Is cryptocurrency sponsorship too dirty for the greener image F1 wants to cultivate?

2021 F1 season

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From F1’s new Sprint Qualifying events celebration truck to teams’ own partnerships, cryptocurrency has been a major growth area for sponsorship in the series. But it presents challenging questions for a sport eager to push its environmental credentials.

Unlike the conventional currency in your pocket which is tied to a country or resource, such as the gold standard, cryptocurrencies are universally accessible provided you have the technology. Users can ‘mine’ the currencies using computer processing power to sort through vast packages of encrypted data to find strings that form a coin. Although there are many different cryptocurrencies, they all work on that basis. If you can’t or don’t want to mine yourself, you can just buy in.

The processing capacity needed for the mining is staggering. Demand for chips is so high that it has lead to shortages of some computer parts and left gamers facing eye-watering prices for the latest graphics cards. But that isn’t the biggest objection to cryptocurrencies: the amount of power consumed in the mining process is the most serious problem.

BitCoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, is in a late stage of mining, meaning so many coins have been extracted from data that more and more blocks have to be processed to find one, limiting the currency and increasing the value of each coin. University of Cambridge researchers recently estimated BitCoin alone uses around 121 terawatt hours annually, the energy equivalent to a mid-sized developed country, exceeding the Netherlands, UAE or Argentina.

Techeetah brought cryptocurrency sponsorship to Formula E
Assuming that 121 terawatt hours is drawn from a reasonably clean grid, like Germany’s, that’s roughly 58,685,000 metric tons of carbon per year, equivalent to 12.7 million passenger vehicles. That’s a lot to begin with, but in reality most BitCoin mining is done on fossil-fuelled grids where energy is much cheaper – and dirtier – than that. And while BitCoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, it’s just one of over 6,000 in use.

Given this, it might seem strange that cryptocurrencies first appeared in motorsport in environmentally-conscious Formula E. Techeetah partnered with gambling cryptocurrency DragonCoin (a sort of grown-up version of the token-based currencies at amusement parks) at the start of the 2017-18 season. Venturi went on to acquire Ethereum, a theoretically more eco-minded form of crypto, as a sticker for several races at the start of 2018.

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It has spread into other series since. IndyCar featured a prominent BitCoin-funded entry in the Indianapolis 500 this year and NASCAR has featured a Dogecoin-sponsored car. But by far the most high profile crypto partnerships have been in Formula 1; a series which promises to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Rinus VeeKay, Carpenter, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2021
Carpenter had BitCoin sponsorship at Indianapolis
Red Bull entered into a partnership with Futuro Coin during the 2020 season. F1’s own deal – reported to be worth $100 million over five years – came from a prior one with Aston Martin which led to the creation of what the team called ‘the first F1 NFTs’ (non-fungible tokens), another blockchain technology that goes hand-in-hand with crypto platforms.

Formula 1 is a financially consumptive sport and blockchain technologies are an expanding – and potentially huge – area for it to gain essential sponsorship funds. “It’s an evolving market and we certainly see new categories and technology is stepping up,” said Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei recently.

“When we bought [F1] nearly five years ago, I don’t think we thought about a crypto sponsorship. I don’t think that was really on our horizon. And now it’s a meaningful number.”

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There is a contradiction here, and not just with F1’s carbon neutral target. Teams such as McLaren have been given the maximum three-star certification by the FIA’s sustainability programme, yet have partnered with both a cryptocurrency exchange (Bitci) and an NFT scheme (Tezos) – both blockchain technologies criticised for their poor environmental credentials.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2021
F1’s Crypto deal is claimed to be worth $100 million
Not that McLaren are the only ones. Formula 1 have their own NFT-based “game” called Delta Time, which uses cryptocurrency Ethereum’s blockchain technology (the data-burying process that creates mineable ‘blocks’) and both Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo have released their own tokens via Socios’ platform.

F1 teams already use huge amounts of computer power and high-speed processing is essential to the sport, from simulation to mid-race diagnostics. In some ways, crypto is as natural a partnership for them as oil producers are, and just as problematic from an environmental point of view.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report this month which bluntly stated the earth is going to go through at least 1.5C of heating up for the next 79 years. The hundreds of climate scientists involved in the report say this is “unequivocally” caused by human activity. Keep in mind this is a best case scenario assuming ambitious emissions targets to hit net zero and then immediately begin reclaiming greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by 2050 are met. Every other outcome, with delays to net zero, is worse.

F1 cars testing, 2020
Feature: Why F1’s pursuit of sustainability will inevitably clash with some of its sponsors
As F1 has pointed out, its carbon footprint pales in comparison to, for instance, major football events; in 2019 it generated 282,800 tons of CO2 emissions, compared to 2.4 million tons for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, the visuals of motorsport – and the automotive brands involved – will always be linked to transformations in the transport industry. Scandals like ‘dieselgate’, where multiple manufacturers deliberately disguised nitrous oxide emissions from diesel engines, mean there’s always broad cynicism about any claims for green credentials when it comes to cars.

