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17 February 2021

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Cryptocurrency bubble: Insanity of capitalism

microchip, photo: Jon Sullivan/CC

microchip, photo: Jon Sullivan/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Amnon Cohen, North London Socialist Party

Low interest rates and the declining profit margins of capitalist production have pushed speculators to find new areas to invest their capital. This has created a massive bubble in cryptocurrencies.

In 2010, a bitcoin was worth $0.0008, and a bitcoin could be 'mined' with an ordinary laptop in ten minutes of calculations. Today the same bitcoin is worth $47,000.

This has created a massive industry of 'bitcoin mining farms' - warehouses where hundreds of thousands of servers are crunching through the calculations needed to mine new bitcoins. These farms consume more electricity than the datacentres of Google, Amazon and Microsoft combined, and more power than Argentina, accounting for 0.5% of global electrical carbon emissions.

Elon Musk, whose companies just received $4.9 billion in government green subsidies invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin, sending its price up by thousands of dollars and fuelling the expansion of these bitcoin farms. The expansion of these farms is the reason for the shortage of graphics processing units that they often use.

Under capitalism, vast amounts of power, computer hardware and technical expertise is used to perform socially useless calculations to create these cryptocurrencies, while needlessly boosting carbon emissions. Let's end this insane system and use the technology and resources at our disposal for the benefit of humanity, and not the profits of speculators.

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In The Socialist 17 February 2021:


News

Tory consultation on home-use abortion pills

Tory cladding money will not make us safe

Sham inquiry into 'progressive extremism' will not stop movements against capitalism

Cumbria mine: How can we fight for jobs and stop climate change?

Cryptocurrency bubble: Insanity of capitalism

News in brief


NSSN meeting

Online workers' rally: Taking fight to the bosses


Scotland

SNP's independence referendum 2 'roadmap'


NHS

NHS white paper: no solution to failed Tory policies

Boot private companies out of our NHS


Workplace safety

Covid workplace safety

Derby Toyota plant Covid crisis


Workplace News

Hackney teaching assistants strike against cruel and unnecessary job cuts

PCS: Reject the HMRC pay deal

Manchester Go North West bus drivers in all-out strike over fire and rehire dispute

London bus drivers set to strike over pay and conditions

Scaffolders' strike continues


Socialist Students

Strike back for free education

Socialist Students conference - Sunday 28 February


Campaigns

Socialist Party Black and Asian caucus

Remembering Mohamud Hassan - continuing the fight against police brutality

How you can amplify the Socialist's voice - Help us build subscriptions to the Socialist

Swarming the London Mayor's question time

Southern new members meeting - a vivid illustration of the appetite for socialist ideas

Doing all we can to fund the anti-cuts stand at the ballot box


Readers' Opinion

Film Review: Dear Comrades!

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Technology:

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Article dated 17 February 2021

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Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers.  They are fighting against

Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers. They are fighting against 'fire and rehire' - designed to worsen terms and conditions. Photo by Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

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