Why does GP4BTC exist?
Today Bitcoin consumes a lot of electricity, and by extension is responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions from power generation. The only pragmatic way to mitigate Bitcoin’s climate impact is to make the Bitcoin mining industry an active partner in global decarbonization. GP4BTC is a leadership initiative to establish a unifying definition of sustainable bitcoin mining, and recognize miners who are contributing to the clean energy transition. See our About page for more information.
Who is behind GP4BTC?
The GP4BTC certification platform and registry is developed and operated by Energy Web, an independent nonprofit accelerating the global energy transition by developing open-source software solutions that help companies unlock business value from clean and distributed energy resources. See the About page, or the Energy Web homepage for more information.
What makes EW the right organization to steward the GP4BTC initiative?
Energy Web is a mission-driven nonprofit with a unique blend of expertise in blockchain technology and the global energy transition, as well as proven consortium-building and corporate engagement experience. Since 2017, we’ve partnered with utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers, and corporate energy buyers to pioneer decentralized software solutions to shared sustainability challenges. In 2021 we co-founded the Crypto Climate Accord (alongside nonprofits RMI and AIR) to make the crypto industry a sustainability leader. Green Proofs for Bitcoin builds on these efforts and leverages our open-source technology and deep domain expertise to further our mission to accelerate decarbonization of the global energy sector.
Is Energy Web using GP4BTC to invest in BTC?
No, our sole focus is certifying and promoting sustainable mining companies.
What is the role of the Energy Web Chain (and EWT) in GP4BTC?
In the GP4BTC registry, digital identities and miner credentials are implemented with Energy Web’s self-sovereign identity technology stack. The Energy Web Chain is used only to establish a verifiable data registry for identities and credentials. There is no direct link or relationship between the Bitcoin network and the Energy Web Chain, or BTC and EWT.
Why are you focused on Bitcoin mining only and not other cryptocurrencies?
GP4BTC is built with Energy Web’s open-source Green Proofs technology stack, a customizable solution for registering and tracking low-carbon products and their attributes throughout complex supply chains. Green Proofs is use case-agnostic and as such can be used for any blockchain or cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is our first focus due to its electricity demand and climate implications. To discuss use for other blockchains/cryptocurrencies, please contact us.
Can’t bitcoin switch to a less energy intensive consensus model than proof of work?
For better and worse, Proof of Work has proven itself to be a reliable and extremely secure consensus mechanism for decentralized networks like Bitcoin. While in theory it’s possible for Bitcoin to transition to a different, more energy-efficient consensus model, this is unlikely to happen in the near term due to technical and operational challenges. At this time there are no active proposals being considered by the Bitcoin community to implement a different consensus model. We expect Bitcoin to continue to use PoW consensus for the foreseeable future, and accordingly we should ensure that its energy demand is satisfied by carbon-free sources.
Does GP4BTC compromise the fungibility of Bitcoin as a token, given that you are adding a credential?
No, GP4BTC certification only applies to mining companies. GP4BTC does not affect or change the BTC cryptocurrency in any way.
How much energy does BTC use? What is its emissions footprint?
Bitcoin’s energy consumption is famously difficult to measure accurately, but credible estimates indicate that the total network electricity demand is very large. Extrapolating energy consumption to greenhouse gas emissions is challenging, but it's reasonable to assume they are also significant.

That said, measuring Bitcoin’s total energy footprint is not necessary for achieving GP4BTC’s goals. Our priority is ensuring miners become active partners in the decarbonization of electricity systems, and helping them establish commercial advantages based on their clean energy practices such that sustainable mining becomes the industry’s status quo.
Over 90% of total Bitcoin has now been mined. Is this too little too late?
No. in fact there are three reasons why GP4BTC is needed now more than ever.

First, the energy consumption of mining is primarily a function of the market value of Bitcoin rather than the total supply (in short: as Bitcoin becomes more valuable, more hashrate joins the network, which increases the difficulty of mining, which requires miners to augment computing resources, which in turn consumes more electricity).

Second, although the majority of Bitcoin’s total supply has already been mined, the rate at which new Bitcoin are mined slows over time, such that they will continue to be mined for at least another hundred years.

Lastly, Bitcoin mining isn’t simply an exercise to add transaction records and generate new Bitcoin; it’s also critical to securing historical transactions and previously mined Bitcoin.

In sum, mining is going to continue to be a major source of electricity demand for the foreseeable future so it’s important to develop solutions that make mining an active partner in global decarbonization.
How do I submit a question / report an issue?
For questions, feedback, or other requests please complete the form on this page.