Arguably, F1 striking a prominent race-branding deal with is not as contradictory as the one with Saudi Aramco, reputedly the world’s largest polluter. And oil money and Formula 1 have gone hand-in-hand for a long time. But the arrival of cryptocurrency in the sport – and its demands for electricity and economic resources across the world – is new, and shouldn’t pass without scrutiny.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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112 comments on “Is cryptocurrency sponsorship too dirty for the greener image F1 wants to cultivate?”

  1. Probably not a popular opinion but . . .

    If crypto-currencies are happy to sponsor a sport I love and enjoy watching, and help to ensure it’s presence for the future, then I am all for it. We may need to regulate the industry – I have no problem with governments taking measures to ensure it offsets or something similar. But we should not regulate or judge where the sport gets its money from – if they offered me money I would take it so why should I judge someone else for that. And yes – I would say the same thing for both Tobacco advertising and Alcohol advertising too.

    I’ll get my coat.

    1. We may need to regulate the industry

      I wonder if there is any way to ‘regulate’ Bitcoin’s impact on power usage.
      Does anybody know how much of the power usage is linked to administrative blockchain calculations, and how much is solving useless puzzles for mining purposes?

      1. They’re both one and the same. That is kinda of the whole point.

        1. Thanks for answering, but I believe that’s not correct.
          Part of the computer power is used for the ledgers, and part for the ‘puzzles’.
          Solving these puzzles is the reward to work on these blockchains, and pays you a Bitcoin amount. The more computers work on these blockchains the more difficult the puzzles become to make sure that only a preset amount of Bitcoins is added every 10mins. There is no need for more computer power to keep the ledger (unless it creates more parallel ‘copies’ to increase security), thus a certain amount of computer power is wasted.
          I’ll see if I can find the answer, or proof myself wrong, somewhere else.

          1. My understanding is that mining is part of the security protocol of a blockchain. It’s how users develop the proof of work needed to verify transactions on the ledger.

            I don’t think you can separate the mining from the currency.

          2. I found that transaction fee is roughly 10% of the mining benefit. So maybe this represents also about the computing power needed to keep the ledger.
            In the end the 21million bitcoins will be mined and only the transaction fee will be the reward for those who compute the blockchains.

    2. I’m fairly certain Tezos is proof of stake not proof of work, thus they do not have the same energy consumption as BTC. BTC is mined more on renewable energies than any of our power plants. Random hate piece this.

  2. Is cryptocurrency sponsorship too dirty for the greener image F1 wants to cultivate?

    Haha is it any worse than holding a race in Saudi Arabia and having Aramco as one of their major sponsors?

    1. Or holding race in China for that matter.

    2. or Bahrain

    3. Or the Netherlands.
      Shell must be a big polluter as well (counting the one who pumps it up, rather than us who burn it!).
      And I can only image the pollution of those orange flairs.

    4. One step further, why do people think keeping up fiat system doesn’t consume energy? And they do that way less efficiently.

      Or how much banks charge in interest when giving out loans vs how much they are willing to give in interest if you decide to have a savings account with them (let me briefly mention, interest is way below official inflation, and don’t even want to mention that real inflation is way higher imho). And the rabbit hole goes way deeper than that.

  3. Only Bitcoin was referenced in the article, which is a proof of work consensus blockchain. Tezos for example, and any modern blockchain uses proof of stake, which doesn’t have the high power consumption that proof of work does. Infact, it’s power consumption is 2 million(!) times lower than Bitcoin.

    Therefore, as the technology has evolved, the vast majority of these cryptos aren’t power hungry. So the answer is no, cryptocurrency isn’t too dirty- and F1 should embrace it with open arms.

    1. Thanks Jack,
      I’ll read into that. It comes close to the question I asked above (for whatever reason your comment didn’t show up then).

    2. A lot of misinformation here.
      Crypto sponsorship in Formula 1 is a no brainer.
      Bitcoin is old tech from 2010. The new breed of cryptos offer high technology, speed and efficiency. Some are nearing carbon neutral.
      If transacting money internationally were a highway, the antiquated SWIFT system is a
      a gravel road and the new crypto technologies are the Autobahn.
      High tech/speed/efficiency.
      Where better to advertise such lightning fast technology?
      Crypto is here to stay. China just released their digital Yuan.
      The world’s central banks are pursuing and soon releasing CBDC’s. Central Bank Digital Currency. This is HAPPENING now.
      Crypto payment systems are the future.
      Everyone will be using them in a few years time whether they want to or not.
      It’s the new global financial system.

