In recent years, calls for the reduction of “carbon emissions” has led to increasing attention on the energy usage of Bitcoin. With environmental, social and governance (ESG) ideals leaking into every industry, and the Bitcoin industry specifically coming under scrutiny for its “waste” of energy, it's never been more important to understand the misalignment with progress that this perspective has.
Nic Carter, partner at Castle Island Ventures and perhaps the best known defender of Bitcoin’s energy usage, was joined by founder of Core Scientific Darin Feinstein; Stephen Barbour, president of Upstream Data Inc.; Head of Mining at Galaxy Digital Amanda Fabiano; and MacKenzie Sigalos, a CNBC technology reporter.
The panel started with host Sigalos explaining, “The dynamic that is fundamentally misunderstood about bitcoin mining is that energy consumption is not tied to carbon emissions.”
Feinstein explained how information has been coming out that disparages Bitcoin mining, referencing two articles.
“The articles were written by WEF and Newsweek,” Feinstein explained. “Coincidentally, [they] came up with the same math, and the math was, by 2020, the Bitcoin network will consume all of the world's energy.”
This turned out to not be true.
Barbour made a point that summarizes the Bitcoiner position on energy usage, saying, “Emissions are generally a proxy of productivity.”
Indeed, the debate followed with discussions on how critics of Bitcoin’s energy usage simply believe that its a “misuse” of energy.
“I think that we focus so much on the energy narrative, and we shouldn’t, we should focus on what Bitcoin does for the world,” Fabiano said.
And indeed, Carter focused on this: “When the grid is under stress, miners participate in programs curtailing their usage … they fill in the valleys or they chop off the tails of that energy price distribution.”
Bitcoin 2022 is part of the Bitcoin Event Series hosted by BTC Inc, the parent company of Bitcoin Magazine.