Square has announced that it is launching a Bitcoin Clean Energy Investment Initiative—with a war chest of $10 million designed to make mining more eco-friendly.
Bitcoin’s use of a Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism has long attracted criticism for the impact it has on the environment. According to Digiconomist, a single transaction consumes more power than the average U.S. household uses in 23 days.
The payments platform, which recently acquired BTC worth $50 million, said it is determined to become net zero carbon for operations by 2030—and wants to tackle the carbon footprint that’s associated with purchasing Bitcoin on behalf of its customers.
Square’s new initiative is set to give financial backing to companies that are working on green energy technologies within Bitcoin mining. The FinTech company is also considering whether to invite like-minded companies to get involved and “amplify” the scheme’s impact. Twitter-creator Jack Dorsey, Square’s co-founder and CEO, said:
“We believe that cryptocurrency will eventually be powered completely by clean power, eliminating its carbon footprint and driving adoption of renewables globally. Published estimates indicate bitcoin already consumes a significant amount of clean energy, and we hope that Square’s investment initiative will accelerate this conversion to renewable energy.”
Keen to be green
Square’s push to clamp down on its carbon footprint comes as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take over the White House in January 2020.
One of the Democrat’s main campaign pledges involved investing $400 billion in clean energy and innovation during the 2020s, and rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.
With the Biden administration’s stance on cryptocurrencies uncertain, it seems inevitable that the industry wants to put its best foot forward.
Indeed, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse alluded to this in a tweet on Nov. 9, when he pointed out that Biden planned to require public companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions in their operations. He wrote:
“Public companies holding BTC (ahem Square) — may want to pay attention.”