Bitcoin mining energy transparency is a double-edged sword

Conversations surrounding Bitcoin’s sustainability often refer to the amount of electricity consumed by the network. But its power consumption is a notable factor, according to Jaime Leverton, CEO of Canadian bitcoin mining firm Hut 8.


“We do see our energy usage as a feature of PoW,” referring to the verification process for bitcoin transactions.

Critics like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts criticize Bitcoin mining is at the root of the climate crisis. Bitcoin stalwarts, such as MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, reject the idea that miners use wasted energy for new purposes, effectively storing it in cyberspace in the form of bitcoins.

However, the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining is indisputable, partly because the hash rate is public. This metric captures the computing power used on the network as miners race to solve the next block by continuously processing complex calculations.

According to Leverton, making this kind of competition means creating a level of transparency for bitcoin mining — something that doesn’t exist in the traditional financial system.

“It’s easy to know how much energy is used by bitcoin miners because it’s public information. At the same time, you can’t tell how much energy is used by the traditional banking system or hard metal mining.”

As for where miners get their energy from, Leverton noted that the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) produces quarterly reports by surveying industry participants. Report The latest figures show that approximately 60% of the energy mined by BMC members (including the majority of the global Bitcoin mining industry) comes from a combination of resource extraction from sustainable sources, solar, wind and hydroelectric power.

“The data is very relevant. What sets it apart from other industries is that it’s not transparent about its energy use.”

Discussions about bitcoin’s energy consumption revived last month, in part because of the “Satoshi Skull” artwork published in Greenpeace’s “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign. An international environmental NGO has teamed up with artist Benjamin Von Wong in an attempt to draw attention to Bitcoin’s carbon footprint. Von Wong later stated that his dualistic view of Bitcoin mining was wrong.

But according to Leverton, does anyone think that Bitcoin itself has any value that would affect the assessment of Bitcoin’s energy consumption? She argues that the value critique of energy has never been applied to other forms of technology with similar scrutiny, while ignoring the potential that Bitcoin has to provide financial services to populations without it. Global bank accounts.

“We’re not talking about how much energy the gaming industry uses, or whether video games are valuable to the wider population. We just know it’s a lot of energy, but we’re not going to argue about its merits.”

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