Purism Collaborates with Cryptocurrency Monero to Enable Mobile Payments

Purism plans to utilize Monero’s privacy respecting platform to build a cash-like, digital payment system for Librem 5 smartphone users

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 13, 2017 — Purism, maker of security focused hardware and software, today announced a collaboration with Monero, the only secure decentralized currency that is private by default. Purism recently started accepting Monero for payments in its online store, and this is a continuation of the company’s support for the cryptocurrency.

As more central services like Equifax are hacked, exposing vulnerable user data in unprecedented ways that cause permanent damage to people’s privacy, it has become clear that centralized, individually identifiable, historic, and permanent digital footprints create a serious threat to digital privacy and human rights. Purism, on the heels of its successful smartphone crowdfunding campaign which has raised more than $1.5 million, is looking to address this threat by incorporating cryptocurrencies by default into its mobile phone design, beginning with Monero.

“We must proactively plan for and address digital rights issues in the here and now, because by the time we face them in the future the damage will be irreversible,” said Todd Weaver, Founder & CEO of Purism. “Collaboration with Monero allows us to offer users a much lower barrier to entry for leveraging the benefits of a cryptocurrency, and our aim is to make it incredibly simple to use your Librem 5 smartphone to make secure, cash-like payments that safeguard your private information.”

Monero’s cryptocurrency offers a fungible, decentralized, private currency that is created to be identical to centuries of physical world transaction processes, primarily that cash given for goods or services is a one-time, non-recorded, mutual transaction.

“Collaborating with Purism addresses a major pain point for Monero. The Librem 5 makes it easy for the average user to use Monero for real world transactions on a mobile platform. In addition, the Librem 5, by using Free Libre Open Source Software provides the user with the opportunity to verify to a very high level its end point security, privacy and decentralization. This is in sharp contrast to many mobile platforms where the user has to trust a proprietary implementation. I am very excited to see the Librem 5 planning to have Monero support by default,” Francisco Cabañas, Core Team Member, The Monero Project.

“Creating a future where a person can buy or sell digital goods or services and still respect their privacy, similarly to cash but on the Internet, is a long-time dream that we plan to make a reality,” says Weaver.

Integrating Monero into Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone as part of its default mobile payment system can solve the problems plaguing the online transaction space, removing banks from the transaction, removing all central storage of private user data, keeping transactions private between two parties, all backed by the strength of an immutable cryptographic blockchain ledger.

About Monero

The Monero Project is a grassroots, community-driven initiative that advocates for privacy on a global scale by producing several free libre open source software projects, with the flagship offering being Monero, a fungible and decentralized cryptocurrency. The important guiding philosophies of Monero are security (ensuring that users are able to trust Monero with their transactions, without risk of error or attack), privacy (ensuring that users can transact Monero without fear of coercion, censorship, or surveillance), and decentralization (ensuring that no single person or group can control the network or reverse transactions). The goal is to provide a level of fungibility and privacy that is analogous to that of cash for the digital world.

About Purism

Purism is a Social Purpose Corporation devoted to bringing security, privacy, software freedom, and digital independence to everyone’s personal computing experience.

With operations based in San Francisco (California) and around the world, Purism manufactures premium-quality laptops and phones, creating beautiful and powerful devices meant to protect users’ digital lives without requiring a compromise on ease of use. Purism designs and assembles its hardware by carefully selecting internationally sourced components to be privacy-respecting and fully Free-Software-compliant. Security and privacy-centric features come built-in with every product Purism makes, making security and privacy the simpler, logical choice for individuals and businesses.

Media Contact

Marie Williams, Coderella / Purism
+1 415-689-4029
See also the Purism press room for additional tools and announcements.

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Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Monero, TRON: Price Analysis, Nov. 26

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

The digital currencies were relatively stable from early September of mid-November, after which the decline started. Since then, incessant selling dragged the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies from above $210 billion on Nov. 14, to just below $116 billion on Nov. 25, a fall of close to 45 percent.

After such a waterfall decline, an equally sharp pullback is probable. However, the markets will not switch over from a strong bear phase to a bull phase instantly. Mike Novogratz, ex-Goldman Sachs partner and founder of Galaxy Digital, believes that the cryptocurrencies will stage a turnaround next year.

While the fall has hurt traders’ accounts, it has not stopped the adoption of cryptocurrencies. In an apparent first, businesses in the U.S. state of Ohio will be able to pay their taxes in Bitcoin. This facility may possibly be extended to the individual taxpayers in future, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).


Bitcoin dropped to a low of $3,620.26 on Nov. 26, from where the bulls attempted a pullback that hit a roadblock just above the $4,200 level. Currently, the bears are attempting to resume the downtrend. The zone between $3,000–$3,500 is an important support and we expect it to hold.

The fall in the last few days has plunged the RSI into deeply oversold levels. Though in a bear phase the RSI frequently stays close to the oversold zone, a reading of 11 on the RSI indicates capitulation.

