- A memo published in advance of a crypto mining hearing has highlighted the inaccuracies perpetuated by so-called studies
- The memo cited ‘research’ that cites “approximate figures”
- The report also doesn’t name any of the “external sources” from which it got its data
The forthcoming congressional hearing over the impact of cryptocurrency mining is not one that the crypto industry is particularly looking forward to, and if the preliminary notes are anything to go by then it’s clear to see why. The 9-page memo released ahead of the hearing contains a number of statistics that paint the crypto mining space in a very bad light, but one look into the sources for those statistics illustrates that these arguments are based on, ironically, clear, thin air.
Crypto Mining Carbon Footprint Called Into Question
The Oversight and Investigations committee hearing, called ‘Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains’, is due to take place on Thursday, with representatives from BitFury, Soluna Computing, and Cornell among those giving testimony and answering questions.
The memo released prior to the hearing contains a number of negative statistics for the crypto mining community to argue against, including the following startling one:
According to research on PoW cryptocurrencies’ carbon footprint in 2020, a single ETH transaction added more than 90 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere, while a single BTC transaction added more than 1,000 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere.
This apparently means that “the energy required for a BTC transaction could power a home for more than 70 days.” Cue gnashing of teeth. It’s important of course to verify such claims, so let’s do that right now and see where we end up.
Breadcrumbs Lead to an Empty Data Cupboard
The data in the memo comes from a report called ‘Global Impact of Crypto Trading’ by the website Forex Suggests. Not a known crypto authority, but okay. Forex Suggest repeats these statistics, stating that its data comes from “multiple sources”, including articles from Laptop Mag, Business Insider India, and CryptoVantage. Unsurprisingly, we’re already talking about second hand data rather than primary data, so let’s follow the trail.
Of the three pieces, only Business Insider India and Cryptovantage mention any data on Bitcoin and Ethereum, both of which cite the same source – a report from May 2021 by TRG Datacenters (who?) which asks the question ‘which is the most environmentally friendly cryptocurrency?’. This report cites Bitcoin’s Kilowatt hour (KWh) consumption per transaction rate 707 while Ethereum’s is 62.56, which is in line with the prior statements.
Where, then, does TRG Datancenters get its data? Here is where the trail runs cold:
The data presented is approximate figures taken from external sources. Any currencies that had conflicting KWh published in different sources were extensively cross referenced with the goal of seeing which number repeated itself the most in order to present accurate data.
Okay, so what are these “external sources”? They do not name a single one. So here we have a congressional government hearing that is using “approximate” data from unnamed “external sources”, which literally could be anything, we have no idea. And this is just one example of data cited in that statistic-heavy memo.
It’s no wonder mainstream media outlets, and by turns the general public, is so anti-crypto with rubbish like that masquerading as fact, and it makes an already difficult job unfairly more so. Hopefully the crypto mining community gets a chance to put this kind of nonsense right in the hearing.