Cathie Wood says recent energy-use concerns surrounding bitcoin will help boost the adoption of renewable mining and solar power

Advertisement
Cathie Wood says recent energy-use concerns surrounding bitcoin will help boost the adoption of renewable mining and solar power
David McNew/AFP via Getty; ARK Invest; Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty; Bitcoin; Samantha Lee/Insider
  • Bitcoin energy consumption concerns have only boosted the move to renewable mining and solar power: Cathie Wood.
  • ARK Invest's Yassine Elmandjra broke down why the firm believes bitcoin is a positive for renewables in a webinar on Tuesday.
  • Elmandjra produced a chart that claimed bitcoin usage in a solar-battery system would allow renewables to provide 99% of total grid needs.

Cathie Wood thinks recent environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns surrounding bitcoin's energy usage will only help boost the adoption of renewable mining and solar power.

In an ARK Invest webinar on Tuesday, the famed fund manager said that the controversy was "a good thing" and reiterated previous claims about bitcoin's energy use being a net positive for the adoption of renewable energy.

"Half of the solution is understanding the 'problem,'" Wood said. "I think that we're probably going to see the scaling out of solar because of bitcoin mining much faster now than we would have seen without this controversy."

Advertisement

The rise in ESG concerns only highlights something Wood and her team believe isn't really an issue. ARK Invest and Jack Dorsey's Square produced a white paper elaborating their stance in April.

The paper, titled "Bitcoin is Key to an Abundant, Clean Energy Future," claimed that bitcoin has "network functions as a unique energy buyer that could enable society to deploy substantially more solar and wind generation capacity."

Wood referred to her top crypto analyst, Yassine Elmandjra, for a breakdown of these claims in the Tuesday webinar.

Advertisement

Elmandjra said:

"With bitcoin mining integrated into a solar-battery system. Energy providers can basically play the arbitrage between electricity prices and bitcoin prices and then sell surplus solar and supply almost all grid power demands without actually lowering the profitability of the system."

The analyst produced a graph in the webinar that showed rising renewable energy consumption for the grid as bitcoin miners' solar-battery system expands.

Advertisement

"You can see as bitcoin mining scales the solar system increases in size and is, therefore, able to provide a higher percentage of the grid's needs," Elmandjra continued. "So, in the absence of bitcoin mining, you can see that renewables can satisfy only 20% of the grid's needs and then in the top right of the chart, by including bitcoin, renewables can satisfy up to 99% of the grid's energy needs."

The analyst discussed recent developments in renewable energy bitcoin mining and solar expansion, saying that ARK has received "a lot of inbound" from companies looking to build out "this exact system."

Despite ARK Invest's claims about a solar future brought about by bitcoin mining, many critics remain. According to data from Cambridge, roughly 39% of proof-of-work mining is currently powered by renewables, and the entire bitcoin network uses more energy every year than all of the Netherlands.

Advertisement

Stats like this have led critics like the Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman to bash bitcoin for its environmental impact, among other things.

In an article titled "Tecnobable, Libertarian Derp, and Bitcoin," Krugman called the cryptocurrency "a natural Ponzi scheme." However, the noted economist added that these types of schemes can "last for decades."

Krugman was widely bashed for his opinion column discussing bitcoin. With Twitter users pointing out the economist once said, "by 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine's."

Advertisement
{{}}