Disclaimer: The following op-ed represents the views of the author, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Bitcoinist. Bitcoinist is an advocate of creative and financial freedom alike.
Who’s Chris Larsen trying to fool? Even though the Chairman of Ripple claims that “the company is not involved in this campaign,” their latest PR stunt is as obvious as it gets. Another multimillion-dollar attack on bitcoin, once again using the ESG angle and a set of debunked numbers. The new thing is, Larsen spent $5M to bribe Greenpeace into doing his dirty work. Will the organization’s reputation be strong enough to destroy bitcoin?
Putting aside the obvious conflict of interest that taking the money of Ripple’s creator to fund a campaign to attack the undisputable category leader presents, Greenpeace did a terrible job with the first ad. They quote one of the most ridiculous claims about bitcoin’s Proof-Of-Work consensus mechanism, that miners could raise the planet’s temperature by two whole degrees. Who in his right mind would believe such a thing?
Certainly not the people that they claim they’re trying to reach. According to the Wall Street Journal, “some of the ads are aimed at prominent bitcoin backers, such as Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk, Block Inc. founder Jack Dorsey and Fidelity Investments Chief Executive Abby Johnson.”
Is there even a chance that the leader of a company who believes we live in a bitcoin-first world or the person who created the bitcoin defense fund would fall for these poorly-researched lies and obvious manipulation? Would the bitcoin miners risk killing the golden goose by destroying the network’s security model? What percentage of node runners is uneducated enough to consider getting rid of the almost miraculous decentralization that bitcoin fought so hard to achieve?
Chris Larsen isn’t fooling anyone. This campaign’s real target is the general public.
What Did Ripple ’s Chairman Say, Exactly?
Of course, a campaign against bitcoin counts on the mainstream media’s approval and support. However, it was via Twitter that Chris Larsen spoke more candidly about the subject:
“The time for change is now – as prominent capital market participants drive crypto liquidity, ESG and sustainability will only become more front and center. ETH (2nd largest market cap – for now) recognized this early on and is very close to switching to PoS. We need short-term solutions as well, even if a move away from PoW happened eventually. Bitcoin is and will remain hugely important for crypto globally. Bitcoiners – I know many of you may not believe this, but I’m not trying to work against you here.”
Who’s this man trying to fool? As we already established, the general public. For bitcoiners, it’s obvious that this is an admittedly sophisticated attack on bitcoin. The Ripple Chairman links to a Bloomberg article that frames the campaign in the most alarmist way possible.
“Several climate activist groups including Greenpeace and crypto billionaire Chris Larsen are launching a “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign, designed to pressure the Bitcoin community to alter the way it orders transactions that already consumes as much power as Sweden.”
We need short-term solutions as well, even if a move away from PoW happened eventually. Bitcoin is and will remain hugely important for crypto globally. Bitcoiners – I know many of you may not believe this, but I’m not trying to work against you here.
— Chris Larsen (@chrislarsensf) March 29, 2022
However, the author fails to mention that Christmas lights in the U.S. consume more power than Sweden.
BTC price chart for 03/30/2022 on Cexio | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
Poor Research And Outright Lies
The Bloomberg article also quotes Michael Brune, the poor soul in charge of the campaign:
“We are in this campaign for the long haul, but we are hoping — particularly since Bitcoin is now being financed by entities and individuals who care about climate change — that we can compel leadership to agree that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, PayPal, Venmo, Fidelity — there are lots of companies we anticipate will be helpful to this effort.”
This man is as clueless as it gets. Has he read what Fidelity has to say about bitcoin? His words sound as ignorant as the phrase, “the campaign believes that about 50 key miners, crypto exchanges and core developers have the power to change Bitcoin’s code.” WHAT? First of all, no, that number is nowhere near enough. It’s more like hundreds of thousands of bitcoin believers all over the world. Secondly, those people that the campaign is allegedly targeting spent thousands of hours researching bitcoin. People involved in the campaign clearly have not.
The obvious lies come courtesy of Chris Larsen, who claims that “he feels that Bitcoin won’t continue to enjoy investors’ support unless it changes.” And outright predicts, “now a lot of what’s driving crypto is the enormous liquidity that’s come from the traditional market players. And generally, those people are not religious about these technologies. So it’s just a matter of time.”
Presumably, the Ripple Chairman read “The Blocksize War.” He knows it’s NOT a matter of time and a $5M campaign is not going to trigger a protocol change that would lead to bitcoin’s demise. What’s he doing, then? Using Greenpeace’s good name to target the general public and plant nonsensical ESG FUD into their minds. And promoting Ripple at the same time. That’s what he’s doing.
What’s Really Happening?
The reality is, bitcoin uses precisely the energy it needs to provide financial services to anyone, anywhere on the planet. And it doesn’t waste any of it. The network uses the energy for crucial purposes like security, coin issuance, and connection to the real world. Plus, it incentivizes green energy infrastructure and serves as a buyer of first and last resort for renewable energy plants. Among other things.
Featured Image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash | Charts by TradingView