Environmental groups urge U.S. government to act against crypto miners

May 11, 2022

By Anjali Kochhar

A group of eight organizations focused on the environment have called on certain government agencies under the Biden administration to implement new methods in response to Proof-of-Work and other crypto mining operations.

In a letter to the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy Monday, the organizations urged the White House to enact policies to curb the electricity use and climate pollution associated with digital currencies that rely on Proof of Work.

“Digital currencies that rely on “proof-of-work” to validate transactions undermine your efforts to promote energy efficiency and to reduce climate pollution and will instead use more and more electricity and generate more and more climate pollution,” the letter read.

“We urge you to use the Administration’s regulatory tools to curb the electricity use and climate pollution associated with digital currencies that rely on “proof-of-work” and to work with legislators to address the energy and climate impacts of digital currencies,” it added.

Further, the organisations urged the White House to “subject permits related to cryptocurrency mining to stringent environmental reviews, to create a registry of mining operations, to set energy efficiency standards for digital currencies, to establish power density limits, and to limit financial transactions which increase climate pollution, interrupt critical supply chains, or limit the availability and affordability of electricity for essential industries.”

The organisations alleged crypto mining in the U.S. harmed communities by creating increasing demand for electricity sourced from fossil fuels, threatened supply chains with demand for application-specific integrated circuits in rigs, created significant electronic waste, and would not “aid the transition to renewable electricity.”

Quoting data collected by experts at the University of Cambridge, the letter said that Bitcoin mining consumes 153.67 terawatt-hours (“TWh”) per year—which is more electricity than what is used by countries like Sweden and Poland, and more electricity than Americans use to power our lights 2 and televisions.

Further, the organizations pointed out that U.S.-based Bitcoin miners are already responsible for one-quarter of the global greenhouse gas emissions caused by Bitcoin mining.

“By increasing electricity use and providing an incentive to extend the life of fossil fuel sources of energy, Bitcoin miners are increasing climate pollution and electricity prices—harming local communities,” the letter added.

The Bitcoin Mining Council responded with a letter written by Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor to EPA administrator Michael Raegon, claiming that the organizations have mistaken several key issues.

The New York State government is considering the introduction of a bill that could place a two-year ban on all new PoW mining facilities in the state that use carbon-based fuel to power their operation.


About the author

Anjali Kochhar covers cryptocurrency stories in India as well as globally. Having been in the field of media and journalism for over three years now, she has developed a sharp news sense and works hard to present information that goes beyond the obvious. She is an avid reader and loves writing on a wide range of subjects.

Leave a Reply