US Congressional subcommittee to hold hearing on the environmental impact of crypto mining

  • A US Congressional subcommittee plans to hold a hearing in the near future to examine the environmental impact of crypto mining, sources say.
  • The hearing was fueled by recent events in New York surrounding the surge in Bitcoin miners and protests on the same.

A US Congressional Subcommittee is preparing to hold a hearing to discuss the environmental impact of crypto mining, with a focus on the Bitcoin network.

Notably, crypto mining involves validating transactions and maintaining network security for a cryptocurrency reward. And despite these operations reportedly getting greener for Bitcoin, various persons have raised concerns of high energy consumption, coupled with the use of environmentally ‘hurtful’ energy sources.

Congress hearing on crypto mining

According to sources with knowledge of the matter, the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is yet to schedule a date for the hearing. However, there is a high likelihood it could take place by the end of this month. The subcommittee is also putting together a list of witnesses who will make contributions to the energy expenditure of Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoS) algorithm.

The subject of crypto mining has become a hot topic, according to a source involved in the pre-hearing discussions of the subcommittee. Recent events in the state of New York have necessitated the hearing to best determine how to deal with the matter.

As crypto mining in China practically zeroed out, Bitcoin miners fled to the US. The country now commands the global cryptocurrency’s mining hashrate by 35.4 percent. During the migration, several mining operations moved to the old power plants in upstate New York, Texas, and Wyoming. New York had cheap energy from the Niagara River, while Texas boasted several mining incentives like a deregulated power grid. Meanwhile, Wyoming’s Senator Cynthia Lummis, one of the US’s pro-Bitcoin politicians, invited Bitcoin miners to her state.

Related: A Bitcoin mining farm has divided New York, with the battle lines being drawn on carbon emissions vs. economic growth

New York Bitcoin mining dispute

However, the influx to New York particularly drew attention from the state’s media, environmentalists, and politicians. In October, over 70 environmental groups wrote to the House and Senate lawmakers, urging additional oversight.

In early December, Senator Elizabeth Warren – a firm contestant of Bitcoin mining – wrote to Greenidge Generation Holdings. The firm has, for some time, been in the spotlight of the New York crypto mining controversy. Warren asked the firm to account for its use of natural gas in mining operations. Shortly afterward, the New York Times published a report in high criticism of the surge in mining operations in the state.

Additionally, Anna Kelles, one of the state’s lawmakers, has been lobbying for New York to stay clear of Bitcoin mining. In May last year, she proposed a three-year embargo on the same. She and other critics said the mining plants were outdated. They also quoted a 2019 law mandating New York to significantly reduce its carbon emissions and energy consumption in the coming decades.

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