Usually, such a sharp decline is followed by an equally sharp throwback rally. The BTC/USD pair will face minor resistance at the downtrend line but we expect it to be crossed. The upside targets are a pullback to 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement level of $4,712.89 and a 50 percent retracement level of $5,050.40. The 20-day EMA is also just above this level and might act as a stiff resistance.

It is difficult to trade the rebound, hence, only experienced traders willing to take a risk should attempt to go long, if the virtual currency sustains $4,250 for about four hours. The stop loss can be kept just below $3,500. As this is a risky trade, use only 30 percent of the usual allocation. On the downside, if the digital currency breaks below $3,620.26, a fall to $3,000 is likely.


Ripple broke below the support of $0.37185 on Nov. 25, but buying at lower levels helped it recover most of the intraday losses. The bears are currently attempting a sell off once again.

If successful, the XRP/USD pair can decline to the support line of the channel, which will act as a strong support. However, if the level fails to hold, a retest of $0.24508 is possible.  

On the other hand, if the bulls push prices above $0.37185, a pullback will begin that can extend to $0.43 where we anticipate a strong resistance from the 20-day EMA. We do not find any buy setups; hence, we are not suggesting a trade in it.


The buyers seem to have deserted Ethereum because there is not even a reasonable attempt to pullback after such a decline.

On Nov. 25, the bears easily broke below the support of $110. The ETH/USD pair found some support at $102.96 but the pullback has been weak. A break of the $102.96 level can drag the digital currency to $83.  

On the upside, the recovery will face roadblocks at $130 and $140. If these two levels are crossed, a pullback to $158 is possible. However, we do not find any reliable buy setups, hence, it is best to stay on the sidelines.


As the hash war in Bitcoin Cash is over, we have reintroduced it in our analysis. Due to the fork, we will have to look at it afresh.

Within a short span of 20-days, the decline has been massive. The bulls are attempting to provide support close to $148.27. If they succeed, a pullback to 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement and 50 percent retracement of the recent fall is probable.

If the bulls fail, the BCH/USD pair might extend its downtrend. Though it is in uncharted territory, the next major support is at $100. Traders can wait for a bullish pattern to form before initiating any long positions.


Stellar broke below the critical support of $0.184 and $0.1547188, which is a bearish sign. It found some buying at $0.13427050 but the bulls are struggling to sustain the pullback.

A breakdown of the Nov. 25 lows will resume the downtrend and push the XLM/USD pair to the next support at $0.08. Any recovery will face a stiff resistance at the $0.184 level. We do not find any reliable buy setups, hence, are not proposing a trade in it.


Though the RSI is in oversold territory, the bulls could not initiate a recovery in EOS as it continues to trade below the $3.8723 level.

The immediate support is at $3. If the EOS/USD pair bounces off this support, it will face a minor resistance at the downtrend line, above which $3.8723 will act as a major resistance. If the bears plummet prices below $3, the next support is at $2.40. Traders should wait for a trend reversal before attempting to buy it.


Litecoin is in a firm bear grip. It broke its support at $32 and fell to a low of $28 on Nov. 25. There has been no reasonable pullback since the decline started on Nov. 14, which shows a lack of buying interest by the bulls.

Below $28, the next support is at $20, but considering the oversold readings on the RSI, we anticipate a pullback within the next few days.

On the upside, the recovery will face a stiff hurdle at the 20-day EMA. We expect the LTC/USD pair to form a range before starting a new uptrend. Until then, we suggest traders remain on the sidelines.


Lack of buying pushed Cardano to $0.033065 on Nov. 25. If this support breaks, the slide can extend to the next support at $0.025954.

The RSI is in deep oversold levels that can result in a pullback that will face resistance in the zone of $0.50 and the 20-day EMA. We shall wait for a confirmed bottom to form and the chart pattern to signal a reversal before suggesting a trade on the ADA/USD.


Monero broke below the support of $60 and slipped to $54.081 on Nov. 25. If this level is broken, there is a psychological support at $50, below which the slide can reach the $40 level.

If the bulls hold the support of $54.081 and begin a recovery, the XMR/USD pair can rise to $71 and above that to $81. We expect a strong resistance at $81. Due to the oversold readings on the RSI, we anticipate a recovery within the next few days. However, there are no buy setups yet, hence, we are not recommending a trade in it.


TRON broke down of the support at $0.0122194 and dipped to an intraday low of $0.01089965 on Nov. 25. The bulls have managed to hold prices close to the Nov. 20 lows but they have not been able to push prices higher.

The RSI is deeply oversold, which shows that selling has been overdone. A recovery from the current levels can carry the TRX/USD pair to the overhead resistance of $0.01587681, where we expect sellers to step in.

Contrary to our opinion, if the bears continue to pound the digital currency, a fall to $0.00844479 is possible. Traders should wait for a new buy setup to form before buying.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.

This content was originally published here.

