Greenpeace, the global NGO renowned for peaceful protests and movements to protect our planet, has announced it will no longer be accepting bitcoin for donations amid growing concerns about the ecological impact of Bitcoin. 

After being one of the first NGOs to accept bitcoin as a payment method for donations back in 2014, the decision comes after more and more environmental activists raise their voices about the high carbon emission rates of running the BTC network. 

Environment Activists’ U-Turn on Bitcoin 

Most notable being Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and well-known advocate of cleaner energy solutions. After driving up the market in February 2021, when he tweeted Tesla had purchased BTC to the tune of $1.5 billion and was planning to accept payments in BTC, last week, he retracted this decision and - like Greenpeace - made it clear it was for ecological reasons.

 

Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint Comes Under Scrutiny 

This isn’t the first time the ecological impact of running the Bitcoin network has been called into question. And with younger generations more actively adopting lifestyles that are kinder on the planet’s scarce resources, it’s not a topic to be taken lightly. 


While it’s not possible to provide exact values, several individuals and organisations have attempted to give a clear view of the carbon footprint for Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, for example, indicates that the estimated annual terawatt hour (TWh) for the BTC network is now at 122.59 TWh, or akin to the annual energy usage of Pakistan, and at 58.23 Mt (that’s megatons) CO2, the carbon footprint comparable to that of the whole of Libya.  

bitcoin-energy-consumption

carbon footprint of bitcoin

The Cambridge Bitcoin Consumption Index, as created by the University of Cambridge, offers us a different perspective: 

The amount of electricity consumed by the Bitcoin network in one year can power all tea kettles used to boil water in the United Kingdom for 25 years!

An Eco-Friendly Bitcoin? 

But here’s what’s not so well known! 

There’s a different version of Bitcoin that uses a fraction of this energy. And not only that, it’s designed to become more energy-efficient the more transactions it processes. It also happens to follow the design and protocol as outlined in the 2008 Bitcoin whitepaper, unlike the BTC we know today. This is Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), and, in our opinion, the true, original Bitcoin. 

If we look at data supplied by Coin Carbon Cap, a telling story becomes clear. 

carbon footprint of different bitcoin versions

Data correct as of 1 PM BST on 28 May 2021.  

Ignoring the other coins for a moment and looking at a direct BTC vs Bitcoin SV comparison, we can deduce that over 24 hours, BTC uses 102,526 MWh of energy, where BSV uses just 545 MWh in the same time, despite being able to process more transactions! Carbon emissions are also starkly different, with the BSV emission rate for a single transaction being a whopping 99.6% less than that of BTC. 

While this is most certainly a topic we’re keen to dive into deeper in coming weeks, for now, the initial evidence points to a far more ecologically, environmentally and energy-efficient alternative already available, and with scope to bring the promise of Bitcoin to life, without a negative impact on our precious planet. 

So what say you, Greenpeace, Elon - interested in exploring options with us and revisit your stance on Bitcoin? 

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