Adrien Grenier on Bitcoin, mining and its environmental impression
Entourage actor Adrian Grenier believes fiat currencies like the US dollar are on the way and Bitcoin will take their place.
Grenier may be the first to admit not being a crypto expert, but the actor has a pretty large megaphone and recently he’s been using it to boast the virtues of digital coins like bitcoin.
“The adoption rate will grow exponentially over time, but you also see Bitcoin as future dollars as opposed to Bitcoin,” he told CNBC in an interview. “Where we have to come philosophically is that it won’t eventually become dollars, just bitcoin.”
Letting go of Hollywood
CNBC met with Grenier in Miami last month at the event billed as the largest Bitcoin event in history. Many people there affectionately shouted “Vince!” as they passed Grenier – an HBO reference for the uninitiated – but many had no idea he was interested in Bitcoin.
But Grenier really agrees with the philosophical priorities of many on the Bitcoin network.
“The mainstream sentiment is that Bitcoin is about making money … and sure it does, but really, at the heart of Bitcoin and all decentralized currencies is an ethos and philosophy around decentralizing our ability to bond with us, exchange each other in various ways, exchange values and be the owner and have more sovereignty over the wealth of the world by taking it out of the hands of the gatekeepers and centralized banks, “he said
This way of thinking makes the community particularly robust, according to Grenier. “That’s not to be expected,” he said.
It’s not surprising that Grenier has joined a group of people who appreciate rebellion, as Grenier himself has been going against the grain of Hollywood for years. In 2020, the actor completely abandoned the scene and traded his A-list city life for a farm in Bastrop, Texas – about 8,776 residents. He is now permaculture certified and is teaching himself how to tend the land.
The 45-year-old says he gave up acting – despite a trailer for his latest film released this week – so he could focus on getting back to basics and appreciating the outdoors. But during the offline process, Grenier joined a pool of the most tech-savvy people in the world. One cannot help but notice the irony.
When Grenier moved, he also decided to start his own mini-community. The actor bought land with the intention of inviting people to build and live there. As Grenier describes it, he and those who join him would work together to become more sovereign. They would grow and share food.
Adrian Grenier speaks to CNBC at the Bitcoin2021 conference in Miami.
They would also use their own decentralized currencies to “trade with one another very, very hyperlocally”.
“And that’s exactly what Bitcoin does: it offers this level of transparency, hyperlocalization and access for everyone within the community,” he said.
Grenier says he has made serious investments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this year. Although Bitcoin price is trading at around half its all-time high, the virtual currency is still up more than 230% year over year. But the price doesn’t matter to the actor.
“I like the technology – the decentralization of Bitcoin, which gives more people more access,” he said.
“I also spend it and try to use it in the real world,” he said. “Right now, Bitcoin is so volatile because it’s new and people see it as a trade … at some point it will settle down and be the currency we use.”
Grenier may be optimistic about Bitcoin, but for him it’s not Bitcoin or broke.
“I believe in innovation. So if there are technologies that disrupt or challenge Bitcoin, I say, ‘So be it.’ This is good for everyone. There will be winners and losers, but we all win when we are democratized and everyone has access, “he said.
The environmental problem
Grenier has been campaigning for all kinds of environmental issues for twenty years, from the United Nations’ “Clean Seas” campaign to the plastic-free laundry capsules from Blueland, a company he also supports through his impact investment fund DuContra Ventures.
But for some critics, Bitcoin’s support undermines all the good.
Creating new bitcoins, a process known as “mining”, involves a global network of computers working together to produce new coins. This takes a lot of energy and there is currently a heated debate about how this collective energy extraction affects the environment.
One of the most important sticking points is that energy consumption cannot be equated with CO2 emissions. While it is relatively easy to determine the energy consumption of the Bitcoin network, it is much more difficult to determine its carbon footprint.
An accurate reading of Bitcoin’s CO2 emissions would require an accurate knowledge of the energy mix used to generate the electricity used by every Bitcoin mining operation. For example, a hydropower unit does not have the same environmental impact as the equivalent amount of electricity from coal.
Another big part of the debate revolves around utility. Many people feel that keeping Bitcoin decentralized and equitable while keeping it mainstream is well worth the power spend.
“Everything we do has an environmental cost. Everything has an external impact. And just because something has an external impact doesn’t mean it’s net damage. I think Bitcoin has a net use, ”Grenier said.
“Bitcoin definitely has an ecological footprint,” he says. “But let’s not make the effort to find a technology that will actually give people around the world a lot of power.”