As the global crypto fever makes waves in the most unexpected places, the latest controversy has arisen from the wellness industry. A spa based in Brooklyn, New York, has landed itself in hot water after allegedly exploiting Bitcoin mining energy to heat its pools. The news has sparked significant outrage from critics, echoing concerns about the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.
The renowned wellness destination, BATHHOUSE, is facing a barrage of criticism following a public revelation about its energy usage. The unique establishment, which launched in 2021, is noted for its diverse range of wellness amenities, including three pools. However, the spotlight has recently fallen on their unconventional means of pool heating, which involves the byproduct energy of Bitcoin mining, according to a recent Instagram post.
In an attempt to take transparency to another level, BATHHOUSE shared a video on their Instagram page detailing their Bitcoin mining operation. The spa uses the surplus heat generated from Bitcoin mining, redirected through heat exchangers, to raise the temperature of two of its pools to over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This disclosure, though, has elicited a firestorm of criticism.
Various Instagram users, including the likes of @bjjacobs and @goldenhoovez, expressed their disbelief and concern in the comment section. The main bone of contention revolves around the negative environmental implications of Bitcoin mining. This concern has been supported by various studies and news articles over the years.
Drawing parallels from an article published by The Guardian in 2023, the carbon emissions resulting from Bitcoin mining were likened to the total emissions output of Greece. Additionally, a report from Earthjustice.org showed that Bitcoin’s electricity consumption from mid-2021 to mid-2022 was equivalent to the combined usage of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island in the United States. Moreover, a 2022 study from the University of New Mexico outlined how Bitcoin mining exacerbates climate damage over time.
Despite the wave of backlash, BATHHOUSE’s co-founder, Jason Goodman, stood firm in the face of criticism. Goodman asserts that their approach is energy-neutral, insisting that they are effectively using electricity twice: initially for mining and subsequently for heating their pools. Goodman views this dual use as a means of reducing energy costs and reusing an otherwise wasted resource.
Nonetheless, the debate rages on with environmental advocates insisting that the high energy consumption of Bitcoin mining does not justify its secondary use. As the world grapples with the impact of climate change, such controversies underline the importance of making ecologically responsible decisions even in industries such as wellness and self-care.