US Congress investigates the environmental impact of bitcoin mining

The Subcommittee on Supervision and Investigation of the Chamber's Energy and Commerce Committee appears to be working on a list of witnesses to account for the energy use of proof-of-work cryptographic validation, particularly the Bitcoin network.

The timing and the list of witnesses have yet to be determined, but the hearing could take place as early as the end of the month. A source, involved in pre-hearing discussions with the subcommittee, told The Block that the committee has become particularly concerned in light of recent events in New York State.

Ph. Marco Verch

When bitcoin mining left China earlier this year, the United States assumed the role of the world's largest source of hashrate in the network. A number of mining operations have moved to old power plants in upstate New York, which have attracted attention from the media and politicians, even more than the simultaneous peaks in states like Texas and Wyoming.

In October, more than 70 environmental groups wrote to House and Senate leaders asking for oversight. And in early December, Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote to Greenidge, the best-known mining operation in the New York controversy, asking them to account for their practices. Days later, the New York Times released a critical report on the rise of mining in the state. State Congresswoman Anna Kelles has been sounding the alarm about these environmental concerns since the beginning of this year. The staff members of the surveillance subcommittee have neither confirmed nor denied the preparations for the hearing.


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