  4. Comparisons to football for F1 aren’t entirely fair as the two sports function very differently. The entire infrastructure of motorsport is probably a more fair comparison and the amount of wastage is gigantic. The amount of tyres that fill the bin at the end of a simple kart club round would give the even the most relaxed ER members sleepless nights, in addition there’s plastic bumpers that get damaged then dumped. This is just club karting, scale it up for everything else.

    The issue about green perception, to change tac slightly, is one where you can legislate yourself out of existence. Unlike other sports, motorsport (car racing especially) is so prohibitively expensive that as a recreation it really is only reserved for only the very wealthy in society. It has no great societal and cultural value as compared to football and similar sports. No matter how green you try and make it, its footprint per person is always going to far exceed anything else. So the pursuit of eco-justification is a fool’s errand. No matter which route you take you’ll always come back to “this really isn’t a worthwhile activity from a green perspective”.

    there’s no simple answer, but every time I justify motorsport there’s no other answer I can give other than “I don’t eat animal products, so just let me burn some fuel now and again please”.

  5. There are thousands of types of crypto, and many of them have no mining at all, others are carbon neutral/climate positive, and most of those that do have a high energy cost are working toward significantly reducing this. Ethereum, for instance, will reduce its energy cost by 99% when Ethererum 2.0 rolls out (likely within a year). Crypto is the future of global finance. It would be foolish for Formula 1 to ignore it.

    1. Not to mention the associated costs with traditional money. Plastic / paper/ ATM’s, logistics, physical printing. It’s a joke that Elon Musk decided to pull of a big short and suddenly a digital medium is seen as “dirty”.

      Example, El Salvador is adopting bitcoin as legal tender. This means millions of El Salvadorians will receive their wages digitally and accessible via their smartphone. Currently many are travelling great distances due to poor banking infrastructure, via polluting, ageing cars and motorcycles. How on earth are you going to tell me that a citizen receiving their wages digitally is LESS sustainable than this? Madness.

      1. I come from an area that has no legal tender and hasn’t for the past 28 years. It uses a neighbouring country’s currency and has no digital banking infrastructure whatsoever. But what we did used to have was cheap hydroelectric electricity, for a bit.

        I say ‘did’ because shortly after Abkhazia legalised Bitcoin mining, the electricity supply that had taken decades to reestablish was endangered again. It’s not really net helpful to regions where people have no access to conventional currency to suggest that exchanging hashes for rent is likely; what El Salvador’s done is let loose money laundering for those with the computational clout.

    2. There is no cryptocurrency that is net climate positive in any real sense of its functionality. You are thinking about trees.

      1. Take a look into Argo to understand how a Crypto company can be climate positive.

        1. Argo’s contribution is founding an exchange that says crypto traded on it has to be mined and processed using clean energy. It has achieved net climate positivity by offsetting its own activities via carbon credit purchasing and by encouraging other companies to do the same – but its processes do not inherently reduce emissions, they’re just transactionally packaged to buy credits to offset them.

          I do the same thing when I fly. Does that make my flight good for the climate? Absolutely not, it’s just some guilt-assuaging on my part.

          1. @hazelsouthwell Part of Argo’s carbon credits includes planting trees in Tennesee. While planting trees is fantastic in general, the problem with using them for carbon offset/exchange programs is that trees don’t remove CO2, they just take it in and lock it into the tree. If a devastating event happens to the forest, the trees are cut for another purpose, or clearcutting occurs, all that carbon is released at once, which is far worse. ProPublica had an excellent story about this a while back. MIT Technology review also had a recent story about how the carbon offset programs typically sell far more credits than the carbon benefit they actually deliver.

            In studies of long-lasting programs like in Norway, they have found that the carbon offsets have very shaky science and problems with gaming the system like described in the MIT story. Due to that “there is considerable uncertainty over the climactic impact” of the carbon offset program.

            So, again, planting trees is good. But using them to try to offset pollution is not yet supported by science that says it is an effective solution and the local policies and practices are being gamed by developers so that any benefits that can be claimed are usually claimed at a higher level than what they actually provide.

          2. @hazelsouthwell and @g-funk, thanks for those interesting, informative posts (yes I knew some of it, but it’s good to see it put together into coherent posts)

    3. Exactly the point I was about to make. Bitcoin domination in the cryptoworld had declined well under 50% so the article inches more toward being a kind of clickbait affair.

  6. I don’t know what sources of information were used for this article but it seems like someone would check to find out if the information was correct before submitting the said article. While the information used fits the narrative the author was aiming for, it was incorrect. Only certain cryptocurrencies meet the negative description given by this author while the positive traits of the ones that should have been used would have shown F1 to be taking even “greener” steps into the future than the current financial system that’s being used today.

