This controversial topic is a frequent one in the blockchain community. It concerns the impact Bitcoin (BTC), mining has on the environment. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, posted last year that his nameake car company would cease accepting Bitcoin. He cited the “rapidly increasing usage of fossil fuels to Bitcoin mining and transactions.” CoinShares recently published a report that found that the Bitcoin mining network is responsible for less than 0.8% of global CO2 production, despite its widespread use of oil, coal, and gas.
Kristian Csepcsar is the chief marketing officer of Slush Pool. He spoke exclusively to Cointelegraph about current misconceptions about Bitcoin mining’s impact on the environment. Csepcsar answered a question about the disadvantages of electricity from the oil and gas mine Bitcoin.
Because it isn’t economically feasible to use the gas, we’re burning it into the atmosphere. Instead, we can use it to make electricity or to mine Bitcoin.
Flaring refers to the burning of excess natural gas in oil extraction because there is not enough infrastructure to transport it to market. Bitcoin miners in Canada and the U.S. have discovered clever ways to channel the natural gas into electricity instead of burning it into the atmosphere. This solves a major environmental problem.
Csepcsar is still skeptical about certain sources of Bitcoin mining and calls them “marketing noise.” Particularly, solar energy. Cointelegraph says:
We published research on our blog that showed that we aren’t big advocates of solar mining. When you look at the profitability, it is not that great; it’s a tough business.
Cespcsar explains that around 70% of solar panels are made in China, and that little research has been done on their environmental impacts during manufacturing.
They can produce a lot of toxic chemicals. Nobody talks about this. People think that solar panels are made from trees and the sun shines onto them. They are actually quite difficult to create.
Slush Pool doesn’t have metrics about the energy source used by its Bitcoin miners. Cespcsar was surprised to be asked the reason for this. (But perhaps it is true to the philosophy decentralization/privacy).
That would be a mistake if we were to view them as pool operators. To have these numbers, we would need KYC our miners and conduct audits of their operations. We could also filter transactions [for analytics]. This is not the ethos that we want to maintain.