As you might expect, there’s been no shortage of reaction to Elon Musk’s announcement that Tesla has decided to pause accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.
One common argument put forward — including by the likes of Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano — is that environmental concerns are misplaced because “75% of miners use renewable energy.”
This figure appears to be based on research from Coinshares, but it’s important to stress that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. A September 2020 report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance suggests that 76% of miners do use renewable energy to some extent — but overall, just 39% of the power consumed by Bitcoin comes from eco-friendly sources.
‘Bitcoin Saves the Planet’
Others, such as the entrepreneur Jeff Booth, argued that Bitcoin actually saves the planet because it serves as an alternative to an inflationary monetary system that must grow forever — adding that the cryptocurrency also helps encourage innovation in the renewable energy sector.
It’s also claimed that Bitcoin is unfairly targeted for the amount of electricity it consumes, when other sectors also have a big environmental footprint. One Twitter user shared a statistic (again from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance) that suggests the amount of electricity consumed every year by always on but inactive home devices in the U.S. alone could power the BTC network for 1.5 years.
And another overarching theme concerns allegations that Musk may be manipulating the market through his tweets on Bitcoin — not least because he holds the asset himself.
One of the most vocal critics was Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, who claimed Musk “is playing with people’s futures and their fortunes.” Portnoy added:
“He has been pulling the levers like the Wizard of Oz on crypto, and everyone’s following his every move — he’s sending Dogecoin up, he's sending Bitcoin down, this is bullshit.”