Revolut head of crypto: 'Washing machines consume more energy than bitcoin'

By Stephan Roth on Friday 30 September 2022

Digital BankingCrypto

Did Revolut suggest Tesseract Energy is building a blockchain energy company to sustainably power bitcoin?

Revolut head of crypto: 'Washing machines consume more energy than bitcoin'
Image source: Ed Cooper/Revolut/Alan Chang/Tesseract Energy.

Bitcoin's proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism has come under scrutiny for being energy intensive, however Ed Cooper, Revolut's crypto product owner believes that environmental fears regarding bitcoin are misplaced. 

"Everyone is saying since bitcoin uses lots of energy, therefore it is bad", Cooper said at Bloomberg's Technology Summit held yesterday in London. 

"Washing machines and Christmas lights both consume more energy than the bitcoin network," he said. 

Cooper was referring to an article that cited a 2015 study by the Center of Global Development. The study suggested that Christmas light usage in the US hist 6.6TWh, the most by any country. The article compared these numbers to the energy use of  9.5m Antiminer S9 mining decives, which apprently consumed 0.3648TWh over an unspecified period of time.

Data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Index suggests bitcoin mining uses 92TWh compared to 104TWh used for refrigerators in the US. 

However, according to the European Central Bank (ECB), the energy consumption involved in crypto mining equates is greater than a year's worth of energy consumption for countries like France, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria. Global mining operations reached a peak energy use of 450TWh, the ECB suggests.

The ECB report claims PoW to be the main culprit behind the energy use. PoW is bitcoin's process of choice, with Ethereum having started its transition to a proof-of-stake system that will be 99.95% more energy efficient, according to the Ethereum Foundation. 

Whether or not Cooper was joking, he did mention that an "ex-Revolut person has now gone on to start a renewable energy company… one of the ways they’re going to smooth out demand is by bitcoin mining". 

Last week, AltFi spoke to former Revolut chief revenue officer Alan Chang, who is currently spearheading Tessaract Energy, with fellow ex-Revolut employee Charles Orr. 

According to the Tesseract Energy website, the firm focused on building a "terawatt of renewable capacity to power the world". 

In the interview,  Chang said Tesseract want to "take the trend of decentralisation and democratisation into energy".

Not much is known about Tesseract Energy, which raised $78m in a funding round earlier this month led by Balderton, Lakestar, Accel, Creandum, Lowercarbon and Ribbit. 

However, if decentralisation is to be a core element of Tesseract, an energy blockchain company could be in the works. Nevertheless, a look at Tesseract's website does not indicate any mining plans to date.

Tesseract Energy and Revolut have not responded to a request for comment. 

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Companies in this Article:

Balderton Capital
European Commission
Revolut

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