Two interesting pieces on the dangers and uselessness of blockchains:

  • Bruce Schneider responding to comments made by Matthew Green on a letter written by academics and professionals to the US Congress urging them crically approach cryptocurrencies.
  • A rather polemical lecture from a computer security course by Nicholas Weaver on blockchain and cryptocurrencies: [].

Fascinating photography in this series: “China Says Goodbye to Crypto Mining”

Dozens of cryptocurrency mining centers were shuttered last month in Southwest China’s Sichuan province in the wake of a June 18 clean-up notice from local authorities as the country intensified its crackdown on cryptocurrency trading and mining. Sichuan is China’s second-biggest Bitcoin mining province, where most miners take advantage of the mountainous region’s abundant sources of hydropower to run their electricity-hungry computers.

In a press release, NVIDIA announced that is apparently starting to change their GPUs to reduce their Ethereum hash rate and hence try to prevent them from being used for crypto mining.

The Financial Times notes how the technology has been appropriated for crypto mining, causing shortages for video-gamers:

Nvidia’s graphics processing units, or GPUs, were first designed to handle the demands of rendering video images in real time, a challenge given the large amount of data that needs to be processed simultaneously. The same technology has since been adapted to become the workhouse of artificial intelligence, one of the most data-intensive computing tasks, as well as crypto mining.

As the FT further points out, NVIDIA created a new line of chips called Cryptocurrency Mining Processors.

Some more interesting articles and quotes critical of the newly popular non-fungible tokens (NFT):

In a blog post on medium user everest pipkin claims that the “current ecological cost of cryptoart and cryptocurrency is very real and very large, and while steps can be taken to reign in some of that energy cost, the crypto- market is still based in a value system that fundamentally ties worth to spent physical resources.

Author Seth Godin furthermore warns that NFTS are “a dangerous trap”:

The more time and passion that creators devote to chasing the NFT, the more time they’ll spend trying to create the appearance of scarcity and hustling people to believe that the tokens will go up in value. They’ll become promoters of digital tokens more than they are creators. Because that’s the only reason that someone is likely to buy one–like a stock, they hope it will go up in value. Unlike some stocks, it doesn’t pay dividends or come with any other rights. And unlike actual works of art, NFTs aren’t usually aesthetically beautiful on their own, they simply represent something that is.

Vox published an article about the recent deal between the financial services company Square and the steaming music service Tidal. They note that a possible outcome of the deal may involve using so-called NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to sell digital collectibles of musicians:

More intriguingly, given Dorsey’s love of All Things Blockchain, and the current mania over NFTs, it won’t be surprising to see Square + Tidal work on their own NFT scheme. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are blockchain-enabled digital pieces of … anything that investors and speculators and collectors are hoovering up at a crazy rate. Even if none of this makes sense to you, you may have heard about people paying real money — a lot of money — for digital ephemera like cartoon cat GIFs or animated trading cards of NBA players dunking or blocking. It’s a thing, for now.

Read the full article here.

Bruce Schneier wrote a great opinion article on aspects of thrust in blockchain technologies and “the idea that blockchains can somehow eliminate the need for trust persists”.

What blockchain does is shift some of the trust in people and institutions to trust in technology. You need to trust the cryptography, the protocols, the software, the computers and the network. And you need to trust them absolutely, because they’re often single points of failure.

Read his full article on Wired.