The Prophets of Cryptocurrency Survey the Boom and Bust

Explaining blockchain became a genre unto itself.

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This year, it is said, the Bitcoin network will use as much energy as the nation of Austria, and produce as much carbon dioxide as a million transatlantic flights.

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Each blockchain—as a technology, a community, and a social experiment—is an exercise in achieving consensus. The quest is a human one, so the mechanisms that rule it reflect the priorities of the mechanics. Technology, as we learn time and again, is no cure for human nature. Power accrues, even when the goal is to eliminate it.

 

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