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New Documentary Tackles Bitcoin Energy FUD

A new Bitcoin movie has hit the screens.

This Machine Greens, a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Jamie King (“Steal This Film”), premiered this week on YouTube. The crowd-funded documentary, produced by Enrique Posner, explores the relationship of Bitcoin to energy and examines critics’ claims that bitcoin mining is “dirty.”


The film features interviews with a wide array of industry experts such as Lyn Alden, Swan Bitcoin’s Lead Economic Advisor, Meltem Demirors, CSO of Coinshares, and Samson Mow, CSO of Blockstream. In addition, the documentary also offers insights from Alex Gladstein, CSO of Human Rights Foundation, Nic Carter of Castle Island Ventures, and Caitlin Long, CEO of Avanti Financial Group. Greg Foss, CFO of Validus Power and Hass McCook also make key appearances.

The documentary centers on examining critics’ concerns over Bitcoin's energy consumption. The logic behind claims that bitcoin mining has a large carbon footprint, and is therefore dangerous to the environment, has been widely questioned; rather, This Machine Greens argues that energy consumption in itself is not bad. Rather, tied up with the concept of Proof-of-Work is the age-old acceptance that work itself, the harnessing of energy, is the value behind any currency. Interviews with key experts question the rationale behind concern about bitcoin mining’s energy consumption by politicians and pundits alike by comparing such concerns to the very reasoning that supports the energy involved in gold mining and the escalating energy costs of defending the petrodollar. 

In fact, bitcoin mining may be a green activity, if not ultimately carbon-negative in the near future, the documentary argues. stating that mining bitcoin uniquely harnesses energy in a way that benefits the environment. The film touches on recent innovations that have enabled miners to capture the methane waste of oil production, and also points to contemporary global political changes that have opened new energy markets for bitcoin miners to capture, such as geothermal energy in El Salvador.

Paid almost entirely in bitcoin, the filmmakers’ budget resulted in a surplus funds that will be put toward the team’s next documentary, TRUST, which is set to explore Bitcoin’s “pre-history and its increasing relevance amidst a crisis of authority and institutions.” As of this writing, This Machine Greens has over 20,000 views.

Dr. Jeannie Bennett is a post-academic and technical communicator with over 13 years of experience. She is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for information visualization.