Sam Bankman-Fried, the 29-year-old crypto billionaire, has said that bitcoin could dramatically cut down on its energy use without killing off the cryptocurrency or setting back the industry.
He also revealed that special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, have been queuing up to take his FTX crypto exchange public, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg.
The computing process that secures and “mines” bitcoin has been criticized for using vast amounts of energy. Bitcoin enthusiasts have pushed back hard, saying detractors are blowing the problem out of proportion.
But Bankman-Fried told Bloomberg that bitcoiners need to take the issue seriously. “It’s not at all reasonable for bitcoin forces to decry it as sort of a witch hunt to bring up this question, because there is substantial energy usage happening because of bitcoin mining right now,” he said.
Yet he said there are a number of solutions that wouldn’t be too burdensome, such as switching to green energy or using carbon offsets to lower the industry’s impact on the environment.
“The answer is that it’s not free to mitigate, but it’s not that expensive,” he told Bloomberg. “It’s something the industry could pay without really setting itself back that much.”
Many bitcoiners argue that the industry will soon use predominantly renewable energy, given that it’s becoming cheaper and cheaper in advanced economies.
Bankman-Fried, who founded and is now chief executive of FTX, said he’s been approached by a number of SPACs about taking the crypto derivatives exchange public. SPACs are blank-check companies that raise money on the stock market and then find a target company to merge with.
He said FTX was one of the few “plausible exciting targets” for SPACs in the crypto world.
Bankman-Fried said the exchange does not have concrete plans, but said: “If we did want to go public via [a] SPAC, I don’t think finding the SPAC would be the limiting factor.”