Bitcoin Mining Supports Renewable Energy: Expert Explains Why Governments Need to Tax Carbon Emissions

September 22, 2021, 9:45 AM AEST - 3 weeks ago

In a recent video, Bitcoin advocate, tech entrepreneur and author Andreas M. Antonopoulos explains the correlation between bitcoin mining’s energy consumption and environmental regulation, and why “bitcoin isn’t the villain”.

Entitled The Real Truth About Bitcoin’s Energy Usage, the video prosecutes a case for why governments need to tax carbon emissions to subsidise energy production and thus enable bitcoin mining.

Andreas M. Antonopoulos. Source: peakd.com

“What both critics and supporters of bitcoin mining try to ignore is the fact that miners are anonymous,” Antonopoulos says in the video. “We don’t know exactly where the miners are, and what electricity they use.”

Antonopoulos states the obvious when he says mining can take place anywhere there is electricity, though the primary driver is how much that electricity costs. If it’s cheap, then miners will be attracted to it.

Waste Energy is the Cheapest Form of Electricity

“The cheapest form of electricity is waste energy, whether it be from the flaring of gas, hydro-electric, solar or wind, and it can be provided at very low cost,” Antonopoulos says. He might have added to that list geothermal energy from volcanoes and the like, which countries from Iceland to El Salvador (volcano mining) are already harnessing.

“If you have a government that is unconcerned about climate change and carbon output, and they don’t either regulate production to prevent pollution or tax the production of carbon, then bitcoin miners will locate there to consume that energy too,” Antonopoulos says.

“But if you tax carbon emissions, then a polluting energy source is no longer profitable to miners. The electricity cost is too high, forcing miners to migrate to places where there is renewable energy.

“It’s really not about demand. It’s about the quality of energy production. If governments regulate and tax carbon, then bitcoin demand actually supports and incentivises, and in a way subsidises, the installation of renewable energy.”

Bitcoin is neither good nor bad. It’s simply a demand for energy, and if it’s matched with politics that are environmentally friendly, then bitcoin mining is essentially green. Governments should be focused on having the political will to reduce pollution and damage to the environment. Bitcoin isn’t the villain here.

Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Bitcoin advocate, tech entrepreneur and author

In July, more than 25 bitcoin mining companies joined forces with the greening of bitcoin their common aim. This took place under the auspices of the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC), founded by MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor and backed by the likes of Galaxy Digital and Hive Blockchain.

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