Connecting the Dots: AI Crypto, GPUs, & AGI : the Native Currency of Machina Sapiens

AI Crypto: Ethereum, the computational crypto network

AI Crypto? What the hell does AI have to do with cryptocurrency? Wellllll… quite a lot, in fact. In addition to the fact that they both rely on GPUs for their heavy lifting, they will also be the major consumers of, and major (short term) competition of eachother for global compute & energy resources.

But that’s today. And the connection runs far deeper than the surface. Allow me to relate a story of a key epihany I had that, in my mind, forever intertwined the fate of AI and crypto.

It was the winter of 2017. I had just lost a ridiculous amount of money, well into the 6 figures, due to a particularly ill-conceived 8-hour drunken day-trading binge with the holdings in my crypto portfolio (ETH crashed from around 1300 to 800 in those days, or about -39%) (I’m 100% sober now, thank you).

It was snowing outside. My crypto mining machines were, in fact, steaming happily on the porch, snow on their cases, with external fans forcing subzero air into them, and still hitting hellish internal temps of 166° Farenheit.

And I had lost all that money. My money. Or rather, what used to be my money. I literally felt sick to my stomach, and angry at… what? I was still too stupid to be able to direct the blame at Y.T., and yet it was totally obvious that I couldn’t blame anyone else. Yet, it was snowing. The sun had set, my fiancé’s boyfriend (yes, its complicated) was coming over, and the night was young. So what to do?

What everybody does in that scenario:

We dropped some acid and headed out for a hike into town.

Thank God.

Because that’s when I had a revelation. An idea that gave me a certainty, not only about the psychotically volatile crypto market, but about the (at that point) embryonic AI that I could sense, swimming in the deep but not yet emerging into our material, human world. It was the idea of…

AI Crypto

I had evangelized Bitcoin from the start, way back in 2012. But my advocacy of BitCoin stemmed from my anarchist anti-establishment roots. The idea of a global liquid currency, with no ties to any bank or nation-state, by the people and for the people, turned me on.

But as BTC approached $1,000, then $2,000, then $5,000 in value per coin (we used to buy a cup of coffee with a 1.0BTC!!!) the math problems (the method of “mining”, or generating, crypto coins) got exponentially harder to solve, the processing time and compute power went through the roof, and concurrently, the global electrical power draw went… well, through the roof.

As of Jan 2022, Bitcoin mining (not even including all the rest of the vast cryptocurrency ecosystem) consumed significantly more than 1% of the total global energy production. That…. that is insanity. That figure includes every car, every power plant, every military on the planet.

Yet it is true: today, 1 out of every 100 terawatt hours producing electricity on planet earth, across all energy modalities (gas, coal, wind, solar, nuclear, etc) is used to… solve math problems which mine the inherently value-less commodity known as bitcoin.

AI crypto mining factory

This…. bothered me, to say the very least.

Enter Ethereum.

Or, what I call: the Native Currency of A.I.

See, unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH) was designed as a computational cryptocurrency. Whereas Bitcoin miners were arguably just solving ridiculously hard prime factors, silly math problems (or were they?), and sucking up huge amounts of compute power in the process, Ethereum was, in concept at least, using its mining to power directable compute challenges, sort of like a crypto version of Heroku.

Perhaps Ethereum could actually be… the true AI Crypto.