Bitcoin could become a zero-emission network: Report

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Bitcoin mining with flared gas and animal waste gases could help the world’s largest cryptocurrency on a path to becoming zero-emission money.

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Bitcoin could become a zero-emission network: Report

A pro-Bitcoin mining report from self-proclaimed philanthropist Daniel Batten has claimed that Bitcoin could become a zero-emission network.

The report builds upon data from the Bitcoin Mining Council to understand the impact of carbon-negative energy sources on Bitcoin’s (BTC) overall carbon footprint. Following an investigation and extrapolation of the results, it claims to then “predict when the entire Bitcoin network becomes a zero emission network.”

But how does the network become carbon-negative in the first place? Put simply, by combusting stranded methane gas to mine BTC that would have otherwise been emitted into the atmosphere. The study finds that this process, which already happens worldwide, reduces the network’s emissions by 63%.

“That means that the 1.57% of the Bitcoin network using carbon-negative sources have a -4.2% impact on the carbon intensity of the Bitcoin network.”

The study uses data from various flare gas BTC miners, including Crusoe Energy in Colorado, Jai Energy in Wyoming and Arthur Mining in Brazil. It also touches upon miners using waste gases from animal waste — such as those in Slovakia — to illustrate that Bitcoin mining can positively impact the environment by preventing the emission of harmful methane gases.

While central bankers and mainstream media continue to snipe at Bitcoin’s energy-intensive mining process, it appears that mining could be a viable route to cutting emissions. According to a report from the United Nations, “Cutting methane is the strongest lever we have to slow climate change over the next 25 years.” By eliminating gas flaring or animal waste biogas emissions, Bitcoin miners around the world are working toward the zero-emission goal. 

Cointelegraph reporter Joe Hall interviewed a Northern Irish farmer who recently began trialing Bitcoin mining. Owen, the farmer, told Cointelegraph that mining Bitcoin using farm waste emitting biogas that otherwise would have gone up into the atmosphere “makes sense.”

Owen, atop an anaerobic digester and in front of a Bitcoin mine, talks to Cointelegraph.

Owen partnered with Scilling Digital Mining, an Irish company that seeks out renewable energy to use for Bitcoin mining. In a nod to further adoption across Ireland, Mark Morton — managing director at Scilling — told Cointelegraph:

“Daniel [Batten] has done phenomenal work showcasing Bitcoin mining’s methane capture capability. The plaudits for these unfussy energy consumers are only just beginning, and Ireland’s farmers could be the next big adopters of this incredible technology.”

Morton added that “Bitcoin mining will be the catalyst for widespread small-scale, off-grid anaerobic digestion adoption leading to less farm waste, more decentralized network hash rate and lower agricultural emissions.” Farming is responsible for one-third of Irish greenhouse gas emissions, so capturing waste gas from farming could not only clean up the polluting farming industry but also earn extra revenue through mined BTC.

Related: Banking uses 56 times more energy than Bitcoin: Valuechain report

Batten, the report’s author, is an environmentalist who devotes his time to researching Bitcoin and energy consumption. Before advocating for environmentalism through Bitcoin mining, Batten was a philanthropist and venture capitalist.

During a remote presentation at Surfin’ Bitcoin over the weekend, he shared why Bitcoin mining has become his “most important mission.” In the presentation, he made a case for methane capture and stressed the urgency of climate change.

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