Opinion: Criticism of bitcoin’s carbon footprint is overblown — it’s greener than many think – Marketwatch
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MarketWatch: A claim that bitcoin is an energy hog has been around for a while. How much merit is there to such a claim?
Benfield: That is a question with a multi-faceted answer. Yes, bitcoin does consume a lot of energy, but that does not necessarily translate into carbon emissions. Much of bitcoin mining uses renewable energy; depending on the source, that number ranges between 39%-73%, which is far higher than the percentage of renewable energy in the U.S. power grid. So even going by the low estimates, bitcoin is far more energy-conscious than the average industry. Additionally, a considerable amount of bitcoin mining actually uses excess energy that would otherwise be wasted in areas where it can’t be exported to a nearby city infrastructure. For example, bitcoin miners in rural China use hydro-electric energy that would otherwise be wasted due to low local energy demand and the inability to transport that excess energy to an urban power grid.
MarketWatch: Some analysts say bitcoin is actually “greener” than many people think. What do they mean by that?
Benfield: Nic Carter has done some amazing research into this topic and is constantly trying to prove this point on television. (Carter is a general partner at Castle Island Ventures, a Cambridge, Mass.-based venture firm.) However, many critics don’t care to listen. Cathie Wood recently took to Bloomberg to talk about potential ways of incorporating bitcoin mining into renewable energy providers’ power grids to capitalize on the intermittent periods when their excess energy is currently wasted. (Wood is CEO of active-ETF manager ARK Invest.) So perhaps bitcoin can actually help take advantage of much more wasted energy than was previously thought.
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