Bill Gates has a bone to pick with Bitcoin (BTC) – and any cryptocurrency, for that matter.
Unlike some of his billionaire counterparts, the Microsoft co-founder and climate activist isn’t a fan of the digital coin.
Why? The energy required to process it is too heavy on the world’s resources, the self-described “Bitcoin skeptic” argues.
“Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind,” Gates said in an interview on audio-based social network platform Clubhouse with New York Times.
“It’s not a great climate thing.”
But he isn’t against it on principle: if it isn’t so bad if it uses cleaner sources of power.
“If it’s green electricity and it’s not crowding out other uses, eventually, you know, maybe that’s OK,” Gates added.
The resource-intensiveness of Bitcoin has been documented: Bitcoin mining reportedly generates 37 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every single year.
A recent study from Cambridge University indicated that Bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire country of Argentina or Norway.
Other voices have also spoken against Bitcoin’s environmental damage, with Société Générale bank Kleinwort Hambros’ chief investment officer describing bitcoin’s energy use as “staggering”.
Indeed, the process of mining a single Bitcoin isn’t easy and can’t be done on a typical laptop: it requires the might of ‘super-computers’ that are hard at work coming up with complex computational solutions.
The cryptocurrency, which skyrocketed in popularity and investment recently, is currently worth more than $73,000.
Gates is well-known for his climate work, stepping down from the Microsoft board shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic struck to focus on climate challenges.
He published a new book in mid-February titled ‘How to Avoid a Climate’ which outlines his solutions for eliminating greenhouse emissions.