Electricity is a terrible way to store your wealth. Batteries cost more than the energy they can hold.
Converting your value into cryptocurrency lets you store it for the future.
Bitcoin miners also operate on the threshhold of profitability. They burn as much electricity as they get paid in bitcoins.
So I could ask the same of bitcoin: /why/ does anyone mine bitcoin? They don't seem to get anything out of doing so.
If it is true that miners need to make a sliver of profit, we could charge slightly less to produce coins. So 999 meals worth of electricity turns into 1000 meals worth of cryptocurrency.
If a miner manages to double the value of the system as measure in meals, then paying him a mere 0.05% of everything is a small cost.
Because of network effects, the coins probably increased in value (as measured in meals of food) by more than 0.05%
There are also arguments for why we should charge 1001 meals of electricity to create 1000 coins. Like the stuff Paul Graham said in his essay http://paulgraham.com/equity.html
I summarize his advise: Only dilute the shares if they are willing to buy in at a high enough price that the part of the company you own afterwards is worth more than what you owned before.
Maybe we need to do experiments to find the best price for producing coins.
Or we could use a prediction market to adjust the price over time. The prediction market could be maximizing market cap measured in meals, or value of a coin measured in meals, or some combination of those 2.
Or we could let the validators vote on how the price should change. Under Flying Fox consensus the distribution of validators is almost the same as the distribution of coin holders, so their incentive would be to choose the price that maximizes the value of the current coins as measured in meals.