Bitcoin Under Fire: Growing Scrutiny on Environmental Impact

• Bitcoin is under attack by Elon Musk and the European Commission, who have expressed concern over its environmental impact.
• The Markets in Crypto-Asset Regulation (MiCA) was passed in April 2022, but some MEPs tried to push through a ban on bitcoin mining and trading.
• Greenpeace USA launched an anti-Bitcoin campaign in the summer of 2021 that further stoked the fires of public opinion against the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin has been facing increasing scrutiny in recent months, as some of the world’s most influential figures have expressed their concerns over its environmental impact. Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla, recently announced that his company would no longer accept Bitcoin as a means of payment due to its carbon footprint and energy costs. Similarly, Wikipedia and Greenpeace USA have both launched campaigns against the crypto-currency.

The European Commission took a step towards regulating Bitcoin in April 2022, when the Markets in Crypto-Asset Regulation (MiCA) was passed. However, some MEPs attempted to push through a ban on Bitcoin mining and trading during the draft law, although their efforts ultimately failed.

This summer, Greenpeace USA launched a campaign specifically targeting Bitcoin, further fuelling the public’s negative perception of the cryptocurrency. The organisation specifically pointed to the amount of energy consumed by Bitcoin mining, arguing that it is significantly higher than the energy consumed by traditional banking methods. The campaign has been met with mixed reactions, with some commentators arguing that the environmental impact of Bitcoin is being unfairly exaggerated.

Regardless of the environmental concerns, it is clear that Bitcoin is becoming increasingly subject to regulation, and this will likely continue in the months and years to come. There is a growing consensus that more must be done to make the cryptocurrency more sustainable, and it is likely that further steps will be taken to ensure that the energy consumed by Bitcoin mining is reduced. Meanwhile, it is also likely that the public’s perception of Bitcoin will continue to be shaped by campaigns such as those launched by Greenpeace USA.