Bitcoin miner Riot Platforms responds to NYT with cheeky video saying facility doesn’t literally produce CO2

Quick Take

  • Riot Platforms defended itself against an April 9 New York Times article on the polluting effects of bitcoin mining.
  • The company posted a tongue-in-cheek video on Twitter from inside a Riot mining facility, showing carbon dioxide levels are lower than those in the outside air.
  • The video omits the fact that CO2 emissions are generated by power stations supplying bitcoin miners with electricity, nor directly from mining rigs.

Bitcoin miner Riot Platforms posted a tongue-in-cheek video and a written statement defending itself after The New York Times published a story about the "enormous carbon pollution" and high electricity costs created by the mining industry.

"We were especially disappointed to read a false and distorted view of our company and our industry in the article published by The NYT. Worse still, The NYT chose to publish the article with information its authors knew to be false and misleading, ignoring the factual information that we provided to them," the company said in the statement. "Our Bitcoin mining operations do not generate any greenhouse gas emissions, similar to any other data center for Facebook, Amazon or Google."

The Times estimated that 96% of the power used by Riot comes from fossil fuels and found that in Texas, increased demand from mining resulted in electric bills nearly 5% higher, another $1.8 billion a year. The additional use of power causes as much carbon pollution as adding 3.5 million gas-powered cars to America’s roads. The Times reported that Riot's mine in Rockdale, Texas, "uses about the same amount of electricity as the nearest 300,000 homes, making it the most power-intensive Bitcoin mining operation in America."

Riot Platforms, the largest bitcoin miner by market cap, said its data center uses electricity from the Texas grid, which it claimed is the cleanest and most renewable energy-sourced grid in the United States.

In a tongue-in-cheek response video posted on Twitter, a Riot official dressed in a safety gear walks around a semi-grassy area, measuring the low level of CO2 and noting the plants around him consuming. "Rockdale has some of the freshest air I've ever breathed," the person, who appears to be Riot's head of research Pierre Rochard, says. He then goes inside the mining facility and measures an even lower level of CO2 within the largest bitcoin mining facility in the U.S.

"The science is conclusive," the bearded man representing Riot said in the video. "The data shows Bitcoin mining does not emit any CO2."

Twitter users, naturally, piled on, roasting the bitcoin miner for its comically literal interpretation of mining and greenhouse gases. "Somebody please explain to them where carbon emissions come from," said one.



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"Is this a parody?" said another.


The head of public policy at Riot later noted that the video is a "tongue-in-cheek" take on the "flawed & unscientific reporting of the @nytimes."

"As anyone can see, accurate information was blatantly ignored because it did not fit the narrative the NYT was trying to spin," the company said in a statement to The Block.

A Cambridge University research project has estimated that Bitcoin miners' electricity usage has produced 200 million tonnes of CO2 since bitcoin was invented.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Authors

Christiana is a long-time journalist who has written about markets in the Americas, politicians who stashed cash in their underwear and high-end heels, to name just a few. She previously spent six years at Bloomberg, and her work has appeared in the WSJ, LA Times, Insider, Vogue Business and more. Christiana has a bachelor's degree in English from Pace University and a master's degree in journalism from New York University. She completed a master's degree in media psychology for fun.
Adam Morgan is a reporter covering cryptocurrency, financial markets, and economics – anything from price movements, earnings reports, and inflation to the U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate decisions and everything in between. Adam is based in London.


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