Bitcoin mining council Q4 2022 briefing shows a drop in sustainable energy usage
The Bitcoin network used 58.9% renewable sources last quarter vs. 59.4% the previous quarter.
The BMC was formed in May 2021 in response to Tesla’s U-turn on accepting Bitcoin for payment over claims the network is powered mainly by coal. Tesla CEO Elon Musk had deemed coal the most polluting of all fossil fuels, triggering his decision.
In response to the snub, Bitcoin’s price sunk 48%, bottoming at $30,200 two weeks later, highlighting the severity of the incident. Further, public backlash against Musk heightened, with many blaming him for the sharp price correction.
The BMC, whose membership consists of companies including Argo, Bitfury, and Marathon, to name a few, was established to foster transparency, share best practices, and educate the public on BTC mining.
Although Musk was mentioned as a key player at the time, founding member MicroStrategy Chair Michael Saylor later confirmed Musk has no role in the organization.
A key undertaking of the BMC is to publish current renewable energy usage and, presumably, although not explicitly stated, to encourage members to increase their use of environmentally sustainable sources.
While the current 58.9% sustainable rate is more than 56% rate as of Q2 2021, it is still marginally less than the previous quarter, suggesting things are going backward.
Other key points from the Bitcoin Mining Council briefing
The current Executive Summary also mentioned the Bitcoin network used “an inconsequential amount of global energy” at 17 basis points (bps) and was responsible for “negligible [global] carbon emissions” at 11 bps.
Further, as more miners/mining power joined the network, the hash rate jumped by almost 50% compared to Q4 2021. Although this meant miners used more electricity, the impact was lessened by efficiencies.
“Bitcoin mining hash rate is up 45% YoY while energy usage is up 25% YoY, due to an increase in efficiency of 16%.”
Data from ycharts.com verifies the claim on the YoY hash rate jumping 45%.
Is Musk back on board?
At the time of the U-turn, Musk stated that Tesla would reinstate Bitcoin for payments once the network reaches approximately 50% sustainable energy usage “with positive future trend.”
Given that the latest report shows the network consuming more than 50% sustainable energy usage, some in the Bitcoin community took the opportunity to re-raise the point.