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    用比特幣買東西成本有多高?買杯拿鐵都要消耗100美元的電

    用比特幣買東西成本有多高?買杯拿鐵都要消耗100美元的電

    Shawn Tully 2021年10月30日
    一份報告指出,每筆比特幣交易都要消耗1173度的電。

    10月26日,我通過電子郵件收到了一份關于比特幣(Bitcoin)能耗的初步研究報告。這項研究是由英國金融網站MoneySuperMarket進行的,它計算了每筆比特幣交易的電力成本。假如你用比特幣買了一杯拿鐵,或者用比特幣轉賬給一位朋友,作為他幫助你遛狗的酬謝,那么這種購買或者轉賬行為會消耗多少電力呢?對于那些堅信比特幣有朝一日必將成為主流,并且會讓交易行為變得快捷方便的人來說,這個答案或許會讓他們深受打擊。

    該報告指出,每筆比特幣交易都要消耗1173度的電,“相當于一個普通美國家庭6周的用電量”。確切地說,比特幣最耗電的環節是每筆交易背后的挖礦過程,它使得每筆比特幣交易的電力成本高達176美元。這個數字是基于過去12個月全球的平均電價(每度電9美分)計算出來的。

    同樣是一筆交易,信用卡公司只需要幾分錢的電費,而比特幣居然需要100多美元,這的確令人震驚。但176美元的說法或許也有些夸張了。荷蘭經濟學家亞歷克斯·德·弗里斯創辦了一個追蹤比特幣碳足跡的網站Digiconomist。他表示,以9美分的全球平均電價來計算比特幣的耗電成本是有問題的?!拔艺J為比特幣挖礦使用的電價應該在5美分左右。而且這也已經是一個很高的數字了。很多挖礦者所在的國家電價都是極低的,只有3到4美分?!比绻?美分計算,那么挖到1枚比特幣的耗電成本將高達35000美元。不過以筆者的經驗看,實際花費遠遠不到這個數字。從2020年10月下旬到今年1月中旬,比特幣的交易價格大概是在1.1萬美元到3.5萬美元之間,但“礦工”們卻仍然醉心于挖礦事業,礦機依然晝夜不停地開動著,并且不計較用電成本。如果挖來的比特幣還賣不出電費的價格,“礦工”們早就會把“礦場”關了。

    現在,我們將MoneySuperMarket使用的電費成本從每度9美分下調到5美分,這樣一來,每枚比特幣的挖礦成本就在19000美元左右,這個數字看起來更加合理(同時也凸顯了比特幣挖礦行業的巨大盈利空間,因為比特幣的價格已經達到該成本的三倍以上)。以5美分計算,每筆比特幣的交易成本也將從176美元下降至100美元左右。

    但是即便如此,僅僅一筆交易就要消耗掉這么多的電費,這個成本也是相當驚人的了。這也就帶來了一個基本問題:一種“貨幣”如果有這樣驚人的電耗,那么它還是一種合理的商業模式嗎?比特幣的缺點顯而易見:發電廠發出來的電就這么多,被比特幣占用了,家庭或者企業就用不上了。在有些國家,比特幣挖礦已經給電網造成了嚴峻壓力。比如在中國嚴打比特幣挖礦業之后,很多“礦工”轉戰至中亞的哈薩克斯坦,該國已經成了全球最大的比特幣“礦場”之一。但“礦場”的大量涌入,也導致該國接連發生停電。該國政府已經對比特幣挖礦業采取了限電措施。伊朗的比特幣挖礦業也導致了電力嚴重短缺,政府已經在開始驅逐“礦場”。格魯吉亞的阿布哈茲自治區也對境內的比特幣“礦場”發動了打擊整治——其中有很多都是非法經營的,以避免出現能源危機。薩爾瓦多則承諾對新來的“礦場”給予補貼,雖然該國有30%的電力需要進口。由于薩爾瓦多的電網已經在滿負荷運行,大量礦場的涌入將迫使政府不得不進口更多電力,進口電價也將顯著高于其國內利用地熱發電的成本。

