Too often we see Climate Change Activists dunking on Bitcoin or Bitcoiners. Whether it’s over mining energy use or about the climate science itself, it’s highly counter productive for both sides. This is because both sides are actually fighting for very similar goals. Instead of fighting, we want to make the case that Climate Change Activists should love Bitcoiners!
As they say, united we stand, divided we fall!
Plus to make things 100% fair, we also fully investigate the other side of the coin too in 5 Reasons Why Bitcoiners Should Love Climate Change Activists
Climate Change Activists Should Love Bitcoiners
First let’s look at what each side is (in general) fighting for. We want to be as open and clear with regards to what Climate Change Activists and Bitcoiners are wanting so there’s no misunderstandings.
What Climate Change Activist Want:
- Meaningful and immediate action to limit global temperature rise to <1.5 degrees
- An immediate stop to new fossil fuel exploration, projects and financing
- An immediate and orderly wind down of existing fossil fuel use
- An end to fossil fuel subsidies and financing by big banks
What Bitcoiners Want:
- The separation of money and state and the return to a hard currency such as Bitcoin
- An end to central banks interference in free markets and printing endless money
- An end to governments bailing out bankrupted industries and waging forever wars
- An end to the unfair privilege those that are closest to the money printers get
- An increase in financial privacy and custodial rights
Already you’ll likely notice a few similarities do to with bank banks, government spending and so on. Given these very obvious alignments, it’s always blown our minds that the two groups are constantly at each others throats!
For Climate Change Activists, the main pain point still seems to be Bitcoins energy use. And yes, Bitcoin absolutely uses power, no arguments from us. But. That power use needs context instead of mindless dismissal. Did you know that Netflix uses almost five times more power than Bitcoin according to the World Economic Forum? Netflix uses 370 TWh/year vs Bitcoins 75 TWh/year. Bitcoin also has one of the highest percentages of renewables energy use too at almost 60% in Q2 of 2022!
Furthermore understand that Bitcoin (unlike Netflix) solves a truly important problem in the world that no other technology (including PoS) solves. It’s likely most Climate Change Activists aren’t aware of this problem so we highly recommend reading our in depth piece on Bitcoins Proof of Work (especially the “why is proof of work important” section) for a better understanding of this.
We also believe that Climate Change Activists should view Bitcoin and its energy use like EVs and their energy use. Both are exceptionally new and amazing technologies that solve a critical problem. Both (currently) use lots of energy that emits pollution. But. No one’s suggesting we “ban EVs” because of their energy use.
This is because it’s a silly notion to point the finger at any specific technology that “uses energy” such as Bitcoin Mining or EVs. The solution isn’t to ban them, but instead ban and decommission the fossil fuel power plants that are really polluting our world.
These fossil fuels are the real problem and once they’re gone and replaced with renewable energy sources both EVs and Bitcoin Mining will be pollution free. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that most Bitcoiners would be super happy with this outcome too, once again showing that both sides do in fact fight for very similar goals.
The question of whether proof of work is wasteful or not can’t be asked without understanding the problem it solves. Understanding the problem properly will lead you to the conclusion that there is no other way to solve it in a trust-less manner.
Thus, the question becomes: how useful is trust-less digital sound money? Is it worth the energy expenditure? For Bitcoin, those who understand the societal benefits of sound and censorship-resistant money answer in the affirmative.Gigi – an absolute Jedi Master in the field of Bitcoin
To be fair those on the Bitcoin side aren’t angels either! Quite often on Twitter when big climate news hits we see otherwise fantastic Bitcoiners bashing and ridiculing Climate Change Activists with poorly formed arguments. But instead of fighting with each other, how can we instead help each other? By working together, Climate Change Activists will not only gain a helping hand in their fight, but access to a vast group of new Climate Change Activists that share in some of the fundamental things that make the movement great.
Beyond the fact that both sides share similar goals, there are many other ways Bitcoin already helps the climate and Climate Change Activists cause.
Bitcoin Fights Fossil Fuel Financing Banks
It’s no secret that Climate Change Activists aren’t fans of big banks. Below you can see one of the many huge protests targeting banks like JP Morgan Chase. They’ve financed the worlds dirtiest, most polluting mega corps for decades to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars (each), denied it and just generally been giant dicks. Well guess what? Bitcoiners hate big banks too! In fact, the entire reason Bitcoin was created was to fight the evil of big banks!
How does Bitcoin do this exactly? Well the specifics of it require its own, more in depth piece (see What Is A Bitcoin) but in simple terms, Bitcoin completely removes the need for banks. Bitcoin works completely independently of any other entity including banks. This means that by using and supporting Bitcoin, you’re actively fighting against the banks.
