WEF promo video shows bitcoin mining, but leaves out the B-word

The World Economic Forum (WEF) showcased the facilities and technology of a company that mines cryptocurrencies, suggesting that its activities are the “biggest winner” for the environment – but it never said it mines cryptocurrencies.

The WEF video, released on 20 April, promoted the efforts of Colorado-based bitcoin (BTC) mining company Crusoe Energy Systems to reduce flaring – which wastes large amounts of gas from oil extraction or decomposition.

Throughout the video, images of cryptocurrency mining facilities are shown, but what actually happens is never directly addressed.

The video (screenshot) appears to show a facility housing Bitmain Antminer mining rigs but is referred to as a data center. Source: WEF

Chase Lochmiller, CEO and co-founder of Crusoe, explained in the video that the company builds and operates “modular data centres” that are co-located with waste energy sources to use wasted methane streams to generate electricity.

This, it said, allows for the production of “extremely low-cost computing infrastructure” by using unused energy sources that would otherwise go unused.

A still from the video showing a close-up of what appears to be a Bitmain Antminer mining rig. Source: WEF

The video was noticed by several crypto industry figures.

MicroStrategy co-founder Michael Saylor shared the video with his 3 million Twitter followers on 23 April, stating that “even the WEF recognizes the environmental benefits of bitcoin mining”.

Kristine Cranley, a director of the advocacy group Texas Blockchain Council, pointed out in a tweet on 23 April that the video did not mention the “B-word” once: Bitcoin.

One user suggested in a tweet that the WEF should not mention BTC because, among other things, it has in the past advocated changing the Bitcoin code to a proof-of-stake, citing the environmental impact of the current consensus mechanism.

Crusoe expanded its bitcoin mining activities by acquiring 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 more than 10 megawatts (MW) to Crusoe’s mining capacity, along with about 4,000 application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for crypto mining.

Earlier, in June 2022, Crusoe Energy partnered with the government of Oman – a country that exports 21% of its gas production and plans to stop flaring gas by 2030.

Crusoe will open an office in Oman’s capital Muscat and install its gas waste capture equipment on wells to use as computing power for crypto-mining.

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