity consumption, burning through 110TWh in 2022.

By 2026, electricity consumption from data centers — including those used for cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence — could rise up to 1,050TWh depending on the pace the technology develops. That growth is equivalent to adding an extra country’s worth of electricity demand; Sweden under a more modest scenario or Germany at the most.

The US has the most data centers today, with 33 percent of the world’s approximately 8,000 data centers. It’s also the country with the most Bitcoin mining. The IEA forecasts a “rapid pace” of growth for data center electricity consumption in the US over the next couple of years, rising from roughly 4 percent of US demand in 2022 to 6 percent by 2026. Expanding 5G networks and cloud-based services are other drivers of that growth.

Ireland, with one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the European Union, is expected to see a boom in new data centers. Its 82 data centers already accounted for 17 percent of the country’s electricity consumption in 2022. Another 54 are either under construction or recently approved to start building. By 2026, all those data centers could be responsible for nearly a third of the country’s annual electricity demand.

“The rapid expansion of the data centre sector and the elevated electricity demand can pose challenges for the electricity system,” the IEA report says. The risk isn’t unique to Ireland. In London, data center electricity demands have made it harder to develop more housing. Texas, a hub for Bitcoin mining in the US, has to grapple with new crypto mines (AKA data farms for crypto) adding pressure to its already aging and stressed out power grid.

Since data centers are basically warehouses for computers, 40 percent of their electricity demand comes from computing. Keeping all that equipment cool accounts for another 40 percent of demand, with other IT equipment making up the rest.

Adding AI into the mix increases data centers’ overall electricity demand. Google Search could use up to ten times more electricity in a scenario fully incorporating AI, the IEA report says. Similarly, it forecasts that the AI industry could burn through ten times as much electricity in 2026 as it did last year.

Electricity demand for cryptocurrencies is expected to jump by 40 percent by 2026. There have been some success stories with limiting crypto’s energy and environmental footprints. The Ethereum blockchain was able to slash its electricity use by more than 99 percent by switching to a much more energy-efficient method of validating blocks of new transactions. Even so, the Bitcoin network has refused to follow suit and is responsible for a majority of the carbon emissions stemming from crypto mining.

Fortunately, the IEA also forecast accelerated renewable energy growth across the world, overtaking coal to generate more than a third of the world’s electricity by 2025. That still doesn’t solve all the challenges new data centers bring. It’s arguably just as important to improve energy efficiency — say, by adopting high-efficiency cooling systems — since too much growth in electricity demand can outpace the rise in renewables.

2. Russia Mulls Cryptocurrency Mining Disconnection Proposal

Russia Considers Disconnecting Cryptocurrency Miners for up to 500 Hours per Year

Russia is considering the application of a reform that would disconnect cryptocurrency miners depending on energy availability. According to Izvestia, the proposal, supported by the State Duma Energy Committee based on a study by the Higher School of Economics, would classify miners in a new power supply reliability group, subject to disconnection.

While households are part of a power reliability group that can just be taken off the grid for 72 hours per year, miners would be subject to disconnection for up to 500 hours per year (almost 21 days) to tackle the power deficit some regions of the country face.

The proposal, still being studied, would serve as an alternative to the establishment of higher power tariffs for cryptocurrency mining activities being drafted by the Ministry of Energy.

These plans come to tackle the problems in some parts of the Irkutsk region, which is facing an energy shortage due to the cryptocurrency mining activity rising and benefiting from the lowest electricity prices in the world.

Nonetheless, raising power tariffs might affect this mining boom. Oleg Ogienko, director of government relations at Bitriver, stated that if this comes to fruition, mining companies will start distributing their activities to residential areas, going to a gray zone, or just moving their operations elsewhere.

Alexey Tarapovsky, founder of Anderida Financial Group, criticized the cryptocurrency mining-specific tariff raise. He explained:

Increasing the cost only for mining can be regarded as tariff discrimination and will lead to an imbalance. Many enterprises and businesses consume similar amounts of energy.

author avatar
Harvey CHEN