New York cracks down on carbon fuel-based crypto-mining • Register

New York State has banned a practice that is becoming more common in the crypto-mining industry – the salvage and repurposing of mothballed fossil fuel plants to exclusively power the mining of digital currencies.

Gov. Cathy Hochul yesterday introduced a bill in the works starting in May 2021 that “establishes a two-year moratorium on applications or permits for a power generation facility that uses carbon-based fuels and grants it, in whole or in part, retroactively.” -meter electric energy used or used by cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions.” This includes such permit renewal applications.

The bill cites the contribution of dirty fuel plants to climate change at a time when the state has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050, “to net zero emissions across all sectors of the economy by that time.”

Although it notes that the industry is growing in New York, the bill states: “Continued and expanded operations of cryptocurrency mining operations running a proof-of-work authentication system to validate blockchain transactions will greatly increase energy use in the state. New York, and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.” Consent to effect.”

All existing crypto-mining outfits in the state will now be subject to a general environmental impact statement to quantify the amount of energy used, the source of that energy and its impact, their emissions and the impact they may have on public health, water use, etc. and “social and economic costs and benefits, if any.” The statements will be available for public comment and the Department of Environmental Conservation will hold hearings on the matter in each region of the state.

Since when do crypto miners take over power plants?

The crypto-mining boom in the US is largely due to moves in China, once the world’s mining hub, which essentially shut down the industry. Companies in search of cheap electricity then set up shop in the states, which now account for 38 percent of the world’s miners. Globally, Bitcoin mining consumes more electricity than Finland.

The cost of this shift is measurable. Montana environmentalists were surprised when the mining company broke ground on the Marathon Hardin Generation Station, a 115-megawatt coal plant, in 2021. Now with a datacenter on the premises, the station emits 187,000 tons of CO2 In the second quarter, there was a more than 5,000 percent increase compared to emissions during the same period in 2020.

“It’s not helping old women freeze to death, it’s destroying our climate for all of us while enriching some,” said Ann Hedges, co-director of the Montana Environmental Information Center. guardian. “If you’re concerned about climate change, you have nothing to do with cryptocurrency, it’s a disaster for the climate.”

Jamie Zawinski — who named the Mozilla project and was one of the original Netscape developers — said earlier this year registrar There was literally nothing more in the modern technological ecosystem than the gambling machine and environmental disaster we know as cryptocurrency.

Another company, GreenRidge Generation, claimed to bring “a piece of the world’s digital future” to New York in 2020 when it revived a coal plant on the shores of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region. The megawatts dedicated to bitcoin here were “enough to power more than 35,000 homes.”

The scrubgrass plant in western Pennsylvania, which burns waste coal and was on the verge of closure, is now lined with shipping containers hosting thousands of mining computers. Kentucky, meanwhile, is actively trying to attract investment by exempting mining companies from electricity sales taxes

While big industry players like to be seen taking the environmental impact of their technology seriously, the cryptocurrency brigade marches on – even as FTX, once one of the largest and most trusted exchanges, was recently revealed to be, well, nothing.

Crypto players reacted unfavorably. The Chamber of Digital Commerce said in a statement: “Until now, no other industry in the state has been excluded in this way for its use of power. This is a dangerous precedent for determining who can and cannot use the power.

“The [proof-of-work] The mining industry is spurring economic growth, job creation and inclusion of historically underrepresented populations in New York, while also creating financial incentives to build renewable energy infrastructure. As this legislation becomes law, we expect that mining companies, or those considering doing business in the state, will leave and move to more friendly regulatory jurisdictions in the United States – a trend that many industries in New York State are realizing every day.”

Similarly, Kevin Zhang of digital currency company Foundry told CNBC: “Not only is this a clear signal that New York is closed to the bitcoin mining business, it sets a dangerous precedent for banning a particular industry from using energy.”

Others claimed the law would discourage renewable-based miners from doing business in the state because of the threat of increased regulation.

We guess it seems more unfair to you – crypto-bros being barred from setting up shop in New York or crypto-bros destroying the planet for magical internet money. ®