Democratic lawmakers pressure cryptocurrency mining companies over energy consumption concerns

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 27, 2022
Updated 2022/01/27 at 11:44 PM

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts asked six cryptocurrency mining companies, including Riot Blockchain, to answer questions about the impact of their operations on the environment and the cost of electricity in the US. Separate for the chief executives of each company, the group asks companies to detail the amount of electricity they consume, their sizing plans and any agreements they have with local utilities. They have until February 10th to respond.

Lawmakers say they are concerned about what a dramatic increase in domestic cryptocurrency mining has meant for the environment and consumers. Specifically, they cite a 2021 study by the that estimated cryptocurrency mining in the state of New York has increased annual electricity bills by approximately $165 million for small businesses and $79 million for consumers, “with little to no local economic benefit.” They also point to the fact that Bitcoin mining-related energy consumption tripled between 2019 and 2021.

“The extraordinarily high energy use and carbon emissions associated with mining Bitcoin could undermine our hard work to tackle the climate crisis – not to mention the damaging impacts cryptocurrency mining has on local environments and electricity prices,” he said. Senator Warren. “We need more information about the operations of these cryptocurrency mining companies to understand the full scope of the consequences for our environment and local communities.”

The group doesn’t go so far as to suggest that regulatory action may be on the horizon for the sector, but clearly the effect of cryptocurrency on other parts of the economy is something lawmakers are thinking about. On January 20, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing entitled “.” In addition, US lawmakers have become more interested in cryptocurrencies in recent months. This was shown in December, when the Senate held a hearing on .

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