GreenPeace & Chris Larsen vs. Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a resilient beast.

First, they said it is a scam, a Ponzi scheme. Then, called it a tool to monetize cartels, terrorists, and other malefactors. Despite the FUD, Bitcoin persisted. There were forks in between, country bans, and etc. The crooked elites behind the banking system are scared; they know Bitcoin is a wild beast that challenges their power grab. Banning Bitcoin makes it stronger, more visible. Abolishing exchanges encourages P2P transactions.

Bitcoin is like non-Newtonian liquids: graciously fluid in its natural state but incredibly tough under pressure.

The hot FUD is the supposed environmental impact of Bitcoin. The elites are trying to impute that Bitcoin mining wastes energy and contributes to carbon emissions. Greenpeace, along with other climate groups, and co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple, Chris Larsen, are behind the latest campaign entitled "Change The Code, Not The Climate." They propose a change in Bitcoin's code — from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake. According to the campaign’s manifesto, a software code change would reduce bitcoin’s energy consumption by 99.9%.

According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF), bitcoin currently consumes around 137 terawatt-hours per year — more than the entire energy usage of some countries, such as Sweden.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Unraveling the campaign

According to Larsen, “We need to clean up our industry. And the issue is not, as some have suggested, powering Bitcoin with clean energy. We need the limited supply of clean energy for other vital uses. The issue is changing the code to use far less energy. That’s the environmentally responsible way forward.”

By claiming the 'clean energy for other vital uses', Larsen seems to ignore Bitcoin as something vital. If someone considers Bitcoin a mere speculative asset — or doesn't foresee Bitcoin as a tool to achieve monetary freedom, an escape from the system —, it sure wastes energy. If Larsen saw Bitcoin as a disruptive monetary system, he would accept as valid Bitcoin mining in renewable forms of energy. That's clearly not his stance. Bringing factual data on Bitcoin's energy consumption wouldn't refute someone who doesn't believe in Bitcoin. Period.

Now, Bitcoiners defend the following stance: Bitcoin energy consumption and the mining incentives are what keep the blockchain secure. The fact that an attacker would need to employ a tremendous amount of energy to attempt controlling the system discourages the action. Secondly, miners don't have the incentive to switch to Proof-of-Stake because that would impact their huge revenues. Thus, the chance of a code change are zero. The result would most likely be another fork, and the supposed energy issue wouldn't cease to exist. The campaign is futile.

Creating a fair hypothetical critique

Let's assume someone who sees Bitcoin's role as an important monetary system, but who is also concerned about the energy consumption. I propose the following questions.

  • How much energy does Bitcoin actually consume?
  • What are the other monetary systems?
  • How much energy do the other systems use?

Hint: Bitcoin's 137 terawatt-hours per year vs. the total amount of energy the US Army uses to secure the Dollar hegemony.

Back to Larsen

Larsen is the CEO of Ripple, which is one of Bitcoin wannabe cryptocurrencies. He is not interested in Bitcoin's fundamentals, nor is worried about the environment. He wants control.

Bitcoin's code won't change, but the campaign may pressure countries to ban mining. The banning of Bitcoin mining is a more tangible, and expected, action to tackle the "energy issue". China (once a major Bitcoin mining hub) has already banned mining. Will others follow? Will that weaken Bitcoin?

Personal opinion

I don't see Bitcoin energy consumption as negative. We don't need data to realize Bitcoin, as a monetary system, consumes less than an army trying to protect the hegemony of a fiat system. Bitcoin is also peaceful; it doesn't create wars. On the banning of Bitcoin mining: The more countries ban, the more decentralized Bitcoin becomes. Its energy consumption is tied to the adjusted mining difficulty. If major mining companies are banned, smaller miners take place. However, the elites will continue to attack Bitcoin through any means they can, hence FUD campaigns and other nonsense.

What's your opinion?

I tried to bring forth valid critiques and understand where they come from. Do you believe Bitcoin wastes energy? Why? Let me know in the comments.

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