The Ethereum blockchain’s transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake has reduced its power consumption by more than 99% – and many climate activists have called on Bitcoin to follow suit.
In a notice released Thursday after the merger, the US-based environmental working group, or EWG, said it would launch a million-dollar campaign to urge Bitcoin (BTC) to go green rather than to use an “obsolete protocol” like PoW. The announcement came as environmental activity group Greenpeace launched a petition directly to Fidelity Investments to ease the transition to PoS.
“Other cryptocurrency protocols have operated on effective consensus mechanisms for years,” said Michael Brune, EWG campaign manager. “Bitcoin has become the outlier, defiantly refusing to accept its climate responsibility.”
Bitcoin Climate Groups: Cut Pollution, and BS https://t.co/qExsfJfDLd
—EWG (@ewg) September 15, 2022
Speaking to Cointelegraph, EWG Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Scott Faber suggested that the Merge event was generally “good for the climate” by reducing the energy requirements of the Ethereum blockchain. He cited a September report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that concluded that cryptocurrencies — specifically noting PoW staking — contribute significantly to energy consumption and gas emissions at greenhouse effect, using more energy in the United States than that of personal computers.
“The merger proves that changing the code is possible,” Faber said. “The merger proves that digital assets that rely on proof-of-work can turn into proof-of-stake and use significantly less electricity […] We hope the Bitcoin community will follow Ethereum’s lead.
Faber added that he would support any efforts by the White House to establish energy standards affecting crypto miners, saying regulators “shouldn’t sit idly by and hope for the best,” but must act “quickly.” given the climate crisis:
“We are agnostic. We support cryptocurrency. We are not opposed to digital assets, but we are concerned about the growing electricity consumption associated with assets that rely on proof of work, and the climate pollution that inevitably results from ever-increasing electricity use. .
Some industry leaders have opposed moving the Bitcoin blockchain to PoS, citing reasons such as security, the impact on network decentralization, and how coins would be treated by US regulators. In a blog post on Wednesday, MicroStrategy co-founder Michael Saylor asserted that PoW was the “only proven technique for creating a digital commodity” like Bitcoin and suggested that the total global energy consumption of the crypto- currency was a “rounding error” that was “neither the problem nor the solution” to solving the climate crisis.
“Regulators and legal experts have repeatedly noted that proof-of-stake networks are likely securities, not commodities, and we can expect them to be treated as such over time,” said said Saylor. “PoS Crypto Securities may be suitable for some applications, but they are not suitable for serving as a global, open, fair currency or global open settlement network. Therefore, it makes no sense to compare Proof of Stake networks to Bitcoin.
CEO of Bitcoin mining platform Sazmining, William Szamosszegi, told Cointelegraph in May:
“The fundamental error which […] critics of bitcoin’s power consumption claim that they judge bitcoin by its “ingredients” rather than its value proposition. […] We must judge a new invention by the extent to which it solves a societal problem. PoW enables sound currency and decentralized currency backed by real-world energy. PoS cannot achieve this goal. »
Related: Environmental Groups Urge US Government To Take Action Against Crypto Miners
Many U.S. lawmakers have targeted top Bitcoin miners, with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in August demanding that mining companies provide information, including on the energy consumption of their facilities, energy sources and the percentage from renewable energies. At the state level, New York has proposed imposing a two-year moratorium on PoW mining, legislation that would also prohibit license renewals for existing companies unless they are operating at 100% efficiency. renewable energy.