The ‘Skull of Satoshi’ Proves Bitcoin Mining Discourse Isn’t Dead


Final week, Benjamin Von Wong unveiled an artwork set up he was commissioned to create by Greenpeace USA for its “Change the Code, Not the Local weather” marketing campaign. The $5 million marketing campaign is funded by Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen and goals to alter Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm by a “code change” so as to save the atmosphere.

The thought being that PoW makes use of vitality and different consensus algorithms don’t.

This text is excerpted from The Node, CoinDesk’s every day roundup of probably the most pivotal tales in blockchain and crypto information. You may subscribe to get the complete e-newsletter right here.

Von Wong’s artwork piece was revealed Thursday, March 23, in a weblog publish and video. He calls it the “Cranium of Satoshi” – an apt title for an 11-foot tall cranium product of wooden, recycled styrofoam and 300+ items of digital waste. The cranium additionally options pink laser eyes, a nod to the Bitcoin Twitter group who put on laser eyes of their profile photos.

As a substitute of enraging the Bitcoin group, as Greenpeace’s marketing campaign usually does, the Cranium was nearly instantly usually embraced as a result of it was actually cool.

I imply, simply take a look at how metallic, how punk rock the entire artwork set up is. It’s actually an 11-foot cranium with glowing pink laser eyes and smokestacks rising out the highest. What’s to not love?

Bitcoiners tweeted about how a lot they preferred the Cranium of Satoshi and a few modified their Twitter profile photos. Nonetheless there was hesitation from others to embrace the artwork due to the place the cash behind it got here from. From that angle, Von Wong was lambasted.

With out stepping into an excessive amount of element, the dialog about shifting Bitcoin from proof-of-work to one thing else, like proof-of-stake (PoS), which doesn’t use a lot vitality, is mostly a nonstarter. Bitcoin will nearly definitely by no means transfer away from proof-of-work. That isn’t apparent from the surface, in order that’s precisely the place Von Wong started his journey to know bitcoin mining.

In a reflective tweet thread, Von Wong mentioned he thought the Bitcoin environmental downside was “black and white.” After the “phenomenal accident” of the Cranium of Satoshi, Von Wong frolicked in dialog with environmentalist bitcoiners together with Level39, Troy Cross and Daniel Batten. He now acknowledges that Bitcoin could be a highly effective drive for enhancing the atmosphere.

This creates a considerably attention-grabbing parallel. Greenpeace will nonetheless presumably use the Cranium of Satoshi to advertise its “change the code” marketing campaign, however it’ll work in all places besides on the web the place the cranium has develop into considerably of a mascot for Bitcoin’s environmental potential even with out shifting its consensus mechanism from proof-of-work.

The story right here is that Von Wong went from “there’s just one method to repair Bitcoin’s environmental downside” to “really, there are numerous methods to repair Bitcoin’s environmental downside” within the area of some days. It’s not a narrative as a result of Von Wong is somebody massive, vital or particular. It’s a narrative as a result of as increasingly folks get serious about Bitcoin the environmental query will definitely come up repeatedly. And bitcoiners will, and should, be prepared to interact constructively.

For somebody who has been round Bitcoin for some time, I seen Von Wong’s studying course of across the nuances of bitcoin mining as actually unsurprising. The truth that it was carried out in what appeared like a comparatively nonabrasive method bodes effectively for onboarding future environmentalist-leaning bitcoiners.

If Bitcoin is to succeed, we want extra bitcoiners. And since Bitcoin and environmentalism usually are not mutually unique, there are methods for PoW blockchains to be a optimistic drive.

Bitcoin is for everybody, together with environmentalists.

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