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White House Suggests Banning Proof-of-Work Mining Used By Bitcoin

  • Per President Biden’s executive order, the White House Office of Science and Technology submitted its report on bitcoin mining’s climate impact.
  • The report alludes to possible executive orders and legislation from congress to “limit” or “eliminate” proof-of-work mining.
  • Some of the cited resources have been criticized for biases to certain industries and spreading misinformation.

The White House Office of Science and Technology released a report claiming bitcoin mining negatively impacts the environment and hints towards banning proof-of-work.

“Electricity usage from digital assets is contributing to [greenhouse gas emissions], additional pollution, noise, and other local impacts, depending on markets, policies, and local electricity sources,” reads the report.

The first section of the report serves as an introduction while also hinting towards banning proof-of-work mining, which is used to mine bitcoin, if regulatory action fails to influence U.S. climate goals.

“Should these measures prove ineffective at reducing impacts, the Administration should explore executive actions, and Congress might consider legislation, to limit or eliminate the use of high energy intensity consensus mechanisms for crypto-asset mining,” per the report.

Next, the document explores how mining can affect electrical grids.

The Office of Science and Technology asserts that bitcoin mining facilities create added stress on the power grid that leads to blackouts, fire hazards, and equipment deterioration. The report also claims that bitcoin miners will raise the average electricity cost for local consumers.

“Depending on the energy intensity of the technology used, crypto-assets could hinder broader efforts to achieve net-zero carbon pollution consistent with U.S. climate commitments and goals,” reads the report.

Finally, the last section concludes that there are ways in which bitcoin mining can actually benefit U.S. climate goals, although this is a much smaller section.

“[Proof-of-work] mining that installs equipment to use vented methane to generate electricity for operations is more likely to help rather than hinder U.S. climate objectives,” per the report.

However, it is worth mentioning, of the cited resources used in this report, many are debated and some of the researchers have received criticism for extreme bias or misinformation.

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