Lawmakers Express Concerns About High Power Consumption By Cryptominers

A group of members of Congress have raised concerns about high power consumption by six cryptomining companies.

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Lawmakers sent a letter to Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital Holdings, Stronghold Digital Mining, Bitdeer, Bitfury Group, and Bit Digital seeking information about their cryptomining operations and associated power consumption. Members of Congress point out that the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining more than tripled from 2019 to 2021, rivaling the energy consumption of entire countries like Denmark, Chile and Argentina.

“The extraordinarily high energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with Bitcoin mining could undermine our hard work to tackle the climate crisis – not to mention the detrimental impacts of cryptomining on local environments and oil prices. We need more information about the operations of these cryptomining companies to understand the full extent of the consequences for our environment and local communities,” said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Warren sent the joint letter with US Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Ri), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Edward Markey (D-MA), and Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Jared Huffman (D-CA).

Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency in the world, and the US share of Bitcoin mining has grown from 4% in August 2019 to 35% in July 2021. Following China’s crackdown on cryptomining, which left 500,000 mining operations looking for new locations, that could drive the percentage up in North America.

Lawmakers said the high energy consumption raises alarm bells about massive carbon emissions and the impact that consumption could have on consumer energy prices. They cited a recent study that estimated that cryptomining in upstate New York increased annual electricity bills by about $165 million for small businesses and $79 million for consumers.

In the letter, members of Congress asked each company to detail its electricity consumption, scale-up plans, agreements with utility companies, and impact on energy costs for consumers and utilities. small enterprises. They demand answers before February 10.

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