Mode Global targets net-zero from cryptocurrency operations by 2030
Fintech major Mode Global Holdings has committed to achieving net-zero emissions from its cryptocurrency operations by the end of the decade, outlining plans to ensure they are powered by renewable electricity.
The firm describes its mission as “creating the world’s most disruptive ecosystem, where exchanging value and creating wealth is seamless for all”. It has produced an app that enables users to earn cashback on purchases, in the form of Bitcoin – one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies.
Mode’s new commitment has been announced to coincide with its signing of the Crypto Climate Accord (CCA), from the non-profit of the same name. Launched earlier this year, the Accord has garnered the support of more than 150 organisations, Its aim is to ensure that all blockchains – the digital ledgers of transactions for cryptocurrencies – run using 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
Under the commitment, Mode will ensure that all of its operations are powered using 100% renewable electricity by using Energy Web Zero – a search engine that provides real-time information on renewable energy generation and investments. Energy Web Zero is new and Mode will be among the first
As it Mode towards this milestone, which it claims will deliver net-zero power-related (Scope 2) emissions, the business will measure and offset emissions to deliver carbon-neutrality before 2030. Net-zero is differentiated from carbon-neutrality as the former requires in-house emissions reductions in line with climate science, while the latter does not; offsetting can be prioritised.
Mode has stated that it is in the process of developing plans to achieve net-zero for all direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) emissions, with targets due to be announced in the near future. The firm’s chief executive Ryan Moore said that Mode has established a new internal sustainability committee to develop and deliver these plans.
"There is no reason why any crypto or payments platform should be contributing to climate change,” Moore said.
“We believe that our customers should be able to invest in Bitcoin and rest easy that they are not harming the environment. We all need to urgently play our part to reduce global emissions - including businesses."
Digital carbon footprint
The extent of the environmental impact of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been hotly debated in recent months, after Tesla Motors’ chief executive Elon Musk announced that the electric vehicle (EV) brand would not Bitcoin payment. Musk’s reasoning for the decision was that cryptocurrency currently “comes at a great cost to the environment”.
As of 2019, Bitcoin production was estimated to generate some 22-23 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions each year – the equivalent of emissions from nations such as Sri Lanka and Jordan.
Crypto supporters have argued that this level of emissions is far lower than for sectors such as gold mining or insurance.
But the sector is set to grow rapidly and emissions could grow with it unless the mining is powered with clean electricity. Mining in China, which is heavily reliant on coal power for electricity, accounts for around 70% of the global total. In the US, the world’s first power plant and cryptocurrency mining facility in the world is under development and will be powered by natural gas.
There are also questions around the energy efficiency of mining and the climate impact of the critical minerals and metals needed to produce powerful computers for cryptocurrency mining.