Did you know that crypto mining and the environment have a conflicting relationship? The past few years have seen a heated debate on the impact of mining activities on the environment. In a letter dated 16 June 2022, 14 US members of Congress implored the Environmental Protection Agency to consider the benefits of mining.
Balancing Innovation and Environment
Several senators and House representatives addressed the letter to the EPA administrator, Michael Regan. The group requested the US EPA to pursue a review of digital asset mining in order to practice responsible innovation. They stated that a substantial part of the energy used by crypto miners comes from renewable and other underused sources. Citing the example of flared gas, they said some mining activities are reducing methane emissions in several US states.
The letter states, “The United States, as the global financial services leader, cannot rest on its laurels.” They also believe responsible innovation is essential to compete in a globalised economic system. They emphasised that regulation should be tech neutral. Preferring proof of stake to proof of work could stifle future gains and limit efficiency.
The representatives who signed the letter are all members of the Republican party, including pro-bitcoin senator Cynthia Lummis, senator Bill Hagerty and representatives Tom Emmer and Pete Sessions, among others.
This letter comes after an April letter by a bipartisan group of 22 lawmakers. They raised concerns over crypto firms in the US, stating that these companies were not acting in accordance with the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act. They believed that the US crypto mining industry must be held accountable to operate in a sustainable manner.
Besides air and water, this April letter highlighted electronic wastage and noise pollution in communities with mining operations. “We ask that the EPA investigate and address any harm these existing PoW facilities are causing communities including, but not limited to, ensuring that electronic waste is responsibly disposed of, and noise pollution is abated.” the letter stated.
In May, the Bitcoin Mining Council refuted the claims made in the April letter, stating that the allegations were inaccurate. According to the BMC, Bitcoin mining produces no pollution. Rather, it is the power generation facilities that pollute the environment. They also believe the efficiency of proof of stake and proof of work cannot be compared, as they do not achieve the same thing.
This letter is signed by the crypto industry’s most prominent names, such as Jack Dorsey, President of Fidelity Digital Assets Tom Jessop, and CEO of Greyscale Investments Michael Sonnenshein.
How does this affect you as an investor? Tech neutrality gives you more options to choose from. It allows you to choose between hundreds of digital assets and have a more diverse portfolio.
Secondly, the encouragement of digital assets by US government agencies can boost markets internationally. This gives you better returns on your portfolio. It also facilitates sustainable innovation in crypto assets, pushing the industry forward.