- President Biden’s administration is developing recommendations to reduce energy consumption and emissions from cryptocurrency mining.
- The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) intends to release a report on cryptocurrency mining and its impact on the environment.
Costa Samaras, chief associate director for energy at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, said that the White House is in the process of developing regulations that would reduce energy consumption and negative emissions from mining cryptocurrencies. Costa Samaras stated;
It’s important, if this is going to be part of our financial system in any meaningful way, that it’s developed responsibly and minimizes total emissions. When we think about digital assets, it has to be a climate and energy conversation
According to the information provided, the team is also exploring incentives for miners to unplug during peak hours.
We’ve seen miners set up in places where the electricity prices are low and they’ve secured favorable industrial rates. I would like to go see the evidence that an afternoon peak mining tariff slows down mining operations.
Samaras also mentioned the study of reports of noise, local pollution, and the re-activation of old fossil fuel power plants in some populated areas. “These are not trivial loads,” he added.
President Biden’s decree forced OSTP to unite with other departments and prepare a report within six months considering how blockchain technologies can affect the environment.
OSTP invited the public to send comments by May 9, and a group of environmental organizations, including Greenpeace and the Environment Working Group, signed a letter warning of the potential negative “impact of digital currency” and proposed a number of measures to reduce their impact on climate change.
In it, they claim that the use of electricity by the Bitcoin network is growing faster than in other sectors, and contributes to climate pollution, as well as harming local communities.
They also call on the Environmental Protection Agency to tighten supervision of permits for the use of air and water issued to miners who use proof of work, and the Budget Department to create a register of cryptocurrency mining operations with proof of work “above a certain threshold.”
A few weeks ago, Democrats in the House of Representatives sent a letter to the EPA calling on the agency to investigate the possible negative consequences of mining with proof of work. A group of more than 50 bitcoin mining supporters has written to the EPA challenging some of the lawmakers’ demands.
For example, they argued that bitcoin mining by itself does not lead to carbon emissions and that if miners comply with EPA regulations, they should not be separated from other businesses that similarly use electricity sources.