New York State Passes Bitcoin Mining Ban – Critics Say it Stifles Innovation

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The New York State Senate passed a bill that would establish a two-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions to avoid environmental impacts in the state. 

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The bill is now sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul, who could sign it into law or veto it, according to the senate’s website.

“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.”

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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.

However, some critics of the bill say that this is stifling innovation and curtailing the creation of numerous jobs.

“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,” according to the Stop: NY Bitcoin Ban petition. “This could set a precedent for states across the country to make the same mistake.”

The bill is at odds with New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams’ stance, as he is a strong Bitcoin proponent. He announced via Twitter in November that he would take his first paycheck in the crypto.

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“In New York we always go big, so I’m going to take my first THREE paychecks in Bitcoin when I become mayor. NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries! Just wait!”

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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