[–] BoiledCabbage link

Call me naive, but am I the only one who looks at mining as one of the worst inventions for consuming energy possible?

Almost all of society functions on energy, some of the largest breakthroughs in society have been on sudden abundance of cheap energy and the machines, vehicles products they can create.

Entire economies can be crippled by rising costs in energy (oil shocks of the 70s) and boom by sudden drops in cost of energy.

So we've created an "industry" where you are essentially paid by comverting energy to waste. Paid to perform extremely intense difficult (ie wasteful) operations to back a useful technology (digital currency).

Assuming it catches on, energy will never be cheap, there will always be a higher floor now due to options for "mining". As we get better at it and it becomes less wasteful, the digital system will simply raise the reward so people are incentivised to once again waste it.

Ignore the short term for the moment, and which ever currency you're backing. We've created a long term societal motivation/reward to harvest every joule produce by the sun and use it to calculate hashes. I'm not talking about the next decade obviously, but we have incentivised that behavior.

If there is anything technologists should understand is that whatever your beautiful perfect technology is, it will instead be used based on whatever has been incentivised.

Regardless of the technology it powers, this is a terrible societal incentive - and one that will be around a lot longer than people are considering.

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[–] pfooti link

But that's 385 / month revenue? On a setup that's what, $3400 to buy, for seven 1070s? Seems like asking for 10 months to cover capex is a bit thin, given the price instability.

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[–] lossolo link

You forgot to tell people about risk of rising difficulty. It's not 385$ a month forever, if difficulty will go up (as it steady goes up every month) you will mine less.

And you can't get 230 MH/s with 7x GTX 1070 with 1kw of power draw. More like 215 MH/s and with around 1.2 kw. I know because I have mining rigs with 7x GTX 1070s.

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[–] bogomipz link

>" If you are located in the 'mining valley' of Washington where power is ~2c/kwh you are still getting healthy profits"

Can you clarify what "mining valley" you are referring to? Is this Chelan County?

If so I thought there was talk about a moratorium on new high load customers but maybe that never came to pass? See:

http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-miners-public-utility-spar-o...

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[–] marblar link

It seems like if you were located in a "mining valley" the last thing you would want to do is have it mentioned in a top comment on Hacker News.

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[–] ikeboy link

Average price paid for electricity in many regions is 20 cents/kwh. Just using your numbers that translates into $300/month in costs for under $400 in ETH.

At the national average it would be $200/month by rough math.

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[–] nodesocket link

Sorry noob question, but if you don't pay for power at your apartment could you run a rig for just the cap x to get started?

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[–] herpdorplarp link

But that's still break even in about 10x July 2017. How many times will difficulty double until July 2018?

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[–] blairanderson link

Where exactly is the mining valley? Very few articles showing up about it...

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[–] grogenaut link

Where do I check my raw kwh price? just on my bill? I'm in WA as well.

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[–] TokenDiversity link

What's the breakdown between power drawn by card and cooling? You seem to be suggesting they are equal...

(1kw would cost $14.4 at 2c/kwh) and you say $30.

I don't know much about stuff but i didn't know cooling is that expensive.

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[–] DanBlake link

Just took a quick look at this. If you are located in the 'mining valley' of Washington where power is ~2c/kwh you are still getting healthy profits.

A computer with 7 GTX 1070 graphics cards should produce ~230 mh/s and draw 1 kw. This would cost approximately $30/month in power factoring in kw demand + cooling.

The above setup will currently generate $385/month in ETH.

So basically for miners who are in the right spot with the right facility, this is still profitable. The question is of course for how long. You also need to factor in the cost of equipment, datacenter, employees and difficulty/price.

But even if you dont have a facility in washington and just mine from your apartment, your power cost would probably be $100 a month. So its still 'profitable', just not nearly as much as it was in the run up.

Cliffnotes: 'professional' miners dont care. Even with the 'crash' today, they are making more per day than they were before the entire run up. For instance the 'worst' time for mining was December 2016 where you would only make $7.50 a day gross in ETH.

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[–] bdcravens link

Think of all the SF/SV pollution caused by wastefully funded startups building the next Uber for ice cream or whatever.

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[–] kpcyrd link

1) Run your miner on green energy

2) Green energy demand increases

3) More green energy

4) Save the world

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[–] LeifCarrotson link

Is the energy expended in crypto currency mining less valuable than that expended by the traditional financial sector?

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[–] abalone link

All I can think of is the careless environmental impact of all that dirty electricity consumption. For, let's be honest, a mostly speculative activity.

One cryptocurrency crashes, another gets hyped up, and the computational cycle repeats. When will it end.

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[–] pdog link

Proof-of-stake is coming to Ethereum later this year, so there isn't much point investing in a few more months of mining. Casper is the real reason everyone is selling their mining hardware.

