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 vary Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm by a “code change” as a way to save the atmosphere.
The thought being that PoW makes use of power and different consensus algorithms don’t.
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Von Wong’s artwork piece was revealed Thursday, March 23, in a weblog put up 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 neighborhood who put on laser eyes of their profile footage.
As a substitute of enraging the Bitcoin neighborhood, as Greenpeace’s marketing campaign usually does, the Cranium was virtually instantly usually embraced as a result of it was actually cool.
I imply, simply have 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 appreciated the Cranium of Satoshi and a few modified their Twitter profile footage. 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 moving 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 power, is usually a nonstarter. Bitcoin will virtually definitely by no means transfer away from proof-of-work. That isn’t apparent from the skin, in order that’s precisely the place Von Wong started his journey to grasp 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 hung out in dialog with environmentalist bitcoiners together with Level39, Troy Cross and Daniel Batten. He now acknowledges that Bitcoin generally is a highly effective pressure for bettering the atmosphere.
This creates a considerably fascinating parallel. Greenpeace will nonetheless presumably use the Cranium of Satoshi to advertise its “change the code” marketing campaign, however it is going to work in all places besides on the web the place the cranium has grow to be 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 option to repair Bitcoin’s environmental downside” to “really, there are a lot of methods to repair Bitcoin’s environmental downside” within the house of some days. It’s not a narrative as a result of Von Wong is somebody large, necessary or particular. It’s a narrative as a result of as increasingly individuals get inquisitive 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 truthfully unsurprising. The truth that it was carried out in what appeared like a comparatively nonabrasive approach bodes properly for onboarding future environmentalist-leaning bitcoiners.
If Bitcoin is to succeed, we’d like extra bitcoiners. And since Bitcoin and environmentalism aren’t mutually unique, there are methods for PoW blockchains to be a constructive pressure.
Bitcoin is for everybody, together with environmentalists.