    德·弗里斯說:“‘礦工’從一個國家撤出后,必然會前往其他國家,而且他們將繼續破壞當地電網的穩定。這種‘能源災難’將從一個國家傳導到另一個國家?!彼J為,比特幣的最大威脅,可能并非它的碳足跡,而是它給全球電網造成的巨大負擔。一旦比特幣挖礦業造成各地停電、停工、停產,政府就將采取行動,禁止或者限制比特幣采礦。今年的萬圣節,比特幣迎來的只有“驚嚇”,沒有“驚喜”——因為哈薩克斯坦出臺了更嚴厲的限電措施。很多人都在談論比特幣是否具有“可持續性”。不過更大的問題是,一種商業模式如果因為與家庭和企業“搶電”,而接連被一個個國家掃地出門,這種商業模式還能夠長久嗎?(財富中文網)

    譯者:樸成奎

    10月26日,我通過電子郵件收到了一份關于比特幣(Bitcoin)能耗的初步研究報告。這項研究是由英國金融網站MoneySuperMarket進行的,它計算了每筆比特幣交易的電力成本。假如你用比特幣買了一杯拿鐵,或者用比特幣轉賬給一位朋友,作為他幫助你遛狗的酬謝,那么這種購買或者轉賬行為會消耗多少電力呢?對于那些堅信比特幣有朝一日必將成為主流,并且會讓交易行為變得快捷方便的人來說,這個答案或許會讓他們深受打擊。

    該報告指出,每筆比特幣交易都要消耗1173度的電,“相當于一個普通美國家庭6周的用電量”。確切地說,比特幣最耗電的環節是每筆交易背后的挖礦過程,它使得每筆比特幣交易的電力成本高達176美元。這個數字是基于過去12個月全球的平均電價(每度電9美分)計算出來的。

    同樣是一筆交易,信用卡公司只需要幾分錢的電費,而比特幣居然需要100多美元,這的確令人震驚。但176美元的說法或許也有些夸張了。荷蘭經濟學家亞歷克斯·德·弗里斯創辦了一個追蹤比特幣碳足跡的網站Digiconomist。他表示,以9美分的全球平均電價來計算比特幣的耗電成本是有問題的?!拔艺J為比特幣挖礦使用的電價應該在5美分左右。而且這也已經是一個很高的數字了。很多挖礦者所在的國家電價都是極低的,只有3到4美分?!比绻?美分計算,那么挖到1枚比特幣的耗電成本將高達35000美元。不過以筆者的經驗看,實際花費遠遠不到這個數字。從2020年10月下旬到今年1月中旬,比特幣的交易價格大概是在1.1萬美元到3.5萬美元之間,但“礦工”們卻仍然醉心于挖礦事業,礦機依然晝夜不停地開動著,并且不計較用電成本。如果挖來的比特幣還賣不出電費的價格,“礦工”們早就會把“礦場”關了。

    現在,我們將MoneySuperMarket使用的電費成本從每度9美分下調到5美分,這樣一來,每枚比特幣的挖礦成本就在19000美元左右,這個數字看起來更加合理(同時也凸顯了比特幣挖礦行業的巨大盈利空間,因為比特幣的價格已經達到該成本的三倍以上)。以5美分計算,每筆比特幣的交易成本也將從176美元下降至100美元左右。

    但是即便如此,僅僅一筆交易就要消耗掉這么多的電費,這個成本也是相當驚人的了。這也就帶來了一個基本問題:一種“貨幣”如果有這樣驚人的電耗,那么它還是一種合理的商業模式嗎?比特幣的缺點顯而易見:發電廠發出來的電就這么多,被比特幣占用了,家庭或者企業就用不上了。在有些國家,比特幣挖礦已經給電網造成了嚴峻壓力。比如在中國嚴打比特幣挖礦業之后,很多“礦工”轉戰至中亞的哈薩克斯坦,該國已經成了全球最大的比特幣“礦場”之一。但“礦場”的大量涌入,也導致該國接連發生停電。該國政府已經對比特幣挖礦業采取了限電措施。伊朗的比特幣挖礦業也導致了電力嚴重短缺,政府已經在開始驅逐“礦場”。格魯吉亞的阿布哈茲自治區也對境內的比特幣“礦場”發動了打擊整治——其中有很多都是非法經營的,以避免出現能源危機。薩爾瓦多則承諾對新來的“礦場”給予補貼,雖然該國有30%的電力需要進口。由于薩爾瓦多的電網已經在滿負荷運行,大量礦場的涌入將迫使政府不得不進口更多電力,進口電價也將顯著高于其國內利用地熱發電的成本。

