Facebook’s algorithm has been in the news lately as congress has been investigating it for “stoking division” in order to boost profits. Facebook’s algorithm is utter crap, but not for the reasons people talk about in the news.
I remember the feeling I got when Facebook turned on their algorithmic news feed 12+ years ago. It was a feeling of utter dread. Immediately, the day of it’s implementation, I was cut off from the world. Facebook started showing people feeds of things they cared about, and it was immediately clear that people just didn’t care about me. My social interactions on Facebook went down to nearly zero on day one… and I was frankly terrified.
Look I’m computer nerd, not a Jonny Quarterback. Love doesn’t come my way often. Therefore, I am embarrassed to admit that I am easily gullible when I perceive someone to love me. To be a victim of your own love for someone is horrible and cruel, yet despite the covert, psychological abuse I was subjected to, I very much love every inch of this person to this day (hopefully it will fade in time). So I’m going to tell a difficult long story… but it is just a tiny piece skimming 3 months of a time 10 years ago. It was so emotionally extreme and bizarre that I wrote a book about it which is nearing it’s final revision. This blog post will barely cover one chapter of the book.
Chia “farmers” have been impatiently awaiting a pooling protocol, so much so that they have risked using unsafe and insecure software in order to cheaply hack together pools. Now they have an “official” protocol which is much more secure. Join a pool with the “official” pool protocol at PissPool.com . If you already know what to do, just point your farmer to https://pisspool.com/chia to get started.
Most people have never heard of the MITS Altair line of computers. But the Altair 8800 has a bit of a vintage cult following on the internet. So much so that multiple individuals have taken to building Altair replicas, powered by Arduino emulators. Possibly driven by enthusiasts or educators interested in demonstrating the fundamentals of how computers work… The Altair’s cult popularity survives primarily as it is widely recognized as the first “home computer”. In today’s terms, it doesn’t look like much. It is just a blue box with switches and a few lights. There is no keyboard, no mouse, no display. Just some switches and lights, but if you’re crafty enough, you can figure out how to get a 110-baud serial connection out of the thing and connect up a terminal and possibly some kind of external magnetic storage.
There are lots of Lottery contests out there with varying odds. But consider a typical, popular Lottery, the Powerball, for a moment. The odds of winning the jackpot are around 1 in 292.2 Million. When the jackpots grow in size, the market floods with people who want to buy lottery tickets. When the jackpot is low, fewer people play.
The market ebbs and flows because the winnings vary. This is a simple market force. But what if we designed a different kind of lottery, one with a FIXED, MASSIVE jackpot of say… $1 billion dollars… however as a catch, we set it up so that as more people played it, the more numbers you had to match… decreasing your odds of winning.
Clearly if only a few people played this billion dollar lottery, your chances of getting a return on your investment would be very high and your incentive to buy lottery tickets would also be high, potentially causing you to put all your money into trying to win it.
But the real question I ask you to ponder is… over time, what is your expected ROI in this design? You buy $1 worth of lottery tickets, how much do you expect to get back?
Of the $16.8 billion in Chia market capital, just 3% came from the farmers, who, as of this moment have generated a farm approaching 11-Exabytes, if not already there. They’ve bought out all the hard disk stock from NewEgg and Microcenter and Best Buy, along with m.2 sticks which they will chew up, hoping that they die fast enough so that they can take advantage of the store’s return policy.
Chia is supposedly a “green” crypto currency, created by the guy who, with the purest intentions, figured out how to allow us all to download Metallica albums on the internet without the help of Napster or eMule. BitTorrent didn’t really work better than the other platforms, but exploited legal greyness by clearly separating itself from the content it enabled sharing. Likewise, as far as Chia goes, it is not the first crypto currency of its kind. Off the top of my head, I recall BurstCoin taking a similar approach.
If you believe their bullshit, Chia, like Burstcoin (and probably others), supposedly solves the global warming crisis caused by Bitcoin and other Proof-of-Work coins by introducing a concept Chia calls “proof of space and time”. (Similar algorithms called it simply Proof of Space, or Proof of Capacity)
Supposedly, they say that it is “green” because once you generate your plots, a process you go through to fill up your “unused” disk space with lottery numbers with hopes that you eventually get a “win”, the process of picking new winners doesn’t require much energy at all… because it involves, in a simplified nutshell, a process of just doing a quick binary search of the sorted hashes on your disk(s).
The problem is…. this is just as potentially wasteful as Bitcoin’s proof-of-work system! Why? The economy, stupid! The bottom line: If you create a contest with a valuable reward that increases in difficulty as more people join up, don’t be surprised when people destroy the planet trying to win it., because the difficulty of that contest will always grow to match the reward.
Both Bitcoin and Chia tie their value to market signals. Bitcoin ties it’s own value to the cost of the electricity used to “mine” it. It just so happens that Bitcoin is worth a lot therefore is equally expensive to mine… but also the people who are mining bitcoin expect it to be worth more someday and are willing to mine it at a loss (hoping for future profits). Bitcoin is also designed, however, to become more “green” over time.. as nobody would be willing to spend an entire city’s worth of electrical bills just to acquire meager transaction fees.
