Green Energy And What Congress Learned About Crypto

Congress is once again behind the curve when it comes to the green energy efforts of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce finally held a hearing about the impact Bitcoin mining has on our energy resources. The thing is, Bitcoin mining operations have solved its energy usage issues. Still, big brother at least had to attempt to appear on top of the matter.

A hybrid hearing of both in-person and remote speakers on Thursday, January 20, 2022, at 10:30 am in the John D. Dingell Room, 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building uncovered some answers in this department. Calling the hearing “Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains,” there were some massive hits and some major misses. Bitcoin experts joined in to clear up those matters, or Congress might think they have a crucial energy problem on their hands.

How Much Energy Does Bitcoin Mining Use?

When Mr. Griffith, a ranking member of the subcommittee, spoke, he pointed out that Bitcoin mining utilized anywhere from 110 to 188 terawatts of energy last year. He also pointed out that the energy usage of Bitcoin mining operations is more than what some small countries use. Therefore, when the crypto experts each agreed to the 188 terawatts of usage, one might concur with a negative outcome. One might even assume that Bitcoin mining is draining energy and running electric meters in circles so fast that it would break those needles.

But when John Belizaire, Chief Executive Officer of Soluna Computing, was recognized for five minutes, he clearly pointed out how the industry’s energy usage isn’t a problem but rather a solution. Of course, that seems counterintuitive. But his rationale is solid.

The Bitcoin mining industry has made it its mission to utilize curtailed energy resources for years. Solar, Hydro, Nuclear, and Natural Gas that would otherwise go to waste is being ingeniously repurposed to fuel mining operations. The mining industry has at its advantage the ability to easily migrate to critical locations where they can be a part of the energy waste solution rather than a part of the problem.

How Does Its Green Energy Compare?

One of the most intriguing facts was when Brian Brooks, Chief Executive Officer of BitFury, pointed out how the Bitcoin mining industry stands up to other sectors. As soon as the subcommittee heard that Mr. Brooks would soon be detailing how Bitcoin compares its energy usage, all ears perked up. Some may argue that this is another truth often left unsaid.

However, first came an entirely different kind of comparison. Mr. Brooks began by equating Bitcoin to gold and sources of credit. He put the question in front of the subcommittee: “Does the energy used in Bitcoin mining produce more economic value per unit of energy?” The economic value per unit of energy was the main focus, and the answer is that Bitcoin does. But, of course, gold and credit have long been established in America. No one questions their energy usage per mining operation or transaction.

So, What Do We Take From All Of This?

Mr. Brooks’ investigations into a few industries that consume more energy per year than that of Bitcoin mining were eye-opening, to say the least. Jaws dropped when he mentioned that the aviation industry consumes 50 times more energy per unit of value. No one is even talking about stopping the airplanes that take us daily from Point A to Point B. He also specified that Global Financial Services and the insurance industry consume the same amount as Bitcoin mining. Who would dream of trying to end their operations?

The Bitcoin mining industry proves that its green energy solutions are way ahead of the curve, and the rest of the world could learn from it. It’s possible that the energy that other industries use can be supplied with more sophisticated solutions. That’s where the conversation should start. If every energy-consuming operation were as concerned about being as green as Bitcoin is, the world would be a much better place.
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