Mozilla W3C Representative Condemns Crypto Mining

Tantek Çelik says that proof-of-work has no place in web standards.

Mozilla W3C Representative Condemns Crypto Mining
Shutterstock photo by Michael Vi

Key Takeaways

  • Mozilla’s Web Standards Lead, Tantek Çelik, has said that proof-of-work should not have a place in web standards.
  • He cited high energy consumption and lack of sustainability as the main issue behind the technology.
  • His comments were made in relation to decentralized identity (DID) platforms, not Bitcoin transactions in general.

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Mozilla’s Web Standards Lead, Tantek Çelik, has expressed opposition to cryptocurrency mining in a discussion over web standards.

Çelik Says No to Proof-of-Work

“Proof-of-work methods…are harmful for sustainability,” Çelik said, referring to the way in which Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies verify transactions and generate miner rewards.

“Successful proof-of-work systems waste a staggering amount of electricity worldwide,” he added, noting that Bitcoin uses more energy than some countries. Çelik likely was referring to a widely-cited Cambridge survey that suggests Bitcoin mining consumes energy in amounts comparable to the Netherlands or Philippines.

Çelik went on to say that W3C must “firmly oppose such proof-of-work technologies” and block them from being incorporated or made optionally available in its web standards.

The comment was made during a conversation about decentralized identity (DIDs), a category that includes Bitcoin-based services such as Microsoft’s ION Network and other blockchain-based systems that perform a similar function.

Çelik also opposed non-proof-of-work alternatives on the grounds that such an approach will lead to centralization, giving power to the system’s operators at a service level or an architectural level.

Çelik concluded by arguing that the DID standard must not become a recommendation and should be returned to working draft status.

Is Mozilla Is Crypto-Friendly?

Çelik’s comments did not concern Bitcoin in a broader sense, and it is unlikely that Mozilla has any opposition to crypto. In fact, Mozilla has accepted cryptocurrency donations since 2019.

The company has also produced high-profile crypto figures. Former Mozilla COO Denelle Dixon has become the CEO of Stellar; former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich became the founder and CEO of Brave.

Çelik’s comments today concern upcoming standards for the web at large, not the rules that apply to developers extending the functionality of Mozilla’s Firefox browser through add-ons.

Given that the web browser currently supports third-party cryptocurrency wallets like Metamask, it is unlikely that Çelik’s statements will affect projects in that vein.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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