Greenpeace’s smear campaign against Bitcoin has picked up steam again in recent days. Greenpeace published an article in which the environmental organization called on major financial services firms like Fidelity to acknowledge Bitcoin’s climate impact and “take responsibility for the issue.”
In addition, the Greenpeace-commissioned Bitcoin Skull caused a stir as part of the “Change the Code, not the Climate” initiative. However, Greenpeace’s action backfired when climate activist and artist Von Wong expressed that he himself was no longer convinced by the Greenpeace campaign.
“I made the Skull believing that Bitcoin mining was a simple black-and-white issue. I’ve spent my entire career trying to reduce real-world physical waste, and PoW felt intuitively wasteful. Of course, I was wrong. Few things in the world are black and white. Dumb me,” von Wong wrote on Twitter after engaging with the Bitcoin community.
Will Greenpeace Rethink Bitcoin?
If Greenpeace has integrity and is not driven by its dubious donors, the organization would have to cancel its campaign and even endorse Bitcoin.
Bitcoin and climate activist Daniel Batten has released a new research showing that BTC’s main source of energy is hydropower, accounting for 23% of its total energy. Fossil fuel sources have declined by a total of 6.2% per year since January 2020.
“Surprising fact: Bitcoin mining the only major global industry who’s major energy source is not a fossil fuel. The major power source for the global grid is coal (36.7%),” Batten wrote in a tweet. With his research, Batten has thus refuted an oft-postulated claim by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) that coal is the main power source used by the BTC network.
Unlike CCAF, Batten included off-grid mining in his investigation, providing a complete picture of the Bitcoin network. The most important source of energy is hydropower (23%), followed by coal, gas, and wind.
Batten found that off-grid generated 15.8% of its electricity from hydropower, but more than half of sustainable off-grid mining is powered by hydro. Sustainable mining companies such as OceanFalls, Blockfusion, Hut8, Iris, Sato, Terawulf, Statar/Lake Parime, Gridshare, and HPG are examples of companies that are either 100% or predominantly powered by hydropower, according to the Bitcoin activist.
The second largest sustainable energy source is wind power, which now accounts for nearly 14% of total Bitcoin mining electricity. “Companies such as Marathon, with 14 EH of hashrate, the heavy component of which is behind-the-meter wind farms, contribute to this strong showing,” Batten said.
In addition, the high 25% of wind power on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid is another factor in wind power’s strong showing, he said. On the topic of coal and mining, Batten found that Bitcoin, like eVs, is a fully electrified technology with zero direct emissions.
The emissions come from the use of electricity, some of which is generated with fossil fuels. In comparison, Bitcoin mining actually performs better. Assuming that eVs are proportionally distributed around the world and use the global grid mix, one would have to assume that coal is the main source at 36.7%, followed by gas at 23.5%.
Compared to eVs, Bitcoin mining uses a similar proportion of gas (21.14%) but a significantly lower use of coal as an energy source (22.92%): 38% less than eVs.
Looking ahead, Batten explained that the BEEST model suggests that the sustainable mix of the BTC network is currently growing at 6.2% per year. If this growth continues, it will cause the relative shares of coal, gas, and other fossil fuel sources to continue to decline.
In addition, Bitcoin could help shape the energy transition because mining systems can be turned on and off very flexibly, acting as spontaneous consumers of surplus production. They could therefore be used not only to better manage the utilization of energy grids, but also to make renewable energy more quickly profitable through BTC-induced cross-financing.
In a recent Twitter space, Batten remarked about Greenpeace:
This will be a great surprise that the action not only has worked but there’s actually a counter attack. They are now subject to the same scrutiny that they are typically keeping people accountable to. So this will be new for them.
At press time, the BTC price stood at $ 28,030.
Featured image from iStock, chart from TradingView.com