Energy consumption for Farming on the SAFE network

I don’t proclaim to understand the full aspects of the energy consumption connected to running a block chain, SAFE network, nor am I any sort of system engineer and a bit of a newbie to this all. But, I see this point raised across the crypto community about striking the energy balance. I understand that farming for the SAFE network consumes the unused space from the HDD of a user’s computer, which may have to be operational for up to 24hrs a day, I’m unsure of this, so please forgive me if I am wrong. The cost per user for energy consumption for farming on the network would be directly linked into the computer’s electricity usage. So, when the ‘farmer’ receivies the electricity bill, thus deducting the normal household usage, one would have the cost of using, farming/working the network left, just applying logic?

But, if the person has access to ‘free energy’, as in solar energy, or wind energy in some form, fuelling their electricity usage, then the cost becomes minimal if nothing at all. By connecting the free energy around us to this vision of a crypto society seems a must for our future. I see both industries becoming one further down the line, if not already as I have not carried out any research whether anyone is currently doing this. It’s speculative as to how much energy it consumes until the SAFE network is up and fully operational, then objectively one can see. We have nothing else to compare this to except the fiat monetary system and bitcoin, but I just have a feeling that we are in the right time, at the right place to strike the best balance that everyone agrees with, which could be zero cost for the SAFE system in the years to come (I know that sounds crazy, had just read about zero-point WTF is Zero Point Energy and How Could it Change the World?). Like I said I have no technical knowledge, I just see a lot of chatter about energy consumption for working the crypto systems, and I also see how we are extracting more energy in a greener and cheaper way with new findings, so will the two sectors meet in the middle down the line, MAIDbe?

Just typing out loud over coffee and contemplation on this lovely Saturday afternoon. :thinking::smile:


The vision of the future for the energy grid is distributed renewable generation (solar panels on roof etc), distributed energy storage (like Tesla power walls or even EVs), and a market for individuals to buy and sell power from one another. You can also read about grid balancing. It just means that the supply of power must always match the demand for power to keep the grid running properly. This is more challenging as a greater percentage of power on the grid comes from renewables, which are a bit unpredictable in nature. This is why energy storage will be a big deal. Picture always leaving your EV connected to the grid, you entering what trips you plan to make that day, the car reserving enough power for those trips, and any extra power storage capacity being used to make you money by providing a grid balancing service (which equates to arbitraging the price of power…buying up extra power when it is cheap and selling it back when the sun goes behind a cloud for example).
To bring this tangent back toward your post, blockchains or the like can provide the p2p energy market. Take a look at the Grid+ project (Ethereum based).


I will look into that @drehb and I concur with you completely that that is the future for the energy market. I read an article about a new development in the solar sector called ‘solar skin’. Just look around outside at what surfaces solar skin could be applied to. We’re moving in the right direction.


This is a very interesting point. Rather than struggling to store excess energy generated through renewable sources, converting it to storing and delivering data seems like a good idea. Perhaps it would be more efficient? I hadn’t given it much thought, but perhaps someone should?


If your computer is on anyway, you incur no additional energy costs.


Some numbers :

A newer 1TB SSD consumes 0.035 watts idle, and 2.5 watts running.
A newer 10TB HDD consumes 3 to 5 watts idle, and 6 to 10 watts running.
A newer GPU consumes about 80 watts idle, and up to 450 watts running.


Thank you so much for this jlpell, I’d read somewhere that an SSD consumes far less energy than a HDD and a GPU, and this proves it, with the figures. :wink:

An interesting aspect of proof-of-work mining is it allows transforming a remote potential energy source (IE, flare gas on an offshore rig) into something of economic value, even if there’s no connection to the grid. In this example, additional generation capacity could be installed to turn excess gas into electricity, and that electricity used to mine coins.


In most cases there is plenty of other uses for these sources of spare energy, if they could convert them efficiently then they could be of greater economic benefit to mankind when used for a multitude of projects other than crypto. The problem in the past has been the work efficiently. Its no good to waste more energy and manpower than would be generated. To have one person maintain these (eg flare gas) energy converters costs more in resources and money that would be gained. You do realise that often these releases of energy which many see as waste actually are needed (eg flare gas) for other reasons such as safety. To then convert that flare gas then you need other safety measures which may cost a lot more than the energy and then add the manpower to maintain the convertor and the resources needed to build it on a rig. You get the point, its not simply saying oh lets use that energy for blockchain (an inefficient energy wise form of crypto)

SAFE for instance will use a miniscule amount of energy that blockchains use and be providing crypto as a by product. This helps humanity so much more than any blockchain will.


I was under the impression that flare gas was used for generating power on off-shore rigs. Maybe I was wrong about that. Unfortunately I can’t find the article I originally read, so maybe I’ve got the example wrong, but the gist of it was a remote enough location that was also off-grid. Previously there was no way to convert the waste product into something useful, but thanks to mining they can now convert it to electricity and use the electricity for mining crypto.

