Environmental Activists Blame Wall Street for Funding Bitcoin Mining Emissions

UTC by Chimamanda U. Martha · 3 min read
Environmental Activists Blame Wall Street for Funding Bitcoin Mining Emissions
Photo: Depositphotos

Greenpeace also accused banks of hypocrisy, noting that they promote green and sustainability goals while simultaneously investing in or financing the crypto mining industry for profits.

Greenpeace USA, a leading environmental advocacy group, is intensifying its campaign against Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, which is notorious for its high energy consumption and significant carbon emissions.

The group has now taken its fight to Wall Street, blaming the trading hub for the world’s largest companies for funding Bitcoin mining operations and helping destroy the planet.

Wall Street Contributes to Bitcoin Pollution

In a recent report titled “Bankrolling Bitcoin Pollution: How Big Finance Supports a New Climate Threat,” Greenpeace highlighted how Wall Street giants such as Trinity Capital, Stone Ridge Holdings, BlackRock, Vanguard, and MassMutual are financially supporting Bitcoin mining operations.

According to the report, these institutions provide incentives and grants that empower miners to continue their environmentally damaging activities.

Greenpeace revealed that in 2022 alone, these companies were responsible for over 1.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 335,000 American homes.

The group stated that Bitcoin mining operations have now become a full commercial industry that requires substantial capital for the construction of facilities and the acquisition of specialized computing equipment for operations.

As a result, miners require financial backing from banks and asset managers to fund their operations. According to the report, these financial companies particularly those on Wall Street are continuously providing cash for the miners to benefit from the gold mine.

Greenpeace also accused banks of hypocrisy, noting that they promote green and sustainability goals while simultaneously investing in or financing the crypto mining industry for profits.

Call for Accountability

Due to the perceived hypocrisy, the group has called on financial companies, including BlackRock, for accountability.

Greenpeace is demanding that these firms disclose the environmental risks associated with their support for the Bitcoin mining industry to shareholders, allowing them to understand how they are helping destroy the environment.

“Banks and asset managers have a duty to disclose risks to their shareholders and clients who are currently missing vital information on the climate risks from Bitcoin,” the report states.

The report also highlights that due to the massive support given to Bitcoin miners, the United States now hosts many mining facilities, which drain electricity around the country. Greenpeace cited Bitcoin miners like Riot Platforms as among the companies contributing high carbon emissions. In 2022, the group estimated that the firm’s mining facility located near Rockdale produces the largest carbon emissions in the US.

War against Bitcoin PoW

Greenpeace has been fighting against Bitcoin’s PoW chain for years, and in 2022 they launched a campaign titled “Change the Code, Not the Climate”.

At the time, the group demanded that Bitcoin developers rewrite the protocol’s code to a less energy-intensive algorithm like Proof-of-Stake (PoS).

The group even called on Fidelity Investments to join its fight against Bitcoin when it filed a petition to the government to reduce the “outrageous power consumption miners utilize in the United States”.

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