People have been complaining for a while that Bitcoin mining is wasteful and detrimental to the environment. It has been shown to consume upwards of 17% of the total global computing power. But there may be a way to harness all of that power for good; it doesn’t all have to be a waste.
The chief AI scientist of the blockchain startup company Matrix (private) believes he has discovered a way to make Bitcoin mining useful for not just the miners but for science as well. Yangdong Deng explained at this year’s BlockShow Asia that the process of inserting Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the blockchain universe could make it possible to use Bitcoin mining computational power for innovative scientific purposes.
Deng explained the numbers behind the Bitcoin mining percentage attributed to global computing power. He stated that the current computing power being used for Bitcoin mining is 8.23×10²² floating point operations per second (called FLOPS), while the total computing power in the world is 1.2×10²³ FLOPS – and this is where the 17% comes from.
So what’s the connection with AI? Deng and Matrix are going to try to reinvent mining algorithms to include AI in their equations. They will do so by utilizing a Bayesian mining system, which is similar to Bitcoin mining and the principles can therefore also be applied to Bitcoin mining, that uses a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm (MCMC). These types of algorithms sample probability distribution, which improves the longer the chain is.
Deng claims that by inserting AI into Bitcoin’s blockchain through this method, the computing power used to verify transactions on the Bitcoin network will also be able to be used for things outside of the world of cryptocurrencies – things such as scientific research, chemical reaction simulations, medical diagnoses, and complex financial modeling. All of these things require massive computing power, power which could potentially be provided by a large amount of computing power already being harnessed by Bitcoin mining.
Feature image: Depositphotos – urban_light