Everyone remember when good ole Elon coined (no pun intended) himself the Dogefather? Remember when he (and Tesla) bought all that Bitcoin? How about when he said Tesla was prepping to accept the pioneer coin as payment?
And then in May, he pulled the rug. His concern, he stated, was the environmental effect of the mining process. Albeit, it takes the energy of a small country to produce coins, so he isn’t completely wrong. But, he might be a bit of a hypocrite.
For several years now, Musk and his cohorts at Tesla have been the topic of ethics concerns regarding mining practices of cobalt – the key ingredient of a lithium-ion battery. Now to be fair – Mush (that’s a typo, but I liked it so I left it) commented in September of 2019 that he would hope to be cobalt free. And to be fairer, he recently tweeted that Tesla batteries are using three percent less cobalt. While, that has likely saved him some cash (cobalt is very expensive), it negligible to say the least in terms of ending use of cobalt. And his newest kick seems to be nickel, also mined with some unsavory practices, also very expensive, also limited in supply.
While the practices used to mine are under scrutiny, you should know that the environmental and health effect are as well. Smoke stacks of sulphur dioxide paint the skies of the Philipines, Indonesia, Australia, Canada and Russia, while the earth is blanketed in cancerous dust. Mines in the Philippines have been shut down due to these concerns and high rates of health issues are being documented in Columbian miners. Nonetheless, Tesla sets out to increase its vehicle production.
So, let’s get back to that environmental effect of mining digital currency. It’s true. Mining coins takes significant energy generated (currently) from fossil fuels. In fact, it was estimated that the current circulation of Bitcoin took roughly the same amount of energy required to power Switzerland for a year.
There’s no denying that Elon’s statement is correct. I’m just not altogether certain he should be the one pointing it out.