Experts at the World Economic Forum session on the carbon footprint of crypto seem to see a lot of FUD when discussing the environmental impact of crypto mining.
The need for a clear, balanced approach to the topic has been a recurring theme of the Crypto Carbon Footprint panel at the 2022 World Economic Forum. There was general agreement that the consensus mechanisms of crypto mining and learning were snap judgments and prudent policies could counteract this.
FTX.US President Brett Harrison said “crypto-tribalism” on social media is an obstacle to green cryptocurrency mining, likening the situation to politics. “The vocal minority hides the majority,” he said, while there is a united effort in the background. He added, “Practitioners should tell real stories.”
DataKind CEO Lauren Woodman spoke of the need to “bring everyone to the same table.” Cryptocurrency mining operations are often viewed as disruptive to the energy systems they depend on in some places, but an anchor consumer of energy allows infrastructure to be built elsewhere, she said.
“Choosing a winner” from multiple consensus mechanisms “challenges the goal of blockchain,” which is multi-asset multi-chain interaction,” said Denell Dixon, CEO of the Stellar Development Foundation. Energy consumers should not be valued, but energy efficiency should be valued by everyone equally.
Skybridge Capital Managing Partner Anthony Scaramucci equated decentralization with antifragility, noting that crypto mining is in its early stages, “so early that it’s impossible to pick a winner.”
Harrison turned to the practical side of the issue. “I think all of us on this platform can agree on the need for regulation,” Harrison said, adding that responsible regulation is not about banning technology, but about solving problems.
Education must accompany regulation, says Robert Wardrop, professor of financial management at the University of Cambridge and director of the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance. He said:
“Trust in technology means trust in its management.”