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Thread: Cryptocurrencies

  1. #1
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Cryptocurrencies

    Since very few people are still folding proteins or following SETI, I thought we may expand the scope of the forum a bit and discuss other types distributed computing..

    Anyone using/renting your CPU/GPU cycles to something else these days? I have been crypto-mining with a few GPUs.


    A bit of history:
    Cryptocurrency may be referenced by some as the future of money, digital cash, hoax, baloon, digital gold, money-laundering scheme, etc. and yet it is still confusing to the masses.

    It all started when Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin in 2008 as a P2P "electronic cash system". The idea was for a completely decentralized P2P currency without a single server or authority control. Instead of a bank holding a ledger of how much money you have, representing a system of debts/IOUs, cryptocurrencies represend themselves, the equivalent of coins of gold, if you will. Transactions are irreversible, they can't be stopped by a bank/government, noone can be prevented from using cryptocurrencies..

    The idea gave birth to a multi-billion dollar market of hundreds of new cryptocurrencies 10 years later. Most cryptocurrencies introduce a limited, controlled supply of money that is not changeable by a government/bank, which makes it hard for any one institution to manipulate the monetary supply (in theory, given enough volume). Basically, the more people that "mine" for a currency, the more difficult it is to find the next "block" ("coin"), so that the supply of money remains relatively constant.

    The early years were clouded by shady deals (transactions are pseudo-anonymous) but generally under most governments' radars. There were a few growing pains - FBI has closed a couple of illegal Bitcoin exchanges in the past, for example, seizing tens of millions of USD worth of coins. These days banks are getting into the game (even the IRS issued a directive on treating crypto-income), governments are taking notice, there are new ETFs on the stock market related to cryptocurrencies, it's consistently in the news, etc. There are a couple of vibrant exchanges processing hundreds of millions daily, one Japan-based and two in the United States with proper licenses and some governmental oversight. It is easy to convert cryptocurrencies into USD these days using Coinbase (US based), or their GDAX exchange, for example.

    In 2017, bitcoin prices went wild (from $1000 for 1 BTC in the beginning of 2017, to ~$20k in December 2017, back down to ~$9k in April 2018).. Similarly some of the other big/established cryptocurrencies like ETH (Ethereum), LTC (Litecoin), etc.


    Mining?
    So, for those that are not familiar with it, new cryptocurrency "coins" (blocks) can be obtained by "mining". This is simply using your processing power to solve mathematical algorithms (just like any other type of distributed computing). Historically, CPUs were good enough, these days only ASIC miners are used to mine for bitcoin, but GPUs are still profitable mining some "alt" coins like Ethereum that use different algorithms (a single Nvidia GTX 1070 can make more than $30/month mining after electricity costs at current prices). There are mining "pools" that aggregate hashing power of many thousands of users and distribute profits.


    How does that matted to me
    For one, graphic cards are being used for mining many cryptocurrencies these days (Nvidia GTX 1070s, AMD RX580s, etc.). They were in such demand that prices spiked by 30% in 2017, and ALL major retailers were out of stock for many months, including Newegg, Amazon, B&H, etc. We are still in the middle of a crypto "Gold Rush" with people mining with one motherboard and 6-12 GPUs..
    Check out some of these --> https://forum.ethereum.org/discussio...#Comment_89752
    Anytime Bitcoin prices soar over $10k, high-end graphic cards seem to disappear from the internet, heh.



    What are your personal thoughts on crypto-minig, or cryptocurrencies in general? Hoax or the future?

    Personally, I have a mining rig with a few Nvidia GTX-1070s mining ETH at the moment. I've done a few trades on the exchanges. I sometimes rent some hashing power on miningrigrentals. I had like 3.5 BTC once but sold them cheap years ago. Anyone else?

  2. #2
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Sure wish I got into bitcoin when it was new, just figured it was stupid and wouldn't last. A couple friends are big into the miners now, doing ripple and etherium, they have some custom rigs that run 8-10 video cards. Seems risky, some of the hardware gets pricey.

    I really hate what crypto has done to video card prices.

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    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    I have a hard time seeing any reason to think that BC is nothing more than gambling.

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easto View Post
    I have a hard time seeing any reason to think that BC is nothing more than gambling.
    To think what? That crypto-mining is gambling?

    Similarly, one can argue that investing in the stock market is gambling as well, virtual goods based on people's perception of value and all. Heck, nowadays even currencies are not backed by gold, or anything tangible other than a promise of a government/banks.

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    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    I just see it as an intangible with huge risk and a value that is set by nothing more than the people mining it. I agree that to a degree the stock market can be considered gambling but I see it moving due to factors that can be quantified (to a degree).

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Is it highly risky? Of course.
    Highly speculative? Absolutely.
    Should you bet the house on it? Nope.

    Will it cost more or less 5-10 years from now.. I think there is enough interest out there so that it will still be around, and it won't be cheaper. There will be corrections, bumps on the road, prices will fluctuate wildly because it is highly speculative... But I don't think it is going away.

    Of course that's just how I see it, only my opinion.
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    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    I think Warren Buffet summed up the way I feel about it...

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/warre...110702015.html

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    No doubt what Warren Buffett says is true, Bitcoin is not a value-producing asset. However, that doesn't equate with pure speculation necessarily imho. You can still compare it to something like precious metals.. Gold is not a value-producing asset either.

    There are also some emerging real-world uses of some crypto coins, even if they are not immediately apparent. Here are a few examples:

    - Ethereum - allows for creating "DApps" (Decentralized applications)
    - Monero and Dash - aid in anonymity of transactions
    - Ripple (banks' cryptocurrency) aids in fast/easy/cheap international monetary transactions
    - Siacoin - decentralized cloud storage
    - Golem (Ethereum-based crypto) - allows renting of computing power, helps create an open-source decentralized super-computer without much overhead. It has a very tangible real-world application, potentially replacing massive data-centers that rent computational power.

  9. #9
    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    There are many ways that a digital currency does enable faster and more secure ways to buy and sell products and services throughout the world. I do think it is the future and I am sure we are getting closer and closer to a cashless society every day. Heck, I remember when ATMs first started popping up. Who would have thought banking could get any easier than that, lol!

    What worries me is how many people seem to be jumping into this investment who would have never had even thought about investing in anything more than a savings account. There are actually commercials on the radio for different quick loan providers and one of the things they suggest is that the loan could be used to buy "The Bitcoin dip". I mean, if you're someone who needs to get a quick or car title loan, the last thing you should be thinking of is buying Bitcoin. Although I'm sure most of the people are using it for other things, it troubles me that these companies are actually suggesting it.

    Cryptourrencies are just something I do not wish to invest in. Regardless of the investment, you'd be hard pressed to get me to move my money around in the first place. I am very much a "Buy and Hold" investor. Although moving monies around is certainly called for a times... I prefer to stay within my comfort zone. It's worked for me so far and I don't see any reason to adjust my portfolio and include Bitcoin.

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