In a New York Times (NYT) article — published yesterday (March 22) — about the crypto mining industry’s focus on renewable energy, it was mentioned that according to some estimates “a single Bitcoin transaction now requires more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.”
The NYT article, which was written by technology reporter David Yaffe-Bellany, started by saying that thanks to “criticism from politicians and environmentalists,” the crypto mining industry has “embarked on a rebranding effort to challenge the prevailing view that its electricity-guzzling computers are harmful to the climate” and that “all five of the largest publicly traded crypto mining companies say they are building or already operating plants powered by renewable energy, and industry executives have started arguing that demand from crypto miners will create opportunities for wind and solar companies to open facilities of their own.”
For example, Argo Blockchain is building a 126,000-square-foot crypto mining facility in Texas that — according to the firm’s CEO Peter Wall — will be “fueled mostly by wind and solar energy.”
So far, so good.
Then, came the following section of the article, which the Bitcoin community found much harder to accept:
“In Bitcoin’s early years, a crypto enthusiast could mine coins by running software on a laptop. But as digital assets have become more popular, the amount of power necessary to generate Bitcoin has soared. A single Bitcoin transaction now requires more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, or enough energy to power the average American household for 73 days, researchers estimate.
“To achieve that, some miners are reviving broken-down coal plants, or using low-cost natural gas to power their computers. Last month, a study in the journal Joule found that Bitcoin mining worldwide may be responsible for about 65 megatons of carbon dioxide a year, comparable to the emissions of Greece.“
Here is Nic Carter, who is a general partner at Castle Island Ventures, as well co-founder and chairman of Coin Metrics, explaining why the claim that one Bitcoin transaction needs over 2000 kWh of electricity is wrong:
The article went to say that last May, shortly after Tesla CEO expressed his concerns about “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions,” MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor helped with establishing the Bitcoin Mining Council, “a voluntary and open forum of Bitcoin miners committed to the network and its core principles.”
The article mentioned that Bitcoin mining firm TeraWulf, which is a member of the Bitcoin Mining Council, has “pledged to run cryptocurrency mines using more than 90 percent zero-carbon energy.” Apparently, TeraWulf has “two projects in the works — a retired coal plant in upstate New York fueled by hydropower, and a nuclear-powered facility in Pennsylvania.”
TeraWulf CEO Paul Prager told the New York Times:
“Everyone I talk to now is talking about carbon neutrality. The language has absolutely changed.”
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