• DAS panelists agreed that miners are going to be at the forefront of innovation when it comes to sustainability.
  • The industry must continue to innovate to insure that all miners are motivated to move to sustainable energy going forward

Digital Asset Summit 2021, New York City — The sustainability of bitcoin mining has come under harsh criticism recently, but experts insist that the industry is on the right track toward sustainability. 

“Miners are always going to go toward the lowest-cost energy, and that, long-term, is going to be sustainable,” Amanda Fabiano, head of mining at Galaxy Digital said during the mining panel at the Digital Asset Summit in New York City Wednesday. 

A major misconception about the space, Fabinao said, is that mining energy is never renewable. She referenced a recent survey from the Bitcoin Mining Council, a joint group of leaders and miners committed to advancing the industry. 

The survey, released in August claimed that miners are currently utilizing electricity with a 67% sustainable power mix. The study has since been criticized for lack of transparency with regards to methods used and parties surveyed. 

Other panelists largely agreed with Fabiano that there is a broader lack of understanding about where mining energy is sourced. 

“I think it’s important to look at some comparables,” said Mason Jappa, CEO and founder of Blockware Solutions. “I assume that bitcoin mining is between 40% and 70% sustainable energy, and if you look at comparables of the US energy grid, the US energy grid is about 12% to 18% sustainable energy.” 

The expectation that miners should reveal energy consumption and sourcing information is also flawed, Jappa said, although he agrees that further transparency would be helpful. 

“I don’t think we have to share our energy consumption and sustainability, but I do believe in that, and I think we are headed in that direction,” said Jappa. 

Miners, the panelists agreed, are going to be at the forefront of innovation when it comes to sustainability.

“I think miners are some of the most creative people in energy,” said Juri Bulovic, vice president of strategy at Foundry. “We’re creating new technologies and influxing billions of dollars in ecosystems and areas within our economy that were desolate.” 

Bitcoin mining operations often use energy that would have otherwise been wasted, Bulovic said. Other groups are converting landfills into energy as a way to fuel mines while eliminating waste, he said. 

“Bitcoin, at its finest, is monetizing energy,” Bulovic said. “For miners, 90% of your mining costs are associated with energy.” 

Mining operations with more cash to devote to sustainable practices, or those with investors that are interested in being sustainable are more likely to devote capital to these efforts. The industry must continue to innovate to insure that all miners are motivated to move to sustainable energy going forward, Bulovic said.


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    Casey Wagner is a New York-based business journalist covering digital assets and macro economics. Prior to joining Blockworks, she reported on markets at Bloomberg News. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Media Studies.