Ethereum is jamming up because of a game for buying virtual cats

Screen Shot 2017 12 04 at 12.41.10 PMCryptokitties

  • “CryptoKitties,” a blockchain-based game that let’s users buy and sell virtual cats, is exploding in popularity.
  • It’s putting pressure on Ethereum, the blockchain fueled by ether.

Just when you thought the world of cryptocurrencies couldn’t get zanier, along comes “CryptoKitties.”

The online cat breeding game, which has been likened to both Beanie Babies and Pokemon, has taken the crypto-world by storm. Based on Ethereum’s blockchain, the game allows users to breed, buy, and sell kittens with ether, a rival cryptocurrency to bitcoin. It was created by AxiomZen, a San Francisco- and Vancouver-based company. 

Just like bitcoin, the game has blown up with $3.3 million worth of transactions. Some kittens are listed on its site for more than 50 ether, or approximately $22,500 at ether’s price at the time of this writing. More than 20,000 cats have been sold thus far. 

“CryptoKitties” appears to be pushing Ethereum to its limits with pending transactions on Ethereum’s blockchain reaching new highs since the game exploded in popularity, according to data from Etherscan.

“[It’s] causing a backlog of transactions,” Josh Olszwicz, a bitcoin trader and writer for Brave New Coin, told Business Insider in a Twitter direct message. 

The game accounts for more than 10% of the activity on Ethereum’s blockchain, according to EtherGasInfo.com.

Screen Shot 2017 12 04 at 12.55.54 PMEthereum Scan

“Ethereum is very actively managed by well-known founders,” according to Joe DiPasquale, founder of BitBull Capital, a cryptocurrency fund of funds. “I am confident management will be able to improve the transaction speed.”

“I am surprised by the success of the game,” he added. 

Ethereum’s blockchain was designed to provide the basis for a number of use-cases outside of digital currencies. Companies ranging from 4G Capital, which seeks to help grow businesses in Africa via smart contracts, to WeiFund, a crowdfunding platform, are running applications on Ethereum. 

This content was originally published here.

Ripple and Ethereum Just Hit All-Time Highs

A Big Day for Crypto

While 2017 saw market leader bitcoin making frequent headlines thanks to its soaring valuations, 2018 is already proving to be a big year for the second and third most popular cryptocurrencies, ripple and ethereum, respectively.

On January 4, ripple hit a new all-time-high of $3.317 per unit, and at the time of writing, it has a market cap of $137 billion.

Ethereum also hit a new high on the 4th, breaking the $1,000 threshold for the first time. The cryptocurrency currently sits at $1,027.27 with a market cap of just over $99 billion.

The value of a single unit of ripple or ethereum is still far below that of a unit of bitcoin (currently $15,125 per), and the leading crypto’s market cap of $253 billion is almost twice that of its nearest competitor.

However, the silver and bronze cryptos are quickly closing that market cap gap, with ripple’s market cap increasing by $49 billion and ether’s by $26 billion just in the four days since 2017 drew to a close.

The Future of Money

Overall, the crypto market has surged from $17 billion to almost $770 billion in the past year. Based on the latest figures for ripple and ether, society’s interest in cryptocurrencies clearly extends beyond a single coin.

As more and more people invest in crypto, be it bitcoin, ether, or ripple, the likelihood that this new form of currency is here to stay increases.

Governments and financial institutions are already warming to the idea. A future of faster, more secure financial transactions powered by crypto could be just on the horizon.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

This content was originally published here.

Monero Fees Fall to Almost Zero After ‘Bulletproofs’ Upgrade

Transaction fees on monero, the 10th largest cryptocurrency network, have fallen sharply after last Thursday’s system-wide software update.

The reduction comes in the wake of the platform’s activation of a highly-anticipated new form of cryptography named “bulletproofs,” a new technology that seeks to make the monero network’s privacy features more scalable by restructuring how its confidential transactions are verified.

According to data published by BitInfoCharts, average monero fees fell from about $0.54 cents on Thursday to roughly $0.021 cents as of Saturday – a 96 percent drop.

Such a dramatic shift was previously predicted by monero developers speaking to CoinDesk. “I think you can safely say a typical [transaction] fee goes down by more than 95 percent,” monero core developer “moneromooo” remarked last week.

Moneromooo also said that fee reductions could even be lower, depending on the kind of transaction that users create.

Alongside bulletproofs, the upgrade, performed via a mechanism called a hard fork, contained other features intended to improve privacy on the platform, as well as new code to deter manufacturers from building specialized mining hardware for monero.

Speaking on IRC last week, developers celebrated the upgrade, with Sarang Noether, a cryptographer at the Monero Research Lab that led the work on the bulletproofs implementation, writing that “it’s gonna be great seeing the blockchain growth charts.”

There were also predictions that the drop on fees might open the door to additional uses for XMR, the cryptocurrency that powers the monero blockchain. Core developer “hyc” said that the upgrade was “definitely making the notion of micropayments more palatable again.”

