Bitcoin exchange BitMEX has taken its first steps to immediately begin offsetting carbon emissions caused by withdrawals from the platform. As per a statement on Friday, it will donate at least $0.0026 for every $1 of blockchain fees its clients pay.
"There has been huge scrutiny on cryptocurrencies and energy consumption recently—with wildly divergent views and accuracy of information," the exchange said, adding, "We don't pretend to have the answers but we know that it's our responsibility to take some positive action."
1) Ok, so how much CO2 does BTC actually create? How much of a worry is it?https://t.co/6LcYyHRTDS
— SBF (@SBF_Alameda) May 20, 2021
The exchange credited Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX and Alameda Research, with determining an estimate of Bitcoin's carbon footprint, saying, "We have no shame in copy and pasting this positive initiative. FTX Exchange has also committed to carbon neutrality, stating they will donate $1 million to various carbon offset programs.
"Carbon offsetting is not the only answer to concerns relating to the environmental footprint of crypto, but it's certainly a good start," BitMEX added.
Bitcoin's carbon footprint
Cambridge University estimates that only 39% of the Bitcoin network runs on renewable energy.
The carbon footprint produced by the non-renewable share of the Bitcoin mining industry is broadly equivalent to over 60 billion pounds of burned coal, 9 million homes' average electricity consumption for the year, or 138 billion miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
For context, Pluto's greatest distance from Earth at any time is 4.6 billion miles.
Editor's note, May 24 at 05:30am EST: This article has been updated to reflect that FTX Exchange has also committed to carbon neutrality.