With the “Change the Code, not the Climate” campaign, the environmental organization Greenpeace USA has launched a petition for Bitcoin to change its consensus mechanism from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS). The petition aims to reach stakeholders in the financial and crypto ecosystem to support proof-of-stake. Finally, according to Greenpeace, energy-intensive Bitcoin Mining (PoW) is partly responsible for climate change. In view of global warming, it would no longer be justified to continue mining operations of BTC.
Especially since, according to Greenpeace, it is only a piece of code that could be modified if the 30 most important players in mining, exchanges and Bitcoin Core Development decide to do so. It is better to leave aside the fact that it would not be so easy in practice. Ultimately, full nodes should also be ready to use the new protocol. And there are not 30, but rather 15,000 spread around the world.
Greenpeace and newsletter marketing
Greenpeace’s motto “Changing the code, not the climate” is above all an ingenious marketing tool. Naturally, the view falls on the field in which you must enter your e-mail to support the petition. Below, however, it also says in fine print that you will continue to receive emails from Greenpeace USA and the Environmental Working Group.
It seems that classic newsletter marketing has been adopted to generate new paying supporters of Greenpeace using a popular and polarizing topic. While there’s nothing wrong with newsletter marketing, it should be a reminder that Greenpeace also draws attention to the most lucrative issues in keeping the expensive NGO apparatus alive.
Ripple founder pays $5 million
But even if not as many new members join Greenpeace as hoped, the petition has already borne fruit. Ripple founder Chris Larsen has already paid five million US dollars for the campaign, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Easy money for Greenpeace USA.
Greenpeace USA seems to prefer to ignore the fact that Ripple founder Larsen logically has a conflict of interest and goes out of his way to fire against Bitcoin. Who knows, maybe Larsen had also provided the correct content or argument guidelines for the petition. Either way, an aftertaste remains.
Four “Facts” Why PoW Is Nonsense in Bitcoin
To attract petition supporters, Greenpeace lists four facts about Bitcoin. These should prove how harmful cryptocurrency is under the current consensus mechanism.
1. Bitcoin consumes as much electricity as Sweden
If the first argument starts with a comparison of Bitcoin’s electricity consumption compared to individual nations, that’s already a relatively sure sign that you don’t have any real arguments. Watching Netflix, standby electronics, Christmas lights: they all use a lot of electricity, and most more than Bitcoin. The only point of this comparison is to say: Bitcoin is not worth using electricity.
2. BTC alone could heat our planet by more than 2 degrees
Quite simply: no. The Nature Climate Change study referred to dates from 2018 and has long since been repeatedly refuted due to lack of plausibility and errors. Measured against global CO₂ emissions, Bitcoin currently only contributes 0.08%.
3. Bitcoin consumes fossil fuels
There is no nation or industry in the world with a better record than Bitcoin when it comes to renewable energy. Bitcoin can even help reduce CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels, for example by having mining plants use excess gas in fracking so it doesn’t have to be burned. Especially since many bitcoin mining companies are developing new renewable energy sources that everyone benefits from. Bitcoin mining systems can also make an important contribution to controlling energy networks to reduce spikes in the system. The fact that there are a few black sheep among Bitcoin miners who rely on coal power is a problem. However, their share is expected to decline further. After all, investors are now forced to pay more and more attention to ESG criteria.
4. Code Change Would Reduce Bitcoin’s Power Consumption by 99.9%
The statement suggests that the high power consumption is a mistake or unintentional. But exactly the opposite is happening, Bitcoin is so decentralized and secure because it consumes a lot of electricity. Unlike smart contract protocols, where proof of stake makes sense in most cases, this is not the case with Bitcoin. Bitcoin doesn’t need to scale or be particularly adaptable. A move to proof-of-stake would significantly weaken Bitcoin’s twin pillars of decentralization and security, thereby undermining Bitcoin’s value proposition.
Greenpeace reveals weakness in the crypto industry
The arguments presented on the petition’s homepage are not intended to provide information, but to arouse the astonishment of potential new members. With a few simple sentences and the targeted omission of classifications, you’re trying to launch a very straightforward and aggressive campaign that appeals to financier, ergo Ripple CEO Larsen.
Such anti-Bitcoin campaigns reveal a weak point of the decentralized economy: there is no powerful Bitcoin lobby. Instead of investing as is often the case in other industries, big crypto service providers such as Crypto.com, Coinbase, FTX, etc. prefer to invest hundreds of millions in sponsorship of sporting events instead of creating a competent public affairs department. The current wave of regulations should be a wake-up call not to ignore political communication. One less Super Bowl salesperson in the US and a large team of professional lobbyists would have been funded long ago.
Anyone who wants to know more about the political work of Bitcoin opponents gets exciting background information in our current BTC-ECHO magazine.
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