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

This content was originally published here.

Fortnite Merch Store Now Accepts Monero (XMR): Crypto Adoption

Fortnite Accepts Monero (XMR) For Merch

On New Year’s Day, rumors began to circulate around crypto’s segment of the internet that Fortnite, the world-renowned “Battle Royale” video game, had begun to accept Monero (XMR) for branded merchandise. Eventually, after this hearsay festered, South African national Riccardo Spagni, a leading crypto community member, confirmed that Monero was accepted on Fortnite’s merch outlet.

Referencing the video game, he quipped on Twitter that “now you can purchase that sweet Durrr Burger onesie without your friends, family, or coworkers judging you,” evidently touching on XMR’s privacy features.

Too cool: the Fortnite merch store (https://t.co/KNL4IFCFHk) lets you pay in Monero, so now you can purchase that sweet Durrr Burger onesie without your friends / family / coworkers judging you. https://t.co/XYs1NjGvGp

— Riccardo Spagni (@fluffypony) January 1, 2019

After further digging, Spagni determined that XMR payments were routed through Globee, a global crypto-friendly payment processor that currently accepts: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Decred (DCR), Ethereum (ETH), XRP, and the aforementioned privacy asset.

Interestingly, with this integration, the payment processor limited cryptocurrency transactions to XMR. When this news broke, a number of crypto enthusiasts took to social media channels to express their excitement, as integration into a facet of Fortnite, a game that attracts millions of viewers on Twitch day-in, day-out, is evidently an optimistic sign. One Reddit user noted that this is what adoption looks like, noting that there are “actual real, tangible, and publicly verifiable consequences.

This sentiment was echoed, with some even noting that while they’re not a fan of the game, they’re enamored with the show of adoption.

Yet, there were some that addressed the Globee integration with a tinge of skepticism. One user, going by the moniker Thou Have Not Seen, noted that “no one’s gonna use it,” but the lurking presence of the Monero logo is bullish nonetheless.

Mat Odell, a prominent Bitcoiner, and Samantha Chang, a journalist for CCN, asked why the payment processor didn’t accept Bitcoin. Spagni, attempting to clear the waters, noted that Globee is looking into accepting Lightning Network transactions, but will be hesitant of privacy cannot be upheld.

Regardless, this is a great way to start 2019’s drive for adoption, even while the integration may pertain to a teenage/young adult video game.

Video Games — The Key To Crypto Adoption?

Although some are skeptical of the role video games play in society, many crypto enthusiasts have claimed that this form of entertainment is the key to cryptocurrency use across the world. More specifically, many forward-thinkers in this nascent industry have drawn attention to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which can act as unique, secure, tradable items in games. With the rise of in-game items, like skins in League of Legends, blockchain-based NFTs could skyrocket to the top as a viable way to make gaming trades/transactions.

But with the rise of microtransactions and in-game tokens, like Fortnite’s V-Bucks, simple company-branded tokens could also perform rather well. And, with the introduction of trading pairs, tokens could enter the broader ecosystem and would allow consumers, whether young or otherwise, to purchase BTC and other crypto assets for alternative use cases.

Title Image Courtesy of Rohit Choudhari on Unsplash

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Ripple overtakes Ethereum as the second largest cryptocurrency

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After a period of tremendous growth, the banking-oriented cryptocurrency Ripple has overtaken Ethereum and is currently the second largest coin in terms of market cap behind Bitcoin. 

Ripple’s price rose 42.7 percent in the last 24 hours alone according to CoinMarketCap, with its market cap surging to $73.6 billon. 

SEE ALSO: 2018 will be the year of Bitcoin’s rivals

This is the first time a cryptocurrency has overtaken Ethereum since May 2017, when Ripple quickly surged in price before cooling off at the end of the month.


There’s no clear reason behind Ripple’s most recent price surge. The cryptocurrency’s technology, which is fundamentally different from Bitcoin and is designed for fast and secure global financial transactions, was recently tested by Japanese and South Korean banks. 

Other cryptocurrencies have had a mixed day; Bitcoin hasn’t moved nearly at all in the last 24 hours and is currently trading at $14,402; Ethereum rose 2.8 percent to $733.4; Bitcoin Cash fell 7.9 percent, to $2,393, and Litecoin dropped 4 percent and is currently trading at $241. 

Ripple’s price growth in 2017 has been absolutely insane, even by cryptocurrency standards. You could’ve bought one Ripple for $0.0065 on January 1, whereas the current price is $1.89, a 29,000 percent increase. 

Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.

WATCH: People are spending millions on virtual CryptoKitties

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TokenPay Acquires German Bank, May Lure Verge (XVG), Litecoin (LTC) Into It

TokenPay, a large contributor in the crowdfunding that see Verge (XVG) partner with Pornhub has successfully acquired a stake in a Munish based WEG Bank AG, in Germany. And there is possibility that the firm may lure Litecoin and Verge into the partnership.

