A recent report released by the White House known as “Climate and Energy Implications of Crypto-assets in the United States,” claims that the United States’ attempts to tackle climate change may be hampered by the environmental impact of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies relying on the Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism.
The conclusions made within the report places the Biden administration at the heart of a debate about the carbon footprint of digital assets. Concerns about the quantity of power utilized in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining operations have been raised by critics for months.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recommended that the federal government gather more data on electricity use by collaborating with states and the mining sector to establish guidelines.
The White House office stated:
Depending on the energy intensity of the technology used, crypto assets could hinder broader efforts to achieve net-zero carbon pollution consistent with U.S. climate commitments and goals.
Many on Twitter were quick to point out flaws and the negative implications made by the White House report.
Bitcoin author and software engineer @dergigi (Gigi) responded by clarifying that Proof-of-Work is used for timing, fair issuance, unforgeable history, and other uses. Not for “validating” rewards as the report claims.
Gigi goes on to explain that the push for Proof-of-Stake (PoS) is reliant on centralized authorities for the initial distribution of tokens, has no way to incentivize keeping an accurate history of transactions, and favors trusting entities that control the system.
Senior Analyst Dylan LeClair shared that the recent report is more akin to a reaction for attempting to control publicly available monetary systems rather than an act of curtailing climate change. “It’s not about climate change, it’s about complete and utter control,” he wrote.
Bitcoiner @nikcantmine reminded followers about China’s previous attempts to ban Bitcoin within the country and how the U.S. would face similar challenges if any of the recommendations from the report were enforced.
JAN3 CEO Samson Mow shared the same sentiment as many others stating that acting on the advice from this report does not benefit the U.S. in the long run.
Others in the space did however bring up favorable points made within the report. Bitcoin Policy Institute fellow Troy Cross highlighted many of the issues echoed throughout Twitter but was able to point out that the OSTP is aware that policies must be evaluated and changed as Bitcoin and the industry develops.
Satoshi Action Fund founder Dennis Porter also brought up that the OSTP are informed that Bitcoin miners convert vented methane into electricity and can have a positive effect on the environment.
In addition to today’s report, government agencies and offices are required to send the president a number of other reports this month in accordance with Biden’s executive order from March.