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[–] yuhong link

Ethereum has a difficulty bomb which means that difficulty may not decline as much as you think.

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[–] zanny link

On the bright side, this has been a great test of etheriums scalability. Which isn't great, but when this mining craze dies down I won't hesitate to run ethminer when I'm not home for a little extra dough.

What I would really expect is an overreaction to the price crash, which means the difficulty rate might drop a lot. At this point, doing what a lot of people do with bitcoin - mining small amounts for a long period of time and just holding it until it reaches all time highs to cash out - is probably really easy money.

Probably most relevantly is how crypto valuations are bound together. Bitcoin is also down about 20% from its ATH, and will certainly drop more as long as eth pulls it down. The entire market will rise and fall on the hype of just one blockchain. Coins nobody even cared about like peercoin saw 5x returns on miners during this eth bubble.

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[–] milkey_mouse link

Isn't it only the 4GB RX cards that will get worse for mining? Or is it that the GPU memory bandwidth is less on AMD cards?

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[–] crypt1d link

Its mostly RX series that are being sold off and the reason for that is the ever-increasing Ethereum DAG size. I dont know the specifics, but due to the DAG size the ETH hash rate on AMD RX400/500s is starting to slowly drop, and will be behind the performance of their Nvidia counter-parts in a few months time.

(Source: I run a mining operation.)

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[–] iak8god link

It's not just the price, but the rising difficulty[1]. Since last month the price of ETH dropped by more than 50% (from a record high bubble). In the same time span, difficulty - how much ETH you can expect to get per whatever your GPU's hashrate is - has nearly doubled.

A whole bunch of people bought in last month when mining profitability calculators were saying you could make $X per month per card, where X is a significant percentage of the card's retail price. Now it's $X/4, the difficulty continues its steady rise, and the fiat price of ETH is totally unpredictable but appears to be on a downward trend.

Unless the price of ETH returns to record highs, the cards people bought last month will never pay for themselves. That's why they're flooding eBay.

[1] https://www.coinwarz.com/difficulty-charts/ethereum-difficul...

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[–] jimminy link

They can still profit off the GPU's at current rates, if a glut is coming. For personal use I bought some brand new R9 390's last year @$270. If I had wanted to sell them used about 2 weeks ago I could have sold them for about $700 pretty easily.

Lots of room for margin in selling them early and getting back in after the glut if you're looking long-term. Just take a few weeks out of mining.

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[–] netsharc link

It's a 21st century gold rush... the prices of shovels rocketed up that the money hungry-people now see selling used shovels is more profitable than digging up the gold.

Econ 101 obviously says the price of shovels will now go down...

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[–] geff82 link

And then they'll buy back at horrendous prices when the Price goes up again? Seems like shortsighted people do this. At least they could play some tremendous video games in the mean time ;)

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[–] bdcravens link

Bitcoin is down 20% over past 7 days; Ethereum, 30-40%.

That said, I don't think people sell that fast. Back when I GPU mined Bitcoin (2011), when the price fell from $35 to $2, I turned my miners off and waited a few months before selling. (If only I had kept them going, but that's a sad and off-topic story ....)

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[–] stOneskull link

it's a made-up article.

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[–] strictnein link

I sold my hardware last week. GTX 1060s, a 1080, an AMD R9 290X, some other stuff.

Unless I'm missing something, there's no huge flood of video cards on ebay. There's maybe ~20% more than there was a week ago. All told, for the in demand mining hardware, you're only talking about a couple thousand cards.

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[–] lasc4r link

Yeah I was just checking this myself, nothing great there. I did look to see what my 1070 was selling for recently at various online sites. Looks like they did spike in value starting in June, going from $380 to $500 and being sold at fewer places.

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/fKp323/msi-geforce-gtx-1070...

In a couple weeks maybe prices will be back to normal or even drop lower.

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[–] segmondy link

There's a demand from the deep learning field for those 1070 and 1080. They go as fast as they show up if priced correctly.

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[–] Thriptic link

A quick search of eBay shows no good deals on gtx 1070s. Used cards are selling for what I bought my cards new for a month ago or more (380).

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[–] j_s link

HN discussion: Bitcoin – Potential Network Disruption on July 31st | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14758587

An interesting comment there mentioned the need to control private keys (as opposed to leaving them with an exchange) to take advantage of a split by selling coins on both sides of the split.

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[–] joshschreuder link

The prices of all cryptocurrencies are strongly correlated with Bitcoin (ETH included). Partly because it is the most publicly known, but also because a lot of places still need to transfer fiat -> BTC -> othercoin

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[–] zo7 link

Interesting, looking at the price graph Ethereum's price seems to correlate with Bitcoin's, which lost about %20 of value ($500) recently. In case anyone's wondering, the crash seems mainly driven by anxiety of an upcoming blockchain fork splitting the currency in two next month.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-15/bitcoin-battered-be...

