Bitcoin is 'green'

Many wrongly believe Bitcoin miners are devouring all the world’s energy and destroying the planet. This is due to erroneous ‘green’ anti-Bitcoin propaganda peddled by those who see Bitcoin as a threat, or (misguidedly) believe they are competing with it, or are simply poorly informed and parroting mainstream disinformation.

Bitcoin consumes a lot of energy annually, but in world terms this is tiny: even a probable overestimate of 80 terrawat hours per year is less than 0.05% of global energy use. But unlike most activities, which use mostly carbon-based power, Bitcoin runs primarily on sustainable energy, making it far ‘greener’ than other industries in terms of carbon emissions.

Worse, those advocating against Bitcoin from a carbon perspective have it backwards, because they fail to grasp the network’s revolutionary utility and efficiency: they should instead campaign to have energy-guzzling classical payments systems replaced by Bitcoin, as this would result in vastly reduced energy use, as well as a consequentially far lower 'carbon footprint'.

And what about methane, which is widely considered orders of magnitude worse for atmospheric warming than carbon dioxide? Bitcoin is already eliminating methane emitted by natural gas flaring, landfill sites and animal farms. At scale, this could contribute significantly to achieving emission reduction targets.

Agile and mobile, Bitcoin miners are also happy to be intermittent power consumers, helping to balance grids by using off-peak excess generation, improving overall system efficiency and thereby reducing consumption and emissions.

None of this is because Bitcoin desires to be ‘green’. It’s just that Bitcoin miners' incentives – to use the cheapest electricity they can find – aligns with using otherwise wasted energy which doesn’t have rival consumers. Because renewable electricity generation is inefficient and wasteful, and many energy sources are not exploitable by grids, Bitcoin gravitates towards their cheap, otherwise stranded power.

Bitcoin is ‘green’.