The deal, according to TokenPay, is officially closed, and the shares have been transferred. Also the timing is in line with the whitepaper Roadmap Projections of the blockchain firm. WEG Bank had since, transferred to TokenPay Swiss AG, the share certificates representing 9.9% of the equity interest.

It as well, gave the blockchain firm the option to acquire an additional 80.1% of the bank upon customary regulatory approval.

In the announcement by TokenPay, it was declared that the proceeds of this transaction were derived from the firm’s December 2017 token sale.

“Today we are announcing that we have officially closed a deal with WEG Bank AG, located in Germany.”

In the same vein, Lichtenstein Bank has approached TokenPay for a similar partnership.

TokenPay May Lure Litecoin And Verge Into Acquiring Bank In Germany.

The uproar that came after the unveiling of Verge’s mystery partnership created room for discussions and opportunities. During the process, Litecoin and TokenPay CEOs discussed a possible partnership that was later confirmed.

When Litecoin Founder, Charlie Lee, and Derek Capo, CEO at TokenPay were discussing, the later indicated that TokenPay has partnered with Verge and that they, TokenPay, are buying a bank in Germany and will be using Verge as their banking solution.

“1. If did not donate the deal does not happen.

2. has a partnership with for our banking solution (we are buying bank in Germany).

3. More partnerships between crypto is important. TokenPay also benefits in helping large community, etc.”

Daren then talked about partnering with Litecoin on debit card production and if possible buying bank in Germany.

“No problem, so when do you want to talk about a REAL debit card solution? We are buying 9.9% of a bank in Munich with option to buy 90%. We have a whole ecosystem and plan in place. Let me know how we can work together. The battle between old and new world is just getting started”

“They key to making this all work is ecosystems, partnerships and constant communication with regulators. Buying a bank in Germany gets us a seat at regulator table, key to educating governments. As for we can add to our bank, debit card, gift cards etc.”

“Thanks. Let me know if there’s anything I or the Litecoin Foundation can do to help,” Charlie replied.

The Partnership Confirmed!

It is interesting to note that Litecoin and TokenPay did not reveal what the partnership was all about till now, but it was confirmed in a tweet by TokenPay that the two cryptocurrencies have entered into a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

“ CEO Interview with Sean Davis. THE ECOSYSTEM EXPLAINED. Deal NDA Signed”

It is possible that the agreement may not be on debit card, however, it is possible that it is on owning a stake in the bank since there is more room for that.

If things work out, Litecoin and Verge, who lately became a confidant of TokenPay may be working with the blockchain firm to acquire more stake in the Germany-based bank.

The post TokenPay Acquires German Bank, May Lure Verge (XVG), Litecoin (LTC) Into It appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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How much electricity is consumed by Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero? | Great Wall of Numbers

I recently created a thread that on Twitter regarding the lower-bound estimates for how much electricity the Bitcoin blockchain consumed using publicly available numbers.

The first part of this post is a slightly modified version of that thread.

The second part of this post, below part 1, includes additional information on Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero using the same type of methodology.

The original nested thread started by explaining why a proof-of-work (PoW) maximalist view tries to have it both ways.

You cannot simultaneously say that Bitcoin is – as measured by hashrate – the “most secure public chain” and in the same breath say the miners do not consume enormous quantities of energy to achieve that.  The fundamental problem with PoW maximalism is that it wants to have a free energy lunch.

All proof-of-work chains rely on resource consumption to defend their network from malicious attackers.  Consequently, a less resource intensive network automatically becomes a less secure network.1  I discussed this in detail a few years ago.

Part 1: Bitcoin

Someone recently asked for me to explain the math behind some of Bitcoin’s electricity consumption, below is simple model using publicly known numbers:

Thus the hashrate pointed at the Bitcoin network today is about 50,000,000 terashashes.

Dividing one from the other, this is the equivalent of 3,846,000 S9s… yes over 3 million S9s.

While there is other hardware including some newer, slightly more energy efficient gear online, the S9 is a good approximate.

Because the vast majority of these machines are left on 24/7, the math to estimate how much energy consumption is as follows:

Note: here’s a good thread explaining this by actual miners.

In a single month, one S9 will use ~1,080 kWh.

Thus if you multiply that by 3,846,000 machines, you reach a number that is the equivalent of an entire country.

For perspective, ~50.5 billion kWh / year would place the Bitcoin network at around the 47th largest on the list of countries by electricity consumption, right between Algeria and Greece.

But, this estimate is probably a lower-bound because it doesn’t include the electricity consumed within the data centers to cool the systems, nor does it include the relatively older ASIC equipment that is still turned on because of local subsidies a farm might receive.

So what?

According to a recent Wired article:

In Iceland, the finance minister has warned that cryptocurrency mining – which uses more power than the nation’s entire residential demand – could severely damage its economy.

