Environmental organization GreenPeace is still looking into the ecological impact of cryptocurrency mining. In a recent publication, the environmental organization praised Ethereum’s move to proof-of-stake for mitigating climate change. Still, GreenPeace regrets that Bitcoin players continue to use proof-of-work for mining, relying primarily on coal as an energy source. Is Bitcoin burning the planet? Not in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Bitcoin is a powerful lever for the development of renewable energy and the financing of nature conservation.
Ethereum is a good example for GreenPeace
The energy cost of cryptocurrency mining is always at the center of the climate emergency debate. Responding to the companies making up the Ethereum Climate Platform (ECP), environmental organization GreenPeace praised the move from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake.
In the GreenPeace statement, Rolf Skar, head of special projects at Greenpeace USA, believes that Ethereum’s new mining protocol mitigates the climate crisis.
Furthermore, the environmental organization praises the initiatives taken by the Ethereum Climate Platform (ECP) in funding green projects. For Rolf Skar, this offsets Ethereum’s past carbon footprint.
Climate platform Ethereum (ECP) is another example of crypto platforms taking the initiative to mitigate the climate crisis… Ethereum has already stopped using energy-intensive mining. The ECP platform is taking it a step further by attempting to address Ethereum’s historical carbon footprint by investing in initiatives that could have a positive impact on the climate.Rolf Skar, GreenPeace
The Ethereum Climate Platform (ECP) is a group of companies analyzing the environmental impact of Ethereum’s operations before the move to Proof of stake. Companies like Microsoft, Huobi, Polygon, Consensys, Allinfra, … are members of this group.
Several decarbonization initiatives are supported by the Ethereum Climate Platform (ECP). These include green hydrogen, carbon-free energy opportunities, heating, cooling, carbon removal projects, etc.
Bitcoin continues to pollute the planet
While Ethereum is now considered by GreenPeace to be a more environmentally friendly cryptocurrency, this is not the case with Bitcoin. For Rolf Skar, Bitcoin’s stakeholders simply refuse to acknowledge the carbon impact of mining the cryptocurrency. As a result, Bitcoin is falling behind and continuing to reinforce the climate crisis.
The environmental organization even believes that in recent years, Bitcoin mining has become more destructive due to the use of non-renewable energy sources, mostly coal.
Most of the major players in Bitcoin refuse to acknowledge the problem. While other crypto technologies are making changes to become more efficient and offering approaches to combat historical climate pollution, Bitcoin’s “mining” has become dirtier in recent years, with coal being its primary source of electricity.Rolf Skar, GreenPeace
As a result, GreenPeace is advocating a change in the way Bitcoin works. In particular, the organization proposes to switch to Proof of Stake mining, which is less energy consuming. This is exactly what Ethereum did last September during the famous “The Merge“.
We hope that people and companies involved in Bitcoin will see this as a wake-up call to both move to an energy-efficient protocol and actively move our world away from fossil fuels.Rolf Skar, GreenPeace
A fan of Bitcoin at first, GreenPeace has become one of its most vocal detractors.
In 2014, the organization was collecting donations in Bitcoin to fund its environmental actions. As of May 2021, Greenpeace has suspended this feature, believing that the amount of energy required to mine Bitcoin undermines efforts to combat climate change.
It is certainly true that Bitcoin mining uses a significant amount of energy. But that doesn’t mean it’s destroying the climate. On the contrary, in some parts of the world, Bitcoin is a powerful lever for renewable energy development and conservation financing. This is notably the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but it is not the only country.
Bitcoin Supports Green Energy Development in Africa
The lawsuit against Bitcoin over the carbon impact of its mining deliberately ignores the significant efforts currently being made to green the business.
Indeed, contrary to what GreenPeace says, coal is no longer the primary source of Bitcoin mining. A recent report by the Bitcoin Mining Council indicates that Bitcoin is mined 59.5% from renewable energy.
Another positive is that the energy efficiency of Bitcoin mining has increased by 46% year over year. This means that for the same performance, the energy needed to mine Bitcoin has almost halved.
The situation is even more challenging in Africa. Indeed, the supply and demand for electricity is low in many African countries. As a result, the few power companies are incurring considerable losses due to excess power production that has no takers. Bitcoin miners are therefore a salvation for these energy entrepreneurs by buying the surplus energy.
This is the case for Virunga Energy, a company that builds hydroelectric power plants in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a vast development program initiated by the Virunga National Park. This is also the case in Kenya, where electricity producers are making their green energy available to Bitcoin miners.
Bitcoin protects the environment in Congo
Unlike GreenPeace, Virunga National Park believes that Bitcoin protects the environment. And it’s not just any player in the environmental sector!
Established in 1925, Virunga National Park located in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the oldest protected area in Africa. Since 1979, this park has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beautiful and abundant ecosystems.
For nearly two years, this park has been accepting bitcoin donations to raise the resources needed to conserve the threatened ecosystems. The results have been encouraging. Among other things, the aid mobilized in cryptocurrency has helped dismantle 1,260 animal traps, conduct 24,000 kilometers of aerial surveillance and 65,000 kilometers of foot patrols, train 150 new ecoguards, provide health care and emergency assistance to 620 rangers and their families.
GreenPeace’s concerns about the climate emergency are entirely legitimate. Yes, the planet is burning, but Bitcoin is not to blame. Bitcoin’s mining protocol is undoubtedly energy intensive. Nevertheless, it is essentially based on green energy. In poor countries, mining is even a powerful pillar for the development of renewable energies, access to which is a guarantee of sustainable development for local populations. Let GreenPeace continue its anti-Bitcoin lobbying and let’s keep building!
I dream of a world where every citizen has total control over themselves, including their finances. I believe that Bitcoin is one of the tools that will achieve this revolution. Since 2019, I am learning about this cryptocurrency and spreading the word around.