Peter McCormack, co-founder of Coinmetrics, and Nic Carter argued that the “White House is wrong about Bitcoin mining” during the latest episode of WhatBitcoinDid.
The report in question was one of several commissioned by President Biden via an Executive Order in March.
Carter claimed that the White House reached out to him for comment on the report, but they “didn’t listen” and “disregarded everything” he had to say. He added:
“[The White House] are not completely unaware of what Bitcoiners have to say about mining. They’re just very dismissive of those things.”
Further, Carter alleged that the report “disparaged a lot of the mitigating factors” that Bitcoiners have raised against criticisms of Bitcoin mining. He was also “disappointed” by the lack of apparent original research in the report claiming it simply rehashed historical arguments that the Bitcoin community has addressed.
While Carter asserted that other tech industries also receive scrutiny over energy usage, he believes that Bitcoin received “disproportionate attention” regarding the matter. On this topic, Carter stated that the report’s conclusion posited that Bitcoin miners should be held to higher standards than other industries in terms of net energy usage and consumption.
Carter was also critical of the Biden administration’s approach to ESG initiatives by reducing domestic gas production within the U.S. amid a global energy crisis. He argued that there is
“An incredible abundance of energy within this country, and it’s not really being taken advantage of. Instead we’re in a weaker position and having to go to countries that don’t like us very much and beg them to increase production.”
Carter said he is not a fossil fuel advocate and does believe that the world needs an energy transition, but at the moment, “it’s being done in an imprudent way.”
Carter also discussed the energy issues where Bitcoin is taking advantage of inefficiencies in the energy sector. Gas flaring is a process by which natural gas is burnt and thus wasted due to a lack of infrastructure to deliver it as it is being mined. Companies such as Exxon Mobil have experimented with using the otherwise wasted gas to mine Bitcoin with some success.
However, Carter does not believe this is a growth sector for Bitcoin mining, instead pointing to areas where energy producers struggle to sell power at night as a source for Bitcoin energy supply.
A lack of “good bottom-up studies” is partly to blame for the perception of Bitcoin mining, as McCormack highlighted a need to understand the current amount of underutilized energy that Bitcoin miners are using. Cater summarized the issue as a “data problem,” leading to “sweeping conclusions” in the White House report instead of undertaking additional research.
Further, Carter alleged that the government had cited reports funded by proof-of-stake protocols about proof-of-work data.
“There are these academics who have this Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute, and they are funded by proof-of-stake protocols to create ESG reports… they have an anti-proof-of-work bias.”
One facet of the report where Carter saw value was increased transparency from publicly traded Bitcoin miners. However, a recommendation that Congress consider banning Bitcoin mining is one with which he does not align. Carter believes miners elsewhere would be empowered, and Bitcoin’s “overall emissions footprint would go up.”
McCormack said at the end of the podcast that “we need progressives to understand that Bitcoin is actually a progressive idea.” The conversation culminated in the assumption that a Democrat-led Congress would be more likely to pass a ban on Bitcoin than a Republican Congress.
The full podcast can be viewed via the link in the Tweet below.
WBD571 – The White House is Wrong About Bitcoin Mining with @nic__carter. We discuss:
– The Report’s lack of academic rigour
– Looming regulations & mining bans
– Where #Bitcoin mining wins
– What we can dohttps://t.co/JhBlMiQGU7 pic.twitter.com/jR8zLjVJCz
— What Bitcoin Did (@WhatBitcoinDid) October 24, 2022