Skip to main content

Elon Musk and Bitcoin miners say they want to address crypto’s sustainability problem

Elon Musk and Bitcoin miners say they want to address crypto’s sustainability problem


Bitcoin mining uses a lot of electricity

Share this story

A stylized illustration of a Bitcoin in purple and black shadows.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor tweeted Monday that after a weekend meeting with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and “leading Bitcoin miners in North America,” the group has agreed to form a Bitcoin Mining Council, “to promote energy usage transparency [and] accelerate sustainability initiatives worldwide.”

Musk tweeted earlier in the day that the group “committed to publish current & planned renewable usage & to ask miners WW to do so. Potentially promising.” According to Saylor, the group included representatives from Argo Blockchain, Blockcap, Core Scientific, Galaxy Digital, Hive Blockchain Technologies, Hut 8 Mining, Marathon Digital Holdings, and Riot Blockchain.

Emails to each of the companies Saylor referenced were not immediately returned Monday, but a spokesperson from Galaxy confirmed to Bloomberg that a representative participated in the call. Several other of the companies mentioned tweeted their support for the plan. Hut 8 Mining confirmed it was part of the discussions Saylor referenced, tweeting that it would “educate the market that sustainable mining is possible and a priority.”

Argo Blockchain CEO Peter Wall tweeted “as a founding member of the Bitcoin Mining Council, Argo will push hard for sustainable mining and more transparency. This is the way!” Merrick Okamoto, executive chairman at Marathon Digital Holdings tweeted the company would do its part “to contribute to sustainable mining and transparency.”

While Tesla began accepting Bitcoin as payment for vehicles in March, Musk reversed that position earlier this month, as he expressed concern for the environment. “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” Musk tweeted. Since then he’s made note several times of cryptocurrency’s sustainability problem.

Bitcoin mining uses a significant amount of electricity, using as much annually as the Netherlands, according to one estimate. That’s at odds with Tesla’s stated mission to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Specifics about how the miners planned to tackle Bitcoin’s environmental issues — whether through making changes to the blockchain or using carbon offsetting measures as large corporations do — weren’t available Monday.