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Debate: Crypto vs The Environment

A debate as part of Intelligence Squared Crypto in partnership with EQONEX

The global bitcoin network currently consumes about 110 terawatt-hours of electricity annually through mining, roughly equal to what is consumed by the nation of Argentina. That statistic sounds frightening but is it? A historical study from Our World in Data found that of the greatest contributing factors to climate change, Bitcoin accounts for only 0.13% of annual carbon emissions. So how bad is Bitcoin really?

Proponents of cryptocurrency say that Bitcoin’s energy consumption is often misrepresented to suggest cryptocurrency is damaging to the environment. Energy consumption and carbon emissions are two very different things. And while they may be correlated, emissions are determined by the type of energy used, not the quantity. Bitcoin mining largely uses electricity generated from renewable sources like hydropower – and initiatives like the Crypto Climate Accord are committing crypto producers to go completely net zero by 2040.

But environmentalists say that mining is still a cause for concern particularly because cryptocurrencies are only in their infancy. Greater demand and higher prices will lead to more miners competing to solve puzzles in the fastest time to earn Bitcoin and other crypto tokens, and that will only increase the network’s energy requirements. Crypto miners are likely to go wherever electricity is cheapest and for now that means countries that use cheap fossil fuels like coal.

So is crypto a force against nature? Or can it go green? Join the debate, hear the arguments and decide for yourself.

By registering for the event you can also win a chance to own one of the world’s newest crypto tokens, EQO from our partners EQONEX. Register for the debate for the chance to win a share of $5,000 EQO.



Lyn Alden

Financial analyst and founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy

Financial analyst and founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy. A supporter of the development of Bitcoin, she provides tens of thousands of investors with the latest research, information, and tools to help them build wealth and manage digital assets. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Marketwatch, Time’s Money Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNBC and more.

Alex De Vries

Founder of Digiconomist, a platform dedicated to exposing the unintended consequences of digital trends

Founder of Digiconomist, a platform dedicated to exposing the unintended consequences of digital trends. He started the Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, one of the oldest and most cited sources in the Bitcoin environmental and energy debate. He also works as a data scientist for De Nederlandsche Bank looking at financial economic crime.

Anne McElvoy

Executive Editor of The Economist and host of The Economist Asks podcast

Senior Editor at The Economist and head of Economist Radio podcasts. She is a regular presenter of arts and politics shows on Radio 3 and Radio 4, and a panellist on the BBC's Moral Maze. She also writes a weekly political column on British and European politics for the Evening Standard.


Speakers are subject to change.