Renewable energies, jobs: an analyst dissects preconceived ideas about bitcoin

Social networks have seen the anti- and pro-crypto factions harden in recent days, with standard bearers that everything seems to oppose on bitcoin. The camp of disbelief denouncing the vices of the original cryptocurrency against that of professional enthusiasm insisting on the virtues.

Two thought software clash. Senior official versus blockchain consultant. Supporter of monetary creation in the service of ecology versus rectifier of intellectual dishonesty against bitcoin.

On the one hand, Nicolas Dufrêne, economist director of the Rousseau Institute, co-author of the book Ecological currency, manifesto for public funding of the green transition, and co-signer in December of a forum in The world went viral. It must be said that there is bitcoin curb, condemning it without further ado to economic and social uselessness, if not an environmental disaster.

On the other hand, Alexandre Stachtchenko, co-founder of the center of expertise in decentralized web technologies Blockchain Partner, passed under the flag of the consultancy giant KPMG, and author of a recent column published in the excellent newsletter 21 million now having gospel value in the cryptosphere: Survival manual in the jungle of anti-Bitcoin clichés.

Going against preconceived ideas about bitcoin: pragmatic examples

Not content with the influence of his good news, the survivalist advisor posted his’director’s cut ‘ on Medium, a significantly increased edition of the said pro-bitcoin manual (about fifteen pages!) (37 minutes of reading time!) but also copiously sourced (65 references).

Alexander Stashchenko takes advantage of the format to deconstruct in more detail the errors and inaccuracies he attributes to his opponent, with arguments already present in the short version of his initial plea. At the risk of responding to commonplace phrases with other commonplace phrases, he takes care to add concrete examples of the uses of technology:

Bitcoin is an industry like any other “, Notes the crypto director of KPMG. In the sense that the blockchain network creates value, income and mechanically taxes.

He then points out that two of the 18 French unicorns (these companies valued at the symbolic amount of the billion dollars) come from the world of cryptos “ of which bitcoin is the lead car: Ledger and Sorare “.

As a reminder, the startup Ledger is the world leader in manufacturers of hardware wallets, and the young company Sorare, another world reference but of fantasy sport with its blockchain gaming platform at the crossroads of Panini cards and the Football Manager game.

In other words, hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in France. As well as a ” reindustrialisation in places affected by globalization », Pin Alexandre Stachtchenko, citing in particular the Ledger factory in Vierzon.

More generally, he continues, the crypto industry is showing a relatively good distribution on the territory : BigBlock DC in Nantes, StackinSat in Biarritz, Woleet in Rennes, Just Mining in Metz… In addition, these are profitable companies. ” We tend to forget it, but it has become quite rare in new technologies “, Quipped the blockchain expert. ” Not bad for a sector that is not 10 years old, and where the majority of companies are struggling to even open a bank account, right?

Let us add in passing the intangible asset, in all senses of the word, as the detractors of bitcoin are struggling to identify it while it participates in the underlying value of the cryptocurrency: the human community structured by and for this industrial ecosystem, very often involved in what it believes is part of a social project.

Source: Nino Barbey for Numerama

Energy costs / benefits bitcoins

Another point as controversial as rarely debated with objectivity, the electrical gluttony of bitcoin. Condition sine qua non network security (it’s not a bug, it’s a critical feature), its environmental impact is still biased.

So, rather than arguing that a universal monetary system like bitcoin does not come without cost, Alexander Stashchenko maintains that the energy-intensive aspect represents a boon compared to… renewable energies (ENR).

Non-controllable and intermittent sources, renewable energies have a major economic handicap, he reminds us: we must install a production capacity much greater than the necessary consumption. This generates a “lost” energy, the storage remaining extremely complicated and expensive.

However, suggests the crypto consultant, to make profitable, sustainable and accelerate the deployment of these renewable energies, in order to meet climate objectives for example, there is an extremely mobile industry, capable of setting up anywhere, to absorb the surpluses of energy. energy when they are present, and go elsewhere when the electricity network is developed or when it is no longer necessary: ​​bitcoin mining.

The French miner Sébastien Gouspillou and his company Big Block DataCenter are carrying out precisely this work in many countries, including recent El Salvador which wishes to take advantage of its geothermal resources. Says Stashchenko. And punctuate: “ In Congo, it thus participates in slowing deforestation, by making it possible to make profitable the creation of hydroelectric power stations and the network that goes with them, in order to substitute electricity for wood for local populations.. “

What to be green?

Hard to think of bitcoin miners absorbing excess energy and not competing with other industries or residential users. Especially when the news hammers power cuts in Kosovo or Kazakhstan.

Yet even the very conservative University of Cambridge, responsible for the much-publicized Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI), observes this phenomenon of exploitation of wasted energy assets.

Accurately quantifying the share of renewable energies in cryptocurrency mining remains a challenge of which the technological nature of bitcoin is the main obstacle (decentralization and pseudonymization of miners). The estimates are therefore based on assumptions, with best and worst scenarios to set a “theoretically possible” consumption.

Cambridge estimated the proportion of green electricity to be around 40% before the boycott of activities by China in 2021. Other data from the crypto lobby such as the Bitcoin Mining Council even suggests rates already close to 60%.

A private sector initiative supported by the UN, the Crypto Climate Accord, aims to achieve carbon neutrality within the next decade with a 100% sustainable energy mix. Among the industrial backers, we find among others the French group Engie, the blockchain subsidiary of EDF or, to name just three examples, KPMG.

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