Bitcoin Mining & Electricity

Crazy Energy Uses You Probably Haven’t Realised!

It’s 2018 and most of us today probably have heard of cryptocurrencies and especially bitcoin. From its peak price of around $14,000 a coin to the underlying blockchain technology behind it, the world is buzzing with excitement on how it’s adoption could change the world as we know it!

Will we one day be purchasing our favorite chicken rice or roti prata with bitcoin?

Maybe selling cars or even houses could be done using bitcoin without involving banks or writing a single cheque.

While all these are might be fascinating to imagine, it is equally amazing to note that bitcoin mining today is just using a crazy amount of electricity and its impact on the environment is increasing at alarming rates.

So How Can We Get Bitcoins?

Perhaps the most accessible avenue for people to get a bitcoin is to buy it directly using our dollars or other cryptocurrencies out there in the market (like Ethereum), but at a cost of almost S$10,000 – who has that kind of money to spend on a digital currency hor!

There must be another way!

Enter Bitcoin Mining

All anyone needs to do is to turn on computer help verify ongoing payments in bitcoins within the blockchain network. You are basically using your computer and a special software to solve complex math problems and as a reward you get bitcoins.

In the early days of bitcoin around 2010, you could easily use your home computer to mine for bitcoins. But as time progressed (and as the price of bitcoin soared up), more individuals and even companies moved towards more professional means of bitcoin mining. We are talking about machines equipped with circuit chips and graphic cards designed specifically for bitcoin mining. And that means the electricity needed to run these machines have also skyrocketed.

You might be thinking – if there are more professional machines mining bitcoins, doesn’t that mean the reserves will dry up completely?

Not really, as each additional coin is mined, the math problem gets harder to solve and it will take more computing power and – you guessed it – much more electricity consumption!

The amount of electricity it would take to mine for a single bitcoin 5 years ago might be 10 times or more needed to mine bitcoin today, and that is not even counting in the serious amount of dollars you would need to invest in a professional mining hardware machine!

Mining’s Electricity Use Is Tremendous

In a recent study, it is estimated that the entire bitcoin network consumes about 2.55 gigawatts of electricity and can reach to 7.67 gigawatts by the end of the year – that’s enough energy to power a country the size of Austria!

Siao right?

Think about the amount of electricity used to power your home, it will take 9 days or 250 kWh worth of power for a single bitcoin transaction. But it gets even more frightening – by 2020, bitcoin mining could consume all the world’s electricity if it continues to increase at this rate!

Today itself, bitcoin mining is now using more electricity than 159 individual countries that include Morocco, Iceland and Ireland.

The Environmental Impact Is Serious Too

It is predicted that the bitcoin network emits about 7.7 million tons of carbon dioxide every year added on to the fact that bitcoin miners are increasingly moving to China where electricity prices are considerably lower than countries like the United States.

With cheap electricity and land in China also comes with it electricity generation from coal-powered plants that are inefficient and release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

No wonder every year it’s getting hotter – part of the blame is due to bitcoin!

The Need For Renewable Energy

While it is anyone’s guess if bitcoin will continue to soar and be used globally or fade out of existence, it is undeniable that the world is becoming more technological. From more gadgets, yes that iPhone in your pocket, to new inventions and breakthroughs, the need for green energy is coming more urgent with every passing year.

If you are mining bitcoins in Singapore, maybe take some time and consider the environmental footprint you are having and choose to opt for green energy sources. This means your electricity supply is coming from renewable energy sources that include solar energy.

Let’s mine responsibly!

electric car

Is An Electric Car The Best Way To Go Green In The Lion City?

We all have heard about them, know someone who owns one and we have probably ridden in one before – we are talking about electric cars of course! While we are hearing new breakthroughs and swifter models almost every single year, 100% electric cars really only began showing up from 2010 onwards with the Nissan Leaf being the world’s first major manufactured fully electric vehicle.

That means the cars you sat in before 2010 – with the driver calling it electric – was most likely a hybrid car that ran on a mixture of gasoline and electricity, switching between the two depending on if it was cruising or accelerating.

But perhaps the true mark of going green is the complete switch to 100% all-electric car and no company is more committed to producing fully electric cars than Tesla.

Leading The Green Revolution On The Roads

When the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, first began the company, he decided to commit fully to producing a car that is sleek looking – unlike many of the ugly hatchback options still seen today, as well as powered by a cleaner form of energy – electricity.

While many companies from Ford and Nissan first came to market, Tesla accomplished something the rest couldn’t. Tesla has made electric cars desirable, cool and popular. From onboard software that auto-updates to self-driving capabilities, it is no wonder that quite a few Singaporeans are jumping over various hurdles to import their very own Tesla cars from the Californian manufacturer!

So How Good Are Tesla Cars For The Environment?

When we first compare the emissions of Electric Vehicles (EV) versus that of gasoline vehicles, we can see that electric cars on average emits only 50% of greenhouse gases when compared to our traditional petrol cars – but wait, it gets better hor!

Because the way Tesla manufactures their cars by using nearly 0% of coal-generated electricity and their Gigafactory is to be fully powered from renewable energy by 2020, Tesla cars are actually being manufactured in a more environmentally friendlier way than other electric vehicles in the market!

But Does It Make Sense To Get One In Singapore?

