Chris Larsen has had a difficult week.
The Bitcoin community has criticized the billionaire cryptocurrency founder online after he announced a $5 million campaign Monday to pressure Bitcoin to change its mining system, use less energy, and make it greener.
Head of the main crypto research platform He called him “Judas”, It just dropped from there. Thousands of social media accounts shared their disdain for the campaign, while also attacking Larsen himself.
Chris Larsen – who in a just society would be in jail for the bad faith investor misrepresentations he and his team made regarding their XRP sales – is spending money attacking the industry that created his ill gotten multi-billion dollar fortune. Judas.
— Ryan Selkis 📖 🖊🔑 (@twobitidiot) March 29, 2022
“Obviously I knew this was going to happen,” said Larsen, co-founder of Ripple, the project that created a bitcoin-competing cryptocurrency called XRP. luck.
The ‘Judas’ thing was unfair because Roger [Ver] And I are good friends, and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt Roger,” Larsen joked. Ver is the CEO of Bitcoin.com, a cryptocurrency-related website, sometimes referred to as the “Bitcoin Jesus.”
It all started when Larsen began pressuring Bitcoin to move away from the current “Proof of Work” model, which relies on crypto mining to validate transactions.
Larsen’s campaign (which includes digital advertising, and includes organizations such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club) calls for Bitcoin to dramatically change the way mining becomes less energy-intensive, and thus less harmful to the environment.
The campaign doesn’t require one specific way to do this, but a press release, Sierra Club CEO Michael Brun, mentioned the possibility of switching to a proof-of-stake model that would phase out mining entirely, or change the proof-of-work used for bitcoin mining to be less energy intensive.
Bitcoin is angry for a number of reasons. Many felt Larsen’s requests were unreasonable, and that changing the way cryptocurrency was mined was nearly impossible. They also questioned his motive, as it is linked to a rival currency.
“[A]A Bitcoin node operator and a member of the Bitcoin high priesthood that controls the protocol, I have duly considered Ripple and Greenpeace’s request to remove PoW from Bitcoin, and I hereby… deny it,” Nic Carter, Co-Founder and Co-Founder of Coin Metrics Crypto VC Castle Island Ventures, Tweet this week.
as a Bitcoin Node Operator and member of the Bitcoin High Priesthood that Controls the Protocol, I have duly considered Ripple's and Greenpeace's request to eliminate PoW from Bitcoin, and I hereby… deny it. pic.twitter.com/6QYziI2QYW
— nic carter (@nic__carter) March 29, 2022
Bitcoin currently operates on a proof-of-work model, where miners compete to solve complex puzzles to validate financial transactions. Every time a miner solves correctly, transactions are validated and added to the blockchain. This process requires expensive computers and a lot of energy.
Larsen said luck It fully supports proof of work, but wants to change in a way that incentivizes to work with less energy, and rewards miners for removing carbon from the atmosphere. It’s unclear how this would be possible, and Larsen doesn’t provide specific guidelines.
He said, “The whole question on my mind is, ‘Can you find a completely secure database, but you can do it?'” “Then, you incentivize each miner to be on the solution side, not the problem side.”
For him, the “holy grail” would turn famous bitcoin miners from energy-intensive consumption into “part of the solution to the climate.”
“I can see a world where Ethereum becomes more valuable than Bitcoin because of [the] energy issue. Shouldn’t this be a concern for the Bitcoin community? “
What does it take to change Bitcoin
One of the reasons the Bitcoin community is so angry about Larsen’s campaign is that they see it as unrealistic.
Bitcoin is not controlled by any single entity. Any proposed change to its blockchain protocol must be voted on and approved by the entire community for passage. But even if it is passed, it will not kill the current Proof of Work mining model.
Bitcoin miners will have to agree to update their software to run the new code. Some may, but not much may – this creates a “hard fork” where bitcoin splits into two different blockchains.
Even so, it is unclear how a new token will allow bitcoin miners to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Larsen isn’t clear about this either, and his campaign doesn’t highlight that either.
Finally, there is a huge love of “proof of work” Bitcoin. Many Bitcoin holders defend it when necessary to maintain a decentralized and secure blockchain.
‘Awareness of a problem’
Many have speculated online about Larsen’s motives behind the campaign.
Some I don’t understand why he didn’t make a suggestion to the Bitcoin community himself, instead of funding online ads that say Bitcoin should change its code. Others have asked why he is focusing on Bitcoin alone rather than the thousands of other cryptocurrencies that use Proof of Work.
In response, Larsen said the goal of his campaign is to spread “awareness that there is a problem. There is a lot of greenwashing and denial that there is even a problem.”
He adds that Bitcoin is beyond other cryptocurrencies, most of which are turning away from Proof of Work. For example, Ethereum is planning to move to Proof of Stake, making mining obsolete on the blockchain.
The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance estimates that Bitcoin uses slightly more energy per year than Norway, at 138.6 TWh compared to 124.3 TWh respectively.
“Keep it as a sign of action if that’s important to you — just as safe, but in a way that doesn’t induce all that energy use. That’s really the crux of the problem,” Larsen said.
This story originally appeared on Fortune.com