Why Greenpeace’s New Bitcoin Report Is Flawed

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Greenpeace’s Latest Bitcoin Report Is Under Fire
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Environmental lobby group Greenpeace releases a questionable report using lobbyists’ past affiliations and old data to discredit Bitcoin’s energy impact. A crypto environmental specialist has debunked many of the findings.

The organization’s latest report asserts that current Bitcoin mining lobbyists are from think tanks and anti-environment advocacy groups.

Greenpeace Exposes Alleged Political Ties 

Greenpeace asserts that the advocacy group, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, which counts Bitcoin miners Marathon Digital and Core Scientific among its members, authored a Congressional resolution to support Bitcoin mining. The Blockchain Association, which represents the likes of Coinbase, reportedly lobbied against a bill requiring the reporting of Bitcoin’s greenhouse gas emissions and electricity usage.

As a result, Greenpeace links these advocacy groups with political power. The organization asserts that Perianne Boring, the CEO of the Chamber, previously worked as an intern at the White House and that the organization’s Former White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, sits on the organization’s board. Fellow board member J. Christopher Giancarlo formerly worked at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which oversees the Bitcoin futures market.

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The research alleges that Blockchain Association CEO Kristin Smith and the Digital Chamber of Commerce have spent heavily on political lobbying. Smith reportedly contributed $50,000 to the campaign of pro-crypto Republican Tom Emmer. Meanwhile, the Digital Chamber allegedly spent $230,000 of its $3.4 million revenue on crypto regulation lobbying in 2023. 

Read more: How Much Electricity Does Bitcoin Mining Use?

Historical Bitcoin Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Source: University of Cambridge

Smith’s profile on Open Secrets, a political lobbying transparency platform, showed her advocacy work for one client, Metlife, in 2008, while the Digital Chamber spent $380,000 in 2023. It is important to note that organizations cannot directly contribute funds to political campaigns, but their constituents can.

A Report Rife With Errors, Expert Says

A report by auditing firm KPMG contests Greenpeace’s stance on Bitcoin’s climate effect. Rather like electric vehicles, Bitcoin’s emissions come through flared methane gas or the refiring of dormant generation facilities. The Greenidge Generation Holdings mining plant in New York is an example of this. 

Moreover, the Greenpeace report offers figures that do not directly address claims of renewable usage with scientific proof. It cites the Biden administration’s statistics on the energy usage of Bitcoin miners to disclaim similar findings by cryptocurrency mining companies.

Crypto Environmental and Sustainability Goals forecaster Daniel Batten discusses the paper’s inconsistencies. For example, assertions about the energy mix used by Bitcoin use old data that does not reflect current consumption patterns. Another statement about Bitcoin’s straining of the electrical grid combines three inaccuracies.

“One of the features of GreenpeaceUSA reports is that they are very easy to debunk. You rarely make it past the first paragraph without reading a large swathe of misinformation… Bitcoin mining far from straining electrical grids have been shown in peer reviewed research to help grid operators balance grids, prevent blackouts and obviate the need for gas leaker plants,” Batten said.

Read more: The 7 Best Cryptocurrency Mining Hardware for 2024

The timing of the report also raises questions as it may have arrived on time to discourage investment for environmental reasons after the price of Bitcoin dropped 18% in the past week, going from $74,000 to $60,800.

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