There has been a lot of talk lately about how Bitcoin mining’s extremely high energy consumption is not environmentally friendly and unsustainable. However, energy consumption should not be the only basis for sustainability. And this controversial issue is what a panel composed of experts delve into as they discuss how to achieve a green Bitcoin at the eighth CoinGeek Conference in New York.
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The panel is composed of TAAL Distributed Information Technologies COO Lars Jorgensen, Compute North Co-Founder and CEO Dave Perrill, Gray Wolf Analytics Inc. President and Chair Dr. Dhirendra Shukla, MNP Partner Hassan Quresh, nChain CTO and BSV Infrastructure Team Technical Director Steve Shadders, and known environmentalist, actor and Chief Experience Officer of impact firm DuContra Ventures Adrian Grenier.
Bitcoin being unsustainable stems from its use of Proof-of-Work that essentially means miners would need to expend a massive amount of computational power in order to solve a complex mathematical problem that would win them the right to add a block to the blockchain.
“Proof-of-Work is actually a kind of essential feature of a Bitcoin blockchain because it underlines the economic incentive model that actually makes Bitcoin work and makes Bitcoin scale… it keeps the industry competitive, and that’s essentially what drives Bitcoin to be able to eventually become a global infrastructure provider,” Shadders said.
While many just dismiss Bitcoin as bad for the environment due to its high energy usage, it must be noted that this should not be the only measure for sustainability. The energy consumption must be correlated to its utility, what it actually is for.
“The bulk of the folks that come and make the energy argument, they simply don’t understand. They don’t understand the technology, where it’s going to go, the other benefits it provides at a larger scale. And I have the same issue with Facebook. It uses up a lot of energy, and I think it’s a complete waste of time. Look at the Wall Street Journal investigation in the last two weeks and the damage it causes,” Perrill pointed out.
“There are actually huge benefits to using Bitcoin, and that’s what justifies the energy cost. No one argues that we shouldn’t burn energy to run a hospital because it’s obvious what the benefit of that is and it’s obvious what would happen if you try to run a hospital without energy input. Bitcoin provides utility in ways that we haven’t even imagined just yet,” Shadders added.
The key to a green Bitcoin is its ability to scale in order to accommodate the world’s various needs for data storage and management. Scaling enables a blockchain to have bigger data blocks, higher throughput and lower transaction fees that would allow it to become a practical solution for global businesses.
“I think it’s really going to transform media. In my business, like filmmaking [and] communications, it’s going to empower artists to have exchange directly with consumers, get commercialization out of that relationship unless chosen. Even just the social media networks. Like what’s happening with Facebook, they’re literally selling our data for profit, and we don’t see any of that money. I like to see social media networks that allow both users and content creators have a more autonomous exchange of value,” Grenier stated.
Bitcoin, in the form of its scalable implementation, BSV, has the potential to become globally relevant across all kinds of industries. In fact, Twitch, which is a social media platform that allows for users to own and monetize their data built on the BSV blockchain, is already up and running. And it is in this utility that benefits the world’s societies where Bitcoin’s sustainability can be found.