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Ripple Co-Founder Backs Controversial Campaign to Move Bitcoin to Proof of Stake

Environmental activist groups as well as the CEO and co-founder of Ripple have joined forces to campaign for a code change to Bitcoin.

2 min read
Bitcoin is the crypto market's leading coin. Image: Shutterstock

Several environmental groups, including Greenpeace USA, Environmental Working Group, as well as local activist organizations, have formed a consortium to launch a campaign highlighting Bitcoin’s environmental impact.

Per Bloomberg, the initiative, called “Change the Code, Not the Climate,” will see the consortium run advertisements in major media outlets such as the New York Times, Politico, and The Wall Street Journal.

The goal is to persuade the Bitcoin community to modify the network’s existing code and remove its proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm, which requires miners to solve complicated problems to validate transactions and issue new currency, in favor of the less energy-hungry proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism.

According to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the Bitcoin network uses about 136 terawatt-hours, which is more than Norway or Ukraine.

In five years, Bitcoin may consume as much power as Japan, Larsen said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Ethereum, the industry’s second-largest cryptocurrency, is currently relying on PoW too; however, it is in the middle of switching to PoS, which, according to some estimates, could result in a 99.95% reduction in total energy use.

Larsen denies anti-Bitcoin approach

According to Larsen, should the leading cryptocurrency make a similar move, which will require either a soft fork or a hard fork, it could solve the leading cryptocurrency’s alleged power consumption issues.

“Now with Ethereum changing, Bitcoin really is the outlier,” Larsen told Bloomberg. “Some of the newer protocols—Solana, Cardano—are built on low energy.”

Larsen also denied that the “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign is anti-Bitcoin.

“If I was concerned about Bitcoin as a competitor, probably the best thing I could do is let it continue on this path,” he said. “This is just an unsustainable path.”

Larsen further revealed the decision to fund the campaign partly came due to him feeling that investors may turn away from Bitcoin unless there’s a change, adding he wants to see both Bitcoin and Ethereum succeed.

Whether the campaign succeeds is a big question though.

The network’s environmental impact has been a subject of debate for many years; however, the growing community of devotees—including miners and developers—so far rejected any proposed changes to the system designed by Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous inventor of Bitcoin.

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