    1. Partnering with carbon credit exchanges does not make you net positive.

    2. Bitcoin alone consumes 133.68 terawatt hours a year of electricity, greater than majority of nations, with hardly any productive impact on the world. None of the other cryptocurrencies are making the environment any better but amplifying the adverse impact many times over.

      Cryptocutrency is not solving any unsolvable world problems. At the end of the day, it is creating fiat convertible value from arbitrary calculations that miners can encash and which traders can gamble upon. On the back of the IPCC report, promotion of this sphere as a whole spells further doom for the future of the world.

      1. Nice to have an alter stove to governmemt control currencies.

        1. That is exactly though where cryptocurrencies have failed. Absolutely none of them work efficiently as a decentralized currency. The only place where I have seen cryptocurrency do something that normal currency cannot is in illegal market places.

          Considering the dominance of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency as a whole has failed in its objective as a currency and is instead a bubble-asset that is largely being driven through manipulation by few “whales” largely engaged in money laundering.

          Ordinary people are in for the ride with the same “get rich quick” mentality that drives all Ponzi schemes. If cryptocurrency really offered a cost and energy efficient alternative to the monopoly of the existing banking system, then it would have been easy to get onboard with it.

        Hi Sa Ma.
        A lot of people feel as you do about crypto currency.. they just haven’t really looked into it usually.
        The World Economic Forum has researched crypto currencies and published their report.
        This report lists many cryptos each by name and real world use cases.
        The WEF sees the benefit of this new technology.
        The central banks of the world are soon releasing their digital currencies called CBDC’s.
        China just released their digital Yuan.
        The Bank of England is readying for their digital pound.

        I can make a telephone call or send an email or sms anywhere in the world instantly.
        The SWIFT system currently used since the late 1940’s can take DAYS to transact money between countries, it is error prone and very expensive.
        Crypto and blockchain make sending money as fast and easy as an email.
        This solves real world problems. Crypto and block chain can do a whole lot more than
        international transaction and remittance. Block chain is amazing.
        Hope that you read the WEF report. It will address some misconceptions that you might have.
        Have a great day!

        Exciting times and this new tech is fascinating to me.

  7. Crypto currencies consume vast amounts of energy in their “mining” and it is difficult to fit that into the energy efficient carbon neutral F1 image. Hypocrisy in fact.

    But as noted above, the kneeling drivers are going to look equally hypocritical in Saudi and Qatar where the treatment of foreigners is often very unpleasant, Yemenis in Saudi are treated like dirt, modern slavery exists and homosexuals are persecuted and killed and racism abounds. Qatar is a friend to terrorist groups and is another undemocratic dictatorship like Saudi.

    Despite Saudi funded mosques all over Europe no Christian or other religion is allowed a base in Saudi.
    The FIA wants sustainable fuels so gets into bed with the biggest unsustainable oil producers to fund races. The FIA/FOM support anti discrimination campaigns but takes money from massively discriminatory regimes.

    If that is not hypocrisy I don’t know what is.

    1. You know it is possible to address one bad thing without talking about a completely separate bad thing, which has entirely different solutions.

    2. Qatar is also friends with a lot of Western nations, but sure let’s ignore that.

  8. Yes it’s bad.
    And germany does not have clean grid, that aside, yes crypto is dirty anyway.
    It is not really needed for a currency system and has a small economic volume now.

    crypto can use clean electricity, like they are now doing in the 1 farm, where they will take electricity from a nuclear plant. (or some use hydro/geothermal in iceland)
    But now you have no energy to replace the fossil we use for the rest of the world consumption!!!

    “The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance estimates that the entire bitcoin network uses 116.7 Terawatt Hours per year, or about half a percent of the world’s total electricity consumption. That puts the digital currency roughly in line with the energy use of countries such as Argentina, Malaysia, and Sweden.
    The comparison is jarring, given bitcoin’s relatively limited role in the world economy, but behind the number is a deeper argument over the very terms of the debate.
    Critics of bitcoin’s energy use argue that its carbon footprint is way out of proportion with its social value, while supporters assert that bitcoin is no different than the rest of the financial system, which has its own energy needs, and that in the long-run the economic transformation brought on by bitcoin will be worth the investment. “

  9. Who cares? God, I love this site and pay for the ad-free experience, but I’d gladly pay more to have the left-wing politics advocacy and interest stories deleted from the site.

    Save the greenie weenie stuff for other pages.

    1. @jblank Couldn’t have put it better. I really like this site and like you, pay for a subscription. But the editorial direction is sometimes a bit heavy handed with non-stories like this.

      1. @jblank @cduk_mugello – agree with you both here.

    2. Did someone force you to click on the article?

      1. Nope, but he has the right to say it’s bad just like Hazel had the right to post it.

        1. Yes, meanwhile RF is laughing all the way to the bank as you all “hate click” on these articles and then come back again to talk about it more. Me, I’m just laughing.

