“Optical proof-of-work” would reduce bitcoin’s energy demand and improve geographic distribution of hashrate, proponents argue


Simply shifting the cost curve to up-front cost might lead to the exact opposite centralization problem. Instead of most bitcoin mining ending up near cheap, abundant energy sources that popped up in developing, labor-abundant countries, like China, they might coalesce in developed, capital-abundant countries, like the United States. Specialized mining chips, or ASICs, already have a high-ticket price (over $10,000 for some models) – imagine if they were even more expensive. Requiring immense amounts of startup capital would have a meaningful impact on the feasibility of solo mining, which would itself be a blow to decentralization.

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