This is a fantastic topic. Lots has been said that I will not rehash about the “excessive” energy costs for crypto mining. Why do we burn so much energy for crypto? Is it a waste?
Well, I think one thing to keep in mind is that money/value/security and energy have always been related. Crypto is both money/value/security, all at the same time.
Is this so different from gold? Gold is a store of value, for sure. But how about the security of it? Well, you have to construct vaults, install security cameras, hire guards to watch all of those bricks 24/7. Just imagine what Fort Knox has to expend every day simply to keep their gold safe. That is a lot of energy.
Energy and value have always been intertwined. When you look at a gold brick, it’s always been the embodiment of energy. Heavy elements are always forged in stuff like supernovae and neutron star collisions, extremely high energy cosmic events that land on our planet. That’s why it’s valuable. It took energy to make them.
So it should be no surprise that anything of “value” will require energy, fundamentally. It’s the currency of the universe. It’s a conserved quantity that we can’t just make out of thin air.
We can debate how efficiently we use that energy, and how that energy is produced. If it’s a dirty form of energy production that creates excessive carbon dioxide, that’s of course not great.
But for something to be immortalized as value, whether a blockchain or an ounce of gold, energy will always fundamentally be involved.
Paper money can be printed for free. Energy cannot.