- Mainstream media outlets have changed their attacks on crypto from fundamentals to focus on energy consumption
- With Bitcoin’s fundamentals and use case no longer up for debate, outlets have had to resort to unprovable claims about the environmental angle
- The weeks of crypto climate change spamming is working, judging by social media comments
Here at FullyCrypto we don’t profess to be able to predict the future, but when we noticed a subtle shift in the mainstream media’s treatment of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies some weeks ago we knew it was the start of something bigger. Having come up against a dead end by constantly predicting Bitcoin’s downfall and exhausting all their efforts to denigrate its fundamentals, mainstream media outlets have now turned to cryptocurrency’s environmental footprint as the latest stick to beat it with, and a recent development in the NFT space has showed that it’s working.
From Fundamentals to Environment
For over a decade, mainstream media outlets primarily used Bitcoin’s status as an ‘underground’ asset and the suggestion that it is backed by nothing (well, mathematics) rather than trusty governments to denigrate it. However, the past year has seen a marked increase in the understanding of how Bitcoin works and its benefits over an inflationary fiat system, leading to it progressing from a way to buy drugs anonymously (or not, as history shows) to a way for institutions and hedge funds to preserve capital against a falling dollar.
This development has seen the anti-Bitcoin mainstream media (which is essentially all of it) take a different tack in bashing Bitcoin, zeroing in on the environmental impact associated with the mining process. While no Bitcoiner can deny that its environmental impact leaves a lot to be desired, it is an aspect that is hard to measure accurately and is also something mainstream media has barely given a damn about until recently as their other arguments have been destroyed.
Of course part of the reason for the increase in the interest in Bitcoin’s energy cost is because it has has been growing year on year as Bitcoin has increased in popularity, but it is interesting to note that the criticism of Bitcoin’s impact on the planet has not augmented but has in fact almost completely replaced all the prior talk of Bitcoin’s fundamentals in the mainstream media. Every week there seems to be a new piece in the newspapers about Bitcoin’s environmental impact, despite them not being able to say anything new.
Sometimes the outlets in question note that because most of the mining goes on in China it’s impossible to accurately calculate the energy used for Bitcoin mining, but often they don’t.
Mainstream Media Focus Shift is Working
This change in tack from the mainstream media has clearly had an impact on the public, as was noted in the comments following the unrelated news that the band the Kings of Leon were releasing their latest album as an NFT alongside regular streaming services. Previously, criticism of the environmental impact of an NFT would have been almost unthinkable, and yet, what do we see in the replies to Rolling Stone’s tweets about the album release:
posting again for people that dont understand the insane energy use that is produced by NFTs and other transactions on blockchains
stay educated! 💕 https://t.co/gBVvmB7X3d
- SayJade680 📼 (@SayJade680) March 3, 2021
Remember when everyone used to get really angry about DRM on iTunes purchases? Well, it’s that again, but you also have to set fire to a rainforest to keep the infrastructure working.
- Iain (@iainl7) March 3, 2021
Will be fantastic to see how much more CO2 gets added once we have these “starving artists” pumping out NFT’s pic.twitter.com/tKFB9egG2w
- Troy Linforth (@TheWatchdogEM) March 3, 2021
Isn’t that the online currency that consumes an entire week’s worth of a family’s energy consumption for a single transaction? Because it sounds to me like a great way to ruin the earth EVEN FASTER.
- Cleodora Silvestri (@drakkenmensch) March 5, 2021
Clearly, the mainstream media’s decision to change the narrative around Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to energy use is working, with much more focus on their environmental impact than we would otherwise have seen. Sadly, this is likely to continue for as long as Bitcoin remains a proof-of-work protocol, which will likely be forever.
Even if every coal-reliant crypto mining outlet in China suddenly reverted to renewable energies overnight, the narrative is too important for mainstream media outlets to just let it drop, because it represents the last solid bastion of criticism they can level at the industry. And while they still have ammunition left, they will keep firing that FUD cannon and feeding the inaccuracies …until they eventually buy.