Troy Cross is a Professor of Philosopher and Fellow at the Bitcoin Policy Institute. In this interview, we discuss the changing narrative around Bitcoin mining: is it finding its real utility in a bear market as the ultimate auxiliary tool, and how early are we in discovering its range of uses as a tool?
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The trajectory of Bitcoin mining’s narrative has been breathtaking. Over the last year, it has gone from being singularly promoted for its principal role in securing the Bitcoin network, to having a whole host of other uses identified and championed: subsidising stranded energy, stabilising energy grids, mitigating methane emissions, and providing heat for a range of activities.
Policymakers are struggling to keep up. The tired old FUD of Bitcoin’s energy use and carbon footprint are still being used as attack vectors by supposed reputable institutions such as the ECB. It also feeds into the narratives picked up by policymakers such as the White House, who’s commissioned report on Bitcoin mining’s climate impacts was affected by mainstream ignorance.
But, the White House report also included recognition of some of Bitcoin mining’s emerging benefits, as well as correcting some misrepresentations of its impacts. This shows that, whilst we are far from getting widespread acceptance of the importance of Bitcoin mining, the effort spent on education and advocacy by the Bitcoin community is having a vital real-world impact.
Promoting Bitcoin mining’s evolving narrative is critical. This is because we’re on the cusp of some far-reaching regulation in the wake of recent crypto scams. Regulators could see this as an opportunity to constrain Bitcoin mining; politicians never let a good crisis go to waste.
Yet, we are still early in understanding the scope of Bitcoin mining’s value. New uses are being researched and developed all the time: OTEC, water desalination and carbon capture are recent examples. Bitcoin mining is emerging as perhaps an engineer’s ultimate auxiliary tool. The mission is therefore to not only continue to convey Bitcoin mining’s importance, but provide the widest possible frame for its significance.