The Bitcoin mining industry has long been a target for environmental groups, many of whom accuse the industry of being electricity heavy and leaving a significant carbon footprint on the planet. While some have accused the mining industry of shoehorning half of the global industry output by 2020, others have suggested that such mining activities will lead to the planet missing its global warming targets while growing 2 degree Celsius warmer in two decades. However, according to a paper written on Medium by Robert Sharatt, a former investment banker, all of these claims are incorrect and misleading.
An environmentalist with experience in the banking and power industry, Sharatt declares that most of the data underlying such claims made by environmental groups are faulty. Citing the claims mentioned above, both of which have been repeated by noted publications such as The Guardian and The Independent, Sharatt says all the data behind such reports emerge from one source, a blog titled ‘Digiconomist,’ a source he says is ‘unscientific’ and ‘unethical.’
For starters, Sharatt targets the claim that the Bitcoin mining industry is terribly energy-intensive and increases the planet’s carbon imprint. This, Sharatt points out, is false as such as contention is not backed by any real data except Digiconomist’s own assumptions.
He also further states that the methodology used by Digiconomist is fundamentally flawed as it backs Bitcoin’s power consumption by estimating miners’ revenues and expenses.
Sharatt also goes on to say that Digiconomist’s claim that most of the cryptocurrency mining industry in China is coal-based is also without any scientific or empirical basis. Sharatt points out that a huge majority of the mining industry in China is located in the province of Sichuan, a province where a majority of the electricity output is a product of hydro power. Much of the mining industry in the area thus, has been running on hydro power, as well as other forms of renewable energy. In fact, Sharatt’s assertion is backed by a Coinshares report that states that over 77% of the global bitcoin mining industry runs on renewable energy, and not coal power plants as many reports claim.
Sharatt finally, also accuses Digiconomist of misleading the general audience by suggesting that all its data is backed by reputable sources. For instance, Sharatt mention some of Digiconomist’s articles being backed by an International Energy Agency report on Bitcoin mining, a report that doesn’t even exist.
Whatever the truth behind the assertions and the counter-assertions, this is a subject matter that needs to be more deeply delved into by experts.