Certification & Methodology

Does certification mean BTC itself is differentiated based on sustainability?
No, it doesn’t. What we are doing has no bearing on the fungibility of Bitcoin. The certification applies to the miner, not to the Bitcoin produced. Our operations stop at the credentialing of mining facilities.
How do you define sustainable mining?
When it comes to sustainable Bitcoin mining, one size does not fit all. GP4BTC participation criteria reflect several different ways miners can materially advance the clean energy transition - from procuring clean energy directly, to siting in clean grids, to enabling more clean energy on the grid through beneficial load flexibility.

In 2023, GP4BTC defines sustainability through two metrics: 1) a Clean Energy Score, which recognizes miners who power their operations with non-emitting electricity sources (wind, solar, nuclear, and hydro), and 2) a Grid Impact Score, which recognizes miners that pursue sustainability strategies driven by market-based clean energy purchases and participation in demand response and other grid flexibility programs.
How did you come up with your criteria?
The initial GP4BTC certification criteria were developed over a year-long consultation period in partnership with over 35 miners, NGOs, governments, grid operators, and other energy and crypto market participants. GP4BTC criteria were designed to align with best practices for sustainability leadership in other industries, including location and market-based methods for measuring and mitigating Scope 2 emissions as well as emerging approaches to clean electricity procurement. See our Methodology page for details.
What types of energy does GP4BTC consider “clean?” Do you consider renewable energy (wind, solar) better than non-renewable clean energy sources like nuclear?
We define clean energy as the non-emitting electricity generation sources described by the EPA’s eGrid program. Because the overarching goal of GP4BTC is to reduce the carbon footprint of Bitcoin mining, certification gives equal weight to all forms of non-emitting electricity generation.
How do you decide which criteria to gather? Why do you run more than one score?
GP4BTC sustainability metrics are based on widely used GHG accounting guidance. We are aware that some mining companies use different frameworks for evaluating energy use, but having a comprehensive global approach requires that we be aligned with other climate indicators.

At the same time, we wish to facilitate the sharing of attributes that evidence supports in being meaningful indicators of climate contributions. The fields we require have been introduced thoughtfully in order to align with best practices in other industries.

If there is a data field you wish to see in an upcoming version, please contact us. We review requests for new data fields to ensure they are aligned with climate science.
How do you define “market-based demand response program”?
A demand response program is a program operated by a utility or grid operator to reduce demands on the grid via reductions in customer electricity usage. A market-based demand response program is one in which customers are compensated for reducing load in response to a request from the utility/grid operator. Enrollment in time-of-use or wholesale tariffs and participation in emergency load management programs (e.g. Flex Alerts in CAISO or Conservation Alerts in ERCOT) are not considered to be market-based demand response activities.
What are your sources for fuel mix and marginal emissions data?
We currently source fuel mix data from the EPA, EIA, and Statistics Canada. Marginal emissions data is sourced from the EPA and the IFI Technical Working Group on GHG Accounting. Residual mix data for the US is sourced from Green-E and Edison Electric Institute. Residual mix data for Europe is sourced from the Association of Issuing Bodies.
Can I report on a more time-granular basis than only annually?
Yes - please contact us to discuss options for more time-granular reporting.
What is the role of carbon certificates/emissions offsets in your methodology?
As of 2023, GP4BTC only considers direct energy procurement and consumption practices. Carbon credits are not currently factored into any scores, though they may be considered in future years as accounting methodologies mature.
What does certification actually mean? (What do scores measure?)
GP4BTC currently enables miners to demonstrate their sustainability practices through two scores. The Clean Energy Score evaluates miners based on the proportion of their electricity consumption that is supplied by clean energy via their local grid mix. The Grid Impact Score evaluates miners based on their procurement of clean energy and participation in demand response programs (which help balance supply and demand on their regional grid). You can learn more on the Methodology page.
Why focus on mining (as opposed to transactions, holding etc.)?
Mining, the process by which new Bitcoin transactions are added and historical transactions are confirmed, is what actually drives Bitcoin’s electricity consumption and thus the most pragmatic area of focus when it comes to sustainability.
Will certification criteria change?
Yes, GP4BTC certification is an annual process and criteria are intended to evolve alongside clean energy procurement practices. Our goal is to be “forward compatible” with emerging approaches to clean electricity procurement, such as 24/7 carbon free electricity matching and avoided emissions accounting. If you have feedback on metrics or methodology for 2024, please contact us.

