Margot Paez

Fellow at the Bitcoin Policy Institute

Specialist in Renewable Energy and Environmental Studies. Margot learnt to code at the age of 8 and began freelance web-development work by the time she was 12. She dreamt of working for NASA and ended up becoming an intern as a robotics and computer science engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 4 years.

During this period she studied at 5 different universities (without dropping out) and ended up with a Master’s in both Physics and Ethnomusicology. However, as she started to get to grips with the size of the climate change issue, she decided to switch paths and direct her studies towards fighting climate change instead. She currently works for the Georgia Water Resources Institute where she uses modelling and forecasting to help protect areas from droughts and flooding.

She became aware of Bitcoin in late 2010 when Wikileaks integrated Bitcoin for donations after they got de-platformed by PayPal. However, she was sceptical as she quite simply hated money. She was a guerilla journalist during the Occupy movement and hated how large corporations and the financial system control the world in a way that disproportionately benefits a minority, undermines democracy and causes instability.

She thought society would be better off without any money and even tried to invent her own money, much like MMT, so that it would go to zero.

But then in 2018, she witnessed a number of content creators get de-platformed and decided to integrate BTCPayServer into a platform she was developing. This allowed the platform to accept Bitcoin payments with no trusted 3rd party, protecting it from being de-platformed by large payment institutions (like PayPal).

She also realised that our inability to fight climate change was in part due to our monetary system - the over-financialisation and constant need for growth. She realised that because Bitcoin is decentralised, open to everyone, exists outside the system, and is debasement-proof, it could be used as a tool against the legacy financial system and potentially indirectly fight climate change.

But as the Bitcoin energy criticisms rose to a deafening roar in 2021, she feared she might be violating her own principles. Like any good scientist, she decided to start conducting her own research.

The more she learned about bitcoin mining; the difficulty adjustment, hashrate, etc, the more she realised the obvious:

Mining needs the cheapest sources of energy to remain profitable. Wasted energy.

In addition, she looked at the history of data centres and reviewed studies on their estimated energy mix. She saw that bitcoin was at the very least as renewable as the global average energy mix, if not more renewable, which meant it was not unusual in that sense.

Margot has become one of the loudest voices fighting back against the environmental misinformation surrounding Bitcoin. Her voice and knowledge are becoming more invaluable and we are blessed that she will be speaking and holding a workshop at CowShed!


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