  10. Could be worse, the football team I support currently has Dogecoin as an on-shirt sponsor which is, literally, a joke.

  11. This website steering hard left it seems.

    1. Unfortunately. I’m just tired of politics infesting everything. It’s a sponsorship, who cares, not everything has to be measured against what the political left desires.

      1. Climate change is not political. Only people who don’t understand the implications of climate change or who are afraid of what needs to occur to undo man’s disproportionate influence on global climate try to make it about politics. Climate change is science and the science of man’s influence on climate change is beyond settled.

        1. Climate change is 110% political because every “solution” impacts the taxpayer and is done by politicians. The funding, that is funded by governments (taxpayers) and NO, it is not “settled”, science is never settled and any scientist that tells you it is, is just as dogmatic as the church was in the 1500’s.

          1. Also by your definition of “political”, F1 racing falls into this category because most, if not all races impact the taxpayer and are arranged by politicians. So don’t complain about politics showing up on a race site since by your criteria, they would be political events as well.

          2. @g-funk


            Your link is only about whether climate change is man-made, but there are plenty of other things to (dis)agree about, like the extent of current climate change, the expected future climate change (including possible tipping points), the efficacy of solutions, the impact on people, etc.

            The claim that all science has been settled by pointed to merely one scientific question is a very common tactic I’ve seen used, but also a very dishonest one.

          3. @appje From my original post

            Climate change is science and the science of man’s influence on climate change is beyond settled.

            Your post

            Your link is only about whether climate change is man-made

            Which is exactly what I said was settled and provided evidence for with the link.

            The only dishonesty here is attempting to refute a post by changing the goal posts of the argument.

          4. @g-funk

            Jason argued that the science wasn’t settled and you responded by claiming that it was and providing your link. You never argued that only part of it was settled.

            You are simply being dishonest by claiming that you distinguished between the part that was settled and part that weren’t, when your comment is there for anyone to read, which says no such thing.

          5. @aapje I don’t even know how to respond to your delusions at this point. I clearly said the human influence on climate change was settled science. I provided a link backing up that claim. You can try to twist the words around all you want but you are wrong. The text is there for all to read.

          6. Let’s clear things up–there are many things regarding climate change that are not, as you point out settled–but most of them are NOT particularly relevant. Almost everything that can legitimately be considered still up to (sensible) debate is some niche aspect of the broader issue.

            When it comes to the core questions, i.e. “is climate undergoing changes?”, “are the climatic changes affecting the world we live in”, and “will these changes cause massive disruption to our way of life if left unchecked” are all completely out of the discussion. These things are facts as hard as the earth being round.

            It’s unfortunate that well-meaning environmentalists tend to be poorly educated and manipulated by political agenda, this is true, but doesn’t make the core problem invalid.
            If anything, it makes it all the more pressing.

            Sure, it’s frustrating to see people clamour for banning plastic straws or complain about GMOs, Cryptos, and whatever the moral panic of the month is, but don’t let this noise distract you from the importance climate change an its control have for the future of us all.

        2. @g-funk

          “X is not political” is a sure sign of an authoritarian who doesn’t accept disagreement (including democracy).

          There are very many things that create a political element, like some disagreement over:
          – how the mechanisms work
          – how bad the consequences are
          – the solutions
          – how a trade off should be made
          – who gets to make the decisions on the matter
          – other consequences of

          All of these are present when it comes to climate change.

          1. Saying X is not political is in no way a sign of authoritarianism. Is is a fact. Words have meanings. If something doesn’t fall into the definition of the word, it is not it.

            relating to the government or the public affairs of a country.
            relating to the ideas or strategies of a particular party or group in politics.
            interested in or active in politics.
            motivated or caused by a person’s beliefs or actions concerning politics.

            Some may choose to make climate change a political subject due to the mitigation solutions relating to the public affairs of a country. I don’t agree with that line of thinking because I separate the science behind the observations and conclusions from the mitigation solutions, but I can understand when people connect them. But saying “‘X is not political’ is a sure sign of an authoritarian” is hyperbole of the highest order. Bravo.

          2. @g-funk

            Even under your short-sighted definition, climate change is political, since different political parties have different beliefs about it, different solutions, etc.

            You seem oblivious to the fact that the arguments that you keep using don’t actually support your claims, but actually support mine.

          3. @appje Belief does not make something political. Man has landed on the Moon. That is a fact. Some people do not believe it actually happened. That does not make it political. My “short-sided definition” is straight from the dictionary. Because words have defined meanings that are listed there. You seem oblivious to the fact that you can’t just make up meanings for words and then claim that it is so because you believe it.

          4. @g-funk

            This entire last comment of yours is without substance. Can you try to actually make a relevant argument?

