Congress Report States Cryptocurrency Mining in US Rivals Energy Use of Houston
Major U.S. crypto mining companies use nearly as much electric energy as every home in Houston, Texas, according to a new report by congressional Democrats. In the report, the lawmakers also urged miners to report their carbon emissions as the U.S. and the rest of the world continue to battle climate change.
The Investigation Produces ‘Disturbing’ Results
Following China’s ban on crypto mining, most major miners moved their operations to the U.S. Today, more than a third of total computing power used for mining Bitcoin comes from the U.S, according to the report by five Democrat lawmakers led by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“The results of our investigation … are disturbing … revealing that cryptominers are large energy users that account for a significant – and rapidly growing – amount of carbon emissions. It is imperative that your agencies work together to address the lack of information about cryptomining’s energy use and environmental impacts.”the lawmakers said in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The investigation also found that the growing number of crypto miners has led to substantially higher energy costs for state residents and smaller businesses. The surge in crypto mining comes after cryptocurrencies saw significant growth in recent years.
With a greater number of miners and more intense competition in the industry, the process of producing virtual coins through mining has become more difficult and energy-intensive. As a result, Bitcoin mining spends more electricity than entire countries nowadays.
Earlier this year, a CoinShares research report found that Bitcoin mining contributes around 0.08% of global CO2e emissions. Consequently, a group of congressional Democrats started an investigation into the energy use crypto mining companies in the U.S., asking seven major miners to report their energy data.
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Can Renewals Help Reduce Carbon Emissions?
While the new investigation is definitely not something that should be ignored, it’s not all doom and gloom. A number of crypto mining startups are using renewable energy sources to power their operations, suggesting that mining can also become greener.
One of those companies is Blockstream, which teamed up with Jack Dorsey’s Block and Tesla in April to build a solar- and battery-powered bitcoin mine in Texas. The new mining plant will be powered by Tesla’s 3.8-megawatt solar photovoltaic array (PV) and 12 megawatt-hour Megapack.
Other examples include Canadian company HIVE Blockchain which powers its Ethereum mining operations through a hydropower plant, and Norway-based KryptoVault, which uses 95% hydropower and 5% wind. In addition, some Bitcoin and crypto miners also use nuclear energy as another green source to power their operations.
Do you think more crypto miners will switch to using renewable energy sources?