What once was hardcore mid-twentieth century slang, the phrase “Do it yourself,” was born as an instinctive reaction to the tribalism of the human rights movement, as the grandparents to cancel culture inadvertently prompted “reasonites” to scour for solace in the vernacular as politics were militarized, and the armed forces cauterized by Carnations obstinately forced into the barrel of rifles. While the words serve a much more productive purpose as the information age grows into the toddler years, the insinuation is that the DIY community exists an organic skyscraper of innovation, and free from the procedural limitations of gigantic corporate monstrosities. However, the decentralized nature of the casually brilliant hierarchy is indifferent to the ramifications of bartering for energy requiring an adherence to thermodynamics, in an eclectic subculture where batteries are an afterthought, and kilowatt hours is a standard term.
While the nebulous combination of smartphones and social media has resulted in record numbers of individuals choosing isolation over real life socialization, the cultural phenomenon has not stopped hobbyists collaborating on portals such as Microsoft owned Github.com or sharing streaming “how to” videos. In fact, it can be argued that society has traded the whole concept of “hanging out” for an infusion of imaginative engineering emanating from the proverbial mom’s basement. No where is this tidal wave of intriguing collaboration more apparent than in the lucrative and high stakes cryptocurrency marketplace, as a continuous game of one-upmanship is putting technological advances at the speed of light and what is ingenuity today is obsolete within the shelf life relevancy of a Tweet.
As the advances in blockchain technology have produced valuable forks of Bitcoin, various practical applications for a myriad of industries, and the latest craze of the non-fungible token (NFT) explosion, the influence of the DIY community is only proportionally expanding to helping to make sense of a monetary system that is not based on a traditional commodity and requires a massive magnitude of energy to satisfy the computing power needed to solve the complex algorithms in order to mine electronic currency. Very early in cryptocurrency’s ascension to the mainstream, an unlikely partner emerged to give individuals the opportunity to become wealthy, as the gaming world coalesced with Bitcoin miners in supplying the virtual key to achieving the efficiency and creating a justifiable business model. The literal game changer has entrepreneurs scrambling to find the lowest electricity rates and build software models with multitudinous variables in effectively handicapping the next biggest thing for digital money. While a wealth of information is available across the expanse of the internet, the social shortcomings of the DIY groups presents a formidable challenge for the average person lacking a substantial background in software from launching a profitable venture. This reality does not deter from the Red Bull flurry of brainstorming sessions reaching a tangible fruition, if one can afford the time to comb through the daunting influx of data and informal white papers.
Interestingly, a “modder” or one who makes fascinating modifications to existing devices, illustrated the electrical jigsaw puzzle of crypto-mining in converting a 1980’s handheld gaming console into a mini Bitcoin hash decryption mechanism. YouTube user StackSmashing brilliantly engineered a Nintendo Game Boy unit and its four AA batteries to interface with crypto-infrastructure. While the current from the batteries only allows for 8 hashes solved per second compared to the lightning quick 100 terra hash capabilities of an industrial mining unit, the project examines the plausibility of activating a group of micro-systems powered by alternative energy sources in averting a possible thermodynamic crises as the insatiable thirst for juice grows exponentially by the month. During the initial surge of Bitcoin mining, a very sharp person decided to locate their operations to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in taking advantage of the criminally low electric rates. Allegedly, the venture was so successful, that the energy coursing through the servers from Mongolia’s coal powered grid caused a proximal bump in average daily temperatures and a temporary microclimate until the business was shuttered.
Urban legends aside, the DIY fraternity is plagued by the propaganda of human-influenced climate change, as keeping an apolitical stance in a world of polarized agendas is a stiff challenge that unfortunately cannot be emulated with gadgetry. As the Game Boy mining contraption is merely 125 trillion times slower than the current industry standard, efficiency is to the issue, but the reality that technological afterthoughts can be put into the context of the now in refurbishing hardware, and possibly reimagining manufacturing and the crippled supply chain due to Covid-19 in domesticating smaller factories and ultimately cutting the ties to China.
While StackSmashing and ilk dream up ways to organically geek out, they do so in the comfort of their own homes, as the predominately beta culture chooses screen time over the pratfalls of the dating scene, which if one encounters luck, results in something more permanent, and maybe a lifetime and a family. As a philosopher amid the pageantry and gallantry of an intoxicating evening of thirty somethings to seniors with walkers collectively grooving to an Elton John impersonator at the Nest in Indian Wells, California surmised when scanning the crowd, “This is a testament that the mating instinct lives on.”.
However, as aforementioned, society may have bartered away the future of the nuclear family with the prevalence of DIY modders exercising their free will to remain holed up in their converted laboratories, rather than engaging in the instinctive experiment since the dawn of humanity that results in a 99.99999999999% futility rate in the aftermath of the fateful words, “Can I buy you a drink?” They may be onto something with their trendy indifference.