bitcoin mining

Sam Bankman-Fried defended bitcoin's energy usage in a Wednesday twitter exchange with Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The Massachusetts Democrat tweeted a New York Times article that notes bitcoin mining consumes roughly the same amount of electricity as several countries. Warren said the practice of minting new bitcoins and verifying transactions worsens the "#ClimateCrisis."

"We need to protect our planet and crack down on environmentally wasteful crypto mining practices," Warren said in the tweet.

Bankman-Fried, who is the founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, replied to Warren, saying that it makes sense to tackle the issue, but also stating that bitcoin's energy usage is "mostly in line with its economic impact."

Bankman-Fried raises a point that many in the crypto community refer to: although bitcoin mining uses energy, it produces something of value-new coins. Bitcoin enthusiasts often point out that the entire traditional finance ecosystem consumes much more energy that bitcoin mining. Others note that the traditional financial services industry serves millions of more customers than bitcoin.

Estimates of how much electricity the entire bitcoin network consumes vary. Data from the University of Cambridge say the total yearly electricity consumption of the bitcoin network is 97 terawatt-hours, while Digiconomist estimates the network's electrical energy to be 158, which the site says is comparable to the power consumption of Malaysia.

Bankman-Fried also said that recent developments in bitcoin's blockchain, like the Lightning Network, can help reduce the coin's load.

Read the original article on Business Insider