It's a long read, but well worth it. The story of how investigators followed Bitcoin transactions to bring down a large child abuse site.
Bitcoin isn't as anonymous as most people think:
Within a few years of Bitcoin’s arrival, academic security researchers—and then companies like Chainalysis—began to tear gaping holes in the masks separating Bitcoin users’ addresses and their real-world identities. They could follow bitcoins on the blockchain as they moved from address to address until they reached one that could be tied to a known identity. In some cases, an investigator could learn someone’s Bitcoin addresses by transacting with them, the way an undercover narcotics agent might conduct a buy-and-bust. In other cases, they could trace a target’s coins to an account at a cryptocurrency exchange where financial regulations required users to prove their identity. A quick subpoena to the exchange from one of Chainalysis’ customers in law enforcement was then enough to strip away any illusion of Bitcoin’s anonymity.
Warning: there's some disturbing content in the article. It's depressing to read about these people.
Cryptocurrencies are regularly criticised for their energy waste and climate impact. In this case, bitcoin is directly burning coal. A Bitcoin mining company bought a powerstation to fuel their mining.
In a deal struck in late 2020, Marathon, a bitcoin “mining” company, became the sole recipient of the power station’s electricity. It established an elongated data center on 20 acres of land beside the facility that is packed with more than 30,000 Antminer S19 units, a specialized computer that mines for bitcoin. Such thirst for power is common in crypto – globally bitcoin mining consumes more electricity than Norway, a country of 5.3 million people.
If you've been confused about the NFT hype, this well-researched video might help. It might also confuse you more. There's a lot to digest but it's really worth a watch. The running time is over 2 hours though, so stick it in your "watch later" queue and get to it when you have some down time.
The whole thing is even more bonkers than I thought.