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[–] coolguy4 link

150 ETH/USD is normal forex notation.

The graph shows a currency pair. So one currency is being sold in exchange for the other.

When you see currency pairs like this, ETH/USD, the first currency (ETH) is the one being bought, the second currency (USD) is the one being sold. If the chart is going up, the first currency is becoming stronger against the second. If the chart is going down, the first currency is becoming weaker against the second.

In that light it does make sense mathematically. The currency being sold is the denominator and the currency being bought is the numerator. The value of the currency being bought, the numerator is directly proportional to the exchange value of the pair. The value of the currency being sold, the denominator, is inversely proportional to the exchange value of the pair

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[–] solidsnack9000 link

Imagine the worth of ETH and USD denominated in ISK.

    ETH in ISK = 16524.55
    USD in ISK = 103.42

    ETH / USD
    (1 * ETH) / (1 * USD)       # Multiplicative identity
    16524.55 ISK / 103.42 ISK   # Expand to ISK
    16524.55     / 103.42       # Cancellation of units
    159.78                      # Division

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[–] crazydoggers link

It comes from the currency markets. What you really care about is the relative value of the first currency. The last or bottom currency is the base currency which is what your using to gauge the value of the first relative to other pairs with the same base.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currency_pair

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[–] schiffern link

Off topic, but the "ETH/USD" label on the price graph bothers me. Shouldn't it be USD/ETH?

https://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/articles/2017/07/16083553143...

150 ETH/USD would mean that you can get 150 coins per 1 USD. On the other hand, 150 USD/ETH correctly captures the mathematical relationship.

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[–] WatchDog link

Computer hardware depreciates rapidly, and is expensive to trade(shipping/testing/labour).

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[–] iak8god link

A friend of mine flipped a brand new GPU on eBay for ~twice its MSRP last month. It'd be hard to do that consistently though, as the limited availability in stores was temporary, caused by the surge in ETH mining. Also the fees and risks involved in selling on eBay quickly eat away at the profits.

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[–] wocram link

What makes you say there's a floor?

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[–] corporateslave2 link

GPU trading? More profitable than buying the underlying currency since GPU's in relatively good condition always hold a certain value?

High levels of correlation with BTC and ETH, along with other cryptocurrency, but a floor on how low it can go.

Pays off while holding by mining coins. Much like a dividend.

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[–] mjevans link

Or maybe people will actually develop things that //require// generic algorithms, and multiple diversity of them so that it /forces/ generic hardware proliferation.

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[–] dawnerd link

Good, maybe video cards will start to come back in stock at their MSRP.

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[–] benchaney link

The target amount of time per block was set as a global constant (1 block every 10 minutes for bitcoin, 1 block every 15 seconds for ethereum). At fixed intervals, the difficulty is adjusted based on the actual rate of mining. The computation is deterministic, and agreed upon using the standard consensus mechanism. No individual controls it.

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[–] TazeTSchnitzel link

The network collectively determines the difficulty based on how much compute power is being used. Specifically, it adjusts the difficulty up or down based on whether blocks are being found (relative to a constant expected duration) too quickly or too slowly respectively, which ensures the time taken to find blocks stays within a small interval.

The specifics of how Bitcoin does it can be found here: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Difficulty

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[–] colordrops link

I don't know about Ethereum, but in Bitcoin the amount of time previous blocks took to be found is used as an indicator of hash rate, and the difficulty is automatically adjusted to keep block generation at about 10 minutes per block, so no, it's not centralized. There isn't really anything that is truly centralized in BTC.

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[–] vortico link

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but does a single party control the difficulty level of Ethereum and Bitcoin? If so, it seems like they have massive control over the market. If not, how does it work?

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[–] j_s link

In case anyone is not aware, there are user-friendly tools (that take their cut) which ensure maximum mining profitability for available hardware.

NiceHash, MinerGate, Awesome Miner and others - many have an affiliate program and fight against botnets (and antivirus often block the actual mining programs they download).

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[–] rdl link

At least the NV cards, if they become non-viable for crypto mining, are useful for a lot of other GPU computation (or just as graphics cards).

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[–] e79 link

Yes, although my understanding is that the transition will be gradual. PoW rewards will gradually decrease while PoS rewards gradually increase, facilitating the tranisitioon without all miners jumping ship. Miners who are invested in Ethereum may choose to convert their mining profits into stake.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] wunderg link

I thought ethereum would move to Proof of State from Proof of Work which will make mining as it's obsolete.

https://www.ethnews.com/proof-of-work-vs-proof-of-stake-expl...

