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Renewable Power Increased By 1% To 58.5%, According To A 2021 Q4 Survey

Bitcoin mining and its environmental footprint have always been a hot topic among Bitcoin naysayers, claiming that validating transactions using the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism is actually bad for the environment.

A recent survey by the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) provided more clarity on renewable energy usage, noting that the usage increased by 1% to 58,5% during the last quarter of 2021.

The voluntary global forum of Bitcoin mining companies added that it successfully collected sustainable energy information from over 46% of the global Bitcoin network, as of December 31, 2021. The BMC includes some of the world’s leading blockchain companies and mining facilities such as Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy, Bit Digital, BitFury, Bitfarms and Atlas Mining, and other industry organizations.

Furthermore, the consortium noted that in Q4, the global Bitcoin network’s estimated technological efficiency grew by 9%, from Q3 2021 to 19.3 petahash per MW.

Saylor, who is the founder and CEO of MicroStrategy, echoed the finding in the survey, stressed that numerous factors drove the change in energy consumption:

“This quarter we saw the trend continue with dramatic improvements to Bitcoin mining energy efficiency & sustainability due to advances in semiconductor technology, the rapid expansion of North American mining, the China Exodus, and worldwide rotation toward sustainable energy and modern mining techniques,” Saylor added.

Whether or not Bitcoin mining has an environmental impact and its extent have been a topic for debate, even reaching institutional bodies like the U.S. Congress, which is now preparing to take a thorough look at the energy impacts of Proof-of-Work blockchains.

The debate induced a hearing by the U.S House Committee on Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee, with several witnesses testifying. One of them is Ari Juels - a famous Bitcoin critic, who, ironically took part in defining and introducing the term Proof-of-Work in 1999.

However, the hearing would also see testimonies by Brian Brooks, former U.S. Comptroller of the Currency and Binance.US CEO. In November 2021, Brooks joined BitFury, a major player in the crypto mining industry, as CEO.

Meanwhile, head of policy at the Blockchain Association Jake Chervinsky found basic errors in the hearing memo, which may add to the tension.

“The House E&C Committee published a 9-page memo for this week's hearing on crypto's energy use. It's not all bad, but commits basic errors, like repeating the fallacy of "per transaction" carbon emissions.” Chervinsky tweeted.

As the debate intensifies, Bitcoin miners are on the lookout for sustainable energy sources, as the public, shareholder, and government pressure escalates. Several investors even opted for purchasing mining companies’ shares only if they prove the usage of sustainable energy. Some mining company owners even reached the extra mile, adding nuclear energy in the mix of clean, carbon-free energy.

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