Cryptocurrency firms DMG Blockchain Solutions and Argo Blockchain are launching what they say will be the world’s first bitcoin mining pool powered by clean energy in an attempt to better manage the impact of bitcoin mining on the climate. The mining operation aims to mint the first “green bitcoin”.
DMG and Argo Blockchain announced on Friday the launch of Terra Pool. It will initially consist of both DMG’s and Argo’s hashrate, which currently uses energy generated by hydroelectric resources, the announcement said.
“We are hopeful other companies within the bitcoin mining industry follow in our footsteps to demonstrate broader climate consciousness,” Peter Wall, CEO of Argo Blockchain, said in a statement. He added that the new pool is “an important step towards protecting our planet now and for generations to come.”
The launch of the new pool comes amid increasing backlash from bitcoin critics and environmental activists on the immense energy used to mine the popular token.
Both companies aim for Terra Pool to serve as a strong incentive for cryptocurrency miners to produce bitcoin in a climate-conscious manner, the statement said. The goal is to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.
According to Cambridge’s Centre for Alternative Finance, bitcoin’s estimated annualized electricity consumption jumped 80% since the beginning of 2020, from 71.07 terawatt-hours to 128 terawatt-hours earlier this month. For comparison, in 2019, Australia’s main electric grid used 192 terawatt-hours.
A recent study from Bank of America meanwhile revealed that bitcoin’s energy consumption is comparable to major corporations like American Airlines, which flies over 200 million passengers a year, as well as the entire US federal government, which employs two million people.
Bitcoin bulls for their part believe the criticisms are overblown. Dan Held, head of growth at cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, told Insider that talks of bitcoin’s energy consumption are taken out of context.
“What it really comes down to when people don’t like bitcoin’s energy consumption is…they simply don’t like bitcoin,” said Held. “And so people that are against crypto think that any energy consumption from bitcoin is wasteful.”
The price of bitcoin has soared 83% year-to-date and has skyrocketed more than 600% in the past 12 months as the popular cryptocurrency is embraced by a growing number of major institutions.