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Greenpeace will stop accepting bitcoin donations over environmental concerns

“Proof of work is evidence of burnout,” is fast becoming the dominant approach to bitcoin (BTC) among those who are serious about tackling the climate crisis. The words refer to the United Kingdom government’s representative for this year’s COP26 United Nations Climate Dialogue, which has been quoted in the Financial Times this week.

The same article indicates that climate campaign groups – which, so far, have been slow to take a firm line against proof-of-work cryptocurrency – are catching up and becoming more aware of the climate risks involved. Greenpeace, which set up a facility in 2014 to accept bitcoin donations, now plans to phase out the channel. The organization told reporters that, while the option has not really been widely used to date:

“As the amount of energy required to drive bitcoin has become clear, this policy is no longer viable.”

The current awareness of bitcoin’s energy problem is undoubtedly galvanized by Elon Musk’s recent high-profile intervention when Tesla’s CEO announced that the company would pay for vehicles due to concerns about high energy consumption of bitcoin mining Will not accept BTC.

While Musk’s decision had a dramatic and immediate impact on cryptocurrency markets, a sharp decrease in the price of bitcoin has long changed to replace bitcoin’s reputation as a “dirty currency”. Long-standing concern about the high energy consumption of the currency has been growing rapidly against the backdrop of a new consensus in high finance that focuses on building sustainable investment strategies.

Critics of the green measures set in motion by the European Union and others – including attempts to escort capital into sustainable development assets – point to ample room for “greenwashing” that outlines current strategies. Nation-states are increasingly moving to risk development assets, that is, to guarantee profits against demand-side, political and climate-driven investment shaking, while the world’s largest asset managers co-own green agendas. Are able to select and capitalize end of themselves.

As the political battle over green finance continues, however, many political and financial actors are increasingly taking the line that proof-of-work cryptocurrency is a “dirty business”. The European Central Bank’s recent financial stability review has highlighted the “excessive carbon footprint” of crypto-assets as a basis for concern, while the Bank of Italy has compared its target immediate payment settlement with bitcoin by highlighting that the former I already had a carbon footprint that is 40,000 times smaller than Bitcoin by 2019.

Outliers remain: The growing, potentially lucrative involvement of megabanks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup in the crypto industry reveals the real priorities behind these actors’ lip service to meeting sustainable finance goals.

Some analysts argue that where crypto mining is driven by hydropower and other clean sources, climate risk is not an immediate concern. While more than 70% of BTC mining uses clean energy in one form or another, renewable energy is less than 40% of the total energy used in the bitcoin sector. In addition, off-grid and informal mining practices make this data difficult to measure and monitor.

Cointegraph contacted Greenpeace for comment and will update this article if they respond.

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