There’s no better way to stop something than by removing their funding and the more people that stop using banks for their savings, their loans, their everyday spending the less power they will have to continue their fossil fuel denying funding.
Bitcoin Can Stop Government Fossil Fuel Subsidies
While big banks are obviously contributing a lot to climate change, many governments are just as much to blame. This is often due to them being captured by the fossil fuel industry and co-opting public money for their own benefit.
What Climate Change Activists might not be aware of though is that it’s much easier to redirect and take control over money when there’s lots of it. The more money there is, especially if it’s printed for free, the less oversight and scrutiny there will be to where it gets spent. In contrast, if money is hard to earn and scarce, oversight and scrutiny is increased.
This is a logical fact that I’m sure most of you have experienced before. When money is tight and hard to come by, you don’t just go out every night and spend spend spend. Instead you have a budget, you make sure there’s no incorrect spending on bad things and you pay attention to where it’s going a lot more.
In a Bitcoin backed world, where a hard, unprintable money like Bitcoin backs the governments currency (or is used in place of it) they cannot just simply “print more money”. As a result, the government will have a much higher degree of scrutiny over it and where it spends the peoples money.
On a Bitcoin standard, the only way the government could raise funds is either through debt based bonds or raising taxes. There’d be no free lunch of just printing billions out of no where and then essentially giving that to fossil fuel companies. This is something the UK government has literally just done:
[The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will help] Britons pay their energy bills this winter is expected to cost the U.K. government around £25 billionFortune
Scarce money means more scrutiny and makes it much harder for governments to extract money from their citizens. More oversight and more frugality would no doubt mostly cut off the huge subsidies that governments all over the world give to fossil fuel companies helping the climate immeasurably.
Bitcoin Provides Censorship Resistant Money
For Climate Change Activists engaging in widespread and often controversial protests access to funding, both for everyday activities and for legal costs, is a critical tool in ensuring the protests remain effective. Bitcoin allows them to ensure this funding isn’t cut off by the state when the protesting gets too “annoying”. As a real world example of this, we only need to look to Canada where the entire banking system was “turned off” for those protesting against vaccines or Hong Kong where PayPal did the same thing for a pro-democracy group.
While we won’t get into whether the Canadian trucker protests were valid or not (we 100% love vaccines!), the point remains that protesting peacefully should not result in your bank accounts being frozen without any due process. It should be easy to see that perhaps one day the UK or other governments might freeze the banking accounts of activists protesting for Just Stop Oil or Extinction Rebellion, those that donate to them or even just someone who agrees with their cause on social media.
We have already seen examples of completely innocent people that are just casually passing by and verbally “supporting” the protests being detained and searched by law enforcement as shown above. It’s definitely not too much of a stretch to imagine them freezing all your finances too.
Climate Change Activists should be one of the top users of Bitcoin and its powerful censorship resistant capabilities. When used together with proper Bitcoin Privacy it’s like a tank that can resist even the strongest dictatorship governments. You want to “defend the #RightToProtest”? Then defend Bitcoin, don’t attack it because without a way to transact, all freedoms (including protesting) are completely cut off. You can’t protest if you can’t buy food, can’t catch a cab to the protest, can’t pay for the sign, can’t pay for bail or a lawyer.
Bitcoin Enables Unstoppable, Global, Fast Fundraising
Closely related to general access to money, being able to do fundraising is critical to most climate movements. The more funding they get, the more good work they can do and the more the climate change agenda can be pushed forward. Traditional fundraising is littered with problems though, especially for Climate Change Activists.
Chief amongst these problems are the fees everyone in the business tacks on. Fees for the fundraising platform. Fees for the bank transfers. Fees for currency conversions. Fees for international transfers. It never ends and can suck up a huge amount of the donated money. It doesn’t stop once you’ve received the donation either! There’s often many fees involved in sending the donated money to the people that need it! In contrast, you can send $5 billion dollars for 5 cents with Bitcoin.
Fees in Bitcoin are literally the lowest you will ever find. These transaction costs on the base Bitcoin Layer 1 network can be reduced even further (from that whopping 5 cents) to essentially nothing if you’re using the excellent Lightning Network too. With no platform, banks, currency conversions or anything else in between you could feasibly raise millions and distribute it for free.
Speaking of platforms and their fees, your access to these platforms can also be taken away if the government disagrees with you a little bit too much. Even if the government doesn’t have laws against your cause, certain companies might just decide that it’s “too much effort” to have to deal with your specific case and kick ban you. With Bitcoin fundraising you can setup your own Full Bitcoin Node on any old computer, enable something like BTCPay Server and have zero third parties involved.
