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Mining Cryptocurrency with Brainwaves

Microsoft proposes an unconventional solution to the challenges faced in mining cryptocurrency by unveiling a system that can mine using human brainwaves.

Microsoft takes a bold step towards supporting the crypto industry by filing for a patent to create a system that uses brainwaves to mine cryptocurrency. This system is expected to replace the traditional method of mining cryptocurrency, which is regarded by many as energy inefficient.

The method currently used for mining cryptocurrency may be automated; however, it is also time-consuming. In addition, mining takes up a lot of energy and electricity.  Due to the computer power required to generate the calculations for completing a block, the hardware used ends up emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide. Between 2016 to 2018 alone, bitcoin mining was estimated to have produced up to 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The patent application, submitted last March 26, outlines the possibility of people solving complex computational problems using only their subconscious.

“Instead of massive computation work required by some conventional cryptocurrency systems, data generated based on the body activity of the user can be a Proof-of-Work, and therefore, a user can solve the computationally difficult problem unconsciously,” the patent application’s summary reads.

The inventors explain that their system works by fine-tuning sensors to read a person’s brain activity. Each cognitive task is assigned a string of numbers, the length, and complexity of which depends on the amount of effort that was put into completing the task. If this string of generated numbers matches the target, then the transaction is completed and it is considered as Proof-of-Work.

Brainwaves may take a little effort for the people involved, but it could also save significantly on the electricity that would have otherwise been consumed.

This idea is still in its early stages and there are clearly several ethical landmines that the inventors need to navigate around first. Concerns on the people who will be used to mine bitcoin, for example, as well as the work conditions they will be subject to, still need to be addressed. However, the potential to save the environment with the use of this machinery in the future is promising.

This invention has the potential to bring a whole new meaning to the phrase, “it’s the thought that counts.”.

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