Bitcoin’s journey has been marked by unprecedented growth, both in terms of its hash rate and its global influence. What sets this digital currency apart is its remarkable ability to expand while reducing its carbon footprint—a feat that few industries can boast, as Bloomberg analyst Jamie Coutts pointed out. This unique characteristic may well serve as a catalyst for the next wave of institutional investment in Bitcoin.
On September 20, Jamie Coutts revealed a crucial piece of data: Bitcoin’s sustainable energy mix has steadily increased since 2021 and now exceeds 50%. This development has resulted in a slowdown in emissions growth relative to the network’s continuous expansion. As Coutts succinctly puts it,
“Bitcoin as a global monetary network is scaling while its carbon impact declines.”
One of the key drivers behind this environmental shift is the growing emphasis on acquiring the cheapest energy sources. Energy constitutes a significant portion—well over 50%—of the operational costs of Bitcoin mining. This incentivizes miners to seek out cleaner energy options, thereby simultaneously boosting the network’s hash rate and reducing the industry’s carbon intensity.
Carbon intensity measures how clean the electricity used in mining operations is. In the case of BTC , this metric is steadily improving, which is a testament to the industry’s commitment to sustainability.
Bitcoin’s Emissions at All-Time Low
While there has been some debate regarding the exact percentage of sustainable energy used in BTC mining, it is clear that the industry is making significant strides in this direction. Cambridge University’s model, last updated in January 2022, estimated sustainable energy usage at 37.6%. However, climate technology venture investor Daniel Batten argues that this figure may be significantly higher, surpassing the 50% mark. He attributes the discrepancy to the exclusion of off-grid mining and methane mitigation from Cambridge’s calculations.
Moreover, Batten’s findings indicate that BTC’s mining emissions intensity has reached an all-time low. He even predicts that the Bitcoin network will achieve carbon neutrality by December 2024. Looking further into the future, Batten envisions that by 2030, Bitcoin will mitigate ten times more emissions than it produces—a remarkable achievement that underscores the industry’s commitment to sustainability.
In a world grappling with environmental concerns, BTC’s ability to scale while reducing its carbon footprint is a remarkable success story. As more industries seek to align with sustainable practices, BTC’s green evolution could indeed become a compelling reason for institutional and sovereign investment capital to flow into the cryptocurrency space. This not only signifies the maturation of Bitcoin as an asset class but also highlights its potential to play a pivotal role in a more sustainable future.