Many climate activists want Bitcoin to follow Ethereum’s lead and switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.
In a Thursday notice following the Merge, the U.S.-based Environmental Working Group, or EWG, announced a $1-million campaign to urge Bitcoin (BTC) to go green instead of using PoW. Greenpeace has petitioned Fidelity Investments to switch to PoS.
Michael Brune, EWG campaign director, said other cryptocurrencies have used efficient consensus mechanisms for years. Bitcoin defies climate responsibility, becoming an outlier.
EWG VP of government affairs Scott Faber said that Merge was “good for the climate” because it reduced Ethereum’s energy needs. He cited a September report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that concluded cryptocurrencies, specifically PoW staking, contributed to energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, using more power in the U.S. than home computers.
Faber: “The Merge proves code can be changed.” The Merge illustrates that proof-of-work digital assets may switch to proof-of-stake and utilize less power. We hope Bitcoin follows Ethereum.”
Faber said authorities “shouldn’t stand by and hope for the best” but should act “soon” given the climate catastrophe.
agnostic We’re pro-crypto. We’re not against digital assets, but we’re worried about the increased power demand linked with proof-of-work assets and the resulting climate pollution.
Some industry heavyweights oppose switching the Bitcoin blockchain to PoS, citing security, decentralization, and U.S. regulators. In a blog post on Wednesday, MicroStrategy co-founder Michael Saylor said PoW was the “sole proven approach for building a digital commodity” like Bitcoin and that Bitcoin’s worldwide energy use was a “rounding mistake” that was “neither the issue nor the solution” to the climate crisis.
“Regulators and legal experts have recognized that Proof-of-Stake networks are likely securities, not commodities,” stated Saylor. PoS Crypto Securities may be useful for certain purposes, but not as global, open, fair money or a worldwide open settlement network. Proof of Stake network isn’t comparable to Bitcoin.
“Critics of Bitcoin’s energy consumption assess it by its ‘ingredients,’ not its value proposition […] A new innovation should address a social issue. PoW provides sound money supported by real-world energy. PoS can’t do it.”
Environmental organizations want the US to regulate crypto miners
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested in August that mining businesses disclose information on their energy use, energy sources, and renewable energy percentage. New York has proposed a two-year moratorium on PoW mining and would not renew existing companies’ licenses unless they use 100% renewable energy.