To critique Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work consensus method, Greenpeace and other climate activists have created a campaign dubbed “Change the Code, Not the Climate.” The campaign pushes Bitcoin to switch from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake in order to save energy, but it’s tainted by a number of unsubstantiated assertions.
The campaign’s website makes a number of allegations about Bitcoin, implying that the cryptocurrency has become a major contributor to the global warming catastrophe. According to a Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance study, Bitcoin mining uses more energy than Sweden, and it also connects to a long-debunked article that claims Bitcoin emissions might push global warming past 2 degrees Celsius.
The campaign promotes Proof-of-Stake over Proof-of-Work, citing Ethereum as an example, which is expected to adopt the more energy-efficient consensus mechanism later this year. It claims that Proof-of-Stake is “a better model” and that switching to it would lower Bitcoin’s energy use by 99.9%. It also mentions Bitcoin miners, claiming that they are “incentivized not to change” since switching away from Proof-of-Work would leave their infrastructure obsolete. It then goes after a number of well-known personalities who it claims wield power in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
According to the campaign’s website, “Leaders like Elon Musk of Tesla, Jack Dorsey of Block, and Abby Johnson of Fidelity have vested interests in Bitcoin—and the power to affect change,” according to the campaign’s website (the campaign has also created three widgets that specifically target Musk, Dorsey, and Johnson with a message to “change the code”). According to the report, Goldman Sachs, Blackrock, and PayPal are among the companies that “have a responsibility to clean up Bitcoin.”
In the past, Musk has been particularly vociferous regarding Bitcoin’s environmental impact. He made headlines last year when he declared that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin payments due to environmental concerns. Despite this, Tesla still has Bitcoin on its books, and Musk has stated that he “won’t sell” his personal Bitcoin holdings, which include Ethereum and Dogecoin.
What do you think about Greenpeace’s concerns? Comment below.