The Bitcoin Mining Council made its formal debut Thursday amid a growing debate about the amount of energy used in cryptocurrencies.
“The Bitcoin Mining Council is a voluntary and open forum for Bitcoin miners who are committed to the network and its core principles,” wrote Michael Saylor, Chief Executive Officer of MicroStrategy Inc., who co-founded the association, on Twitter. He added, “Join us” next to an emoji with praying hands.
Saylor, who made acquiring Bitcoin a business strategy for the enterprise software maker, tried to allay concerns about energy usage after Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., cited it as a reason not to use Bitcoin as payment for the company’s cars to accept. Musk later expressed support for the group.
Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren blew energy usage Wednesday as she chaired a hearing for the Senate Banking Subcommittee to examine issues with existing cryptocurrencies and whether the Federal Reserve should issue its own cryptocurrencies. She later called cryptocurrencies “an environmental disaster” in a Bloomberg TV interview.
The council is a voluntary forum dedicated to the network and its basic principles, it says on its website. Nine companies, including MicroStrategy, Galaxy Digital, and Darin Feinstein’s Blockcap, are listed as founding members.
The Bitcoin Mining Council is a voluntary and open forum of Bitcoin miners who are committed to the network and its basic principles. We promote transparency, share best practices and inform the public about the benefits of #Bitcoin and Bitcoin mining. Join us. 🙏https: //t.co/vGPGD3TA5p
– Michael Saylor (@michael_saylor) June 10, 2021
Crypto miners use enormous amounts of computing power and energy to verify transactions on the blockchain. Their energy consumption is comparable to that of many industrialized countries and, according to an analysis by Bank of America Corp. with emissions from large fossil fuel consumers and producers such as airlines and oil service companies, although others deny this, arguing that it is no worse than the carbon footprint of cars, power plants and factories.
Saylor had called the first informal meeting of some miners in May. Musk does not have a formal role in the group. Miners agreed to form the council “to standardize energy reporting,” said Saylor.
Darin Feinstein, founder and chairman of Blockcap, said the council’s goal is education.
“The idea came about in a way that would be more open to understanding the various concerns the community has about Bitcoin,” he said in a telephone interview. “So the three main goals are transparency, education and best practices in the industry.”