Roughly 6 weeks ago, Elon Musk shook crypto markets when he announced that Tesla would temporarily halt its acceptance of BTC as a form of payment for its products. This move which was derided by many – as they felt market manipulation was at play – was founded on the belief that the Bitcoin Network was harmful to the environment due to its reliance on coal as an energy source.
Within days, various Bitcoin advocates gathered together and birthed the ‘Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC)’ – an initiative aimed at shedding light on metrics surrounding energy usage of the Bitcoin network, while promoting sustainability. Today, the BMC has released its early findings through its first quarterly report.
The takeaway? Bitcoin is ‘one of the most sustainable industries globally’.
BMC Confirms Sustainable Power Mix
In its first report, the BMC was able to attain data from roughly 32% of the industry’s participants. This is a positive result for its inaugural report, and sufficient enough to speculate figures for the remaining miners that did not participate.
To qualify as ‘sustainable’ per the BMC, energy must be derived from sources such as solar farms, geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, or verified carbon neutral practices. Of those which provided data, the BMC found that 67% indicated their electricity used was derived from a sustainable mix.
Naturally, those that do not utilize sustainable energy sources would be more reluctant to share data. The BMC has taken this in to account however, and estimated that when looking at the industry as a whole, the figure of 67% will drop to roughly 56%.
Due to the increased importance being placed upon sustainability, it is logical to assume – as the BMC does – that these figures will continue to rise with time.
Results from the BMC’s first quarterly report comes soon after what can only be called a ‘mass exodus’ of Bitcoin miners from China.
Past criticisms surrounding the ‘dirty’ nature of Bitcoin mining were based on the networks perceived reliance on coal as a power source. While there are many miners around the world that may still utilize similar energy sources, the bulk of the network which fell in to this category was/is located within China. This however is rapidly changing, as China’s government has placed heavy restrictions on Bitcoin mining – essentially banning the activity.
While this may seem like a step back on the surface, this move is a blessing in disguise for the network as a whole. As the countless mining outfits now look to rehome their operations in other nations, they will be forced to become more reliant on clean energy sources, ushering in a rapid transition towards actual sustainability.
Looking beyond sustainability, the recent exodus of miners from China has highlighted an often overlooked strength of the Bitcoin network – downtime. Core Scientific Founder, Darin Feinstein, addressed this, stating,
“Despite China shutting down over 60 percent of the global Bitcoin network, the Bitcoin network experienced zero downtime, no bailouts, has registered no bankruptcies and simply adapted by redeploying its infrastructure into regions that have greater freedoms…The network remains as strong as ever, it simply shrugs off adversity and moves forward.
A Grain of Salt
It should be noted that despite early indications pointing towards a high level of sustainability, the report generated was done so based on information given voluntarily. It is expected that the BMC will soon release more details surrounding its questioning, and process for verifying this information.
While a definite positive beginning, if the BMC expects for companies, and the public at large to be fully convinced, it will need to elaborate on how it achieved its findings, and ensure its practices are as robust as the Bitcoin network itself.