I agree that PoW is a really inefficient use of energy, but if the only thing you can otherwise do with a waste product is burn it (because you can’t ship the electricity somewhere else), then at least now it can be put to some kind of use.


It is rare to find a remote location where they don’t want more electricity if possible


I’d be interested to find out if there are any examples of where this has been done at any scale. I found this recent post but is at a very early stage. It sounds to me like one of those nice ideas that will run into a whole bunch of hurdles because the economics or safety aspects don’t stack up.


The catch 22 is that the improved efficiency of safe will likely lead to greater energy consumption than btc and pow.

If people use NON-spare resources in a large way. Otherwise its an incremental cost in terms of <1% of what is already been used by the person.

I personally will be running a vault using a small SBC drawing like 2-5 watts and disk drawing < 3 watts when running. Basically a phone charger wattage. And if people use spare resources then it would be even less incremental wattage.

So 1 million vaults is <6 MW

Also you need to factor in the worth of the network compared to BTC when you are at a power greater than what BTC is using. BTC affects a very small %age of the population. But SAFE at those power levels are helping a very large portion of the population.

EDIT: One estimate of BTC power usage by miners is like 340MW How Much Energy It Takes to Power Bitcoin

So at least 50 million machines running vaults for that amount of power and that is more people running vaults than use BTC (regularly). Over 50 million vaults means there are many many more times people using safe.

EDIT2: another sources says that < 28 million people are using BTC How Many People Use Bitcoin? - Bitcoin Market Journal

Currently, there are almost 28.5 million bitcoin wallets that hold more than 0.001 BTC according to data compiled by However, most bitcoin users have several bitcoin wallets and use multiple wallet addresses to increase their financial privacy when transacting in bitcoin. Hence, the number of bitcoin users is likely less than 28.5 million.

So in my estimate when SAFE vaults are drawing similar power to BTC there will be at least twice the vaults as BTC users total. And the number of people using SAFE will be over 10 times the users of BTC


I think its safe to say that they will if there is an economic incentive to do so. I know centralized players may not necessarily be able to compete will lot’s of home users at scale… But time will tell. Even so, safe being able to tap in to a billion users at home because of improved efficiency is exactly what jevon’s paradox is referring to.

This will something we shall see. It may see significant %age of vaults in data centres or not. If the goal of safe is realised then the algo will make centralised vaults only used by those willing to wear the cost (much lower income if any)

BUT I think it also misses the point. It really only applies to vaults. Clients are not using any more power at all. They are running browsers/apps like they do on the clear net. So no extra power needed for clients.

This is why I examined the vaults.

And if BTC touched the number of people that SAFE will then BTC would be drawing a lot more power. You were looking at the current BTC power levels and comparing with a very mature network. If you compare similar ages then BTC would be a lot larger and of necessity a lot more miners and thus a lot more power.

So I get your point but it is oranges and apples since they are very different beasts and the paradox is for new low power technology vs previous technologies, where the technologies are achieving the same/similar tasks. SAFE vs BTC does not fit in the paradox analysis.


Recent article counted Bitcoin electricity consumation to atleast 2,5GW.

The Bitcoin network can be estimated to consume at least 2.55 gigawatts of electricity currently


Burning electricity is the way the bitcoin blockchain stays true and secure. The advanced application of cryptography is the way SAFE Network does the same thing. They are fundamentally different models. It’s Model-T vs Tesla, steam vs deisel. Jevons paradox may apply to the extent that hoped for energy savings won’t be acheived, but the differences between PoW and PoR will be so big it won’t matter. It will be a step change. As it stands bitcoin is due to burn 1/200 of the world’s power by the end of next year. If it were as big as banks it would burn all of it and more, and then Ethereum et al would burn the non-existent rest.

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This almost certainly makes it that SAFE when at global acceptance is drawing less power than BTC is now. And then in a few years BTC will draw even more. SO no SAFE will draw less power while providing a whole lot more than BTC. I don’t include clients in power comparison since that power is already being consumed and is no change

Comparing SAFE to BTC is like comparing the ATM machine in the Mall with the town that the mall is in. Safe is the town with many malls and opportunity for many brands of ATMs. But the ATMs are just a tiny part of it all.

I wasn’t trying to say that POR efficiency gains are not awesome, just the problem with the general idea that having increased efficiency at the microscale will necessarily lead to lower energy use at the macroscale. Given increased demand/usage due to the benefits provided by increases in efficiency and technological progress, the intuitive notion is often incorrect.

From the wiki article :

“Jevons warned that fuel efficiency gains tend to increase fuel use. But this does not imply that improved fuel efficiency is worthless: higher fuel efficiency enables greater production and a higher material quality of life.[16] …
Saunders argued that, taking into account both microeconomic and macroeconomic effects, technological progress that improves energy efficiency will tend to increase overall energy use.[12]”