Crypto Regulation: Proof-of-Work Bitcoin Mining Could Be Banned in New York Due to Climate Concerns

Cryptocurrency Bitcoin blockchain symbol digital encryption network on circuit board.
Violka08 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Environmental Conservation Committee of the New York State Assembly advanced a bill that would establish a two-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations to avoid environmental impacts in the state.  

See: A Complete Guide on How Bitcoin Mining Works
Find: How Much Money Can You Make From Crypto Mining?

“Cryptocurrency mining operations running proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions are an expanding industry in the State of New York,” according to the text of the legislation. “The continued and expanded operation of cryptocurrency mining operations running  proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions will greatly increase the amount of energy usage in the state of New York, and impact compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”

Bitcoin has been facing tremendous criticism about its carbon footprint. According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF), Bitcoin currently consumes around 110 Terawatt Hours per year — 0.55% of global electricity production.

The legislation is under the framework of the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community, which New York implemented to “mitigate the current and future effects of climate change. The act requires that statewide greenhouse gas emissions be reduced 85% by 2050 and that the state has net-zero emissions in all sectors of the economy by that time.

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Mega Bitcoin bull and MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, tweeted a “Stop: NY Bitcoin Ban” petition against the bill, saying “If New York politicians wish to discourage the use of fossil fuels, they should implement laws that treat everyone fairly and not discriminate against any individual, company, or industry.”

See: US Leads World Bitcoin Mining, Following China Mining Crackdown
Find: The Most Fascinating Things You Never Knew You Could Invest In

“If this bill becomes law, New York will be forfeiting the unique opportunities Bitcoin mining provides for economic expansion and the proliferation of renewable energy. This could set a precedent for states across the country to make the same mistake,” the text of the petition reads.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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