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"We're overdoing it a bit with Bitcoin's energy consumption"

"We're overdoing it a bit with Bitcoin's energy consumption"

For Émeric de Vigan, Vice President of Kpler's electricity business, bitcoin can play a role in the energy transition if it is used properly.

THE BIG WHALE. What is your position on Bitcoin?

Émeric de Vigan. My opinion is largely biased because I used to work in electricity trading, where the underlying is... physical. The price of electricity is determined by consumption, wind generation, the availability of power stations, and the list goes on. Seen in this light, I don't think Bitcoin has much value. If I were to be a bit provocative, I'd even say that I don't understand why it's not worth zero...

Is its level of energy consumption a problem?

Not really. At the moment, we are living in a paradoxical situation: there is a serious risk of energy shortages in some parts of the planet and energy surpluses in others. Bitcoin mining is an interesting way of using up the surplus because you can decide to turn the mining machines on or off very quickly. I think we're overdoing it a bit with bitcoin's energy consumption. It's a bit like saying that an email consumes a certain number of kilowatt hours. We need to take a step back from all this.

Can bitcoin be a vehicle for energy transition?

Why not, but that would be tantamount to saying that bitcoin mining is akin to storage. It's an interesting idea, just like using the batteries in electric cars for storage or network support mechanisms. But the key is to ask whether there is a business in mining bitcoins part-time.

A country's electricity consumption can vary a lot. Would it help the network if we filled the gaps with on-demand consumption?

Yes, enormously. The operator responsible for security of supply (RTE in France) has to manage very occasional peak situations where there is potentially a shortage of energy, and then manage times when there is a lot of surplus.

Does encouraging the consumption of bitcoin, even from renewable sources, pose an ethical problem?

Pushing consumption in general is not optimal, especially when we need to show sobriety. But if we can combine consumption and flexibility, then that's interesting.

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