Recent analysis from a researcher at PwC places the Bitcoin network electricity consumption higher, at more than the level of Austria which is number 39th on that list above.  Similarly, a computer science professor from Princeton estimates that Bitcoin mining accounts for almost 1% of the world’s energy consumption.2

Or to look at it in a different perspective: the Bitcoin network is consuming the same level of electricity of a developed country – Austria – a country that generates ~$415 billion per year in economic activity.

Based on a recent analysis from Chainalysis, it found that Bitcoin – which is just one of many proof-of-work coins – handled about $70 million in payments processed for the month of June.  Yet its cost-per-transaction (~$50) is higher than at any point prior to November 2017.

You don’t have to be a hippy tree hugger (I’m not) to clearly see that a proof-of-work blockchains (such as Bitcoin and its derivatives) are currently consuming significantly more resources than they create. However this math is hand-waved away on a regular basis by coin lobbyists.

The figure also didn’t include the e-waste generated from millions of single-use ASIC mining machines that are useful for about ~12 months; or the labor costs, or building rents, or transportation, etc.  These ASIC-based machines are typically discarded and not recycled.

In addition to e-waste, many mining farms also end up with piles of discarded cardboard boxes and styrofoam (source)

Part 2: Bitcoin Cash

With Bitcoin Cash the math and examples are almost identical to the Bitcoin example above.  Why?  Because they both use the same SHA256 proof-of-work hash function and as a result, right now the same exact hardware can be used to mine both (although not simultaneously).3

So what do the numbers look like?

The BCH network hashrate has been hovering around 4 – 4.5 exahashes the past month. So let’s use 4.25 exahashes.

Note: this is about one order of magnitude less hashrate than Bitcoin so you can already guesstimate its electricity usage.  But let’s do it by hand anyways.

An S9 generates ~13 TH/s and 4.25 exahashes is 4.25 million terahashes.

After dividing: the equivalent of about 327,000 S9s are used.

Again, these machines are also left on 24/7 and consume about 36 kWh per machine per day.  So a single S9 will use ~1,080 kWh per month.

To reuse the comparison above, what country’s total electricity consumption is Bitcoin Cash most similar to?

Around 124th, between Moldova and Cambodia.

How much economic activity does Moldova and Cambodia generate with that electricity consumption?  According to several sources, Cambodia has an annual GDP of ~ $22 billion and Moldova has an annual GDP of ~$8 billion.

For comparison, according to Chainalysis, this past May, Bitcoin Cash handled a mere $3.7 million in merchant payments, down from a high of $10.5 million in March a couple months before.

Also, the Bitcoin Cash energy consumption number is likely a lower-bound as well for the reasons discussed above; doesn’t account for the e-waste or the resources consumed to create the mining equipment in the first place.

This illustrates once again that despite the hype and interest in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, there is still little real commercial “activity” beyond hoarding, speculation, and illicit darknet markets.  And in practice, hoarding is indistinguishable from losing a private key so that could be removed too.  Will mainstream adoption actually take place like its vocal advocates claim it will?

Discarded power supplies from Bitcoin mining equipment (source)

Part 3: Ethereum

So what about Ethereum?

Its network hashrate has been hovering very closely to 300 TH/s the past month

At the time of this writing, the Ethereum network is still largely dominated by large GPU farms. It is likely that ASICs were privately being used by a handful of small teams with the necessary engineering and manufacturing talent (and capital), but direct-to-consumer ASIC hardware for Ethereum didn’t really show up until this summer.

There are an estimated 10 million GPUs churning up hashes for the Ethereum network, to replace those with ASICs will likely take more than a year… assuming price stability occurs (and coin prices are volatile and anything but stable).

For illustrative purposes, what if the entire network were to magically switch over the most efficient hardware -the Innosilicon A10 – released next month?

Innosilicon currently advertises its top machine can generate 485 megahashes/sec and consumes ~ 850 W.

So what is that math?

The Ethereum network is ~300 TH/s which is around 300,000,000 megahashes /sec.

Quick division: that’s the equivalent of 618,557 A10 machines.

Again, each machine is advertised to consume ~850 W.

So what would 618,557 A10 machines consume in a single day?
– about 12.6 million kWh / day

And annually:
– about 4.6 billion kWh / year

That works out to be between Afghanistan or Macau.  However…

Before you say “this is nearly identical to Bitcoin Cash” keep in mind that the Ethereum estimate above is the lowest of lower-bounds because it uses the most efficient mining gear that hasn’t even been released to the consumer.

In reality the total energy consumption for Ethereum is probably twice as high.

Why is Etherum electricity usage likely twice as high as the example above?

Because each of the ~10 million GPUs on the Ethereum network is significantly less efficient per hash than the A10 is. 4  Note: an example of a large Ethereum mine that uses GPUs is the Enigma facility.

For instance, an air-cooled Vega 64 can churn ~41 MH/s at around 135 W which as you see above, is much less efficient per hash than an A10.

