Greenpeace Stunt Backfires With Epic Bitcoin Skull Artwork

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • A piece of artwork commissioned by Greenpeace to draw attention to Bitcoin’s environmental cost has backfired
  • The 11-foot Bitcoin-inspired skull by Canadian artist Von Wong has been met with enthusiasm and even reverence by the Bitcoin community
  • The work is part of Greenpeace’s ‘change the code, not the climate’ movement

An attempt by Greenpeace USA to criticize Bitcoin’s energy consumption has backfired after a piece of artwork it commissioned for the purpose, which was supposed to create fear over Bitcoin, was instead praised for its design. The 11-foot Bitcoin-inspired skull, made from e-waste and commissioned for a YouTube video by the charity, was supposed to be a stark illustration of what it says Bitcoin is doing to the planet, but the vast majority of the responses on social media have focused on the stunning design of the piece, with its meaning largely ignored.

Greenpeace Movement Has Lost its Way

Greenpeace USA commissioned Canadian Artist Von Wong to create a symbolic representation of the damage it says is caused by Bitcoin’s energy use as part of a ‘change the code, not the climate’ movement which the charity started last year, aimed at getting Bitcoin to move to the more energy efficient a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. The movement, which uses figures that have been widely contested to back up its point and shows a stunning lack of awareness of how Bitcoin actually works, was echoed by the World Economic Forum shortly after its launch, but hasn’t gotten any traction in the year since it was launched. 


Greenpeace USA clearly wanted to remind people of its campaign, which was funded in part by Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen to the tune of $5 million, and so it commissioned Wong to make #skullofsatoshi, a visual depiction of Bitcoin’s alleged environmental damage:

What resulted was perhaps not what Wong or Greenpeace wanted – the response from Bitcoiners has been one of awe, with an almost unanimous verdict that the skull is an epic creation that makes Bitcoin look far cooler than it is:

As well as the admirers of the artwork, there were a few that pointed out (tongue in cheek) that Bitcoin is open source, so why didn’t Greenpeace send in some developers to change the code themselves? Of course, there are a plethora of reasons why Bitcoin won’t ever move to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, but we wouldn’t expect Greenpeace to have done any actual research on this.

You just keep creating your sculptures, guy, and do the work for Bitcoin.