The World Economic Forum (WEF) showcased the facilities and tech employed by a cryptocurrency mining firm and implied its operations were the “biggest winner” for the environment — but it never actually said it was mining crypto.
Published on April 20, the WEF video promoted efforts toward reducing flaring — where large amounts of gas from oil production or from decomposition are wasted — by the Colorado-based Bitcoin (BTC) miner Crusoe Energy Systems.
Prominent imagery of what appear to be cryptocurrency mining facilities are presented throughout the video; however, the video never directly addresses what is actually happening.
Chase Lochmiller, CEO, and co-founder of Crusoe, explained in the video that it builds and operates “modular data centers” that are co-located with waste energy sources to use wasted methane streams to generate power.
It was noted this enables the production of “ultra-low-cost computing infrastructure” by utilizing stranded energy sources that would otherwise go unused.
The video was noticed by several crypto industry figures.
MicroStrategy co-founder Michael Saylor shared the video with his 3 million Twitter followers on April 23, stating that “even the WEF is recognizing the environmental benefits of Bitcoin Mining.”
Even the @WEF is recognizing the environmental benefits of Bitcoin Mining. pic.twitter.com/kPnMIfyJpU— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) April 23, 2023
Meanwhile, Kristine Cranley, a director at the advocacy group the Texas Blockchain Council, pointed out in an April 23 tweet that the video didn't once mention "the b word": Bitcoin.
@WEF promoting mining without using the b word! Source below. Contrast this with the tone of the @nytimes hit piece! Same topic … different emotional experience they are trying to deliver. @NYTimesUp pic.twitter.com/d4OEPkWYFc— Kristine Cranley (@KristineCranley) April 23, 2023
One user suggested in a tweet that the WEF wasn’t allowed to mention BTC because of their previous “standpoint,” which has included advocacy for changing Bitcoin’s code to proof-of-stake, citing the environmental impact of its current consensus mechanism.
The hidden cost of Bitcoin? Our #environment https://t.co/dF7b2HOkd4 pic.twitter.com/qY5mrmiSaR— World Economic Forum (@wef) January 15, 2018
Crusoe expanded its Bitcoin mining assets through the acquisition of the operating assets of portable BTC mining operator Great American Mining (GAM) in October 2022.
Related: ExxonMobil is using excess natural gas to power crypto mining: Report
The acquisition added over 10 megawatts (MW) to Crusoe’s mining output, along with approximately 4,000 application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) crypto-mining rigs.
In June 2022, Crusoe Energy partnered with the government of Oman — a country that exports 21% of its gas production and seeks zero gas flaring by 2030.
Crusoe will open an office in Oman’s capital city of Muscat and install its equipment for capturing gas waste at well sites to use as computing power for crypto mining.
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