      2. @jblank it’s a story about sponsorship, which is what F1 runs on. There are plenty of stories about the money changing hands in F1 and the badges on the cars because they’re all part of what F1 is, not a particular agenda. What F1 itself has declared is its promise to reach net carbon zero and so, as with anything it says it’s going to do, it’s the job of the press to scrutinise that against its actions.

        There’s actually a lot of left-wing crypto advocates, especially in the more hardcore fringes. It’s not really a left or right wing thing, it’s just a thing that’s happening.

        1. I’d like the press to pay more attention to the racing and a lot less on the leftist pet projects (social justice, climate change, energy usage, etc.) For me and the vast preponderance of global racing fans, whether a sport is “carbon zero” is of no consequence. We don’t watch sports and contemplate the carbon footprint of the Merc engine on the straight at Baku.

          1. @jblank F1’s position reflects the whole global auto industry. This is a colossal conversation and it’d be at best unobservant to ignore it – because it will shape the speed of acceleration on, the funding behind and the likelihood a Merc will even be driving up the straight in an oil-producing nation like Baku.

            When we go racing this weekend, expect racing analysis, of course. I do plenty of that.

            (for what it’s worth; the vast majority of F1 fans in 2019 (82%) said they were interested in and appreciative of F1’s environmental drive)

        2. Well, we can agree to disagree. The more this mentality of having to tick off this box or that box infiltrates sports, society, what have you, the worse it will be for all of us. When we worry more about the intersectionality of ideas and less about the quality or entertainment factor of a sport, the more people will tune out and step away.

          I’m all for sports being clean and not polluting. Don’t pour oil in the lakes, utilize some tech to lessen air pollution, but this push for more and more reliance on electricity over internal combustion, trust me when I say, people will not watch or patronize it. There’s a reason FE has the ratings it does and a reason F1 and Indy have the ratings they do.

    2. I would say it’s mostly Hazel.

    3. It takes zero effort to not click on a story you don’t want to read

  12. Ethereum 2.0 Proof of stake. Low power use look it up.

    1. Is it there yet? Is it proven to work as they say it will? And is Ethereum looking at sponsoring F1 or an F1 team?

      1. @bascb

        Those are questions that you can ask of most solutions to climate change and of any form of progress or progressivism.

        And what is your alternative? Do you just want to stop with doing what we are doing until we have a perfect solution? This would be utterly destructive.

        1. My alternative @aapje, is not to believe any company (or organisation) on just promises, and certainly not try to argue with critique of a current state by hailing something they promise in the future to try and claim the critique (which that solution was a step to mitigate) is not correct.

          1. @bascb

            It’s not just promises. They already released the basic system for Ethereum 2, which is now being tested. Once they are satisfied with how it works, they will merge Ethereum 1 into it.

            You can also just look at the crypto that already uses staking to see how much more efficient that is.

  13. Perhaps we should stop watching Netflix as well?…

    1. Yes and stop using the internet while we are at it.

      1. @yaru

        Especially stop reading news sites that run on power hungry servers…

        1. @aapje

          If thats the case, why race at all? The world’s going to end in 10 years, not my words.

          1. @jaymenon10

            Ultimately, these activists are just the church ladies of old, with an even more arbitrary morality that they want to force on people.

            For example, pretty much the worst things you can do for the environment is having children, yet these activists don’t want to discourage having them. In fact, they tend to carefully avoid the subject, as it doesn’t fit their agenda.

    2. These kind of meaningless comparative comments are what drives everyone down the sinkhole. I read in the past about Netflix’s worldwide energy consumption and it is still less than cryptocurrencies since video consumption by itself is far from being as energy consuming as mining.

      Even otherwise, any entertainment service supports a large part of the entertainment industry in terms of creativity and employment, not to say provide welcome relief for a lot of viewers. It serves a larger societal function that adds value in multiple ways.

      On the other hand, cryptocurrency mining is not serving a great need of humankind. If it served its original purpose of being an decentralized alternative currency that is also efficient, then society would be well off with it. Instead we have a huge amount of energy and computational processing being wasted on make-believe value that facilitates illicit transactions and gambling.

      1. @f1g33k

        It’s still developing. Quite a few technologies weren’t very good at first and took a long time to become useful.

  14. cryptos are dirty because they have no value either as a means of currency or items to hold value (e.g. paintings, etc). All cryptos are just a code in a software that can dissapear, collapse or be stolen. Tether is already investigated for scam/ponzi practices and it all looks like a house of cards.

    Crypto advertising is dirty because it legitimises a scam – the idea that cryptos is a normal or new way of holding or exchanging value. They are just a ponzi scheme – google Roubini crypto where he explains why cryptocurrencies have no value at all.

    So yeah, it was particularly infuriating and appaling that the F1 allowed this sponsorship – as most people will lose their money playing/investing/gambling on cryptos.

