Elon has done it again. In his latest tweet, he has criticized Bitcoin for not being green enough, Proof of Work (PoW) for being wasteful, and the use of carbon fuels for mining, unacceptable. Tesla is also cancelling the option of buying a Tesla using cryptocurrency.
There are many contradictions in his new position. First, he still owns plenty of Bitcoin and so does Tesla. If it’s so bad why not get rid of it?
Second, he is promoting Dogecoin (a fork of Bitcoin made as a joke) How’s that any cleaner?
And third, dirty compared to what? The dollar? Manufacturing Teslas? The banking system? or Sending rockets to Mars?
His calculations are off… way off. Let’s see why.
Of all people, Elon Musk should know that most activities have a carbon footprint — manufacturing, banking, construction, transport, etc- If we stayed at home doing nothing, not eating, not drinking, and not breathing, the world would be a better place… but we would be dead.
The trick here is to compare alternatives and choose the greener option. Manufacturing Teslas have a huge carbon footprint, but so does manufacturing diesel cars. Electric cars are the better choice because over their lifetime their net carbon footprint is negative.
I’m a big proponent of electric cars and solar energy. I’m a heavy user of both and have been involved in the energy business for a few years. So when I hear the narrative ‘electric cars are not so green’ or ‘solar energy has a big carbon footprint’ I can’t help but roll my eyes. Dirty energy cartels have a hidden agenda and try to discredit the clean energy movement in order to profit from it.
In any industry, there are vested interests. The old oil lobbies and legacy car manufactures are not going to let go of a trillion-dollar industry without a fight. They will use every trick in the book, lie through their teeth and manipulate public opinion to milk the old cow to death.
But this is a fight they can’t win, and they know it.
Same thing is happening with crypto.
Apples to Apples
Elon is a scientist, an engineer and a very smart guy, that’s why I’m surprised about his latest statement. Bitcoin is much cleaner than any other alternative in the same way that a Tesla is much cleaner than any other car out there.
Elon is also trying to go to Mars. How dirty is that? Very. But in the long run, it could be the only chance we have to survive. So it’s worth pursuing, despite the upfront initial wastage.
Let’s briefly compare Bitcoin footprint with other alternatives.
Bitcoin is wasting energy, but what about Fiat money?
The Dollar, Euro, Yen, etc are produced by an enormous apparatus that is among other things, extremely power hungry.
Trees are cut down, paper manufactured, bills transported all over the world just so you and I can go to the grocery store and pay in cash.
But that’s not all. Let’s not forget the adjacent industries that work very hard to keep money alive — the Fed, the banking system, the financial sector, etc. All these behemoths use thousands of buildings, networks, and employees that have a huge carbon footprint and waste plenty of energy in order to secure the network.
Compare that to a network of miners running powerful computers. Yes, they are using lots of Kilowatts Hour, but that’s just a fraction of what the obsolete, inefficient legacy systems are wasting.
In fact, when the financial industry moves to a crypto dominant system, the world will be a much greener place, not less.
Also, let’s not forget the resources used by the US government to maintain the dollar dominance as a reserve currency and as the de facto international form of payment. It could be argued that all these wars in the middle east are just a desperate attempt to maintain the dollar supremacy. How green is a military superpower? How much energy does war waste? More than Bitcoin? What about human lives?
The banking system and the financial industry are big consumers of energy. They have thousands of servers running 24/7, thousands of buildings that need to be built and maintained, and millions of paper bills that are sent all over the world every single day. Just the money and energy they spend on marketing has a higher energy cost that all crypto assets combined.
Bitcoin is here to replace the banks. Once you have a decentralized system that works autonomously in a transparent, secure, and frictionless manner, you don’t need fancy buildings to keep your money safe. It’s a wasteful, outdated system that will disappear like the rental DVD business, making the world a greener place.
If you think mining Bitcoin is dirty, take a look at the gold industry. Gold mining is arguably one of the most polluting industries out there. Mineral extraction, casting, transport, verification, security and trading are extremely wasteful activities in terms of money, energy and residues.
Mining gold it’s 50 times more expensive than mining bitcoin and way more wasteful. It’s a no-brainer.
Bitcoin is here to replace gold and when it does the world will be a better place.
