Executive chairman and co-founder of Ripple, Chris Larsen, has joined Greenpeace as well as other climate groups, for launching a new campaign with the purpose of changing Bitcoin’s code. The campaign’s aim is to ‘change the code, not the climate’ and wants Bitcoin to have a consensus model that is more environmentally friendly. They want to pressurize key industry leaders, influencers like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk as well as bitcoin miners, to move to a new consensus model. The campaign said that even if 30 people, which include exchanges, bitcoin miners and the developers building and contributing to Bitcoin’s code, decide to shift to a low energy protocol or reinvent the PoW mining method, it could prevent Bitcoin from harming the planet.
Greenpeace has highlighted concerns that fossil fuels are used for generating the energy used to mine Bitcoin and that miners are fueling their operations with the use of associated natural gas and coal waste. For almost seven years, starting from 2014 till May 2021, Greenpeace had been open to accepting donations in Bitcoin, but then it announced that it was putting a stop to these donations because of the environmental concerns. This was around the same time that Bitcoin payments were stopped for Tesla vehicles by the company’s chief executive, Elon Musk.
Ethereum also currently uses the same proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm as Bitcoin. However, it is in its final stages of a complicated and lengthy process that would change it to a proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism. According to Greenpeace, this new mechanism is a lot less harmful because it does not consume the same amount of energy. Larsen said that Bitcoin would become the outlier with Ethereum changing. He also said that a number of newer protocols, including Cardano and Solana, are all using low energy.
He added that he owns both Ethereum and Bitcoin and wants to see the two cryptocurrencies succeed. However, he also stated that Bitcoin was moving down an unsustainable path. The co-founder of Ripple went on to say that if his concerns were only about competition with Ripple, he wouldn’t have a problem in letting Bitcoin continue. Some of the world’s biggest mining companies currently have about 5,000 BTC, which has a value of more than $237 million at the time of writing. Furthermore, data indicates that mining companies with the highest Bitcoin reserves are also boosting their hash rates.
Greenpeace stated in its manifesto that it understood that there is an incentive for Bitcoin stakeholders to not change the consensus mechanism, as it would render their rather expensive equipment much less valuable. This would mean that they would have to implement sunk costs, or come up with other creative solutions. A bitcoin researcher named ChrisBendiksen, who works at CoinShares, also talked about the matter. He said that there was 0% chance of Bitcoin moving to the proof-of-stake mechanism. He said that Bitcoiners did not have any intention of destroying the protocol’s security by making such a move. Greenpeace did not respond to the comment.