For Miners

Why should I get certified?
GP4BTC certification is a way to demonstrate your company’s leadership in sustainability, cultivate opportunities with counterparties who wish to differentiate suppliers based on ESG criteria, and help shift the narrative surrounding Bitcoin’s climate impact.
What is the process for getting certified?
• To initiate the certification process, you will first need to establish an Energy Web Chain address. This address and wallet are used to sign information that you submit to Energy Web.

• Following wallet setup, you will be asked to submit information about your organization, operations, energy use, and mining rewards in the Green Proofs for Bitcoin miner portal.

• Following data submission, one or more auditors (currently Energy Web) will review your application and calculate your Clean Energy and Grid Impact Scores.

• The auditor(s) will then notify you of your scores and, if applicable, issue certification.

• Certifications can be accessed and shared using the miner portal. Certified miners can also share information in a public miner profile.
What does it cost to get certified?
There is currently no cost to miners to become certified in GP4BTC.
How do I use / share my certification?
•  Currently, there are two ways to share certifications and underlying data:

  1. You can share information via a dedicated profile page for your organization
  2. You can download and present your credentials to counterparties.

•  In H2 2023, Energy Web plans to introduce a registry and API for crypto market participants (e.g. financial institutions, payment processors, mining pools) to reference miner data. Miners own and control their own data on the platform, and will have full discretion over their participation in this registry.
What data do I need to submit to get certified?
To apply for certification, you’ll need to provide information required for the Green Proofs for Bitcoin Know-Your-Customer process, as well as operational information about your facilities, your energy use, and your mining rewards.
What happens to my data? Who has access?
Data you submit is reviewed by Energy Web and used to calculate your Clean Energy and Grid Impact Scores. Energy Web keeps confidential all data and documentation submitted by miners in connection with their applications for certification. Energy Web will not disclose your data or certification status without your express permission.

If certification is granted to your organization, you can elect to share your certification and/or underlying data with the public in your miner profile.

Energy Web plans to introduce features in the future that will support data-sharing with specific permissioned third parties. Your use of these features is always at your full discretion.
How often do I need to get certified? How do I re-enroll? Does my certification expire?
Miners can obtain one Green Proofs for Bitcoin certification per calendar year. Certifications do not expire.
My score is above 50 but lower than I’d like - do I have to share it?
No. You are fully in control over your certification credentials and you can elect to share as much, or as little detail as you like with any counterparty of your choosing.
How do I raise my score?
•  You can raise your Clean Energy Score by:
     • Increasing your consumption of electricity from non-emitting sources via locating your operations on low-carbon grids.
     • Increasing the efficiency of your mining operations (i.e. reducing the MWh consumption per unit of mining output).

•  You can raise your Grid Impact Score by:
     • Increasing your market-based procurement of clean electricity.
     • Increasing your participation in demand response programs within the regions in which your operations are located.

I don’t agree with my score - what should I do?
As a first step, please carefully review the formulas that calculate the Clean Energy and Grid Impact Scores and ensure that your data inputs are correct. If you believe there is an error in the way your score is being calculated, please contact us.
Where is the data I submit stored?
All miner data is stored within the verifiable credential format. You can learn more about verifiable credentials and their storage in Energy Web’s GitBook. Miner data is stored in Energy Web's SSI Hub, which is hosted securely on the AWS cloud.
Are you going to put all my data on a blockchain?
No. W3C standard-compliant verifiable credentials are issued to your DID (Decentralized Identifier), which is registered on Energy Web Chain. Verifiable credentials are signed by auditor(s) that issue them. Verifiable credentials used in the GP4BTC application are completely off-chain.
Who do you share my data with?
Green Proofs for Bitcoin will not share your data with third parties. We do provide tools to facilitate miners sharing their credentials and underlying data at their discretion. You can also download and use your credentials independently of us.

For Registry Users

Do I need to register / set up an account to use the platform?

How can I be sure that miners’ credentials are valid?
How can I contact certified miners?
Can I export data from GP4BTC?

(How) Can I build proprietary applications on top of the GP4BTC registry?

Green Proofs for Bitcoin is a first-of-its-kind initiative to showcase Bitcoin miners taking action on climate goals. By delivering transparency and consistent metrics, we drive ROI for companies mining sustainably, creating a virtuous cycle where clean mining is easier to define, pursue, and monetize. Our goal is to make sustainable Bitcoin mining ubiquitous and to make the Bitcoin industry an accelerator of the clean energy transition.
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