Elon Musk, the Tesla
The bitcoin price has soared since Musk bet on bitcoin but concerns around bitcoin’s huge carbon footprint have weighed on the cryptocurrency.
Now, hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci, whose 2017 tenure as Donald Trump’s communications director lasted just 11 days, has said Musk has done “more to protect the planet against climate change” than “any living person”—and called suggestions Musk would invest in bitcoin if it were bad for the environment “absurd.”
“No living person has done more to protect the planet against climate change,” Scaramucci said of Musk via Twitter, adding the idea Musk “would invest in [a] ‘dirty asset’ is absurd. [The] future of bitcoin mining is renewable energy.”
According to Scaramucci, renewable energy is set to replace fossil fuels while bitcoin will become the world’s dominant store of value, replacing gold, equities and art.
“[The] answer to energy [fear, uncertainty and doubt] is Elon Musk,” Scaramucci tweeted. Scaramucci’s Skybridge Capital, a New York-based fund of hedge funds, earlier this year started the Skybridge Bitcoin Fund, offering wealthy investors exposure to bitcoin.
But bitcoin, along with many other cryptocurrencies, has attracted significant criticism for its high energy use in recent months as the soaring bitcoin price has pushed bitcoin back into the limelight.
The latest analysis has found bitcoin now uses as much energy as the whole of Norway. This energy is spent during the creation of new bitcoins that are unlocked—or “mined”—by computers solving complex calculations that also record transactions and secure the bitcoin network.
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates this month warned bitcoin is “not a great climate thing,” raising fears bitcoin’s high carbon footprint could grow as the surging bitcoin price attracts more people to it. “Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind,” Gates told the New York Times
However, bitcoin’s supporters claim a signifiant portion of its network uses renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind, and solar—something they expect to grow as renewables become cheaper and bitcoin miners look to save money. For now, with many bitcoin mining networks located in China, fossil fuels like coal remain popular source of energy for cryptocurrency computers.
The share of renewables used by bitcoin and similar cryptocurrency miners around the world as part of their total energy consumption is thought to be as low as 39%, according to a recent survey by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
Meanwhile, Scaramucci also made unsubstantiated claims Musk “owns over $5 billion in bitcoin via Tesla, SpaceX, and personally.” While Tesla added $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin to its balance sheet in Februay, Musk said last year he owns just 0.25 bitcoin—worth around $15,000 at current prices.
SpaceX, the California-based aerospace manufacturer that’s also led by Musk, is not thought to have bought any bitcoin. SpaceX did not respond to a reqest for comment.