    德·弗里斯說:“‘礦工’從一個國家撤出后,必然會前往其他國家,而且他們將繼續破壞當地電網的穩定。這種‘能源災難’將從一個國家傳導到另一個國家?!彼J為,比特幣的最大威脅,可能并非它的碳足跡,而是它給全球電網造成的巨大負擔。一旦比特幣挖礦業造成各地停電、停工、停產,政府就將采取行動,禁止或者限制比特幣采礦。今年的萬圣節,比特幣迎來的只有“驚嚇”,沒有“驚喜”——因為哈薩克斯坦出臺了更嚴厲的限電措施。很多人都在談論比特幣是否具有“可持續性”。不過更大的問題是,一種商業模式如果因為與家庭和企業“搶電”,而接連被一個個國家掃地出門,這種商業模式還能夠長久嗎?(財富中文網)

    譯者:樸成奎

    On October 26, I received via email a report that takes an original look at Bitcoin's energy consumption. The study, from UK financial site MoneySuperMarket calculates the electricity cost of each Bitcoin transaction. If you buy a latte with Bitcoin, or send coins to friend for walking your dog, how much juice does the purchase or transfer consume? The answer is a blow to those fans who insist that Bitcoin will someday serve as a widespread currency that makes buying and selling things faster and cheaper.

    The report states that each Bitcoin transaction consumes 1,173 kilowatt hours of electricity. That's the volume of energy that could "power the typical American home for six weeks," the authors add. The Bitcoin mining that enables a purchase, sale or transfer, it posits, uses a slug of electricity that costs $176. That number is based on an average worldwide cost per kWh of 9.0 cents over the past 12 months.

    While the revelation that Bitcoin network devours $100-plus in electricity for a transaction that a credit card company could power for pennies is shocking, the $176 estimate appears much too high. The problem, says Alex de Vries, the Dutch economist whose website Digiconomist tracks Bitcoin's carbon footprint, is the 9 cents mark for electricity costs. "I estimate that the average for Bitcoin miners is 5 cents," he says. "And that's a high number. Many are producing in super-low cost countries at 3 or 4 cents." A figure of 9 cents per kWh would also put the electricity bill for minting each Bitcoin at $35,000. From this writer's experience, the actual expense is far less. From late October of 2020 to mid-January of this year, Bitcoin was trading between $11,000 to $35,000, yet miners were still avidly powering their racks of ASIC computers to win more coins. Mines would have been shutting down if they'd been faced with paying more in electricity to make their product than they could sell it for.

    So let's reduce the MoneySuperMarket number from 9 cents per kWh to the 5 cents favored by de Vries. That would put the average cost of producing a coin at around $19,000, which looks reasonable (and underscores the industry's gigantic profitability as price hovers at over three times that level). At 5 cents, the electricity cost per transaction would fall from $176 to roughly $100.

    The stunning amount of electricity Bitcoin gobbles for just one transaction, and the cost of that power, raises a basic question. Is creating a "currency" by consuming all that energy a sound business model? Bitcoin's drawback is that electricity is finite, and what Bitcoin uses, a family or a business can't use. In several nations, Bitcoin mining is imposing severe stress on the grid. Kazakhstan, one of world's leading crypto mining hubs and a top destination for producers displaced by the Chinese lockdown, is suffering blackouts caused by the industry's sudden explosion within its borders. Its government is limiting producers to a fraction of the electricity they're now deploying. Iran has also suffered severe shortages that's led to ejecting producers, and tiny Abkhazia is raiding mines––many of them illegal––to forestall an energy crisis. El Salvador promises to subsidize newcomers that decamp there, even though it imports 30% of its electricity. Since its grid is operating at full capacity, an influx of miners would force the government to import more juice, at a higher price than the electricity it generates at home using its geothermal energy fed by volcanoes.

    "The miners leaving these countries will need to move to other countries, then they'll destabilize the grid in the new countries," says de Vries. "We're looking at a rolling disaster." The biggest threat to Bitcoin, he says, may not be its carbon footprint but its burden in overloading electrical grids around the world. As houses go dark and factories shutter, governments will leap into action, banning or severely curtailing mining. Bitcoin doesn't need Halloween to spring more ghoulish surprises like the new one in Kazakhstan. There's lots of talk about whether Bitcoin is "sustainable." The bigger question is whether a business template that gets you booted from countries for taking power needed by families and businesses is sustainable.

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