- A subcommittee of the U.S. Congress plans to convene a hearing in the near future to examine the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining, sources say.
- Audiences have been boosted by recent events in New York about the Bitcoin miner boom and protests against it.
A subcommittee of the United States Congress is preparing to hold a hearing to discuss the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining, focusing on the Bitcoin network.
In particular, cryptocurrency mining is concerned with validating transactions and maintaining network security in exchange for reward in cryptocurrencies. And while these operations are thought to be greener for Bitcoin, some have raised concerns about high power consumption, as well as the use of ‘harmful’ power sources to the environment.
Hearing in the Conference on Cryptocurrency Mining
According to sources familiar with the matter, the Oversight and Investigations Sub – Committee of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives has not yet set a date for the hearing. However, it is highly likely that it could happen later this month. The subcommittee is also developing a witness list that will provide input on the Bitcoin Proof of Work (PoS) algorithm energy expenditure.
The topic of cryptocurrency mining has become a hot topic, according to a source who was involved in the subcommittee’s preliminary discussions. Recent events in New York State have required a hearing to determine the best way to deal with the situation.
As cryptocurrency mining in China practically disappeared, Bitcoin miners fled to the United States. The country now orders the world’s cryptocurrency mining hashrate at 35.4 percent. During the migration, several mining operations moved to former power stations in New York, Texas, and Wyoming. New York had cheap power from the Niagara River, and Texas had various incentives for mining, such as deregulated power grid. For her, Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis, one of America’s pro-Bitcoin politicians, invited Bitcoin miners to her state.
Dispute about Bitcoin mining in New York
However, the influx into New York has attracted the attention of the media in particular, and state politicians. In October, more than 70 environmental groups wrote to legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate, calling for more oversight.
In early December, Senator Elizabeth Warren – a staunch opponent of Bitcoin mining – wrote to Greenidge Generation Holdings. The firm has, for some time, been in the throes of a controversy over cryptocurrency mining in New York. Warren asked the firm to account for its use of natural gas in mining operations. Shortly afterwards, the New York Times passed a report sharply criticizing the increase in mining operations in the state.
In addition, Anna Kelles, one of the state legislators, is pushing New York to stay away from Bitcoin mining. In May last year, he proposed a three – year embargo. She and other critics said the mining plants were outdated. They also cited a 2019 law that requires New York to significantly reduce its carbon emissions and energy consumption in the coming years.