BitcoinPolitics

U.S. Senators Ask White House to Ban Carbon-based Proof-of-Work Mining

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Five US Senators have penned a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), asking for greater restrictions on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining.

The letter, addressed to the White House OSTP, was signed by Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren, Tina Smith, Jeff Merkley, and Ed Markey. Within the letter, the senators are calling for tighter restrictions on Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining, used for verifying Bitcoin transactions, saying that it “directly threatens the United States’ ability to meet its climate goals.”

“In this letter, we discuss the growing energy consumption of Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies and their negative effects on retail and consumer electricity prices,” wrote the Senators. “We recommend that the United States restrict energy use for cryptomining to verified new, zero carbon sources and to increase transparency on energy usage.”

The letter also compared the energy consumption of PoW mining to the annual energy consumption of the United Kingdom.

According to the Senators, to help the United States stay the course on its climate goals, a national registry should be created for PoW mining companies. This would effectively allow the government to request increased transparency and regular disclosures.

The letter also proposes a new energy efficiency standard for mining facilities, which would allow the government to ban all PoW mining that falls outside of a verified zero-carbon or renewable energy standard. 

This comes shortly after New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced he would ask Governor Hochul to veto the anti-PoW mining Assembly Bill A7389C. The bill passed in New York state, but remains unsigned by Hochul, who has said she is aiming to balance the environmentalist issue with the goal of preserving jobs.

Earlier this year, the mining industry celebrated as the European Union voted against an outright ban on PoW mining.

Adan Kohnhorst is a globally-based writer and producer with a focus on alternative culture and emerging ideas. He’s a founding member of Shanghai-based media outlet RADII, and the founder of Mind Body Globe, a blog covering intersections of travel and wellbeing.

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