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[–] rasz link

no, it means you should read everything couple of times before clicking buy now

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[–] PascLeRasc link

I found that in a few seconds too. Did you not read the six different sentences saying that they're being sold individually?

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[–] nsxwolf link

I see an ebay buy it now for four 8GB RX 480s for $360. $90 a piece seems pretty crazy low - does that mean there's a high likelyhood of hardware failure after these things were used for mining?

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[–] rb808 link

It works like a Ponzi scheme. The people who are buying now give their money to the people who got in earlier. As long as more and more people buy its great but eventually you run out of buyers - optimistically the price will level off but more realistically it'll crash.

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[–] horusthecat link

Does anyone know where the money that initially went into the cryptocoins during the run-up this year came from, or where it went?

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[–] leroman link

If this is really the case (I am not informed enough), is that so bad in the face of global warming?

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[–] blattimwind link

That point of view seems rather uninformed, because industrial and residential pricing of electricity, gas etc. are virtually unrelated, and the former doesn't include new extra taxes for renewables in any country I know.

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[–] kushankpoddar link

There is a point of view out there that Europe's higher than average reliance on renewables has bumped up electricity prices there and contributed in making the place less competitive for industries. You can see that argument in action when European miners are losing out to others due to high power costs.

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[–] Ajedi32 link

> a (lighly) used 1060, 1070 or 580 might be just the thing

I'm not really sure I'd call a card that's been used for cryptocurrency mining "lightly used".

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[–] NTripleOne link

This is just me talking, but I'd never buy a GPU that's been used for mining.

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[–] Nursie link

Excellent, my partner is looking for a card right now, a (lighly) used 1060, 1070 or 580 might be just the thing!

In the meantime, my machine which is a gaming rig that is mostly idle, may as well do a bit of mining...

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[–] ryan-allen link

And there's this place, too: http://www.logicalincrements.com/

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[–] jjcm link

Reddit's r/buildapc is probably your best starting point. It has a bunch of helpful tips/guides even for super low end builds.

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[–] tossandturn link

Worst place to ask this, I know, but... If I wanted to upgrade my old machine that currently has an HD 4770 (PCI Express 2.0 x16), where exactly could I find a worthwhile upgrade for less than $20?

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[–] stOneskull link

this 'flooding the market' claim seems to be made up.

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[–] justforFranz link

Cryptocurrency noob here. Isn't the ability to "mine" a cryptocurrency a design failure of the cryptocurrency?

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[–] Shinchy link

Annoying as all hell, I am in the market for a 1080ti and the prices have rocketed up in the past two weeks.

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[–] waspear link

Ethereum's Casper protocol upgrade (Proof of Stake) might have a long term affect on GPU market as well.

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[–] foota link

Maybe I should have sold the R9 Fury I got for gaming a few months ago...

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[–] Temasik link

Mining has no future

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] joshvm link

This is the primary reason I bought NVIDIA cards, rather than AMD. Mining is still profitable now, but if it all went to nothing tomorrow I'd still have a pretty competent CUDA box to develop on.

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[–] aussieguy123 link

Anyone doing deep learning?

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] kushankpoddar link

There is a point of view out there that Europe's higher than average reliance on renewables has bumped up electricity prices there and contributed in making the place less competitive for industries. You can see that argument in action when European miners are losing out to others due to high power costs.

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[–] tasty_freeze link

If you really believe that, then put your money into a short position and profit handsomely. But I suspect you are just talking, and don't believe what you say enough to risk a dollar.

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[–] ping010pong link

what happens you only consume popular media and can't self express without cliche

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[–] fred_is_fred link

no.

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[–] the_end link

Welcome to the end. Ethereum crasheses, bringing NVDA down. Bringing the NASDAQ down.

Down and down it all goes. This house of cards, these castles in the sky.

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[–] twblalock link

> All of these issues have resolutions planned. So one would be stupid to think Ethereum stays at $150 for even a year.

Honestly, there is nothing anyone can do to convincingly predict the future price of something like Ethereum or Bitcoin, because they are purely speculative investments.

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[–] bdcravens link

> when the price of ETH inevitability goes up again

ETH has been around less than 2 years; it spent only 2 months over $150. I don't see how any analysis that it will rise is better than a coin flip.

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[–] nugget link

Look at Tezos - they used the success of Bitcoin (and Ethereum) against itself, by the way they funded a totally competing blockchain. You can be bullish on the future of crypto and a bear on BTC and ETH prices, if you envision a future where dozens of tier 1 blockchains compete (and interoperate).

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[–] ryanSrich link

Maybe this is an incredibly uneducated comment, but won't they have to buy those GPUs back when the price of ETH inevitability goes up again? This is all just FUD from August 1st, ICO instability, and lack of Ethereum use cases. All of these issues have resolutions planned. So one would be stupid to think Ethereum stays at $150 for even a year.

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