The very famous organization Greenpeace dedicated to the protection of the environment has again attacked Bitcoin (BTC). A campaign called “Change the code, not the climate” aimed to encourage bitcoin developers to switch to proof-of-stake (POS). Unfortunately for the NGO, this latest initiative did not go as planned.
Greenpeace really not a bitcoin fan
It is a communication campaign that has caused ink to flow on social networks. 14 years after the birth of Bitcoin, no one remains indifferent. Adored by some, hated by others, Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention is fascinating in every way.
Among its most vehement detractors, we now find the NGO Greenpeace, which continues to mobilize resources to criticize the queen of cryptocurrencies for its energy consumption.
On Thursday, March 23, the environmental group underlined this point again by creating an artwork that highlights the climate impact of the Bitcoin (BTC) protocol.
A work supposed to criticize Bitcoin
To do this, Greenpeace has teamed up with arts activist Benjamin Von Wong. He built a famous 3.3 meter tall skull called “Skull of Satoshi”, sporting the BTC logo and red laser eyes, a popular meme in the community.
From a work intended to criticize…
It looks like the skull was made from recycled electronic waste. It also has smoking chimneys of nuclear power plants at the top, symbolizing the pollution associated with Bitcoin and the power consumption of mining machines. This work is clearly an attack on Proof of Work and Bitcoin followers.
… to a mascot adopted by followers
However, the results were somewhat unexpected, with many community members expressing their admiration for the artwork, and some adopting it as their new mascot, such as Compass Mining’s Chief Strategy Officer Will Foxley or co-founder Nic Carter, founder of Coin Metrics.
The failure of the communication campaign
To understand the history of this communication failure, we need to look at how digital currencies work.
How Bitcoin Works
Bitcoin is the world’s first peer-to-peer currency and as such has no central authority (unlike our current central bank-run system, which manages the currency and fights inflation with the success that we know…).
This still poorly understood technological feat is based on the work of a growing number of independent and convincing actors around the world who secure networks in different ways.
Miners at the center of the network
These include miners, who are rewarded by receiving bitcoins for validating transactions, thus ensuring the integrity of the network and protecting it from manipulation and human interference. A critical task requires massive computing power and therefore very high energy consumption.
But consuming energy is wrong
However, expending energy is wrong. In any case, this is the opinion of Greenpeace, which for years has taken a stand against Bitcoin, accusing the network of consuming as much electricity as countries like Finland (while almost the energy consumed by Bitcoin is from a renewable source, but that is another debate).
The federated community behind this work
In its effort to stir up trouble in the community, Greenpeace will have finally donated a unifying pop culture artwork that made bitcoin a bit more popular: an artist who loves bitcoin couldn’t have done better.
If the communication strategy is clumsy, it must be admitted that attacking Bitcoin is undoubtedly one of the most complex tasks.
Impossible to attack bitcoin?
For 14 years, the Queen of Cryptocurrencies has gone from a project known to a handful of geeks and cryptographers in 2009 to a real trusted currency (through its security, transparency and limited quantities) which arouses curiosity, institutions, companies and even certain countries. All without any central organization or marketing team.
Sociologically, Bitcoin is the first functional anarchy in human history, a powerless system of rules that seems to grow stronger with every blow in an attempt to weaken it.