Bitcoin’s impact on climate change is under scrutiny
Will owning Bitcoin become a status symbol – or a scarlet letter to a new generation of climate-focused investors aware of the challenges it poses?
The answer is complicated.
Bitcoin supporters say estimates of its carbon footprint are overestimated. And if the computers that mine and help process bitcoin are connected to a power grid that uses wind and solar power, they add, mining and use will become cleaner over time.
“We believe that cryptocurrency will ultimately be fully powered by clean energy, eliminating its carbon footprint and driving the adoption of renewable energy globally,” said Mr. Dorsey of Square. in a report as part of a commitment to have its business zero carbon by 2030. The company has committed $ 10 million to invest in new “green energy technologies within mining operations. Bitcoin, and aims to accelerate its transition to clean energy ”.
On this point, Mr Gates, who sees himself as a Bitcoin skeptic unrelated to climate issues, said it is possible that the challenges could be overcome, but he was not yet convinced.
“If it’s green electricity and it doesn’t crowd out other uses, ultimately, you know, maybe that’s okay,” he said.
Several companies are working on counterintuitive ideas to make Bitcoin green. On Monday, Seat, an investment firm involved in cryptocurrency, said it plans to invest in Bitcoin “mining operations that transfer stranded or intermittent electricity without stable demand locally – wind, solar, hydro – to economic assets that can be used anywhere “.
In other words, the company plans to build wind and solar power plants in places that might not be perfectly located for the technology and will use the extra power to mine Bitcoin, making money as a result. “Bitcoin is, in our eyes, an economical charge-balancing battery, and batteries are essential for the energy transition needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” the company said in its announcement.