Greenpeace Stops Accepting Bitcoin Donations, Cites High Energy Use

Friends of the Earth is reported to be reviewing the situation, too.

May 21, 2021 at 11:51 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:59 p.m. UTC

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace USA has stopped accepting bitcoin donations over the carbon footprint of the cryptocurrency.

  • According to a report from the Financial Times on Thursday, the organization said: "As the amount of energy needed to run bitcoin became clearer, this policy became no longer tenable."
  • It added that the crypto donation facility had not been extensively used by supporters.
  • Friends of the Earth, another environmental campaign group, told the FT it was considering the issue.
  • Greenpeace USA confirmed the news to CoinDesk, adding that the energy issue is a wider one for the internet realm as a whole.
  • "The problem is that, at the moment, only about a fifth of the electricity used in the world’s data centers comes from renewable sources, and that's not good enough," said Travis Nichols, Greenpeace USA media director.
  • Nichols added that Greenpeace is working to "change the way the world makes energy," including bitcoin miners in China and major corporates like Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google.
  • On Friday, Bloomberg radio and TV host Lisa Abramowicz tweeted that asset manager Bridgewater Associates is warning that "bitcoin consumes as much energy as some countries, a barrier for investors focused on sustainability."
  • The news comes soon after Elon Musk said Tesla would no longer accept payments in bitcoin because of bitcoin mining's fossil fuel use.
  • A number of firms in the cryptocurrency industry are making moves to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Today, the BitMEX derivatives exchange said it is committing to become carbon neutral by offsetting its emissions, as did New York mining firm Greenidge earlier this month.
  • Amid the outcry over crypto-based emissions, other bitcoin mining firms including Argo Blockchain have been stressing that its new facilities are largely powered by hydropower.

UPDATE (12:37 UTC, May 21, 2021): Added comment from Greenpeace USA.

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