a campaign called Change the Code Not the Climate (Change the code, not the climate), coordinated by the Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace USA and various groups fighting bitcoin mining facilities in their communities, calls for changing the way bitcoin is mined to address its huge carbon footprint.
The software code that uses bitcoin – known in English as “proof of work” – requires the use of massive stacks of computers to validate and secure transactions. This proof of work is a way to check that a miner has solved the complex cryptographic problems that are needed to add to the bitcoin ledger.
This is the current landscape of bitcoin, according to the campaign:
“Bitcoin uses more energy than all of Sweden
And it is rapidly outpacing more countries, according to the University of Cambridge. Unless its price is decoupled from its energy use, Bitcoin will cause devastating climate impacts.
Bitcoin alone could contribute to warming the planet more than 2 degrees
A report published in the journal Nature Climate Change notes that if Bitcoin is widely adopted, it could produce enough carbon dioxide emissions to warm the planet above 2 degrees Celsius.
Bitcoin is resurrecting fossil fuels
Bitcoin requires so much energy that its “miners” have started buying American coal plants. They are using fracking gas and making deals with the Texas oil industry to use flue gas as fuel for their operations.
A software code change would reduce Bitcoin’s energy use by 99.9%
Switching to a low power protocol has been shown to be effective and uses a fraction of the energy. Ethereum is changing its code. Many others use less power. Why doesn’t Bitcoin do it?
We know the problem. Bitcoin uses an outdated technology called proof-of-work to validate transactions. This proof-of-work method, at least as it currently works, uses massive amounts of energy, and is therefore a huge source of climate pollution. As the price of Bitcoin increases, so does its energy usage.
We know that those interested in Bitcoin are incentivized not to change. Switching Bitcoin would render a lot of expensive infrastructure worthless, meaning that Bitcoin stakeholders will have to abandon sunk costs, or find other creative solutions.
We know that the cryptocurrency community is highly motivated by a sense of progress, fairness, and good intentions. Many defenders of the fight against climate change are making themselves heard. The dream of many early crypto innovators is within reach, but only if the industry is serious about low-power crypto.
We know that cryptocurrencies do not need a lot of energy to work. Many of the new cryptocurrencies are low energy or carbon neutral because they use a better model: proof-of-stake.
More information about bitcoin in Diario TI
We know that a basic change to the software code would reduce Bitcoin’s energy usage by 99.9%. If just 30 people – the key miners, exchanges, and core developers who build and contribute to Bitcoin’s code – agreed to reinvent proof-of-work mining or move to a low-energy protocol, Bitcoin would cease to exist. pollute the planet. So why doesn’t Bitcoin change its code?
We know who influences the cryptocurrency community, from big tech to big banks. Leaders like Tesla’s Elon Musk, Block’s Jack Dorsey, and Fidelity’s Abby Johnson have vested interests in Bitcoin – and the power to affect change. BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, PayPal and many others have a responsibility to help clean up Bitcoin.”
The organizers invite people to sign their petition, available at this page.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.