Riot contests energy use claims
On April 9, the New York Times published an article titled “The Real-World Cost of the Digital Race for Bitcoin,” which described the activities of 34 U.S. Bitcoin mining firms.
In that piece, Riot was named the largest of those operations. The NYT alleged that Riot used 450 MW of power, 96% of which came from fossil fuels, and said that the firm produced 1.9 million tons of CO2 emissions per year.
Riot responded by stating that it uses power from the Texas electrical grid, which relies on 24% wind energy, 10% nuclear energy, and 4% solar energy. Furthermore, Riot said that it operates in rural regions where wind and solar are “abundant and otherwise wasted” during off-peak times and takes advantage of that available energy.
Riot asserted that its Bitcoin mining operations “do not generate any greenhouse gas emissions” and instead use energy just like other data centers.
Furthermore, Riot confronted claims that Bitcoin mining can affect the overall energy market and its prices. Riot alleged that electricity prices are increasing for reasons that are not related to Bitcoin mining, such as monetary policy, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and restrictive energy policies — a term often applied to the Biden administration.
Riot went on to contest claims about the amount of savings that Riot has obtained by participating in energy-saving programs, assertions that those programs do harm to energy availability and prices, and claims about the infrequency of those programs.
Broader mining industry also discussed
Overall, Riot said that the NYT article contained a “false and distorted view” of both its own company and the crypto-mining industry more generally.
The company suggested that The New York Times ignored data provided by Riot and instead chose to make politically motivated claims. It warned that selectively granting electrical access to parties based on their activities is a “dangerous path.”
Various other members of the crypto community have also criticized the article by The New York Times.
NYT’s claims are part of long-standing criticisms about Bitcoin and its energy use. Around 2017, data emerged suggesting that Bitcoin mining uses as much energy as certain countries. Though Bitcoin still uses a large amount of energy, about half of all Bitcoin mining relies on renewable energy, according to some estimates.
Criticism around energy use was extended to NFTs when those assets became popular in 2021. However, Ethereum, which serves as the basis for most NFTs, has discontinued crypto mining. It no longer relies on competitive energy use to confirm transactions.