Max E.Tue, Mar 29, 2022 8:00 PM
Greenpeace & Ripple Co-founder Intend to Change BTC Code
Chris Larsen, co-founder of the Californian crypto startup Ripple, and Greenpeace, an international independent environmental NGO, as well as a number of human rights organizations, have launched an initiative designed to reduce the negative impact of Bitcoin (BTC) mining on the environment.
The name of the "Change the Code, Not the Climate" campaign is a reference to the damage that the mechanism of mining and processing transactions programmed into the BTC code causes.
BTC works on the Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm, which involves connecting computing equipment (for example, computers and ASICs) to the cryptocurrency network to extract new coins (mining) and process user transactions.
Mining on PoW is extremely energy intensive. The PoW scheme implies competition among market participants. The more computing power a miner has, the more he can earn. The equipment that users connect to the BTC network consumes a lot of electricity and generates a large amount of heat, which negatively affects the environment.
Bitcoin can adjust to market conditions. For example, as the computing power connected to its network grows, in order to balance the release rate of coins, the BTC system can automatically adjust the mining difficulty. The higher the indicator, the more high-powered machines are needed to mine cryptocurrency, which means that Bitcoin is more harmful to the environment.
Still, the harm to nature from Bitcoin mining is incomparable. It is clear when we compare the size of the carbon footprint to other industries. By the level of harm to the environment, Bitcoin is bypassed by gold mining and even the clothes dryers industry. Crypto community members rightly draw attention to the fact that regulators, for unknown reasons, prefer to ignore other, more environmentally harmful industries.
Comparison of the carbon footprint of mining and other businesses. Source: Messari
The authors of the “Change the Code, Not the Climate” initiative believe that the problem of Bitcoin’s negative impact on the environment can be solved by making adjustments to the cryptocurrency code. The representatives of the project are inspired by the plans of Ethereum developers to transfer ETH to a less energy-intensive mining algorithm – Proof-of-Stake. Bitcoin can be upgraded in a similar way.
As part of the campaign, its organizers, among other things, plan to start a “struggle” against BTC miners. To this end, they intend to highlight the issue. The authors of "Change the Code, Not the Climate" are going to heavily advertise their initiative in various publications. Chris Larsen told Bloomberg that he had allocated $5 million to fund the campaign. According to him, the problem of Bitcoin's transition to a more environmentally friendly mining algorithm can be solved through a soft or hard fork.
Not all crypto community members support the “Change the Code, Not the Climate” initiative. For instance, Chris Bendiksen, a BTC researcher at CoinShares, believes that the chance of Bitcoin switching to PoS is close to zero. The expert explains that BTC users are not interested in changes that could negatively affect the network’s security level.