Bitcoin Mining US House Hearing Questions Energy Use
A U.S. House Subcommittee Hearing on “Cryptocurrency Cleanup” and Blockchain Power Consumption kicked off with a representative calling the power consumption of some Bitcoin mines a “deeply worrying”.
The hearing comes as the outsized energy consumption of cryptocurrency mining is increasingly questioned by politicians and climate advocates. Mining companies use thousands of computers to solve the calculations behind some cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Representative Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Colorado, said in her opening statement on Thursday that blockchain technology has promising applications, but the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of mining need to be addressed. at the forefront of any cryptography discussion. Lawmakers have specifically raised concerns about the repurposing of old coal-fired power plants in New York and Pennsylvania to support mining operations.
“We cannot bring retired fossil fuel plants back online or delay the decommissioning of some of our oldest and least efficient plants to support energy-intensive crypto mining,” the statement said. Rep. Frank Pallone, the Democrat who leads the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The hearing was organized by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and witnesses included a utility executive and BitFury CEO Brian Brooks.
A report cited by the subcommittee estimates that Ethereum and Bitcoin mining operations together emitted more than 78 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year, an amount equivalent to the emissions of annual exhaust of more than 15.5 million cars.
“The audience was fair and genuinely seemed to be mostly in favor of the opportunity Bitcoin mining can bring to the United States,” said Leah Wald, managing director of Valkyrie Investments, which recently launched an ETF. bitcoin futures. “We hope that despite some clear hurdles that we as an industry still need to overcome from an education perspective, this can be the start of a turning point for Bitcoin and other digital assets in the eyes of our government.”
Reporting by Josh Saul and Allyson Versprille for Bloomberg News.