Greenpeace, an international non-governmental environmental organization, decided to stop accepting donations in bitcoins due to the fact that the energy-intensive mining process threatens the environment.
Greenpeace called the accepting of Bitcoin donations unacceptable in light of the energy intensity of the cryptocurrency network. Elon Musk’s words about the dangers of mining for the environment pushed other eco-activist organizations and groups to take a more assertive position on cryptocurrencies, which work on the Proof-of-Stake consensus. Greenpeace, which started accepting Bitcoin donations back in 2014, now plans to suspend this payment method. As representatives of Greenpeace told the Financial Times, “as the amount of energy needed to run bitcoin became clearer, this policy became no longer tenable.”
Musk said that Tesla will not accept BTC as payment for its electric vehicles due to the high energy consumption of BTC mining.
Musk’s statement triggered not only a severe drop in the bitcoin rate, which fell to a multi-month low, but also intensified conversations about the climatic risks of mining in the scientific community.
“Bitcoin alone consumes as much electricity as a medium-sized European country,” says Professor Brian Lucey at Trinity College Dublin. “This is a stunning amount of electricity. It’s a dirty business. It’s a dirty currency.”
The European Central Bank on Wednesday mentioned the “exorbitant carbon footprint” that cryptoassets leave and called it “grounds for concern.” In a document released earlier this month, Italy’s central bank said that in 2019, the eurozone’s Tips (Target Instant Payment Settlement) payment system demonstrated 40,000 times less carbon emissions than the bitcoin network.
According to the calculations of researchers at the University of Cambridge, the energy consumption of the Bitcoin network is 133.68 terawatt hours of electricity per year. This is slightly more than Sweden’s energy consumption (131.8 TWh in 2020) and slightly less than Malaysia’s (147.21 TWh per year). Over the past five years, the energy consumption of the bitcoin network has been steadily increasing.