The New York Times’ recent article about Bitcoin (BTC) mining, titled “The Real-World Costs of the Digital Race for Bitcoin,” has stirred up controversy among BTC supporters who took to Twitter to criticize certain aspects of the report, accusing it of “cherry-picking” data. The NYT article claimed that Bitcoin mining has an enormous appetite and consumes as much energy as all homes in New York City combined. In response, Daniel Batten, a Bitcoin environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analyst, pointed out what he believed was the large-scale manipulation of data, along with the neglect of increased usage of renewable energy in the mining sector.
Batten tweeted, stating that the NYT article greatly exaggerated the actual fossil fuel use of Bitcoin miners, with emission levels being overestimated by an average of 81.7%. He also stated that the report was “using overwhelmingly incomplete datasets to support a thesis.”
Batten also mentioned that there are 26 Bitcoin miners in the United States and Canada using 90% sustainable energy to fuel their mining activities, but the NYT article chose just two and focused on the sites least backed by renewable energy. Troy Cross, another Bitcoin supporter, claimed that the NYT article used “marginal emissions accounting” to back up its narrative, focusing solely on carbon emissions and neglecting generation.
It’s a shame, because I know months of work went into it, and the photography, layout, and graphics are superb as always.
— Troy Cross (@thetrocro) April 10, 2023
Dennis Porter, CEO of the Satoshi Act Fund, pointed out that the NYT article contained an error in its initial reporting, as it named the incorrect town in which a BTC mining facility in Texas was based. The publication later corrected the mistake.
Wow. The NYT couldn’t even take the time to fact check the town that #Bitcoin mining is taking place in.
It’s to Rockdale, Texas. Not Rockland.
These are not serious people. pic.twitter.com/72ed3uIiga
— Dennis Porter (@Dennis_Porter_) April 10, 2023
Pierre Rochard, vice president of research at BTC mining firm Riot,accused the NYT of using “fictitious fractional-reserve carbon accounting” and “cooking the books to fabricate emissions.” Another Twitter user named Hakanhighlighted certain sections that they thought were fear-mongering.
While the high energy consumption required for Bitcoin mining remains a topic of debate, mining remains a vital aspect of the blockchain. This is because it not only verifies transactions but also decentralizes the system and provides an additional layer of security.
Related: Bill protecting Bitcoin mining rights passes in Arkansas Senate and House
According to the Bitcoin Mining Council’s report for Q4 of 2022, the Bitcoin network is already a leader in using sustainable energy, with 58.9% of its energy derived from renewable sources.
Bitcoin mining has always been a controversial topic, with mainstream outlets often publishing articles claiming that it has a net negative impact on the environment. However, many BTC supporters view these articles as hit pieces and are swift to provide an opposing viewpoint. Others are actively advocating for a shift in Bitcoin’s mining consensus to the more eco-friendly proof-of-stake.
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