If the Ethereum network was comprised by some of the most efficient GPUs (the Vega 64) then the numbers are much different.

Starting with: 300,000,000 MH/s divided by 41 MH/s.  There is the equivalent to 7.32 million Vega GPUs generating hashes for the network which is more in line with the ~10 million GPU estimate.

If 7.32 million Vega equivalent GPUs were used:

That would place the Ethereum network at around 100th on the electricity consumption list, between Guatemala and Estonia.

In terms of economic activity: Guatemala’s GDP is around $75 billion and Estonia’s GDP is around $26 billion.

What is Ethereum’s economic activity?

Unlike Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, the stated goal of Ethereum was basically to be a ‘censorship-resistant’ world computer.  Although it can transmit funds (ETH), its design goals were different than building an e-cash payments platform which is what Bitcoin was originally built for.

So while merchants can and do accept ETH (and its derivatives) for payment, perhaps a more accurate measure of its activity is how many Dapp users there are.

There are a couple sites that estimate Daily Active Users:

Based on the fact that the most popular Dapps are decentralized exchanges (DEXs) and MLM schemes, it is unlikely that the Ethereum network is generating economic activity equivalent to either Guatemala or Estonia.5

For more on the revenue Ethereum miners have earned and an estimate for how much CO2 has been produced, Dominic Williams has crunched some numbers.  See also this footnote.6

According to Malachi Salacido (above), their mining systems (in the background) are at a 2 MW facility, they are building a 10 MW facility now and have broken ground on a 20 MW facility. Also have 8 MW of facilities in 2 separate locations and developing projects for another 80 MW. (source)

Part 4: Litecoin

If you have been reading my blog over the past few years, you’ll probably have seen some of my Litecoin mining guides from 2013 and 2014.

If you haven’t, the math to model Litecoin’s electricity usage is very similar to both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.  From a mining perspective, the biggest difference between Litecoin and the other two is that Litecoin uses a hash function called scrypt, which was intended to make Litecoin more “ASIC-resistant”.

Spoiler alert: that “resistance” didn’t last long.

Rather than diving into the history of that philosophical battle, as of today, the Litecoin network is composed primarily of ASIC mining gear from several different vendors.

One of the most popular pieces of equipment is the L3+ from Bitmain.  It’s basically the same thing as the L3 but with twice the hashrate and twice the power consumption.

So let’s do some numbers.

Over the past month, the Litecoin network hashrate has hovered around 300 TH/s, or 300 million MH/s.

Based on reviews, the L3+ consumes ~800 W and generates ~500 MH/s.

So some quick division, there are about 600,000 L3+ machines generating hashes for the Litecoin network today.

As an aggregate:

Coincidentally this is roughly the same amount as Bitcoin Cash does as well.

So it would be placed around 124th, between Moldova and Cambodia.

Again, this is likely a lower-bound as well because it assumes the L3+ is the most widely used ASIC for Litecoin but we know there are other, less efficient ones being used as well.

What about activity?

While there are a few vocal merchants and a small army of “true believers” on social media, anecdotally I don’t think I’ve spoken to someone in the past year who has used Litecoin for any good or service (besides converting from one coin to another).

We can see that — apart from the bubble at the end of last year — the daily transaction volume has remained roughly constant each day for the past 18 months.  Before you flame me with a troll account, consider that LitePay collapsed before it could launch, partly because Litecoin still lacks a strong merchant-adopting ecosystem.

In other words, despite some support by merchant payment processors, its current usage is likely as marginal as Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Genesis Mining facility with Zeus scrypt mining equipment (source)

Part 5: Monero

The math around Monero is most similar to Ethereum in that it is largely dominated by GPUs.

In fact, earlier this year, a large number of Monero developers convinced its boisterous userbase to fork the network to prevent ASICs from being used.  This resulted in four Monero forks and basically all of them are dominated by high-end GPUs.

For the purposes of this article, we are looking at the fork that has the highest hashrate, XMR.  Over the past month its hashrate has hovered around 475 MH/s.

Only 475 MH/s?  That may sound like a very diminutive hashrate, but it is all relative to what most CPU and GPU hashrate performance is measured in Monero and not other coins.

For example, MoneroBenchmarks lists hundreds of different system configurations with the corresponding hashrate.  Similarly there are other independent testing systems that provide public information on hashrates.

Let’s take that same Vega 64 used above from Ethereum.  For Monero, based on tweaking it generates around 2000 hashes/sec and consumes around 160 W.

So the math is as follows:

The 332 million kWh / year figure is a lower-bound because like the Ethereum Vega 64 example above: it doesn’t include the whole mining system, all of these systems still need a CPU with its own RAM, hard drive, and so forth.

As a result, the real electricity consumption figure is much closer to Haiti than Seychelles, perhaps even higher.  Note: Haiti has a ~$8.4 billion economy and the GDP of Seychelles is ~$1.5 billion.