Chia, also ties its value to the cost of “farming” it. If Chia suddenly finds itself worth a lot on a market somewhere (as has happened recently), “farmers” will rush to farm as much of it as possible until the cost of farming it is roughly equal to the market value. If the cost of farming it is less than market value, fewer people will decide to farm it. Both Bitcoin and Chia directly correlate their wastefulness with market demand via a “difficulty” equation that gets more difficult as demand increases, supposedly balancing demand to mine/farm with price/cost. So ultimately, Chia farmers and Bitcoin miners should never expect to get more out of their output than they input.
With this in mind, Bitcoin and Chia, are potentially equally wasteful, and Chia is arguably more wasteful due to the fact that the contest it asks “farmers” to win involves more than just electricity generation… and the only reason Chia isn’t currently as wasteful as Bitcoin, is because nobody really wants to own Chia.
As a beginner Chia farmer, I watched as my farm, which originally predicted a win every 3 months, dwindled in prospects… and the “difficulty” level (the equation that balances the computing power of the hive) has increased from 7 to 700 as of this writing. Every day my prospects of getting a win become less and less… while I frantically rush to fill up my 80TB array with garbage using every system I can get my hands on. Right now I’ve thrown 32+16+8+6+4+2 cores at it. so thats…. 62 cores… running full blast all day and night. The difficulty is increasing faster than I can buy hard drives and burn out m.2 SSDs to generate plots.
As long as Chia is valued high in the market, “farmers” will continue to buy out all the m.2 sticks they can find anywhere and run them into the ground generating “plots” until they go up in smoke and need to be replaced… which will drive up the cost of large hard drives and fast m.2 sticks… etc. etc. etc. Just like Bitcoin, Chia will tie itself to the amount of destruction “farmers” are willing to impose on the environment in order to acquire it… it will simply come in a slightly different form than Bitcoin. Really what the world needs to solve the Crypto energy crisis, is a proof-of-work coin that can somehow guarantee that it was created using a “green” technology… like maybe a mechanical cypher tied to a windmill, a cypher tied to nature in such a way that no computer’s limited discreet mathematical capabilities can reasonably generate crypto keys…. I dunno… measure flaws in diamonds, count snowflakes with specific shapes, use monkeys or an ant-farm contest, force rats to race a maze towards some cheese…. just something that could never be generated by any other means. Computers are great at discreet math, but they are terrible at indiscreet math, worse at indiscreet area calculations, and abysmal at indiscreet volumetric calculations (e.g. wind tunnel physics simulations) … maybe there’s something there… I don’t have the answers… nobody does. Until someone invents something totally new, Chia will be more of the same.
And even though the cost of “farming” your existing plots is relatively trivial, you’re still going to compete with everyone in the world to generate more plots than the next guy… and this process is actually CPU limited (I am currently running 32-cores on a Threadripper 2990WX chip to the max) … and in a nutshell it is essentially no better than a CPU-bound proof-of-work system!
In many ways it is even worse, because, now, not only do I need to prove that I did the “work” to generate the plots, but now I also have to prove that I dumped cash into buying hard disks on Amazon or NewEgg or Microcenter to store all the plots that I generated…. wouldn’t it be just simpler to cut out all the extra storage and simply prove the “work” part of it? That’s what “proof of work” is…. simpler, and arguably more green. Maybe an argument could be made that as farm sizes increase, the desire to add more plots via “plotting” should decrease as the chance of winning increases more slowly as farming becomes more widespread…. but the opposite argument could also be made that as farm sizes increase, there will be more and more pressure to fill up warehouses and warehouses with nothing but hard disks.
If that isn’t enough to get you to stop your obsession with plotting… Chia’s motivations as a company are potentially toxic to you as a farmer. IMO, Chia is really just another pump-and-dump scheme, and the motivations of its creator(s) are spelled out in plain view on their own website. The creators opted to “pre-farm” a bunch of Chia, and they intend to use this “strategic reserve” to “reduce volatility”… in other words… if you dumbasses drive up the price of Chia on a market somewhere, the devs are simply going to drive the price down by selling their Chia on the market… keeping YOU poor, and making them rich. This plotting/farming craze has put them in the spotlight and now they’re out there converting your NewEgg purchases into Lambos and Yachts…. In the meantime, here I am burning out multiple m.2 SSDs and trying to waste 80TB of hard disk space as quickly as possible before there’s no chance in hell that even my 80TB will give me a single win in a whole year… I highly doubt I will ever make back the $800 or so I spent on newer, faster m.2 sticks and extra large hard drives this week alone.
Simply put, if someone tries to sell you a money printing machine, don’t buy it. Because anyone who owns a money-printing machine, would never, in a million years, sell it to YOU. They’d simply print the money for themselves.
Elon is not Tesla Motor Company. He is not SpaceX. He is not Cryptocurrency.
Elon is the guy with lots of money who get’s to stand in front of podiums and take all the credit for the legions of smart people who work for his companies in exchange for a massive slice of the pie. His job is relatively simple: 1) hire a bunch of business managers and 2) hire accountants to make sure that the business managers are making him money.
In between those duties, he is free to go on Joe Rogan and smoke weed, or spend a week rehearsing to host SNL. Elon Musk isn’t busy figuring out how to go to the moon. People who are busy doing that kind of shit are too damn busy to host SNL.
Spoiler Alert: To watch The Circle, in-and-of-itself, is a spoiler. The only way to prevent spoilage is to NOT watch the circle at all. The Circle represents everything you hate about humanity, social media, and relationships in general. And big Spoiler Alert: The White Broey dude wins in the end, just like in real life.