    1. Indeed Chris.

    2. Well put Chris

    3. You are only thinking physical value. For example does AWS cloud service have value? It’s just code that can disappear too but provides a very useful service for the internet.

      Same for crypto, it provides a service that allows you to store data on a decentralised network with censorship resistance and is immutable.

    4. Everything you said is quite the opposite.

    5. Most people lose their money gambling on the stock market, on the forex, and, well, gambling.
      There are plenty of ways people throw their money on the fire. This doesn’t make everything a scam. It takes intelligence to invest in such a way that you manage and handle risk.

      Cryptocurrencies are a complicated thing. There have been and continue to be plenty of scams, because it’s popular, and has a golden reputation of making “you rich”. Falling into traps is unfortunate, but this doesn’t mean everything is a con.

      Claming that crypto has no value is, well, frankly ignorant of what value is. No object, not even a painting or a wardrobe truly have value. The “truest” store of value is somethings immediate usefulness–but that has not been how we evaluate ANYTHING since… well, ever.

      Is it possible for the whole crypto world to come collapsing down to 0? sure. Likely? I doubt it. Either way, doesn’t make it a scam, just very volatile and high risk.

  15. Of course not, don’t fall for central banks and traditional media backed propaganda. Crypto mining is as green as any other process can get. Those creating a cruzade about it are only afraid to lose a $$$. Cutting obsolete intermediaries is the best solution for most of market issues.

  16. Governments “regulating” don’t make me laugh, they’re corrupt as the cosa nostra.
    Hypocrisy? Writ large on a box near you as the Talibanis are portrayed as the enemy of us all while the drivers take a knee in Saudi.
    Left leaning site? I find it amusing that people still think there’s any difference between the pantomime players that run our so called “democracy” left/right/centre. Just follow the money.

    Take the money F1 and put on a good show it’s what you’ve always done.

  17. Coventry Climax
    24th August 2021, 18:37

    “Unlike the conventional currency in your pocket which is tied to a country or resource, such as the gold standard, …”

    Sorry @hazelsouthwell, but as of may 2000, when Switzerland dropped the gold standard, there are no currencies left anymore that are backed by gold.

    1. Yeah, unfortunately the gold standard is no longer important for a few recent decades, quite a while, with lots of currency devaluations since then, that’s why people want crypto.

    2. @Coventry Climax

    3. @Coventry Climax

      Indeed, that sentence undermines the piece completely. We don’t have the gold standard, but pure fiat money. And the EU central banks have been printing money like crazy, which is actually one of the reasons why deflationary currencies like bitcoin are popular.

      1. Coventry Climax
        25th August 2021, 11:31

        Not sure about that being the reason for it’s popularity, @Aapje. I think it has to do with being invisible to countries tax systems, with being very practical for the criminal circuit, and with people thinking they should hop on a train they feel they might otherwise miss. I know of quite a few people who invested big in computers, to start mining for ‘free’ money. It appeals to peoples greed, and -essentially- that’s about it.

        1. Coventry Climax

          It appeals to peoples greed, and -essentially- that’s about it.

          And then, what’s new?

          1. Coventry Climax
            25th August 2021, 23:19

            Well, it’s certainly not the wine, it’s just the bottles. And it’s sad that mankind, claiming to be the most inteligent species on the planet, is still falling for it.

          2. Coventry Climax
            25th August 2021, 23:21

            That should spell ‘intelligent’.

    4. Coventry Climax
      25th August 2021, 11:34

      Sorry @hazelsouthwell, you’ve obviously put quite a bit of work in this article, and it’s appreciated. I did not intend my comment to convey the contrary.

  18. petebaldwin (@)
    24th August 2021, 20:55

    F1 isn’t green and never will be. They can pretend they are and can attempt to cultivate whatever image the manufacturers believe will help them sell more cars but no… A cryptocurrency sponsor will only affect the image of F1 in the eyes of those who believe Mission Winnow is “a change lab focused on reframing global conversations, sparking open debate, connecting people and supporting the realization of innovative ideas.”

    If you’re happy to believe whatever a company tells you without applying any critical thought, then yeah, maybe will affect your opinion. It’s OK though because they can just make the logo green and then everything will be fine in the world again.

  19. Is cryptocurrency sponsorship too dirty for the greener image F1 wants to cultivate?

    1. Actual answer: No

      Most cryptos are extremely energy efficient. Look up Nano as a starter. It’s not all about Bitcoin.

      1. Actual answer: Yes. All crypto uses more energy than the conventional banking system.

  20. To answer the question, yes. But it is clear F1’s new owners are only concerned with profit so I would only expect token statements and no commitments regarding stopping or slowing global warming. It’s just like their “we race as one” campaign: make some empty statements for publicity and continue to ignore their own culpability in human rights abuses.

