Everything we do online takes energy.
A single google search? That takes 1080 Joules of energy*.
Streaming an hour of Netflix? 288,000 Joules*.
One Bitcoin transaction? A mindboggling 6,995,000,000 Joules.*
Bitcoin is an energy monster, burning a ton of fossil fuels – but it could disappear overnight if someone designed the right software update. Ethereum did it, why can’t Bitcoin?
But before that can happen, more people need to know about the problem – so I built a giant skull with laser eyes out of electronic waste to make some noise.
Here’s how I did it, and what I learned along the way:
Tldr: Bitcoin’s bad for the environment, and you can help it change.
Help us raise awareness! Links to press images here.
Looking for our Midjourney Skull Remix Tutorial? You can find it here.
Have an iPhone and want to play with our AR model for free? Check it out here.
Meet the 11-foot skull we built to terminate Bitcoin’s impact on climate change.
Bitcoin uses more energy than many countries and consumes about twice as much electricity as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple COMBINED. In the last five years, Bitcoin energy usage has already increased by 100x, and unless we fix the problem soon, it’ll grow into a massive problem by the time my nephew grows up to be a young man.
This giant skull was built using wood, recycled styrofoam, and over 300 pieces of Electronic Waste.
My friend and mechanical engineer Jeremy teamed up with fabricators Lana and Joel to fill our CNC-cut wooden puzzle with used industrial styrofoam and hundreds of pieces of electronic waste.
The E-Waste came to us in 6 giant pallets, donated by a local nonprofit called Unirecycle.
Since Bitcoin Mining generates over 30,000 Tonnes of Electronic Waste every single year, covering the piece in circuit boards made a lot of sense. This meant manually sorting, organizing, and fitting each and every piece onto our skull.
With 1000 human hours of work, we brought the “Skull of Satoshi” to life in a huge abandoned warehouse.
Did you know? Bitcoin miners have started buying old coal power plants. To highlight the connection between fossil fuels and Bitcoin Mining – we got permission from Demolition company Delsan Aim to shoot in one of their buildings slated for demolition and used long tube lights to give it a dystopian cyberpunk vibe.
These are the suits we’re trying to reach. Institutional investors supporting an energy-devouring Bitcoin:
Sony A7r-IV with a 16-35mm f2.8 | Nanlite Pavotube 30x | 1/25th Sec, f4, ISO 800Since these groups have invested billions of dollars into Bitcoin, their opinions matter. “If groups like Fidelity Investments decided to withhold support for Bitcoin until it is more aligned with their climate commitments, they could help create more demand for a more environmentally friendly Bitcoin.
The other is the Bitcoin community – often easily identified by their “laser eye” profile pictures.
Using a couple red fairy lights and some tape, I created some real-world laser eyes for my volunteer models to wear.
They too, need to create demand for a more sustainable Bitcoin.
Since Bitcoin is truly decentralized, a substantial code change can only happen if the majority of the community supports the decision. This means that they too, need to signal their support for a less energy-intensive code.
Over the next few months, this giant skull will travel and campaign for change.
Greenpeace has offered to take the Skull of Satoshi on tour, where they will protest in different places to build awareness. Our engineer designed it to be fully portable. That’s why we created it to break apart and roll around!
It’ll travel with its own smoke machine and power supply that works when its below freezing!
We used a Homepower 2 battery pack capable of powering 2 smoke machines simultaneously and all the lights, making it far more eco-friendly and silent than if it used a gas-powered generator!
If the everyday person can study and understand Bitcoin’s impact on the environment, we can build momentum for change!
Bitcoin is complicated. No doubt about it – but instead of being scared of its complexity, we need more people to lean in, understand the situation, and demand change. Please share this campaign far and wide, and create your own remixes!
- High-Rez press images, BTS, and more can be found in this dropbox link.
- Commercial requests and rights: firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us draw attention to this issue by creating your own art remixes to raise awareness!!
If this campaign resonated with you, feel free to create your own remixes of the Skull of Satoshi using this video tutorial created by Manu.Vision. Use your creativity and help us spread awareness!
- Creative Director / Photographer / Video Editor: Von Wong
- Campaign Collaborator: GreenpeaceUSA
- Lead Fabricator: Elana Novali
- Support Fabricator: Joel Masters
- Engineering Design: Jeremy Lizandier
- E-Waste partners: Unirecycle
- Location: Delsan Aim
- Snow Removal: Pelouse MD
- Lighting Assistant: Tristan Gauvreau
- BTS photography: Talisa Hernandez, Francois Le Nguyen
- BTS videographers: Andy Son, Johnny Miodini, Sam Lafreniere, Ray Arzaga, Alex St-Jean
- Video Script Support: Brenton Zola
- Volunteers: Lisette Ladouceur, Giovanna G, Joanie Pépin, Claude Campagna Lupien, Ruuka, Anne-Marie Coulombe, Théo Chauvirey, Nathan Taylor,
Jessika Chiasson, Clara Cloutier, Guillaume Briand, Laura Francois, Julien-Carl Dubois-Lafaille, Pauline Le Bouter, Sing Wong, Ann Valence, Kim Gingras, Anne T, Dana Waldman, Ashley Azouri, Olivier Caron, Stephanie Francois, Alison Wong, Kody Cheung, Tommy Cheung, Jeanette Kho
- Special thanks to Gi Quo Vadis for the studio space!