Earth Bitcoin - An idea for BTC integration

As most of you may know, the IC community has approved direct integration with Bitcoin and it looks like it should be ready in a few months! :partying_face: This is a huge move for the Internet Computer and has the potential to revolutionise Bitcoin/smart contracts in general.

However, as other community members brought up on the last BTC integration call, there isn’t really much reason to move BTC to the IC, and it may fall flat without a compelling narrative. From looking at other networks, the IC will need Decentralized Finance, Social or something other than just wrapping Bitcoin on a new network. Additionally, BSC, Solana, Avalanche, and dozens of others already have a much more vibrant ecosystem applications, liquidity, and developers building on their own versions of wrapped bitcoin (using RenVM or other bridges).

So we propose a new idea to set our community version of Bitcoin apart from the others. Instead of calling it Wrapped Bitcoin, we call it Earth Bitcoin. Our mission will be to make Earth Bitcoin good for the environment, instead of damaging it. We do this by moving it to a proof-of-stake network, and potentially allocate some transaction fees towards climate initiatives that offset and neutralize the negative effects of proof-of-work mining (governed by a DAO or the nns/sns). We have some preliminary designs for this, but wanted to get some feedback from the community to see if it’s something everyone would be interested in supporting before investing more time/energy into it.

The team at Earth Wallet are big supporters of the Internet Computer and would love to see it succeed. We built the first open source browser wallet which has IC and Bitcoin support ready to go. So we could focus on creating a nice UX around this initiative and give BTC integration on the IC a much bigger splash when it ships!

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I think Earth Bitcoin is a fantastic idea for the branding and the climate angle is a great one to pursue for PR - lets do it!

This is based on the assumption that Bitcoin is bad for the environment, which I do not think is a sound assumption.

Proof of work does use a lot of electricity, but it isn’t as if that electricity is entirely wasted. In fact it is being used for a very valuable purpose, I think most of us would agree (otherwise why are we in this space?).

There is also an assumption that using large amounts of electricity is bad for the environment. Depends on the source of that electricity and the effects the sourcing has on the environment.

Though I do agree that proof of work is not the most efficient means of achieving Bitcoin’s goals, as proof of stake or other consensus mechanisms may be able to achieve similar levels of credible neutrality, censorship-resistance, uptime, and security using far less electricity.

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I do agree that Bitcoin has created a value to the world as the purest form of currency (by being tied to energy), but check these out:

[1] Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI)
[2] Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index - Digiconomist.

As price increases, so will energy consumption. ASIC’s do some work to make it more efficient, but the difficulty adjustments counteract. Current Bitcoin consumption is 50-500TWh a year, which is the same magnitude of energy of over 80 countries. Assuming the Bitcoin bible (aka stock-to-flow pricing model) is correct, we would hit 500-5000TWh of energy this decade, making it on par with the energy usage that could keep hundreds of millions of people alive with shelter, food, water, etc. It doesn’t matter where the source of energy comes from, do we really value incorruptible money more than the lives of billions of people? Unless you are assuming we have limitless energy, which I don’t think is a sound assumption.

Even if Bitcoiners decide incorruptible money is the more noble goal, ESG and climate change narratives are going on every countries agenda for the foreseeable future, and will continue to be used to try to shut down Bitcoin by governments (i.e. China), and companies will be forced to back away as well to avoid penalties (i.e. Tesla).

I think this could be a great strategy for the community and gives the ICP ecosystem something to rally behind that is forward thinking and positive for the environment.

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I’m not sure how far we want to go in this thread debating to what extent proof of work is bad for the environment, maybe I’ll just leave it at this personally: I don’t think we should base most of the value proposition of an IC-Bitcoin on an environmentalist argument. I do not support this idea.

Could claims of much more efficient energy use be made? Sure, and I think that is objectively true and provable (to the extent you can prove anything). Going beyond that I think gets into much murkier pseudo-science.

I’m happy to discuss and learn more about other viewpoints off of this thread if anyone is interested and thinks this thread shouldn’t devolve into a climate debate.

Also interesting to note, I suspect there will be multiple IC-BTC coins, so an environment-focused IC-BTC could coexist or compete with another IC-BTC… I’m not sure exactly how they would differ except for branding, but who knows. I guess I’m saying the battlefield of the market will have many different combatants and the coin being discussed in this thread will have a chance to hold its own.

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