Mining for Power

Connection Between Bitcoin Miners, Corporate Interest Groups, and Climate Deniers

Published: 03-19-2024


Greenpeace USA research reveals how the Bitcoin mining industry is interconnected with the fossil fuel and other polluting industry groups and climate denialists that oppose needed action to address the climate crisis. Bitcoin mining companies and trade groups are tied to politicians and dark-money groups pushing pro-corporate policy agendas that harm working people and BIPOC communities while limiting democracy. Ties to anti-environmental forces cast doubts on claims from Bitcoin industry advocates that mining promotes the build-out of renewable energy, stability of electricity grids, and reductions in methane gas emissions.

In reality, the mining industry’s impact on the climate reveals that Bitcoin proponents’ promises deviate substantially from reality. Independent research finds that Bitcoin mining – the Proof-of-Work (PoW) system that relies on millions of specialized and energy hungry computers to maintain and secure its decentralized digital ledger – emits as much greenhouse gas as some industrialized countries and that the majority of the electricity for Bitcoin mining comes from oil, coal, and gas. [1] And Bitcoin’s carbon footprint has only grown over time. Researchers estimate that in 2021 mining a single bitcoin emitted 126 times the CO2 as a bitcoin mined in 2016. [2] Bitcoin mines, essentially large warehouses of specialized computers, also consume large and growing amounts of water from generating their needed electricity and cooling equipment. Operations in the U.S. alone use as much water as 300,000 households – about the size of Washington, DC. [3] Meanwhile the increased energy demand from Bitcoin mines is straining electrical grids and increasing costs for ratepayers, while doing little to nothing for the expansion of renewable energy. [4]

Additionally, the broader political agenda of many groups supporting Bitcoin are counter to promoting sustainability and action to address the climate crisis. Since Bitcoin provides a lifeline for fossil fuels by helping keep dirty coal and gas plants running, it should come as no surprise that fossil fuel companies and climate deniers are excited about the industry.

Take Exxon Mobil who has pilot projects to mine Bitcoin using methane gas from the dirty fracking fields of North Dakota and plans to expand similar operations around the world. [5]

Many staff of cryptocurrency mining and Bitcoin industry groups have worked with conservative think-tanks and advocacy groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and organizations funded by the Koch brothers’ network that oppose policies to protect consumers, the environment, and workers, and want to slash public programs. Others have worked as lobbyists for fossil fuel companies and other big corporate interests. Numerous people who worked in the Trump administration, which worked aggressively to eliminate or weaken environ- mental and climate policies, have found new jobs advocating for Bitcoin as leaders of trade associations and Bitcoin mining companies.

The Satoshi Action Fund (SAF) stands out among crypto trade associations and Bitcoin advocacy groups as being the most aggressive in defending the polluting Bitcoin mining industry, especially through state-level “model” legislation and targeted lobbying, and is connected to networks of right-wing advocacy groups, corporate interests, and climate deniers.

Ties to the groups and politicians spreading climate disinformation and protecting the dirty fossil fuel industry, not to mention weakening democracy and slashing public services, are the tell-tale features of an industry that is holding the U.S. back from a just transition to a more sustainable future.

Click here to read the full report


Interactive Power Map

In addition to the report, Greenpeace USA visualized the relationships between Bitcoin industry groups, conservative and corporate interest groups, politicians, and other stakeholders described in this report using a power map. The power map shows relationships as connections between entities, and entities are color-coded based on their sector affiliation. We describe entities as Bitcoin industry groups and staff, conservative and corporate advocacy groups, for-profit companies, PACs, politicians, government agencies and staffers, and lobbyists. Users can  explore the map and gain additional information about the entities represented in this network by clicking the node of interest.

In addition to descriptions in the report, this interactive map highlights the complex web of connections and alliances within and across sectors. Bitcoin industry groups are both directly and indirectly affiliated and interacting with conservative groups that have a record of spreading climate misinformation, supporting the fossil fuel industry, and promoting dangerous environmental policies. Additional stakeholders, like politicians, government staffers, and corporations, contribute to the comprehensive network and strengthen these relationships.


Full Report

Bitcoin Mining for Power


  1. Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. “Historical Bitcoin Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” cbnsi/cbeci/ghg; Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. “Bitcoin Electricity Consumption by Source.”
  2. Jones, Benjamin A., Andrew L. Goodkind, and Robert P. Berrens. September 29, 2022. “Economic Estimation of Bitcoin Mining’s Climate Damages Demonstrates Closer Resemblance to Digital Crude than Digital Gold.” Scientific Reports 12, no. 1 14512. https://doi. org/10.1038/s41598-022-18686-8
  3. Vries, Alex de. 2024. “Bitcoin’s Growing Water Footprint.” Cell Reports Sustainability. https:// S2949-7906(23)00004-6#secsectitle0010
  4. Dance, Gabriel J.X. April 9, 2023. “The Real-World Costs of the Digital Race for Bitcoin.” New York Times. bitcoin-mining-electricity-pollution.html
  5. Malik, Naureen S. March 24, 2022.“Exxon Weighs Taking Gas-to-Bitcoin Pilot to Four Countries.” Bloomberg News. articles/2022-03-24/exxon-considers-taking-gas-to- bitcoin-pilot-to-four-countries