The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA keeps receiving mail. This time, 14 members of Congress provided the counterpoint and singled out the environmental benefits of bitcoin mining. They also made a point about how crucial this industry is, and the damage the USA would inflict on itself by banning it. Plus, they schooled the EPA on the amount of renewable source-based energy already in play all over the industry.
Podcaster and bitcoin cultural commentator Dennis Porter broke the news and provided the full text. It starts with a bang, the instead-of-flaring natural gas argument. “As you know, a substantial portion of digital asset miners’ energy use is based on renewable sources. Additionally, many miners use other power sources, like natural gas, that may otherwise go unused.” Using gas that otherwise would be flared is more than carbon-neutral or net-zero, it’s effectively climate positive.
“And Batten and company say that’s “the only way” because the bitcoin mining industry has “the unique combination of being location-agnostic, mobile and interruptible makes Bitcoin mining the only economically feasible use case for the two major sources of leaking methane emissions examined in this paper.”
Besides obsoleting methane flaring, bitcoin mining has another concrete benefit that the EPA might want to know about: stabilizing the grid. “Digital asset mining can have a substantial stabilizing effect on energy grids. It maintains robust baseload levels, yet it can be switched off quickly in times of peak demand.”
One thing’s for sure, governments can’t really ban bitcoin mining. They can only ban themselves from bitcoin mining. Does that provide a net benefit for the country that tries? Or does it just hurt the citizens and put them at a clear disadvantage? The text from the 14 Congress members to the EPA is only about the USA, but people from other countries might want to take notes.
“Most importantly, digital assets, and their related mining activities, are essential to the economic future of the United States. Other countries are rapidly moving to adopt digital assets and are attracting large amounts of capital and talent in the hopes of growing their own financial services sectors as digital assets and distributed ledger technology are widely adopted in the coming decade.”
What “other countries” are they referring to here? Could it be El Salvador, the little engine that could? Or are they speaking about the Central African Republic, which just started its bitcoin journey? The “coming decade” will be interesting, to say the least. Then, the 14 members of Congress surprise the world by not throwing Proof-Of-Stake systems under the bus in front of the EPA.
“Treasury Secretary Yellen articulated it best last week when she stated regulation should also be “tech neutral.” Favoring one technology over another, including proof-of-work versus proof-of-stake, can stifle innovation, erode future economic gains, and limit affiliated efficiencies.”
Let the market decide, EPA. Do it for innovation.
The 14 members of Congress end their EPA plea with a patriotic tone:
“American leadership in digital asset technologies is essential to ensuring the next generation of Americans can enjoy the prosperity and opportunity that our country has been blessed with. As you evaluate the potential environmental issues surrounding digital assets, the critical role that responsible innovation will play in our long-term economic future cannot be overlooked.”
“PoW-based cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, and Zcash. A single Bitcoin transaction could power the average U.S. household for a month. According to estimates by researchers, Bitcoin produces annually carbon emissions comparable to Greece.”
How can the people in charge use ridiculous and evidently debunked statements like, “a single Bitcoin transaction could power the average U.S. household for a month”? Are they not aware that Digiconomist, the uncredited source, works for the Dutch Central Bank? Conflict of interest aside, his numbers will never add up. Because they’re lies.
In any case, the Bitcoin Mining Council responded to that letter’s wild inaccuracies in a second letter to the EPA signed by the likes of Michael Saylor and Jack Dorsey. They didn’t cover the benefits that the bitcoin mining industry offers the world, though. And that’s why this third letter was necessary.