Bitcoin mining uses lots of energy, for sure, but so does the internet, lighting Christmas trees, or maintaining golf courses.
Every human activity done at scale is energy thirsty, but that is not the problem. The question is: Is all that energy used in an efficient manner and put to good use?
There is an energy surplus in the world — 1% of the sun falling on earth daily is enough to run 100% of all our energy needs. This includes transport, electricity, banking, industrial use, and bitcoin mining as well.
The choice here is not to penny-pinch our energy use, the key is to produce cleaner forms of energy like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power that are clean, efficient, and renewable.
And this is where Bitcoin excels. 74% of the energy used to mine Bitcoin comes from renewable sources. That’s a fact. And this percentage is growing annually.
And this is not just because the miners are all green hippies in yoga pants trying to save the planet. It’s because it is cheaper… way cheaper.
Yes, that’s why. Miners want to make money, lots of it, and for that, they have to reduce their energy costs. Most mining operations are built next to big sources of cheap renewable energy like hydro-power plants in China, solar farms in the Mojave desert, geothermal springs in Iceland, and Wind farms in Texas.
Build a renewable plant and you’ll get mining pools knocking at your door to buy all the energy produced.
It could be argued that Bitcoin is one of the greatest promoters of clean energy. Plants are being built for this purpose and this is helping the green industry to become more competitive, more efficient, and more ubiquitous.
Bitcoin is making the planet cleaner, not the opposite.
As for the other 25% of mining that uses conventional sources, it’s not so bad either. As anybody in the energy industry would admit, producing energy is a wasteful process. Big plants can’t be shut off at night and then restarted again the following morning. Nuclear, and fossil fuel plants have to run 24/7 by design. In order to meet demand at peak times, they are producing far more megawatts than are necessary at off-peak hours. 60% of the electricity produced get wasted mostly because there is no demand for it.
If only there was a way to take that surplus energy and store it so it can be used later in an efficient manner that will be great, right?
What about storing it in the form of Bitcoin? Voila! Problem solved!
It is estimated that no incremental energy is used in order to mine BTC, it just uses energy that would be lost otherwise. Again, this is driven by economic principles — electricity companies reduce their tariffs at off-peak times in order to increase demand and some industries make good use of the opportunity.
It’s a perfect symbiosis and a perfect system. The world needs more systems like Bitcoin, not less.
Elon Musk is a genius but he is also a clown. The amount of contradictions, tweets, and f*ck ups he manages to do in a month is more than I can bear.
He’s been promoting Doge (a meme coin) that has no intrinsic value and that is just a fad. It will go to zero soon. That’s very irresponsible. Newbies in the crypto space are listening to him and investing heavily in it. They will lose everything and Elon is to blame for it. Please Elon, stop that nonsense. There are dozens of coins with good uses and sound fundamentals, don’t pump and dump shitcoins, no one needs these scams.
He criticizes Bitcoin, despite being heavily invested in it and making Tesla more profits than by selling overpriced electric cars. Again, listen to what he does, not what he says.
He is talking about energy waste and sending rockets to Mars. Isn’t that wasteful also Mr. Musk?
I mean, the guy is a genius but you have to take everything he says with a pinch of salt. I used to admire him. He’s made the world a better place with his solar energy and electric car business. He’s also trying to save humanity by building a base on Mars. He has some cojones, no question about that.
But, all this nonsense, stupidity, contradictions, and distractions are clouding his bright mind.
Why say one thing and then do the exact opposite? Why go against everything he’s always strived for? Why all this manipulation and fake narratives?
Tesla and Bitcoin make the perfect team. They represent the new world order, the incumbent technology that is going to defeat the old legacy outdated system of fiat money, banks, diesel cars, and the oil industry.
Why keep fighting the inevitable? The world is moving fast to a better place, a place run on clean energy, electric cars, decentralized finance, and Bitcoin.
Of all people, you Elon, the scientist, the engineer and the entrepreneur should be embracing this technology with open arms and not wasting everybody’s time with stupid tweets.
Mr. Musk, please get your act together, we have no time to waste. Focus on your business, let’s make this world a better place, and let’s not promote fake narratives dictated by desperate lobbies that are scared shitless about losing their grip in the crumbling empire.
Let’s go to Mars and let’s do it with Tesla, with Bitcoin, and with green energy.
For a better future.