JP says I commit the 'broken window fallacy' with my argument (in his words) that "[bitcoin is] good for society because it spurs renewable energy production."
First of all, I don't think I've ever claimed this. He links to my talk in Austin at the Texas Summit. I didn't say that at the talk, nor to my knowledge have I ever said anything like that. My full corpus is here, in case you want my actual views
I've always tried to provide data and context around Bitcoin's use of energy. And to rebut flawed models of Bitcoin mining. I don't think I've ever said "bitcoin's energy usage is unambiguously good bc it creates renewables".
My actual views:

- Anthropomorphic climate change is real
- We _should_ be concerned about CO2 emissions
- The best way to address this is with a portfolio of nuclear, some renewables, hydro, some hydrocarbons (absolutely necessary), and grid efficiencies like flexible load
Bitcoin undeniably is responsible for emissions, as I wrote in Net Zero. Bitcoin mining is laudably low-carbon compared to other industries, and can become 100% clean quite easily (see:

The reason is that Bitcoin mining is fully synthetic and computational, and Bitcoin can travel to the source and exploit stranded energy. Numerous examples abound, I won't list them all here. No other large-scale industry is this portable.
Mining does create an economic pressure that subsidizes nonviable or stranded renewables. This is 100% real, and the critics that claimed Bitcoin would never be mined with wind and solar are 100% wrong. They will be buried in examples over the next year.
Also, miners present on increasingly renewable grids create incredibly valuable demand-side flexibility that offsets the instability of wind/solar. This is massively accretive to grids like ERCOT and actually does help decarbonize the grid
When it comes to the unique qualities of mining as an industrial load, it is peerless. (see the conclusion of the above article). It is BOTH interruptible and location agnostic. I'd challenge the critics to find another industry this benevolent to the grid.
So it's clear that bitcoin mining has some great positive externalities:

- building out an energy infra that can be repurposed for other energy intensive industries
- subsidizing marginal renewables
- improving renewable economics
- providing stabilization for renewable grids
But this isn't the reason that Bitcoin Mining Is Good. Bitcoin mining is good because it's a the mechanism that allows a mutually untrusted validator set to achieve consensus over the most important ledger on earth, the Ledger of Money (see B Word talk)
For now, Bitcoin mining also has negative externalities (carbon emissions). That can be reduced to almost zero if 1) miners provide flexible load (which allows renewables to overpenetrate), meaning that flexible data centers can be carbon negative
(Note that the IEA has asked for 500GW of demand response resources by 2030 to meet renewable targets, as renewable grids need more stabilization, a need which is currently met through gas turbines)
These negative externalities can also be reduced if miners b) identify stranded, low-carbon, or otherwise wasted pools of energy. There are plenty of fully low-carbon miners out there - Hive, Iris Energy, Bitfarms, Cleanspark. It's not hard.
(As a sidenote, contrary to what critics say, using renewables doesn't necessarily "deprive" households of energy or drive up costs. Iris drives _down_ costs for households in BC by buying hydro energy which utilities had earmarked for (now departed) pulp industry)
Critics ignore/don't know that electricity doesn't travel well. Biggest constraint is often transmission. So you get stranded energy. In west texas, as much as 35GW generation (mostly wind/solar), only 5GW of local load, and 12GW transmission. So you get negative/0 prices.
A miner building out an energy campus in West Texas a) provides an economic pressure that makes nonviable/marginal renewable sources viable b) creates a repurposable infra that can be later used for hydrogen electrolysis c) stabilizes grid d) does not deprive anyone of energy.
All of that said, because miners have a choice, mining with high-carbon sources like coal is morally blameworthy, and I'm against it (although Stronghold wrongly maligned – I will correct the record later). Mining on congested grids or with coal is avoidable & unwise.
So am I committing the broken window fallacy? No. Bitcoin [mining] is good for society because having a non-state monetary medium is necessary and good. It's similar to gold, and its (small) costs are worth bearing. Same debate as gold cost debate.
PoW Mining is the only way to accomplish

a) permissionless initial distribution of assets
b) true leaderless consensus which isn't exposed to political capture [PoS does not accomplish this]
So PoW is useful in its own right. It is not a waste, it is providing a service which is being paid for.

To JP's critique, he says

"There are many industries that can efficiently consume electricity in a staggered or interruptible manner,"
He conveniently fails to list these. Some industries do provide demand response, but it's not as sunny as he claims: Aluminum electrolysis, EV charging, Paper mills, other industrial & residential DR programs
Aluminum electrolysis can be interrupted but not for long, and it requires massive physical infra. Not suitable for finding small/medium pockets of stranded energy. Not suitable for granular DR (like controllable load). Only good for large plants right on hydro sites.
Household/industrial DR is a real thing, but guess what? That's 100% non-location independent. You can't take a neighborhood and plonk it in West Texas colocated with a wind farm. So JP is right that some DR exists – but it's not configurable
EV charging has the same problem. Good luck coaxing people to charge their vehicles in the middle of nowhere. They want to charge vehicles at home or at work. Same problem.
Other large industrial loads like paper mills can also participate in DR, but generally it's a 1 or 0; on or off, and only for short times. Not remotely configurable and certainly not useful for high-frequency, granular DR

(re read this piece please.)
Probably the most promising location-independent, interruptible, modular, and attenuable (the 4 golden qualities BTC mining has) industry that can exist at large scale is hydrogen electrolysis. But BTC mining doesn't _compete_ with this – it makes it more viable!
Bitcoin mining is a $15b/year pressure to finance the buildout of energy infrastructure on top of untapped, stranded, or uneconomical energy sources in remote industrial parks, which can be reused later for other similar industries. It's highly accretive to H electrolysis
if you want to weigh in on bitcoin mining, please learn about the following first

- transmission loss
- demand response /CLR
- flexible load
- transmission costs and bottlenecks
- baseload vs intermittent energy
- why energy is negatively priced
it's pointless to have a discussion if people think:
- energy is infinitely portable and never decays from source
- energy is globally fungible and my use of electricity deprives someone else of electricity
- renewables provide baseload

it's just all wrong
it looks like I'm gatekeeping, but it's really just imbecilic to get into a policy debate without knowing any of the subject matter. read

- the grid gretchen bakke
- energy and civilization vaclav smil
- shorting the grid meredith angwin
- @AlexEpstein & @ShellenbergerMD
@AlexEpstein @ShellenbergerMD anyway, next time you want to debunk my perceived views, please consider my actual views. they're all right here

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This is a good thread on the nuances of proof-of-work:

Bitcoin mining is vital because it secures a global, open, decentralized money network which tens of millions in failing economies already rely on. Separately—in addition—mining itself has positive externalities, some detailed in this epic thread, others not yet realized ♻️ 🧵

This thread is important in understanding Bitcoin’s energy usage and how it functions.

This is a great thread breaking down how Bitcoin mining helps incentivize renewable energy investments