Ripple Co-Founder and Greenpeace Join Forces to Campaign for a Greener Bitcoin

Updated by Geraint Price
In Brief
  • Environmental activists are calling for Bitcoin to transition to a proof-of-stake consensus model.
  • The campaign is set to launch in the coming days.
  • Ethereum will make the switch to proof-of-stake in 2022.
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Chris Larsen, co-founder of Ripple, is heading a campaign to convince Bitcoin’s community to migrate to an energy-efficient model. 

Along with Greenpeace and other climate groups, the “Change the code, not the climate” campaign aims to pressure key players, Bitcoin miners, and influencers like Elon Musk, and Jack Dorsey, into shifting to a new consensus model.

The group has already reached out to leading companies in the ecosystem. Michael Brune, the campaign leader, said he anticipates firms like Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Venmo, and PayPal “will be helpful to this effort.”

The campaign has already set things in motion by reaching out to leading companies in the ecosystem. Michael Brune, the campaign lead said that firms like Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Venmo, and PayPal are companies that he anticipates “will be helpful to this effort.”

Now plans have been disclosed to launch an advertising campaign targeting leading publications. The campaign has been kickstarted with a $5 million donation from Larsen.

The campaign will use Ethereum’s planned switch to proof-of-stake, which is expected to reduce the network’s energy consumption by 99%, as a role model.

“Now with Ethereum changing, Bitcoin really is the outlier,” Larsen told Bloomberg, adding that his call for changes in Bitcoin’s code does not stem from a rivalry with XRP. “Probably the best thing I could do is to let it continue on this path,” he said.

Larsen had suggested a transition for Bitcoin via a soft fork that would keep the network as a single blockchain. Another way for Bitcoin to make the switch would be through a soft fork that would divide the network into two with one running the status quo and the other running on proof-of-stake.

What are the chances of success?

Changing the core of the Bitcoin network is a herculean task. In 12 years, the network has only seen a handful of changes with the recent ones being the SegWit and Taproot Upgrades. 

Before an upgrade happens in the Bitcoin network, a majority of miners would have to vote in favor. And due to the amount of money miners make from their activities, any risk of that changing makes the outcome unpredictable. 

“I’d put the chance of Bitcoin ever moving to proof-of-stake at exactly 0%,” said Chris Bendiksen of Coinshares. “There is no appetite among Bitcoiners to destroy the security of the protocol by making such a move.”

The logic behind Bendiksen’s statement stems from the fact that most Bitcoiners are strict adherents to the code as laid down by founder Satoshi Nakamoto

But Larsen believes that the times are changing and proof-of-work is unsuitable for supporting a network as big as Bitcoin.

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