Greenpeace USA, a legacy environmental organization, has drawn the ire of fellow environmentalists in the cryptocurrency industry for peddling misinformation about Bitcoin and its environmental footprint.
Daniel Batten—a Bitcoin ESG analyst and environmental campaigner—criticized Greenpeace for “hoodwinking” fellow “environmentally-conscious” folks about the digital currency’s emissions.
Batten writes, “A period of intensive data analysis six months earlier had led me to the inescapable conclusion that Bitcoin was a net positive to the environment, but powerful forces were at work to hoodwink the world’s environmentally-minded through a seemingly orchestrated misinformation campaign. The misinformation was strong enough that I initially fell for it myself.”
Last month, the Environmental Working Group—which includes Greenpeace—pumped $1 million into the “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign to urge cryptocurrency to switch from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS)—which they argue is more environmentally-friendly.
I explained the difference between these frameworks at IWF in September, writing, “PoW mining is a consensus mechanism used to secure its network and validate blockchain transactions. PoW is only successful due to crypto miners using computers to “solve complex puzzles, expending vast amounts of energy.”
The $5 million dollar “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign initially launched in March with the explicit goal of “cleaning up Bitcoin.” The campaign asserts Bitcoin will increase global temperatures by two degrees Fahrenheit and is “resurrecting” coal plants.
Batten further explained that Ripple colluded with Greenpeace USA to presumably root out competitors. “
The switch from PoW to PoS that they advocate for is premised on the idea that Bitcoin’s energy use will shrink by 99.9% as Ethereum’s did following restructuring. But is it true that Bitcoin’s competitor is more environmentally friendly?
As the University College London’s Centre for Blockchain Technologies’ analysis of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) determined “the exact energy consumption characteristics of PoS-based systems and the difference between them are not widely understood.”
Moreover, there are 31 documented cases of PoW frameworks delivering on reduced emissions goals more effectively than PoS. Additionally, Bitcoin is on course to a carbon-neutral future by December 2024 without needing to restructure its infrastructure.
Greenpeace USA has been wrong about many things—recently conceding recycling doesn’t reduce plastic waste. And it’s certainly wrong about Bitcoin.