According to recent data, the cryptocurrency sector outputs near 150 TWh of electricity annually, a figure higher than countries such as Poland, Norway, Egypt or Sweden.
Cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX has become one of the first exchanges in the sector to announce their carbon-neutral status, as well as vowing to offset emissions of all Bitcoin transactions to and from the platform.
In a candid statement, the company expressed its intention to go further than merely balancing its emission output, citing a recent purchase of 7,110 tonnes of CO2 credits, approximately valued at $100,000, in partnership with AI carbon data tracking firm Pachama.
Carbon credits are certifications of approval granted by official legislative bodies to permit corporations to use one tonne of carbon dioxide in an approach that fosters accountability and traceability of data.
Reportedly, this will ensure the platform sustains operation for the upcoming calendar year, as well as all offset emissions caused by Bitcoin transactions to and from the platform’s operation servers.
Discussing its philosophy for sustainable practices, BitMEX asserted the need for a unified approach:
“A holistic effort needs to include research into environmental impact, but also fundamental education about the possibilities unlocked by crypto technology.”
Global emissions and strategies for sustainability have been hot topics of debate this week amid the globally broadcast COP 26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
Presidents and prime ministers worldwide have met to address significant concerns with the insidious demise of our global habitat, continually stressing the importance of remaining below target levels for global warming temperatures.
In early October, Greenpeace executive director Jennifer Morgan spoke at the Reuters Impact conference about the growing trend of corporations evading their planetary responsibility through the adoption of carbon credits, passionately stating:
“There’s no time for offsets. We are in a climate emergency, and we need phasing out of fossil fuels. These offsetting schemes are pure ‘greenwash’ so that the companies, oil companies, can continue to do what they’ve been doing and make a profit.”
Related: The focus of the blockchain climate discussion is missing the point
The Crypto Climate Accord is an environmental initiative supported by over 150 organizations from the crypto, blockchain, tech and energy industries all pledging their unity in varying degrees to the confederation of growth and implementation of sustainable operations in the crypto market.
Firms that have advocated for the cause and pledged support through advice, development and scaling partnerships include CoinShares, Consensys, the Web3 Foundation, Ripple, Enjin and Polygon.
However, these firms have not yet subscribed as CCA Signatories, an act that requires a public statement of commitment to having achieved net-zero carbon emissions from electrical operation by 2030.
The few firms that have taken this action include Near Protocol, Pixl8, Argo Blockchain and Gryphon Digital Mining, among others.