Ripple co-founder wants something done about Bitcoin’s carbon footprint

Ripple co-founder and executive chairman Chris Larsen want something done about Bitcoin’s carbon footprint.


Ripple Chris Larsen wants Bitcoin to be like XRP

In an interview with Bloomberg, the billionaire said that bitcoin’s Proof of Work consensus is long overdue for an overhaul, and as a result, he lobbied various climate activist groups, including Greenpeace, to launch the campaign “Change the Code, Not the Climate”, with a $5 million fund to support the momentum.

The campaign aims to pressure the bitcoin developer community to change the way bitcoin transactions are performed, paying particular attention to the energy it consumes when it comes to mining block rewards.

“We are in this campaign for the long haul, but we are hoping, particularly since bitcoin is now being financed by entities and individuals who care about climate change, that we can compel leadership to agree that this is a problem that needs to be addressed,” said Michael Brune, a former executive director of the Sierra Club who is now in charge of the campaign.

A recent report by Cambridge University’s Center for Alternative Finance stated that Bitcoin consumes as much electricity as medium-sized European countries and more than Sweden; Larsen said that he believes that if the problem of Bitcoin’s energy consumption is not addressed right now, ‘in five years, Bitcoin can consume as much electricity as Japan’.
Since 2020, the United States has played host to a large number of miners, seeing a dramatic increase in the global hash rate. Currently, the US is the largest bitcoin mining country, accounting for 40% of the global hash rate.

However, while Bitcoin mining is a good thing for most crypto users, a large number of prominent players, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, have been raising environmental concerns. environment such as high energy consumption and light emitted from mining farms.

Furthermore, according to Larsen,

“plenty of miners are repurposing old coal & gas plants and not being responsible stewards of the amount of power they’re increasingly using” hence jacking up energy bills for residents or sucking power from the grid regardless of overload, which is unacceptable.

Larsen now wants Bitcoin miners to be incentivized to remove carbon from the atmosphere by switching to a low-energy consensus mechanism like Proof-of-Stake. For him, this will require changing the network’s code to make Bitcoin less energy-intensive than XRP, Solana, Cardano, and Ethereum, who are slated to upgrade to PoS later in the year and are expected to cut energy consumption by 99%.

“Now, with Ethereum changing, Bitcoin really is the outlier,” Larsen added. “Some of the newer protocols like Solana, Cardano are built on low energy.”

As Larsen’s campaign doesn’t align with the broader crypto community, Blockstream CSO Samson Mow and many other crypto experts have expressed their displeasure with the proposed radical change.

“Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen is bankrolling a $5 million ad campaign calling on Bitcoin-friendly CEOs to switch the network to proof of stake. Perhaps he prefers a world where CEOs can centrally control the future of a cryptocurrency network,” – said Coin Center’s Neeraj K. Agrawal.

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