Change The Climate, Not The Code
Change The Climate, Not The Code
Warum ist diese Petition wichtig?
Change the Climate, Not the Code
To the initiators, undersigners, and supporters of the “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign.
We address you as fellow citizens of the Earth. Together, we are facing a global climate disaster brought upon us by pollution, initiated by our collective need to senselessly overconsume. This oncoming disaster, of which many are already facing the consequences today, must be stopped at all cost.
Today you have put forward a campaign to change the code of Bitcoin, aiming to switch from Proof of Work (POW) to Proof of Stake (POS), in an attempt to minimize the effects of Bitcoin on our increasingly changing climate. These efforts are based on misleading, outdated and incorrect information, but thankfully pose no real threat to the only solution humanity may have to pivot towards a future in which we may decrease pollution and, consequently, the trajectories of climate change.
The root of the problem you are trying to address is consumerism, and the lack of long term thinking in people's economic behavior. This is not something that can be fixed by simple campaigning or attacking consumers of energy like Bitcoin, which represent not even a tenth of a percent of global energy consumption. This change is something that has to be addressed substantially, at the individual level in people's behaviors and economic decision making.
Bitcoin offers a change to alter the incentives of individual people as it becomes a larger part of everyone's financial lives. In a world where people have access to money that is not constantly being debased, we have the opportunity to delay our economic purchases now and put them off to the future where our money can potentially go further in the economy. This incentivizing of delayed gratification creates the potential to reduce the level of blind habitual consumerism that leads to overproduction of useless goods, creating needless expenditure of energy, as well as the inevitable environmental pollution at the end of a goods lifetime.
Bitcoin is built so no one person may change its rules, and our first and foremost rule is the establishment of a network open for all to participate. With a switch to POS, our first and foremost rule would be broken. POS would allow for those holding the most currency to change Bitcoin’s rules in their own favor, putting Bitcoin’s censorship resistance at serious risk. This is not acceptable, and would drive the socio-economic value of a decentralized currency toward zero, effectively centralizing its governance.
In your campaign, you quote a paper written in 2018 authored by Mora et al. The paper claims scientific evidence for Bitcoin emissions to increase the climate by two degrees. This information is inaccurate, and has been long debunked. We have gathered its shortcomings for your information below.
First can the correlation between Bitcoin transactions and energy consumption not be made under the prerequisite of intellectual honesty. The only energy a Bitcoin transaction expends is the electricity needed to power the computer which facilitates it. There is no direct correlation with miners' energy consumption and transaction throughput. The transaction processing limit of the network can and has before increased without having any effect on the energy consumption of miners (see Segwit softfork activation). It is also possible to process transactions without miners having to include transactions in a mined block (see the Lightning Network). Growth in the number of Bitcoin transactions over time does not lead to an increase in energy consumption by miners. Portraying an increase in transactions as a driver for future emissions undermines the integrity of the research presented.
Second are the values applied to calculate future emissions based on outdated mining technology, inflating Bitcoin’s projected energy use. Mora et al’s research includes outdated, inefficient mining rigs, which, when updated, produce one quarter of the paper’s projected emissions when replicated. Furthermore, the paper ignores de-carbonization improvements applied throughout the Bitcoin mining ecosystem, such as the use of flare-gas for Bitcoin mining, drastically reducing the emission of methane into the atmosphere.
In an interview with Bloomberg you are quoted to have said that you are hoping to compel leadership to change Bitcoin’s code from POW to POS, citing the support of 50 key miners, exchanges, and core developers as necessary to pursue your goal. Such statements demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the governing structures of the Bitcoin network. There is no leadership in Bitcoin. Every participant run’s its own version of the code, according to their needs, and their personal abilities. Your proposal cannot be enacted by simply lobbying a small group of concentrated actors on the network: Anyone who wants to will simply continue on the Bitcoin network utilizing POW.
We are imagining a world in which resources are consumed consciously. A future in which renewable resources, such as wind, solar and hydropower are continuously improved due to the economic incentive of harvesting more cost-effective energy. A future in which research into cleaner nuclear energy is promoted by the need for a reliable, location-independent energy grid. A future in which the energy we use is recycled to heat our homes and water supplies. A future in which we all must concern ourselves with the issues of energy consumption, because our lives, and money, depend on it.
We see Bitcoin as the prime driver of change toward the future that we want to see. A money that is not financed by endless wars, backed by the big oil industry. A money that is instead backed by the people who own it, driven by their own incentives to conserve planet Earth for generations to come.
We must change the trajectories of our climate for the better, and for this, we must, and will, keep our code.
Sincerely, the undersigned,