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Greenpeace’s Bankrolling Bitcoin Pollution Report

by Madaline Dunn

A new report from environmental campaigning organisation Greenpeace titled ‘Bankrolling Bitcoin Pollution: How Big Finance Supports a New Climate Threat’ provides some of the first independent estimates of the carbon emissions from the biggest bitcoin mining companies in this space, alongside insights into the top financiers.

Greenpeace outlines that the current Bitcoin mining landscape looks very different to the early days of mining on laptops and that activities today are dominated by the commercial industry.

Bitcoin mining is now an energy-intensive and resource-heavy industry, which Greenpeace said is creating a “lifeline for fossil fuels.”

Indeed, the report identifies the top five Bitcoin mining companies with the most carbon emissions in 2022 as:

  • Marathon Digital,
  • Hut 8,
  • Bitfarms,
  • Riot Platforms, and
  • Core Scientific.

These companies had combined emissions of 4.3 million metric tons of CO2.

To put this into context, Greenpeace noted that this is as much carbon emissions as the electricity used by 1.5 million U.S. homes in a year, more than all the houses in Chicago, Illinois.

Moreover, all 20 of the large publicly-traded Bitcoin mining companies in the study generated as much carbon emissions as two coal power plants in a year, over 7.8 million metric tons of CO2.

The report also outlines that there is little scrutiny of how investments from traditional finance companies are enabling Bitcoin mining companies’ carbon-intensive operations.

According to the report, the top financiers in the space are Trinity Capital, Stone Ridge Holdings, BlackRock, Vanguard, and MassMutual.

These financial companies were found to account for over 1.7 million metric tons of CO2 in 2022. This, the report said, is equal to the emissions from over 335,000 American homes using electricity for a year.

For the full Bankrolling Bitcoin Pollution report, head here.

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