In a recent interview on Bloomberg, Jason Les, CEO of Riot Blockchain, put to bed repeated suggestions that the Bitcoin mining industry has huge issues with energy usage.
Bitcoin has been in the media a great deal recently due in part to Elon Musk saying that Tesla would stop selling its cars for bitcoin until the number one cryptocurrency cleaned up its act. The media seized on this perceived weakness and many detractors have continued to lambast Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for this failing.
To start the interview, Les was asked what had been talked about in the meeting between Musk and the miners. He replied that there had been a “casual exchange of information”, and that the miners had taken the opportunity to tell Elon what they were doing as regards renewable energy in North America.
Les went on to say that it was important that the media understand that, on average, Bitcoin mining uses more renewable energy than any other major industry.
“76% of Bitcoin miners utilise renewable energy in their mix up. About 40% of global bitcoin mining is powered by straight renewable energy”
He explained that the energy put into Bitcoin helped drive the security of the network, and that this in turn helped everyone, from any part of the world, who was part of the Bitcoin network, to run the Bitcoin financial system without having to trust each other.
The Bloomberg interviewer sought to challenge the veracity of the CEO’s statistics, saying that Bitcoin miners were not the largest users of renewable energy, and tried to water down his statement by saying that he probably meant to say that some miners might use more renewables than the broader industrial base. She also stated that “coal is the problem with Bitcoin”, and that there was a “huge problem with the footprint of Bitcoin mining”.
The Riot Blockchain CEO respectfully disagreed with her accusations, and commented:
“Bitcoin mining is a very, very, very small part of global emissions. Bitcoin mining consumes about less than one tenth of one percent of the world’s energy, and in doing so it creates an open and free financial system. It’s a very noble use of that energy.”
The interviewer challenged Les once again, saying that it couldn’t be verified which miners were using which percentage of renewable energy. She asked how Les could give comfort to investors, that this question was being taken seriously.
Les replied that the outcome of the discussion with Elon Musk was that miners had decided to be more transparent about energy use. He stated that his own company Riot had operations in upstate New York that used 90% hydroelectric power, and that a recent acquisition, Winston US, based in Texas, had a growing abundance of solar and wind power available to it.
“The resulting conversation with Elon Musk was miners coming together to start what’s being called the Bitcoin Mining Council, an open forum for all miners to join. And we are working collaboratively to disclose our energy makeups and tell a story to the market.”
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