North American bitcoin miners have agreed to form the Bitcoin Mining Council to promote energy usage transparency.
The new organisation is the brainchild of Elon Musk and Michael Saylor, CEO of the Virginia, US-based business intelligence company MicroStrategy, and several top North American bitcoin miners.
Bitcoin mining is well known to be highly energy-intensive but estimates vary. For example, for Monday, May 31, the Cambridge Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index (CBECI) has the estimated annualised consumption at 114.81TWh in a range from 38.93TWh to 260.91TWh. Bitcoin energy monitor specialist Alex de Vries’s Digiconomist estimate is 124.12TWh.
Moreover, the criticisms of the consumption are giving rise to growing claims of renewable energy use and other initiatives that can give Bitcoin mining a ‘sustainable’ image.
In a series of tweets, Saylor outlined the role of the Council to standardise energy reporting to promote transparency and accelerate sustainability initiatives by pursuing industry environmental, social and corporate governance goals and educating and growing the marketplace.
Musk added that the Bitcoin miners committed to publishing their current and planned renewable usage and would ask other miners around the world to do likewise.
“Potentially promising,” said Musk in a tweet.
Musk had previously announced Tesla’s suspension of vehicle purchases using Bitcoin and the company’s sale of the cryptocurrency until mining transitions to more renewable energy.
Participating Bitcoin miners were Argo Blockchain, Blockcap, Core Scientific, Galaxy Digital, Hive Blockchain, Hut 8 Mining, Marathon Digital and Riot Blockchain.
No details are available yet on how the Bitcoin Mining Council will function and will set out to achieve the stated goals but Saylor has referred to the absence of common model for Bitcoin energy usage or for future forecasting.
Initial responses to its formation have been mixed with some looking forward to its transparency but others rejecting it as a ‘closed door’ cartel.
The Council also might be challenged to achieve an international coverage. According to the CBECI analysis, while US miners are second in terms of share of the total hashrate globally, they account for only just over 7% on average with almost two-thirds of all the activity taking place in China.
Closely following the US are Russia on 6.9% and Kazakhstan at 6.2%, with lower levels in a handful of other countries including Malaysia, Iran, Canada, Germany, Norway and Venezuela.