Bitcoin: Good or Bad for the Environment?

Feb 13, 2022

The debate continues to rage on: is Bitcoin good or bad for the environment?

Some proponents claim that Bitcoin is detrimental since it consumes so much energy from fossil fuels to complete mining tasks. In fact, back in May of 2021, a tweet from Elon Musk sent the value of Bitcoin tumbling when Musk announced that Tesla would suspend receiving Bitcoin payments for cars until Bitcoin mining became more environmentally friendly. Musk was concerned at the extensive use of fossil fuels being used to provide the electricity needed for Bitcoin mining rigs. The market actually lost more than $365 billion in value at the time and struggled to recover for much of the summer. See here for CNBC story about Elon's tweet

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is another person who claims that Bitcoin is bad for the environment and several countries around the world have shut down Bitcoin mining operations or increased energy fees for Bitcoin miners.

And yet, there are some places in the world that are actually mining Bitcoin in a way that, not only is using energy sustainably, but is also solving problems related to energy use.

For instance, in Norway, one Bitcoin miner is using hydropower, a renewable energy resource, to run their operations. In addition, the excess heat from the mining rigs is being used to dry out chopped logs. They even have plans to begin operations to dry out seaweed starting in early 2022.

Read the Cointelegraph story about the Norwegian Bitcoin Miner

In another twist, Kristian Csepcsar, chief marketing officer at Slush Pool (one of the oldest Bitcoin mining pools) claims that Bitcoin can be used to solve the problem of natural gas flaring, which is when surplus natural gas is burned off during oil extraction due to the lack of pipelines to bring the natural gas to market. Since this gas would be wasted anyways, using the natural gas to generate electricity to run Bitcoin mining rigs is a much better environmental solution for both industries.

Read the Cointelegraph story about natural gas flaring and Bitcoin

So what do you think? Is Bitcoin good or bad for the environment?