Political hints stink Quebec mines in the run-up to elections, while cryptocurrencies impose themselves in parliament.
“It is imperative that the public be aware of this madness,” said Daniel Leduc recently. He is the initiator of the petition on the site of the National Assembly opposing the Quebec cryptocurrency industry . His call to fight the energy monsters that are companies ensuring the safety of blockchains by mining has so far collected only 179 signatures. Letting people know that nobody really cares about the environmental impact of this digital tokens industry. Especially that it will soon be too late to support Daniel’s approach, this Thursday, May 10, marking the end of the deadline for accessing the support form. A counter-performance in which the principal concerned displays a relative disappointment. “For comparison, a petition on the registration of wine bottles has attracted more than 14,000 signatories,” surprised Daniel, not without irony, before finding a logic behind the weakness of his own crop. “If we rely on the latest public statements, one could believe that my request is in fact a position already adopted by the government.” It refers to the fact that the Quebec executive temporarily refuses on its soil any new customer related to cryptocurrency mining after finding that Hydro-Quebec was crumbling under requests of several thousand megawatts cumulated. The Couillard government obviously does not want to deprive its state-owned corporation of an energy-intensive sector, and therefore generating bountiful revenues, but rather maximizing the economic spin-offs.
” We are actually looking for the best players, ” we were told at the end of March at Hydro-Québec, after sending a letter to the promoters of cryptomining to tell them that new rules would be established in the near future. Since then, the rhythm of contacts for a specific connection has slowed down, indicates the electricity producer whose distribution division remains “in the expectation of the government, everything is in their hands”. Hydro-Québec is sending the ball to the Minister of Energy. In mid-April, Pierre Moreau’s firm was still working on developing guidelines to determine the rates and conditions applicable to the block chain sector. “There are three words to remember from our approach: prudence, pragmatism and responsibility”, pontificated the press officer unable to provide a precise timetable on the file. “Before long, the government and Hydro-Québec will make known their position,” she said. In short, the blockchain industry has become a (in) political game in Quebec.
Let’s go back to Daniel’s petition, pure personal initiative, he says. “I am very concerned about the issue of global warming and that’s what motivated me to learn about bitcoin. I am not an expert on cryptocurrencies. This follower of the figures estimates then that it is difficult for him to pronounce on elements other than the consumption of energy of the mines of computer tokens. “I deliberately chose to focus on this aspect alone, since I felt that he did not – and still does not have – a high enough visibility in the eyes of the public,” motivates the author of the petition. If Daniel recognizes that minors have every right to believe that their activity is progressing, he in exchange claims the right to disagree deeply because of the environmental impact. The Bitcoin network would engulf more than 60 terawatt hours (TWh) by the beginning of May 2018, according to Digiconomist’s ubiquitous and repeatedly quoted estimates . This would represent twice (!) Of Hydro-Québec’s total net electricity exports.
These data bristle the hairs of Jonathan Bertrand, founder of D-Central Technologies. “Digiconomist’s figures are insane. Just read their methodology, it is absolutely not accurate, “says the bitcoin entrepreneur. In this extreme case, “the mining would no longer be profitable. There is a point of balance. New equipment like the HalongMining T1 requires 30% less energy than its predecessors, “explains Jonathan Bertrand. Daniel Leduc emphasizes the scarcity of precise consumption statistics for blockchain networks or cryptocurrency mines. He notes that the orders of magnitude seem as real as they are enormous, even if one tried to reassure oneself by dividing them by ten.
Parties without notice
However, we never heard our Quebec parliamentarians arguing over this issue. Only ministers in office approach it defensively when a question is addressed to them. Reacting to the strict position of the mining companies advocated in a press briefing by her energy counterpart, the Minister of the Economy and Innovation, Dominique Anglade, had laconically explained that we would have to “have encourages companies that support, beyond cryptocurrency, other sectors that could benefit from the blockchain. So, we must absolutely think about all possible applications for Quebec . But in general, while Quebec has the reputation of “the best place on the planet to undermine”, our political parties do not bother to position themselves more seriously. By disdain? By incomprehension? For fear of ridicule? Or because the teaching mission is huge? “Every citizen who is informed is therefore a success. I would like it to become an issue, or at least a topic, in the next election campaign “, hopes our first petitioner opposes the currencies of the internet.
A solidarity solidarity?
As a prerequisite for submitting his petition on the Parliament’s website, Daniel had to find a Member of Parliament who later agreed to present the document at the meeting. It was finally Manon Massé , the representative of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques and spokesperson for Québec solidaire, who agreed to endorse this “sponsorship”. Contacted by us on several occasions, the “woman of natural leadership” known for “listening and her ability to dialogue” has clearly not found the opportunity to comment on her party’s approach to cryptocurrencies. The arguments put forward in the petition that MP Massé will have to present seem to resonate with the values defended by Québec solidaire, particularly in terms of ecological justice. The mining of digital coins, related in many ways to mere financial speculation, would easily illustrate in solidarity discourse ” this capitalist system that destroys the environment“. In addition, in Quebec solidaire, knowing that the province is full of natural resources, it criticizes the way they are managed because “the benefits do not return properly to the population, management decisions suffer from a cruel democratic deficit, and some private capital holders benefit . Not to mention that the party of Manon Massé advocates energy sovereignty and wants to place the companies involved in the field of energy under public control, including full nationalization if necessary. Imagine after a state corporation for spirits and one for canabis, a SQM for Société québécoise du minage?
With his petition, Daniel Leduc pursues the sole objective of alerting the Quebec population on this time bomb ecological cryptocurrency mining. “Many people have expressed surprise after reading the facts,” he says. This is because the protester has followed the rules of art by producing a popularization document of twenty pages pertinently robust. He wants to convince the public to mobilize against “the mirage of mining”, the title of his pamphlet that I put you here for download for any useful purpose. Daniel defeats the very principle of competition between minors, the reward of honesty imagined by the creator of Bitcoin. This model introduces the mathematical conditions so that participation in the network is more profitable than piracy. “With bitcoin, we do not eliminate intermediaries, we have tens of thousands instead. All do similar calculations, very heavy and quite redundant, which have no use in themselves. Their simple monstrous volume would make fraud difficult or impossible, unless you have astronomical computing power, “he notes in his informative summary. Since the bitcoin, money has for the first time become programmable, platformable, transferable without trusted third party and without risk of censorship. However, Daniel can not help but think that cryptos and even more generally the blockchain represent a false progress. These technologies inspire him a caricature metaphor: “Imagine that I’m inventing a new type of car, more reliable, safer, more efficient, more spacious, more luxurious than all the others and which, moreover, would sell at an unbeatable price. You might be interested in buying me one, “he says. And Daniel adds “a little flat”: this revolutionary car would consume 1000 liters of gasoline per kilometer. “You would probably find that my invention makes no sense”, punctuates the author of the petition asking the Couillard government and Hydro-Quebec to offer anything to cryptocurrency entrepreneurs.