Bill Gates Slams Bitcoin's Impact on Environment

In a recent interview with the New York Times, the tycoon claimed that the production of Bitcoin - as it currently exists - is hurting the planet.
Bill Gates Slams Bitcoin's Impact on Environment
Image credit: REUTERS | Gus Ruelas

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Entrepreneur Staff
3 min read
This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

The Bitcoin boom during 2020 and so far this year has caused many to be dazzled by the potential gains, ignoring its downside. That is not the case of Bill Gates, who, during a talk, explained why cryptocurrency, even being virtual, is a harmful product for the planet.

During a recent interview, the Microsoft co-founder highlighted the negative impact that Bitcoin has on the environment.

"Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind," Gates told The New York Times, adding that "it's not a big climate thing."

The billionaire clarified that if electronic currency were generated from environmentally friendly energy sources, he would change his mind.

"If it's green electricity and it doesn't displace other uses, eventually, you know, maybe that's okay," Gates said.

The philanthropist is also one of the great promoters of the climate agenda. During a chat on the Clubhouse social network, he revealed his plans to create a more "ecofriendly" digital financial instrument.

“There are other ways of making digital currency, in which our foundation is involved [...] transactions [of this currency] are not secret, they are reversible. You can't use it to get a ransom or something like that, and [...] the transaction fees are so low that they are empowering the poorest,” he said.

How harmful is Bitcoin?

Studies indicate that the annual carbon emissions from the electricity generated to extract and process Bitcoin are equivalent to the amount emitted by New Zealand or Argentina.

The publication indicated that there are still disagreements about how big the carbon footprint of cryptocurrencies is, "but nobody disputes that it is big." Also, because of the way the industry works, the more popular Bitcoin becomes, the higher its carbon footprint.

Other actions against the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies

Right now, the price of Bitcoin is hovering around $ 56,000 per unit and has a market capital of $1.06 trillion. Therefore, it is not surprising that more and more companies and financial institutions are investing directly in cryptocurrency or accepting transactions with it.



On the other hand, there is growing international concern about stopping climate change and the need to implement actions in favor of the environment. Given this, some shareholders are pressuring companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

For example, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, promised to invest $ 10 million in developing cleaner technologies for the production of the cryptocurrency. In turn, Aker Solutions, an international engineering company based in Oslo (Norway), will build Bitcoin mining facilities that use renewable energy.

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