The Democratic lawmakers from both the Houses of the United States Congress sent a letter asking the Energy Department (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency to share their findings about cryptocurrency mining’s energy consumption. They also asked the agencies to mandate that mining reports their energy use and emissions. The Paraguayan Senate (the upper house of the country’s legislature) has approved a comprehensive bill that regulates cryptocurrency and allows miners to make use of excess electricity.
In their July 15th letter, six U.S. lawmakers led by Elizabeth Warren, a crypto cynic, pointed out that crypto mining has increased in the United States since being banned by China last January. The collective power of the seven crypto mining companies, which responded to the lawmakers’ request for information, was 1,045 MW. This is the equivalent of all the homes in Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest US city.
According to the letter, which cited government studies, academic studies, and a report, crypto miners’ energy consumption is increasing prices for consumers. The letter dismissed the miners’ claims about energy efficiency and stated, “These and similar promises regarding clean energy use obscure an obvious fact: Bitcoin miners consume large quantities of electricity that could have been used for other priority end-uses that contribute to our electrification goals and climate goals.”
My research shows that cryptominers consume a lot of energy, but there is very little public disclosure. Regulators should require more transparency so all Americans can understand crypto’s impact on our local communities and planet.https://t.co/DKZYZYyyNO
Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren), July 15, 2022
Although little information is available about crypto mining’s emissions, the letter stated that it was important for the authors to ask the EPA and DOE to explain their authority and plans to collect such information.
“These collected data would allow for valuable public policy actions, including better monitoring and trending of energy use, better evidence base for policy making and improved data for national mitigation analysis, better ability to evaluate technology policies for sector and better modeling of grid loads and transitions at national and regional levels, among others.”
In the debate about crypto mining, lawmakers have often focused their attention on the EPA. Both environmentalists and the crypto-industry have contributed to this discussion.
The Paraguayan Senate approved a bill regarding cryptocurrency regulation and mining on July 14. Despite the fact that the cryptocurrency industry had been subject to opposition in Paraguay, and that the bill was the subject of “intense discussion”, it provided significant benefits for the industry.
1) #Cripto #Paraguay Following intense debate @SenadoresPy we have approved the Bill to regulate #cryptoasset activity. This new law establishes obligations, rights and warranties to investors, to the consumer and the Government…. #Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/ODpQxC3XZy
— FernandoSilvaFacetti (@FSilvaFacetti) July 14, 2022
The National Securities and Exchange Commission of the country will establish regulatory and supervisory mechanisms to protect the industry. They will also be exempted from VAT. According to Fernando Silva Facetti, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, crypto miners will also be able to access excess electricity at a “special electricity pricing rate which [h] cannot exceed 15% below the industrial rate,” according a tweet thread.
Paraguay is home to abundant and low-cost hydropower thanks to the Itaipu Dam power station on the Parana River. Paraguay shares this power plant with Brazil.
Eileen Wilson –Technology and Energy
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