With Bitcoin and no third parties involved you also get your money basically instantly. While a bank might take days or even weeks to fully clear your money (and many companies then taking months to clear it on their end too) Bitcoin takes minutes. How long does Bitcoin take to send exactly? Anywhere from 0-60 minutes is usually more than enough.
Another core benefit to Bitcoin is that your donors don’t have to disclose any private information in order to donate. For many people, donating is a very private affair not to mention most people hate getting spammed forever just because they donated that one time. More seriously, if you’re protesting in a hostile environment where the government or banks are actively monitoring for donations, this privacy enables you to still raise funds without putting your donors at risk.
Fundraising on Bitcoin can also be done securely and with multiple parties. For big climate organisations having just one person control all the funds probably isn’t a wise idea. Multisignature wallets provide a huge variety of possibilities and mean that no single person is a security risk. For example, you can setup a 2 of 3 Multisignature wallet where at least 2 people are required to sign any transaction that spends bitcoins.
Finally, fundraising with Bitcoin removes global barriers and can help your cause go truly viral. Anyone, no matter who they are, where they are or how rich/poor they are can use Bitcoin. They don’t need a bank account, they don’t need permission and they don’t need to provide ID. This means people in far away countries that might not be able to donate to the specific fundraising platform you’re using are now able to contribute rather than being locked out of helping.
As a real world example of just how huge Bitcoin fundraising can quickly ramp up to, as of March the Ukraine had raised more than $54 million dollars, with over 32% of that in Bitcoin.
Thus far, the contributions consist of… $17.2 million in bitcoinCNBC
By having (basically) zero fees, zero third parties being able to ban you, the protection of everyones privacy and more Bitcoin fundraising is an amazing and very real use case right now. Climate Change Activists should be utilising this excellent and well established service as well as the extremely active Bitcoiners network to help their cause.
Bitcoin Helps Renewables
It’s no secret that solar only produces energy when the sun shines and wind turbines only produce energy when the wind blows. One simple way around this issue is to overbuild the renewable power plant so that your lower winter time solar production still equals the required demand.
Unfortunately this results in your summer time energy production being far too much leading to curtailment. This is where solar or wind farms are turned off because there’s no one wanting to buy or use their energy. This typically happens during the middle of the day for solar and during the middle of the night for wind. As a result, you get an inefficient plant (as your expensive solar/wind equipment is sitting there idle) and a loss in profits
With Bitcoin Mining however you have a big user of energy that can easily and quickly be turned down or even off without any repercussions. In the energy market terms this is referred to as demand response. During the day, if you’re producing too much solar and no one else wants to buy it, rather than getting curtailed and reducing profits energy producers can spin up their mining rigs and use that excess energy to mine bitcoins and increase profitability.
During times of high energy demand they can just as easily turn those mining rigs down or off and divert that energy to the normal grid where it’s needed. The result is a more profitable and efficient energy plant which means they can be financially viable where they might otherwise not have been (meaning the renewables plant might not have been built) or they can even build the plant bigger than they might otherwise have.
Bitcoin Helps Stabilise Energy Grids
As mentioned, grid demand response is an extremely important thing when it comes to energy networks. Even before renewables were a thing the huge disparity in demand by general users led to very inefficient and thus, more expensive grids. No one really uses power during the night just like few people crank their AC during the winter.
As a result, there’s peaks and troughs of over demand and under demand all over the place. This means that grids have to over build power plants to cater for this infrequent high demand leading to inefficient and more costly networks. This means less money can be spent on the networks stability or means power prices end up being higher.
Even in dirty old grid networks, Bitcoin Mining can still help with stability and costs. As they posses a large amount of energy intensive equipment that can be turned down in highly controlled increments (or even off), they regularly have demand response agreements with the power utility. These will see the miners get paid to turn down their mining rigs during periods of high demand.
Even though the power provider is paying the miners, it’s still far more profitable for the power provider to infrequently pay them small amounts rather than open up an entirely new power plant that’s much more expensive. As a real world example of this, several groups of very large miners turned off virtually all of their mining capacity during the major winter storms that descended on Texas this Feb.
As the storm has progressed, we have continued to decrease our power consumption by 98%-99%Riot Blockchain Director
We are proud to help stabilise the grid and help our fellow Texans stay warmRhodium CEO
While there have been other businesses that can curtail their demand such as aluminium smelters or other energy intensive factories, basically none of them are as good as Bitcoin Mining. Factories and machinery can take hours to properly shut down and often can only be done in very large power increments.
Mining on the other hand is typically made up of thousands of small, ~3 kW ASICs that can be remotely turned off and back on every few seconds if need be. This means the power provider can get demand response virtually instantly and in any sized increment the network needs.
The result is a valuable new high paying customer with no need for additional costly power plants. This extra profit can then be used to improve the power network, build out new renewables and transmission lines or even reduce overall power prices for everyone.
