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Is Bitcoin Contributing to Global Warming?

You might assume Bitcoin is bad for the environment already, but chances are you don't know what to say when someone asks, "Is Bitcoin contributing to global warming?"

By Lauren SkopkowskiPublished 6 years ago 4 min read

Let's say you've made millions thanks to cryptocurrency. You know that humanity has 32 years left to offset the amount of carbon dioxide it's put into the atmosphere. After that there's no going back. At the same time, you know that cryptocurrency has given you more power than the average person. So what can you do? You toss and turn at night, asking yourself, "Is Bitcoin contributing to global warming?" But you already know the answer before you even ask the question.

Bitcoin takes power.

"Is Bitcoin contributing to global warming?" Yes, in the same basic way all human activity does. Bitcoin requires significant energy consumption that exasperates rather than maintains or mitigates the effects of global warming. Since we've got only 32 years left to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we need to cut back as much as possible!

Bitcoin promotes an exploitative relationship with the world.

"Is Bitcoin contributing to global warming if I do it only a little bit? I just want the paper!" If you're primarily motivated by profit, you're just going to end up perpetuating the very attitude that's responsible for climate change in the first place: treating the world as a means to an end as opposed to an end in and of itself. Environmental health must be prioritized!

You need computers for Bitcoin mining.

"Is Bitcoin contributing to global warming if I only use green energy?" Yes, because Bitcoin mining requires computers, which require a labor intensive manufacturing process with significant environmental impact. Nice try, though!

Bitcoin perpetuates power imbalances.

"I found a company that makes carbon neutral computers! Is Bitcoin contributing to global warming still?" In America, the less you are like a heterosexual, cisgendered, able-bodied, affluent white man, the less human rights you enjoy. America exists to maintain the power of this privileged class at any cost—including the health of the environment. The only way, then, for Bitcoin to be redeemed is if its profits are directed to an alternative non-exploitative, egalitarian system. Otherwise, Bitcoin is just another way that "The Man" keeps us down.

You need to dispose of old computers.

"Alright, alright! Wow. I submit to your intersectional analyses! Is Bitcoin contributing to global warming if I'm one of those woke AF Bitcoin miners?" Well, it depends, because in the time that you've been changing as a person technology has also changed—enough that you need a new computer! That means you need to dispose of your old computer, which has a significant environmental impact in and of itself. That's just one more thing you need to offset!

Bitcoin breeds complacency.

"I had to say, 'Offset!' more time than Migos but I pulled it off: I'm now carbon neutral. How is Bitcoin contributing to global warming now?" An absence of evil is simply not the same as an abundance of good. As the great thinker Bane said, "Victory has defeated you, Batman!" It's not enough for your Bitcoin mining to keep you from contributing to climate change; you have to be actively mitigating climate change as well. Otherwise the process that leads to climate change will continue unabated.

Bitcoin enriches the worst of us.

"I only put money in crypto to save for retirement. Otherwise, I have nothing to do with Bitcoin mining." Have you seen all the bros getting rich off Bitcoin? There's so much misogyny in their culture!

Then there's all the white supremacists who invest in Bitcoin because it allows them to make investments without outing them as white supremacists. The milieu around Bitcoin's success is simply far too welcoming of far right ideologies whose adherents do not care about climate change.

Many of them would even welcome climate change disaster because they know it will adversely effect groups they already despise. Divest your savings!

Bitcoin is a brain-drain.

"I created a cryptocurrency alternative that mitigates the effects of climate change. Is Green Bitcoin contributing to global warming too?" Look, you're smart, and you're clearly shaking things up in the tech arena, but you're putting so much of your intelligence toward crypto as opposed to mitigating environmental impact in general that you're providing a diluted contribution.

We need people as smart as you to make preventing climate change disaster their primary concern. Humanity has 32 years left before climate change becomes irreversible. Without as many smart people as possible working to reduce how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, things are only going to get worse.

Bitcoin teaches people that the answer to all problems is money.

"I took all the money I made from Bitcoin mining and gave it to politicians." You got into Bitcoin because you thought you needed money to live; now you're giving your money to politicians so they can save you. If you got a problem, your solution is to just make money. Maybe making money is the problem!

Until we realize that other people, and not money, is what it's all about, we're going to keep running up against climate change for the rest of time. It's just going to be called by a different name.

Bitcoin cannot be reformed because it only exists thanks to an exploitative system.

"My whole life is about reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. No more Bitcoin for me! Is Bitcoin contributing to global warming even if I'm not involved?" Think globally, act locally! Good on you. Unfortunately, if we limit our ethical evaluations strictly to individuals we risk reducing a complicated process to a caricature.

We find this same predicament when we attempt to dismantle systemic discrimination. While education is a laudable endeavor, addressing the system itself is what we really need to do. Discrimination is maintained at every level! The same goes for environmental exploitation.

People are trained by the system to be exploitative, and that exploitation itself is then used to justify further exploitation. It's exploitation all the way down! It's time to cut down the tree of exploitation at its roots. That means Bitcoin must fall!


About the Creator

Lauren Skopkowski

I’ve read so many self-help books I took the Hippocratic Oath. Creativity guru and SJW.

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