Ripple Labs is one of the foremost blockchain companies in the world. The company has managed to hold on to its position even despite a securities fraud case with none other than the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
However, with the SEC case about to enter its 18th month soon, Ripple appears to have ruffled feathers across the crypto industry yet again.
Change The Code
Late last month, Chris Larsen - one of the founders of Ripple and the XRP token - announced a new campaign that will look to bring radical changes to the Bitcoin code. Larsen teamed up with Greenpeace - one of the world’s leading climate change activist groups - to launch the “change the code, not the climate” campaign. The goal is to attract enough crypto industry leaders to help change Bitcoin’s code and make it more eco-friendly.
The campaign’s goal is to pressure crypto industry leaders like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk and bring them to the table towards creating a more sustainable Bitcoin ecosystem. In its mandate, Greenpeace claimed that the energy required to mine Bitcoin primarily comes from fossil fuels. At the same time, many miners now use natural gas and coal fuel to power their operations. This, as the group sees it, needs to stop.
As the mandate points out:
“If only 30 people — the key miners, exchanges, and core developers who build and contribute to Bitcoin’s code — agreed to reinvent proof-of-work mining or move to a low-energy protocol, Bitcoin would stop polluting the planet.”
An Ulterior Motive Somewhere?
The argument surrounding crypto and environmental concern has been raging for a while now. Interestingly, Greenpeace itself had been adopting Bitcoin as a payment channel for a while. But, the organization stopped in May 2021, announcing that it would no longer support the asset due to its environmental effect.
Around the same time, Musk and Tesla also announced that they would stop accepting Bitcoin for payments. Barely six months after it had initiated Bitcoin transactions, the auto manufacturer claimed that Bitcoin’s environmental impact and carbon footprint made it unfit to be used for regular, large-scale payments.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Larsen explained that the campaign’s goal is to create a more sustainable crypto economy for all. The billionaire pointed out that several top cryptocurrencies - including Solana and Cardano - are built on protocols that use low energy to operate. With the Ethereum blockchain also moving quickly towards a proof-of-stake (PoS) model, Larsen explained that Bitcoin is now the outlier in the market.
When asked about whether this was an attack on Bitcoin itself, Larsen was quick to clear the air. The billionaire claimed that he also owns Bitcoin and Ether - as well as his company’s native XRP token. So, he has a desire to see the leading cryptocurrencies do well. His only concern is creating a more sustainable future for them both. Now that Ether is moving in that direction, it seems only fair for Bitcoin to do the same thing.
“If I was concerned about Bitcoin as a competitor, probably the best thing I could do is let it continue on this path. This is just an unsustainable path.”
Not An Easy Feat At All
The campaign’s focus appears to be helping move Bitcoin from the current proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm to PoS. And, to be fair, there’s a lot of sense in it. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the Bitcoin network currently consumes over 130 terawatt-hours of electricity. This is more than the electricity used by mid-sized countries like Norway and even Ukraine.
But, a movement to PoS won’t necessarily go well. Right now, there are hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of miners on the Bitcoin network. The vast majority of them use specialized mining equipment, which costs thousands of dollars. Forcing Bitcoin into PoS essentially renders this investment useless since this equipment won’t be useful anymore.
As Bloomberg itself has noted, experts don’t think that this transition is possible. And, the chances of Greenpeace being able to get Musk, Dorsey, and other notable industry names to come to the table and conduct such a massive undertaking are slim to none. However, Larsen and Greenpeace do appear to have a few tricks off their sleeves, and it will be interesting to see how they manage to get their campaign off the ground.