So what about Monero’s economic activity?  Many Monero advocates like to market it as a privacy-focused coin.  Some of its “core” developers publicly claimed it would be the best coin to use for interacting with darknet markets.  Whatever the case may be, compared to the four above, currently it is probably the least used for commercial activity as revealed by its relative flat transactional volume this past year.

A now-deleted image of a Monero mining farm in Toronto (source)

Above were examples of how much electricity is consumed by just five proof-of-work coins.  And there are hundreds of other PoW coins actively online using disproportionate amounts of electricity relative to what they process in payments or commerce.

This article did not dive into the additional resources (e.g., air conditioning) used to cool mining equipment.  Or the subsidies that are provided to various mining farms over the years.  It also doesn’t take into account the electricity used by thousands of validating nodes that each of the networks use to propagate blocks each day.

It also did not include the huge amount of semiconductors (e.g. DRAM, CPUs, GPUs, ASICs, network chips, motherboards, etc.) that millions of mining machines use and quickly depreciate within two years, almost all of which becomes e-waste.7 For ASIC-based systems, the only thing that is typically reused is the PSU, but these ultimately fail as well due to constant full-throttle usage.

In summation, as of this writing in late August 2018:

Altogether, these five networks alone likely consume electricity and other resources at an equivalent scale as The Netherlands especially once you begin to account for the huge e-waste generated by the discarded single-use ASICs, the components of which each required electricity and other resources to manufacture.  Perhaps even higher when costs of land, labor, on-going maintenance, transportation and other inputs are accounted for.

The Netherlands has the 18th largest economy in the world, generating $825 billion per annum.

I know many coin supporters say that is not a fair comparison but it is.  The history of development and industrialization since the 18th century is a story about how humanity is increasingly more productive and efficient per unit of energy.

Proof-of-work coins are currently doing just the opposite.  Instead of being more productive (e.g., creating more outputs with the same level of inputs), as coin prices increase, this incentivizes miners to use more not less resources.  This is known as the Red Queen Effect.89

For years, proof-of-work advocates and lobbying organizations like Coin Center have been claiming that the energy consumption will go down and/or be replaced by renewable energy sources.

But this simply cannot happen by design: as the value of a PoW coin increases, miners will invest more capital in order to win those coins.  This continues to happen empirically and it is why over time, the aggregate electricity consumption for each PoW coin has increased over time, not decreased.  As a side-effect, cryptocurrency mining manufacturers are now doing IPOs.10

Reporters, if you plan to write future stories on this topic, always begin by looking at the network hashrate of the specific PoW coin you are looking at and dividing it by the most common piece of mining hardware.  These numbers are public and cannot be easily dismissed.  Also worth looking at the mining restrictions and bans in Quebec, Plattsburgh, Washington State, China, and elsewhere.

To front-run an example that coin promoter frequently use as a whataboutism: there are enormous wastes in the current traditional financial industry, removing those inefficiencies is a decades-long ordeal.  However, as of this writing, no major bank is building dozens of data centers and filling them with single-use ASIC machines which continuously generate random numbers like proof-of-work coins do.  That would be rightly labeled as a waste.

In point of fact, according to the Federal Reserve:

In the aggregate, U.S. PCS systems process approximately 600 million transactions per day, valued at over $12.6 trillion.

It shouldn’t take the energy footprint of a single country, big or small, to confirm and settle electronic payments of that same country.  The fact of the matter is that with all of its headline inefficiencies (and injustices), that the US financial system has — the aggregate service providers still manage to process more than three orders of magnitude more in transactional volume per day than all of the major PoW coins currently do.11 And that is just one country.

Frequent rejoinders will be something like “but Lightning!” however at the time of this writing, no Lightning implementation has seen any measurable traction besides spraying virtual graffiti on partisan-run websites.

Can the gap between the dearth of transactional volume and the exorbitantly high cost-per-transaction ratio be narrowed?  Does it all come down to uses?  Right now, the world is collectively subsidizing dozens of minuscule speculation-driven economies that in aggregate consumes electricity on par with the 18th largest real economy, but produces almost nothing tangible in exchange for it.

What if all mining magically, immediately shifted over to renewable energy?

Izabella Kaminska succinctly described how this still doesn’t solve the environmental impact issues:

Renewable is displacement. Renewable used by bitcoin network is still renewable not used by more necessary everyday infrastructure. Since traditional global energy consumption is still going up, that ensures demand for fossil continues to increase.

To Kaminska’s point, in April a once-shuttered coal power plant in Australia was announced to be reopened to provide electricity to a cryptocurrency miner.  And just today, a senator from Montana warned that the closure of a coal power plant “could harm the booming bitcoin mining business in the state.”

It is still possible to be interested in cryptocurrencies and simultaneously acknowledge the opportunity costs that a large subset of them, proof-of-work coins, are environmental black holes.12

If you’re interested in discussing this topic more, feel free to reach out.  If you’re looking to read detailed papers on the topic, also highly recommend the first two links listed below.

End notes

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