News in the wee hours of Pacific Standard Time just hit the Twittersphere. Yes, you can probably guess whose tweets we’re talking about by now:
While this is likely to be met with applause by the hard money Silicon Valley macro-tourists who like to post graphs of America’s exponential money supply as proof of inflation, we’re not quite sure how it fits into Tesla’s mission of accelerating “the world’s transition to sustainable energy”.
We’re not the first to point this out by any means, but bitcoin is dreadful for the environment. Still don’t believe it? Well Bank of America published an excellent report last week (which can be found on David Gerard’s blog), on the dominant digital coin. And, in particular, its carbon impact.
Here are a few choice stats.
Bitcoin -- or to be more precise, bitcoin mining -- currently consumes more energy than Greece, and a touch less than the Netherlands. In theory, it wouldn’t be so much of an issue if mining was powered by renewable energy, but 72 per cent of mining is concentrated in China, where nearly two-thirds of all electricity is generated by coal power.
For the moment then, bitcoin has carbon emissions that sit comfortably between American Airlines’s output, the world’s largest airline which currently carries 200m passengers per year, and the entire US Federal government.
Perhaps the most relevant stat of all, however, is this one:
And the blurb (with our emphasis):
Tesla’s average selling price in the fourth quarter of 2020? $49,333.
We’re not sure about you, but FT Alphaville is struggling to square the circle of “buy a Tesla with a bitcoin and create the carbon output of 60 internal combustion engine cars” with its legendary environmental ambitions.
Unless, of course, that was never the point in the first place.