Before we get too hyped up on Tesla cars, getting one on the road has been notoriously hard – someone tried and had to wait 1 year and had to pay a $15,000 electric vehicle fine instead! Even Elon Musk himself dropped our Prime Minister Lee a phone call to find out what was going on.

But has things changed? Thankfully it has!

When Elon Musk tweeted to a Tesla admirer in Singapore that “Singapore is a very prosperous city and yet has very few electric cars”, it was countered by unveiling that Singapore already has a scheme that grants electric vehicles up to $20,000 in tax breaks. Plus, electric vehicle drivers will avoid more than $10,000 in petrol duty over 10 years, sounds good right?

Hold on ah!

Unfortunately, Tesla cars have too much horse-power and might not qualify for the full rebates. In Singapore, there are only 348 fully electric cars registered, 3 are Tesla Model S’s and only 4 EVs that qualify for the maximum $20,000 rebate and none of them are Tesla cars. Two of the Teslas, however, only received $10,000 and $15,000 partial rebates respectively.

In fact, the Tesla Car models in Singapore today starts at a whopping S$426,800 (with COE included)…psst you can probably buy a five-room BTO flat with that amount lor!

Is There A Better Way To Go Green?

Thankfully there is a way where you can help the environment daily, not burn a big hole in your wallet and save money monthly too!

See that electric bill on your table? If you are an environmentalist and staying in Jurong, it is high time to take a look at your electricity plans. As from April onwards, Singapore’s Open Electricity Market is finally open to residents of Jurong first before extending to the rest of the nation!

You can choose to do your part for the environment by opting for a green electricity plan that supplies your household with carbon-neutral electricity. That means your electricity use has a net zero emissions effect on the environment, there is no carbon footprint at all!

Best of all, you will be enjoying guaranteed savings of the old electricity tariff from Singapore Power and there is no need to shell out S$400k+ for a Tesla car!

Interested in learning more about our green plans? Go here and enjoy guaranteed savings on your electric bill while helping the environment!

Not sure what green energy is? You can also check out our article that breaks down green energy here!

Smart homes

It’s Time To Control Your Home With A Single Touch!

Smart Walls Are Coming

Sit back and gear up! While the world is becoming increasingly more connected with the internet being connected to almost every appliance we have from our phones to even the fridge and door-bells, nothing could be more exciting than the latest innovation in smart wall technology that could very well change the way we live at home forever.

Researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University teamed up with researchers from Disney to transform our old boring walls into marvelous high tech smart walls. Just imagine sliding your hand down on your wall to turn on your television in the living room…or even holding down on your wall to check if the kettle you left on in the kitchen has finished boiling.

How Does This Technology Work?

You might be thinking – Not possible la! Don’t bluff leh!

Must we wire up our entire wall and install touchpads everywhere, turning our entire wall into a giant LCD screen -while spending tens of thousands of dollars in the process?

Nope. The researchers have developed a type of water-based conductive paint that can be rolled onto any wall to create electrodes on the surface of a wall. This innovation, called Wall++, will track a user’s touch and gestures through “airborne electromagnetic noise” — the same type of sensing your smartphone or iPad screen does.

With distance sensing and hover tracking, the smart wall can accurately sense gestures and pinpoint the exact point of where someone pressed or swiped the wall. Press to call and swipe right to answer the door? – It’s definitely coming soon!

But perhaps the best part might be the price tag on this. At just US$20 per square meter, we can probably turn out bedroom walls into smart walls at less than 200 dollars! (Unless your room is really really big lah)

Chris Harrison, the assistant professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) stated that “Walls are usually the largest surface area in a room, yet we don’t make much use of them other than to separate spaces, and perhaps hold up pictures and shelves”. With this in mind, the team has now taken the first steps to turn our walls into high-tech remote controls!

Through its electromagnetic sensory technology, the research team has managed to use its electromagnetic sensor to track appliances like hair-dryers if they are held close enough to the wall. This alone opens up a whole world of household appliance tracking. Not sure if you left the living room’s television on while wasting electricity? The smart wall can help detect if the TV is still switched on and in the future, we might just be able to just swipe down on any wall near us to turn the TV off.

But How Can Smart Walls Really Help Us?

Don’t worry, we have compiled the 3 most common future ways Smart Walls can help us Singaporeans in our daily lives to make each day a little more shiok!

  • Use your wall as a master light switch! Press one thumb to turn on the living room lights, two fingers to switch on the bedroom lights and your entire palm to brighten up every room in the house (as well as skyrocket your electricity bill)
  • Use different poses to trigger different home appliances – stand in front of your wall and point up to turn on the TV, point to the left to switch on your charging ports and maybe even do a little dance in front of the wall to start playing your favorite music beats!
  • Answer the door while you are stuck in the shower! I’m sure all of us has experienced doing our business or taking bath in the toilet while someone is knocking on the door. It gets worse if we are expecting an important delivery from Lazada or Amazon! With Smart Walls, we could eventually just unlock our door directly for our family or the delivery man by just touching the nearest wall. Killing two birds with one touch!

Although the possibilities sound exciting, it will probably take another few years to integrate this technology into our lives and also solve the electricity consumption issue with it.

Will Smart Walls use a lot of electricity throughout the entire day? Can we turn the technology on and off as and when we like? How much might Smart Walls affect my electric bill?

While these are important questions the team at Carnegie Mellon have to answer, it is undeniable that once Smart Walls come into our homes, our lives will forever be changed and there is no going back to the plain old bare walls!