(Don't be mad at me here—just playing devil's advocate... )mystran wrote:Personally I feel cryptocurrencies are just an absolutely terrible idea, because they waste crazy amounts of electric power on the "mining" and therefore contribute to global environmental warming. We should be looking for ways to make the modern society MORE energy efficient, not less.
OTOH, mining by electricity quickly becomes profitable only with cheap electricity (assuming constrained availability and competition, a la bitcoin)—driving a quest for energy efficiency (that is, to your point it does indeed use more electricity, making society less efficient, but can be a driver of making that electricity more efficiently).
The catch is that the amount of additional electricity to ever be used for mining crypto will likely be insignificant. There are many more necessary uses of energy (not jut electrical) for power in the coming decades (China, India, Africa...). Still for some seeking a big payoff, it still a potential driver for innovation in energy efficiency.