Blockworks has curated a collection of the latest articles and research on bitcoin and the environment. Read on and scroll to the bottom for a complete list of our Investor’s Guides.

Solar + Battery + Bitcoin Mining

Brett Winton, Director of Research, ARK Investment Management, April 22, 2021

Bitcoin critics often assert that bitcoin mining consumes more resources, specifically energy, than the benefits it creates. What critics deem computationally inefficient and unscalable, however, advocates consider not only an intended tradeoff but a fundamental feature.
Critics also assert that the computation required to secure Bitcoin, even if necessary, is environmentally damaging and ruining the planet.

We believe that the opposite is true: a world with bitcoin is a world that, at equilibrium, generates more electricity from renewable carbon-free sources. …

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Bitcoin is Key to an Abundant, Clean Energy Future

Square, April 21, 2021

In this memo, we aim to explain how the Bitcoin network functions as a unique energy buyer that could enable society to deploy substantially more solar and wind generation capacity. This deployment, along with energy storage, aims to facilitate the transition to a cleaner and more resilient electricity grid. We believe that the energy asset owners of today can become the essential bitcoin miners of tomorrow.

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Bitcoin Energy Consumption & Climate Change: Does Bitcoin Use Too Much Energy?

Andreas Antonopolis, YouTube, @aantonop, April 21, 2021

Bitcoin and climate change. Many people say they’re concerned about climate change and the energy consumption of bitcoin mining. Watch this video to learn some counter arguments to the claims that bitcoin harms the environment. …

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A Closer Look at the Environmental Impact of Bitcoin Mining

Christopher Bendiksen, CoinShares, March 30, 2021

In what is by now the worst kept secret of the industry, Bitcoin mining actually offers an incredible opportunity to optimize renewable-heavy grids. Miners, being supremely mobile and flexible, can act as demand response systems. They can sit right near the renewable resource (even moving with the seasons) in question — avoiding the need to excessively beef up grids — and dynamically consume excess energy whenever more is being produced than the non-mining market needs (meaning prices are low). This allows for immediate monetization of energy that would otherwise be wasted, driving down overall electricity costs. In other words it can act as a monetary battery. …

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Noahbjectivity on Bitcoin Mining: A Response to Noah Smith

Nic Carter, March 29, 2021

The Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith has a lot of thoughts on Bitcoin. Some of them are really solid and engage with the reality of the protocol itself, which is rare for a member of the mainstream media circuit. He also discloses that he owns Bitcoin, which is impressive for an economist and a member of the establishment. So I’m pretty happy with him overall. I don’t want this piece to be interpreted as a blanket critique of Noah’s stance on Bitcoin. However, Noah’s recent column in Bloomberg, Bitcoin Miners are on a Path to Self-Destruction, makes a few claims that warrant a response. …

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Bitcoin Miners Are on a Path to Self-Destruction

Noah Smith, Bloomberg, March 24, 2021

Many of the complaints about Bitcoin over the years have been overhyped. But the cryptocurrency’s increasing use of real physical resources— energy and computer chips — can no longer be ignored. If Bitcoin wants to avoid government crackdowns, it needs to shift to technologies that don’t require constant massive resource consumption just to maintain the currency’s price. …

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Is Bitcoin Mining Bad for the Planet? The Truth is Really About Capitalism

Leigh Cuen, Inverse, March 13, 2021

The first bitcoin miner I ever met was a black man in the Bronx with a small rig in his living room. He told me cryptocurrency mining runs up his electricity bill, to be sure, but he saw this as the best way to save money and support his family. He wasn’t too worried about the environmental impact, but should he have been? Should mining corporations focus on pivoting to green energy, just like other industries? What about the massive electricity-sucking mining rigs currently fueling the NFT obsession?

One of the most misunderstood criticisms of bitcoin is the incorrect claim that cryptocurrency mining is so bad for the environment that owning bitcoin comes with unethical, “dirty baggage.” Despite difficulty increases as the $1.4 billion bitcoin mining industry spreads, most critiques of mining’s energy consumption are actually identifying the flaws in capitalism, not Bitcoin’s challenging design. …

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Bitcoin Can Help Save The Planet

Medio Demarco, Delphi Digital, March 5, 2021

Recently, I was talking with a friend who works in ESG investing. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, ESG stands for “environmental, social and governance”. As the name implies, the purpose of ESG is to evaluate investments by their environmental sustainability and societal impact. He had mentioned that institutional clients of his were becoming increasingly interested in Bitcoin as a potential investment, but they were concerned with the negative environmental impact from its high energy consumption.

This is certainly a valid point because, frankly, Bitcoin consumes a lot of energy. As an individual who believes in climate change and the need for society to take action, I can understand why people form a negative opinion towards Bitcoin when they see a headline that says ‘Bitcoin consumes more electricity than Argentina‘. This may be true at face value but the point it’s trying to convey is somewhat misleading. The situation is far more nuanced than the attention-grabbing headlines typically depict. In this post, I’ll articulate the argument for why Bitcoin can actually have a positive impact on the environment. … 

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Electricity needed to mine bitcoin is more than used by ‘entire countries’

Lauren Aratani, The Guardian, February, 27, 2021

It’s not just the value of bitcoin that has soared in the last year – so has the huge amount of energy it consumes.

The cryptocurrency’s value has dipped recently after passing a high of $50,000 but the energy used to create it has continued to soar during its epic rise, climbing to the equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of Argentina, according to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, a tool from researchers at Cambridge University that measures the currency’s energy use. …

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Three Myths About Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption

Domonik Stroukal, SatoshiLabs, Medium, October 27, 2020

You’ve heard it before, “Bitcoin burns as much energy as Switzerland, so much that it will accelerate global warming by a few degrees Celsius over the next few years”. Is that true? No, those are both myths. But, like any good myth, they are rooted in reality, and are then twisted into a fantastic tale, featuring giants and unicorns but no heroes; the end of the world will surely come soon. Doomsayers profit off spreading misinformation, so let’s take apart some of the myths related to Bitcoin and energy and take a look at what the reality is. …

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Get educated. Check out The Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin, The Investor’s Guide to NFTs and The Investor’s Guide to DeFi.

  • Managing Editor
    Liz has been a writer and editor for over 30 years covering a wide range of topics including robotics, technology, telecommunications, finance, business, politics and more. She began her career at Carnegie Mellon University where she wrote about the university's alumni, is published in McSweeney's Internet Tendencies, and has a BA and MA in creative writing. She lives in the Chicagoland area.