Artist Benjamin Von Wong & Greenpeace Unveil Giant Skull to Highlight Bitcoin’s Climate Impact

by Gigi Singh

March 23, 2023

Art and activism merge in the striking art installation called the Skull of Satoshi, created by art activist Benjamin Von Wong and Greenpeace USA to highlight Bitcoin’s record of climate destruction. 

Skull of Satoshi by Benjamin Von Wong

Click here for Skull of Satoshi images

Washington, DC (March 23, 2023) – Art and activism merge in the striking art installation called the Skull of Satoshi, created by art activist Benjamin Von Wong and Greenpeace USA to highlight Bitcoin’s record of climate destruction. 

This thought-provoking art installation is 11 feet tall and features smoking stacks representing the fossil fuel and coal pollution generated by Bitcoin mining, eyes adorned with bitcoin logos and red lasers, and cables protruding from its neck. The skull is made with electronic waste donated by Unirecycle, representing the millions of computers used to validate Bitcoin transactions, known as mining. 

The Skull of Satoshi symbolizes the enormous climate impact of bitcoin mining and serves as an avatar to encourage financial institutions to take responsibility for the climate impact of Bitcoin investments, products, and services they offer.

Greenpeace Campaigner Rolf Skar said: “Coal-fired power plants are being revived and kept alive by the growing electricity demands of Bitcoin mining. This is a horrifying development, given the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels to prevent a climate catastrophe. Our skull design serves as a powerful symbol, urging financial institutions to use their influence to advocate for a code change that could reduce Bitcoin’s electricity usage by a whopping 99%. We cannot afford to expand our reliance on fossil fuels any further, and it’s up to the Bitcoin community to take action and change their code – not the climate – if we hope to secure a sustainable future for all.”

Financial companies like Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, and Blackrock that have climate goals and invest in Bitcoin and offer Bitcoin products can use their influence to call for a code change to create a more energy efficient consensus mechanism. 

With Bitcoin’s annual greenhouse gas emissions rivaling that of countries like Ireland and Chile, Greenpeace and Von Wong are calling on the companies to push Bitcoin to change its code to one that isn’t electricity-intensive, greatly reducing its climate pollution and environmental impact on local communities living near mining facilities.

Artist Benjamin Von Wong said: “As an artist and activist, I believe in the power of art to spark conversations and inspire change. The idea that we have the unique opportunity to erase the climate footprint equivalent of an entire country by fixing Bitcoin is so exciting to me. 

“The crypto community has some of the brightest minds, and I have no doubt that if we can generate enough demand for a more sustainable Bitcoin that some genius can come up with a solution that works for all people and the planet. 

“I’m excited to see what Greenpeace does with this art installation and to play a small part in the global transformation necessary!”

Watch the making of the Skull of Satoshi to see the artistic process behind this powerful installation and learn more about the environmental impact of bitcoin mining. 

Skull of Satoshi Arrives in New York City

Next week, Greenpeace will be taking the Skull of Satoshi on an accountability tour, bringing attention to financial institutions that are investing heavily into Bitcoin. The tour seeks to spark a conversation and encourage the financial industry to encourage Bitcoin to change the code, not the climate. The first stop will be New York City. 

For more information on the upcoming action in New York City, email [email protected]

 

Additional information and content

Change the Code website: https://cleanupbitcoin.com/ 

Link to Von Wong’s Blog:  https://blog.vonwong.com/skull/ 

Link to Von Wong’s Video: https://youtu.be/SAYr_ZB-98o 

Link to Photos and Videos for press: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rn7ju8v0eosrbzl/AABLoseAodmvNQ5u6hD6kGKBa?dl=0 

 

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Contact: Gigi Singh, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, [email protected], 631-404-9977

Greenpeace USA is part of a global network of independent campaigning organizations that use peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace USA is committed to transforming the country’s unjust social, environmental, and economic systems from the ground up to address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first. Learn more at www.greenpeace.org 

By Gigi Singh

Senior Strategic Communications Specialist.

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