Greening Bitcoin with Incentive Offsets

Troy Cross and Andrew M. Bailey


Problem

Bitcoin mining is energy-intensive and too much of that energy involves carbon emissions. But bitcoin is also a net good for humanity, opening up new avenues for financial inclusion, freedom from monetary repression, and self-sovereignty. As long as bitcoin is in tension with sustainability, its full potential will be untapped.

Solution

We propose a way to invest in bitcoin without contributing, even slightly, to unsustainable bitcoin mining. If one co-invests in Green Co-investment Instruments (GCIs) in proportion to the size and duration of one’s bitcoin holdings, one’s bitcoin and green mining investments together will produce no net incentive to mine bitcoin in a carbon-intensive way. Unlike other proposals to green bitcoin, ours preserves bitcoin’s fungibility and costs nothing. In fact, it provides a positive return. We briefly describe our core idea and compare it to alternatives in this short whitepaper.

More robust technical work is forthcoming, suitable for those interested in the economic, philosophical, or engineering details. In the meantime, if you're reading and you would like to help us implement this idea, please do contact us.

Last updated: 28 July 2021.