Bitcoin vs. the Petrodollar: Which Is More Environmentally Friendly? – Ep.238

Last week, Tesla announced they will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for vehicles. In a timely episode, Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at the Human Rights Foundation, and James McGinniss, CEO and co-founder of David Energy, come onto the show to discuss Bitcoin, the petrodollar, and how to contextualize the energy usage of the first cryptocurrency (BTC) versus the leading fiat currency (USD). Show highlights:
● their backgrounds and how they became interested in the intersection of currency and energy usage
● why Alex and James really think Tesla stopped accepting BTC as payment
● why James thinks Bitcoin’s energy intensity is a “feature, not a bug”
● Alex on the history of the petrodollar and how the USD in recent decades has been tied to fossil fuel production
● comparing the carbon cost of a dollar to Bitcoin’s energy consumption
● what both James and Alex think of the Square and Ark Invest research paper saying renewable energy production could be tied with Bitcoin mining
● why measuring Bitcoin’s energy usage is difficult
● how Bitcoin mining in China is changing for the better
● how the Biden administration might impact Bitcoin
● where to find more information on Bitcoin and energy consumption

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Episode Links

Alex Gladstein
Human Rights Foundation:
James McGinniss
David Energy:

Recommended Reads:
“Uncovering the Hidden Cost of the Petrodollar” by Alex Gladstein…
“Think BTC is a Dirty Business? Consider the Carbon Cost of a Dollar” by Susan Su…
“Bitcoin is Key to an Abundant, Clean Energy Future” by Square and Ark Invest…
Elisabeth Steyn thread on Tesla and energy credits…
“Tesla seeks entry into U.S. renewable fuel credit market” by Reuters…
“Debt” by David Graeber…
Bitcoin energy consumption index…
Cambridge study on cryptoassets…
Triffin Dilemma…

Alex Gladstein’s Recommended Follows:
Nic Carter

Lyn Alden

Susan Su

Luke Gromen

Michael Hudson