More than a decade after Satoshi Nakamoto combined proof of work and bitcoin mining together, fallacious comparisons of “energy cost per transaction” continue to be spread by seemingly intelligent and well-researched individuals.
We can trace much of the spread of this narrative back to Alex de Vries—a data scientist who goes by the handle “Digiconomist” and is cited in nearly every anti-bitcoin energy article and op-ed in the mainstream media. There’s just one problem. Neither he, nor most of the journalists that cite him, regularly disclose that his employer is De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the Dutch Central Bank, which is an undeniable opponent of bitcoin and open payment rails. It’s irresponsible for journalists to cite de Vries, or his work, without disclosing his conflict of interest. He is effectively a DNB lobbyist.
De Vries’s work for the DNB focuses on financial economic crime. In 2020 the DNB required controversial and overly aggressive KYC regulations for digital asset firms serving the Netherlands. Among other things, the regulation required users prove they control their withdrawal address. The rule was reversed last week, in court, after Bitonic formally complained. The DNB is also leading CBDC development and integration in Europe.
De Vries’ website, Digiconomist, described as a “hobby project,” apparently misleads readers by failing to disclose his employment. The site uses unreasonable assumptions and deceptive infographics about so-called “Single Bitcoin Transaction Footprints.”
This has led others to come up with similarly misleading transaction-based comparisons to erroneously claim which altcoins use the least amount of electricity as a function of utility.
In March, Bill Gates repeated this FUD, which was then echoed by the media using de Vries’s own misleading data. More recently, Elon Musk became the latest to spread misinformation when he tweeted that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as payment…