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Unpacking Hostile Media Narratives About Bitcoin’s Environmental Impact

Unpacking Hostile Media Narratives About Bitcoin’s Environmental Impact

Rhetoric about Bitcoin’s environmental impact just became too much for one CCN correspondent recently, who wrote an editorial in an attempt to put the record straight; or at least bring some balance to the argument.

A recent Bitcoin News article recently tried to address the same debate after the much-publicized Alex de Vries article last year in Science Direct, forecasting that Bitcoin mining would comprise 0.5% of total global electricity consumption by the end of 2018, and was consuming 2.5 gigawatts (GW). It was the first scientific peer-reviewed paper on Bitcoin mining energy usage and caused much consternation in cryptocurrency circles at the time.

This was combated by a Coin Shares research analysis which claimed that Bitcoin mining consumes 35 TWh annually, 0.14% of global capacity and less than the energy consumption the tiny European nation of Luxembourg. Alex de Vries was then accused of an overly simplistic approach to his calculations.

Too much for CCN’s Wes Messamore, who had to take to task the seemingly “multiple articles castigating Bitcoin as a harbinger of environmental degradation and destruction”. Messamore accused the mainstream media of painting Bitcoin as “one of the four horsemen of the environmental apocalypse”.

He cited one editor’s accusation that mining contributed “20 megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere a year—as much as the whole Republic of Ireland?” as a clear error given that, as Messamore pointed out, “a megaton is not a measure of the mass of a compound like CO2, it’s a unit of explosive energy”. What the writer should have written was a metric ton, not megaton, possibly?

Another interesting comparison to Bitcoin’s atmospheric destruction. Google estimates that it released 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2010, with Facebook’s annual carbon emissions in the 300,000 range, using its own figures. Banks don’t fair to well either, the CCN writer points out:

“Using all of the publicly available information about the global banking system, a very conservative calculation will yield an estimate that the institutional banking uses 100 terawatt-hours of electricity per year while the Bitcoin network’s annual electricity consumption is less than a third of that amount.”

Back to the drawing board; time to get the facts right regarding Bitcoin’s impact on the environment. There’s bound to be another claim along in the not too distant future.

 

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Sell or Hodl? Crypto Traders Seek Direction in Fluctuating Market

With uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market and a sudden drop in Bitcoin’s value overnight, investors are again posed with the sell or hold dilemma, but many experts maintain that increased demand for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) augers well for the flagship digital currency in the long term.

Long-term forecasters say that Bitcoin has a strong likelihood of becoming a reliable store of value and a viable payment mechanism. Experts point to rising futures volumes and increased institutional participation in trading as positive outcomes going forward.

Historically, negative news hits the market with a crash, such as the SEC’s rejection of nine cryptocurrency ETFs in August, despite the US regulator stressing it “emphasizes that its disapproval does not rest on an evaluation of whether Bitcoin, or blockchain technology more generally, has utility or value as an innovation or an investment”.

Signs are that despite this latest drop in market prices, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is healthy with daily trading almost doubling its total just days ago. Crypto advisory firm Autonomy’s co-founder Ricky Lee suggests, “For our trading activities, the [upcoming Bitcoin Cash] hard fork recently has generated tremendous interest and trading volume, above 4 billion daily, among traders.”

With Bitcoin’s value shedding almost USD 1,000 in just a few hours late yesterday, Willy Woo, the founder of data analytics site Woobull suggests that overnight recovery is highly unlikely and the current market trend may continue well into 2019. CNN Bitcoin analysts suggest that USD 5,633 is looking to be the current interim resistance level, but a break below that support would have the effect of scaring off investors. Conversely, a break above this level would suggest a long position at USD 5,712.

Looking for factors as to why the drop happened, whether it be Bitcoin futures or the Bitcoin Cash fork, there are suggestions that the effect of the sell-offs in tech stocks led by Apple on Wednesday are making their mark on cryptocurrency prices, although most point to the current uncertainty around so-called altcoins Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum, both poised for fundamental and controversial changes in development and infrastructure.

 

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