September 28, 2021
by Stephen T. Gannon, Lisa Weingarten Richards

Stephen Gannon and Lisa Weingarten Richards of the firm’s Banking & Financial Services Practice authored an article titled "How Bitcoin Can Favorably Impact Climate Change (Despite What You May Have Heard)" for the Virginia Bankers Association. The team describes that the depiction of Bitcoin’s solely negative impact on the climate is inaccurate, and it neglects the current use of renewable energy used in the mining process. Emerging technologies are being introduced to make the process even cleaner, such as a natural gas vent capture facility in West Texas.

Digital assets are still in an exploratory phase, according to Mr. Gannon and Ms. Richards, meaning that banks are likely to consider recent headlines suggesting that "mining" digital assets, particularly Bitcoin, may cause significant harm to the environment. A more even-handed review of the data demonstrates that producing Bitcoin does not consume an excessive amount of electricity when compared to other uses. Moreover, Bitcoin "mining" can even advance renewable energy production by utilizing otherwise "stranded" energy.

The digital assets industry is planning to be 100% "green" by 2025 and carbon-neutral by 2040. This is far ahead of other industries and demonstrates the ability to support even more renewable energy. There is nothing that makes Bitcoin "mining" a material environmental threat. To the contrary, it will subsidize renewables and hasten the development of abundant carbon-free energy.