Bitcoin Reduces Global Methane Emissions
As many Climate Change Activists might know, methane is much worse for the climate than CO2. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane is over 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a warming gas on a 20-year time frame.
What they might not know is that a large amount of methane along with other natural gasses are simply vented into the air as part of the oil extraction process. Oil wells obviously produce oil as their primary product, but they also produce natural gases like CO2 and methane. Unfortunately, this excess natural gas is often coming out of the ground in extremely remote locations like oil rigs in the middle of the ocean or far away oil wells. This means there is no one around to use / buy the product… so they just burn it (called flaring).
Thousands of gas flares at oil production sites worldwide burned approximately 144 billion cubic meters of gas in 2021World Bank
While burning billions of cubic meters of gas for literally no reason is obviously terrible, it’s arguably better to emit CO2 than the much more damaging methane. So in this case, burning fossil fuels is kind of “good”. It should also be noted that while we’re extremely bullish on the growth of renewables and the eventual death of of oil, we’re realists and can see that oil will unfortunately still be around for at least the next 5-10 years, probably more.
A second troubling fact about flared natural gas is that the implementing and reporting of this “good” flaring is basically done on the honour system (if at all). There’s basically no incentive for oil companies to spend extra money to burn the gases besides complying to local laws.
While most of the federally designated top-flaring states require oil and gas companies to report the volume of gas they combust, state officials have little sense of those reports’ accuracy, and none use satellite data to confirm company-reported flaring totalsInside Climate News
So we have profit driven oil companies being forced by laws to burn their excess methane and natural gases, which only they track and report on, and a financial incentive to just not do it and directly vent the methane and natural gases instead. What do you think most of them probably do?
Enter Bitcoin Mining
Recently some Bitcoin miners have built mobile shipping containers that contain natural gas generators hooked up to Bitcoin mining machines. These give a powerful, direct and instant monetary incentive to the oil companies to take those gases that they may have otherwise sneakily vented directly into the atmosphere and instead burn it, create energy and then use that energy for powering the Bitcoin mining machines.
If one things certain, it’s that oil companies will do anything that makes them money and this absolutely makes them money! How much methane this new mining infrastructure will prevent being directly released into the atmosphere is likely impossible to precisely measure due to the no existent prior records, but it clearly demonstrates how Bitcoin mining can actually help the climate problem.
Bitcoin Fights For A Better Future For Everyone
Beyond the many above reasons, Bitcoins energy use also has an exceedingly good benefit. It pushes us further towards a world with more peace, less wealth inequality and a more just financial system for all.
Currently, most economies are at the whim of who ever is in charge of the US Fed and the policies they enact. Like it or not, we live in a world where a single, rich, white male that wasn’t elected by anyone (currently Jerome Powell) decides for billions and billions of people all over the world whether or not their country will go into a recession causing energy poverty and starvation.
These same rich people control the printing billions and trillions that go directly to their rich friends often at the heads of oil and gas companies. Bitcoin puts a stop to this unjust and unfair power dynamic.
It puts a stop to the billions of people that are currently unbanked. That are suffering from hyperinflation. That are suffering from tyrants debasing their money or out right seizing it. It puts a stop to bail outs and bail ins. It helps people that are fleeing from climate change disasters by allowing them to easily and safely save, store and transport their wealth without it being stolen.
There is a lot to love about Bitcoin just like there is a lot to love about Climate Change Activists.
The Athena Assessment
We started off by asking what each side wants. I hope it’s clear now that both fight for many similar and worthy things. Both sides are angry at the government and how they handle public money. Both sides want a bright, peaceful future for all humans. Both sides want a fair go for all inhabitants and a reduction of wealth inequality. Both sides want the right to protest, be heard and have due process of law. Both sides want to stop forever wars over oil, funded by the public.
There are so many goals that both sides are passionately fighting every day for, so why not unite for this peaceful and better future? Imagine experienced Bitcoiners helping Climate Change Activists to setup and manage their fund raisers. The privacy, efficiency and attention they could bring would be immense!
Imagine Climate Change Activists locking themselves to banks demanding that they not only stop funding fossil fuel companies, but also stop requiring KYC and monitoring all transactions. What would happen if experienced Bitcoin Mining companies were included in large renewable project roll outs?
Why aren’t Bitcoin Politicians and Climate Politicians teaming up to vote against the wasting of public money on fossil fuel subsidies or expanded military budgets? The possibilities are endless and all of them just require cooperation between two groups that should already be in near complete agreement with each other. But instead they’re fighting which is likely what the government and big oil companies want.
Well stop letting them divide us.
Let’s stand together because together we we’ll win.