    1. Arguably, F1 striking a prominent race-branding deal with is not as contradictory as the one with Saudi Aramco, reputedly the world’s largest polluter.

      This is true and it’s terrible that Aramco is sponsoring F1, but at least there is some usefulness stemming from those emissions while cryptocurrencies merely enable payments for criminal activity, tax evasion, or speculation rather than providing any material benefit to society.

      1. This is an absolutely limited view of what cryptocurrencies are. Sure, there is criminal activity which chooses to transact in crypto. Heck, there’s criminal activity that transacts in baseball cards. Where there is value, there is a perverse use for it.

        Now, it’s well known and document, which currency above all is used for drug sale, human trafficking, prostitution, tax evasion, etc… and that’s the US dollar.

    2. “but it is clear F1’s new owners are only concerned with profit”

      Well, that’s the name of the game is it not?

  21. If everyone stopped using the current financial system: credit cards, banks, etc and switched to crypto, even 100% bitcoin, I’m sure it’ll still be a net reduction in carbon emissions.

    1. Not true. A single bitcoin transaction is uses orders of magnitude more energy than a regular credit card transaction.

  22. No matter the difference between polluting mining- and non-mining cryptocurrencies, F1 don’t really care what the image is.

    It’s like promoting Saudi-Arabia and all sorts of regimes at the same time pretending to be attuned to human rights and global social issues. Money and likes is what it’s all about. The rest can be swept under the carpet or talked away with newspeak.

  23. As usual articles about cryptocurrency tend to be very weak–it’s an unfortunately difficult world to navigate and understand.

    Even just the popular belief that bitcoin itself with its mining is some sort of environmental disaster is ludicrous, and it pales compared to most _actual_ problem. Also, being that it uses electricity primarily, its cleanliness depends almost entirely on the power generation methods used (which impacts across everything, obviously).

    There is a lot to regulate about Cryptocurrencies and there are a few things that might not be perfect, but looking at it as some scourge or danger especially for the environment is absurd.

    Moving on to most modern blockchains, including the in-house chain ( Chain) utilizes completely different technology. It’s entire operation relies on a few hundred servers, fewer than most medium-sized web portals or applications.

    Crypto is a wonderful fit for F1–both are the pinnacle of technology in their fields, and both (should) aim to push ever further.

  24. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report this month which bluntly stated the earth is going to go through at least 1.5C of heating up for the next 79 years. The hundreds of climate scientists involved in the report say this is “unequivocally” caused by human activity.

    Put a human being into the communication loop and you’ve immediately got a conflict of interest, they are paid to promote an agenda that their employers want. Thus we get dodgy forecasts based upon flawed algorithms and heavy dollop of propaganda to fool the masses into thinking this is a complex question to answer. It isn’t.

    One of the major fear trigger narratives is sea level rise, the story goes that it’s accelerating, let’s look at that through records that start before widespread fossil fuel usage, and continue through to today. Tide gauges, simple floats that need neither correction for urban heat island effect, nor a computer to tell us what it means. Melting ice doesn’t do politics, nor does water expanding as it warms – yes it is warming, it’s the ‘why’ that’s in dispute.

    These records are kept by NOAA the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they can be interrogated here

    The longest reliable record is that of the gauge at The Battery, NYC, see

    Notice that the trend is linear from 1855 right through to today, similar lack of acceleration can be seen in hundreds of other stations including two here in the UK at Newlyn and North Shields, NOAA has all the records for examination.

    Let me spell it out for those in doubt what this means. There isn’t a measurable connection between CO2 rise and sea level rise. Since the latter is an irrefutable measure of the progress of ocean warming, it means the energy input to the oceans is natural, not from an undetectable CO2 induced greenhouse effect.

  25. Production of One kilogram of aluminum in a furnace will spend more energy than energy spent on calculating complex mathematical calculations and verifying transactions that result in an award known as Bitcoin block (currently consisting out of 6.75 BTC). F1 is based on composites, production of which requires massive furnaces for hours on end.

    Discussing environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining for currencies that utilize the said method from an author commenting on motorsports – is kinda controversial. Miners are predominately attached to renewable sources of energy and in some cases, funded some renewable energy facilities. There are opposite examples as well, of course. But RaceFans itself is stored on multiple servers belonging to the “cloud computing” family of computing products, which consist out of 9-10 figure investment in the “middle of nowhere”, where the land is cheapest and access to cheapest energy (read: spend $30-50M on a hydro plant, $10M on a building and $500-1000M on cooling and server hardware). Everything has a cost.

    Then again, writing this comment, and posting this author’s article also has its own carbon footprint, given that from my current location, it takes 21 servers (server hops) for article to reach me. I don’t believe all of those servers are consuming electricity that came out of pixie dust.

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