Tesla’s bitcoin investment reignites mining FUD.

By dropping $1.5 billion into bitcoin, Tesla inadvertently rekindled the popular media narrative of criticizing Bitcoin’s energy consumption.  Mainstream media chided the electric vehicle manufacturer for betraying its climate-friendly aspirations by investing in bitcoin.

Everyone from Reuters to The Verge to the Los Angeles Times wrote articles about the ostensible inconsistency between Tesla’s climate-friendly agenda and its bitcoin investment. (Cue a windmill brain wojak.)

But the facts haven’t changed in the past decade. If anything, bitcoin mining energy consumption has a hugely net positive effect on the environment, and outrage from activist naysayers is fueled by incredible ignorance.

Anecdotes from large-scale mining operations in Russia , Nordic countries, and elsewhere suggest that a significant portion of the Bitcoin network is powered by renewable sources. Recent estimates of how much total mining activity is powered by renewable energy range from 40% to over 70%.

There's also a growing number of miners who are making use of energy that would otherwise be stranded. Some miners have partnered with oil and gas companies to limit flaring and repurpose that fuel for mining. In these cases, the more energy bitcoin mining consumes, the better! Instead of mining bitcoin, would any serious environmentalist actually prefer the gas to be flared?

Diligent students of Satoshi Nakamoto will remember that Satoshi referenced gold mining to contextualize the inevitable increase in energy consumption for digital gold mining. Here's what they wrote:

“Gold mining is a waste, but that waste is far less than the utility of having gold available as a medium of exchange. I think the case will be the same for Bitcoin. The utility of the exchanges made possible by Bitcoin will far exceed the cost of electricity used.  Therefore, not having Bitcoin would be the net waste.

In other words (and with a bit of added snark), bitcoin mining only “wastes” energy because critics dislike bitcoin. The environmental critics are the product of a deep-seated anti-bitcoin bias, not from a preponderance of facts.

Bonus: For a short summary of bitcoin’s environmental effects, watch this six-minute interview of Castle Island Ventures co-founder Nic Carter on Bloomberg TV.

Bitcoin mining revenue set a new record.

Bitcoin miners brought in over $354 million last week, setting a new record for weekly revenue, according to estimates based on network fees and block subsidies.

The previous weekly record was from mid December 2017 near the peak of the cryptocurrency market’s previous bullish market cycle.

Over 15% of last week’s revenue came from transaction fees.

The weekly record comes on the heels of an all-time monthly revenue record over $1.1 billion from January . As the price is consistently setting new record highs, it’s not unreasonable to expect daily, weekly, and monthly mining revenue to follow suit.

Other Highlights

Bitcoin finally passes $50,000.

  • After struggling for several days, bitcoin finally broke above the $50,000 mark. The continued price gains came after a week filled with positive news, including multiple big banks announcing cryptocurrency product offerings and considering investing in bitcoin. So far in 2021, bitcoin’s gains have extended to nearly 70%.

Mining difficulty set to increase again.

  • On Friday, Bitcoin’s difficulty is set to adjust upward for the fourth consecutive epoch. The expected increase is just above 4%, pushing difficulty to 22.3 trillion.

Riot Blockchain names a new CEO.

  • Jason Les is the new CEO of Riot after serving as an independent board member since 2017. The company’s former CEO Jeff McGonegal is returning to his role as CFO after holding both positions since 2019.

Urkel mining pool adds bitcoin and 48 other assets.

  • A new mining pool made a splash with it’s launch of mining for bitcoin and 48 other proof-of-work assets, according to a press release. Per the announcement, the pool is available to retail miners and institutional (i.e., exchanges, custodians, lenders) alike.

Canaan’s CFO resigns.

  • Canaan’s CFO Quanfu Hong resigned for “personal reasons,” the company announced recently. Former director of finance Tong He will replace Hong.

Compute North raised $25 million.

  • Compute North closed a recent funding round of $25 million in debt financing and equity as it eyes continued growth. Per the announcement , the company currently has more than 920 PH/s under management.