Opinion: Miami is one step closer to the implosion of its crypto dreams

Editor’s Note: Jake Klein is a Miami-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Atlantic and other national media.was part of the winning team 2019 Pulitzer Prize A civil servant with the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper reported on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The opinions expressed here are his own.read more opinions on CNN.


Miami has spent the past few years in full-blown cryptomania, thanks to bitcoin evangelism by Miami officials.

In the vision of Mayor Francis Suarez, the city’s chief digital currency cheerleader, Miami will one day Crypto capital.

Two years ago, Miami said,Bitcoin whitepaper– A blueprint for transforming the city of the 21st century.Around the same time, prominent cryptocurrency figures started move to the cityand Miami began selling its own digital currency. miami coin.

As the heat grew, cryptocurrency exchanges began placing advertisements on billboards in Miami. Bitcoin ATM It was installed at a nearby gas station and convenience store.

And perhaps the most visible symbol allowing Miami to exercise its crypto bragging rights was Miami-Dade County’s March 2021 announcement. Sale of naming rights From Main Sports Arena, home of the beloved Miami Heat NBA franchise, to FTX, the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange founded by. Infamous Crypto Entrepreneur Sam Bankman Freed.

The partnership, which is less than two years old, unhappy ending last week. On Wednesday, the beleaguered company and Miami’s local government reached an agreement to end the deal and remove the now-dirty FTX logo from the sports venue.

as in the last few months, The scale of the alleged Bankman-Fried fraud As it turned out, some city elders and the business community scrambled to unravel what many of us had suspected from the start, thinking it was simply a terrible business deal. Bankman-Fried, who has continued to maintain his innocence, pleaded not guilty on federal fraud charges when he appeared in court in New York earlier this month.

We now know how Miami’s love of cryptocurrency was a fiasco.of financial cost Last year’s cryptocurrency crash was huge for thousands of investors who lost money in their investments. they can’t afford forget.

My own reservations, however, weren’t rooted in any particular knowledge that cryptocurrencies would collapse, but that collapse was much quicker and more spectacular than even most skeptics expected.

My opposition to cryptocurrencies is based on their negative environmental impact. Miami said, Most vulnerable major coastal cities “Betting everything on a currency created by climate-disrupting technology” has always seemed like a certain kind of insanity to me.

Many people do not realize how a currency that exists largely in the digital space can actually have a devastating impact on our environment. use a large amount of resources.As The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Colbert wrote Articles for April 2021“Bitcoin mining operations around the world currently use an amount equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of all of Sweden.”

Quoting data scientist Alex de Vries: Digiconomist website, Kolbert reported, “A single Bitcoin transaction uses as much electricity as an average American household consumes in a month.” A similar report can be found here: new york times, Washington Post When CNN.

Bitcoin mining hardware is on the rise as cryptocurrencies grow in popularity. Between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018, four major cryptocurrency mining operations released an estimated 3 million to 15 million tons of carbon dioxide, according to research journal research. rice field. natural sustainability.

even in China the world’s largest polluterto ban bitcoin mining in 2021, citing its high carbon emissions. “Crypto WinterAfter enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies plummeted around the world. Despite this, Bitcoin’s carbon footprint, still the world’s most valuable digital currency, is still enormous.

September of this year, report The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy found that cryptocurrency mining in the United States emits as much greenhouse gases as domestic railroads, stating that “depending on the energy intensity of the technology used, crypto assets It could impede broader efforts to achieve it,” he warned. Zero net carbon pollution in line with US climate commitments and goals. ”

But despite all this data, Suarez believes it is possible to produce Bitcoin in an environmentally friendly way.

“I would like to dispel some myths, I think – I call them myths – [crypto] Mining as an environmentally unfriendly activity” the mayor said During his Crypto Conference, a live streaming event in June 2021.

And with renewable energy sources in South Florida, he argues, cryptocurrency miners may eventually be motivated to stop contributing to the destruction of the planet. In fact, he argues that because renewable energy sources exist, miners may choose to use them in the future. If only bitcoin miners could be interested in stopping the pursuit of cheap and dirty energy sources, it would be great.

But he’s not wrong. As Bitcoin’s main competitor Ethereum proved last year, it’s entirely possible to mine Bitcoin responsibly. Ethereum, the decentralized global network used to validate billions of dollars in cryptocurrency transactions, completed a system-wide transformation in September. merge.

Essentially, Ethereum has moved to a mining process known as Proof of Stake. This requires significantly less computational power than Bitcoiner’s preferred process, Proof of Work.By doing so, Ethereum will reduce global energy consumption to 99% or more.

Several bitcoin miner They say they want their industry to be greener, but the majority are resisting calls to adopt a proof-of-stake system. Miami residents, meanwhile, seem to be torn on environmental issues.According to research Conducted by Yale Universitythe same as George Mason Universitythey believe local officials, and state officials, including governors, “should do more to tackle global warming.”

But Miami voters said,red waveInstalled a Republican Supermajority in both Houses of the Republican-controlled Florida State Legislature.” Allow fossil fuel companies writing an invoice.

Miami-Dade County residents last November also voted. Re-elected Governor Ron DeSantishe doesn’t consider himself a ‘climate change denier’ but says he wants to Don’t be mistaken for a “climate change advocate”

Despite the plummeting value of the digital currency, Suarez President of the United States Conference of Mayorsremains a believer in Bitcoin.

Miami-Dade County will once again host the next annual conference, Bitcoin 2023, later this year.and Suarez said miami tv station that he continues to accept his government salary in bitcoinas from November 2021.

Some dreams seem to die hard.

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