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Bitcoin mining faces the scorns of lawmakers

written by Bella Palmer

The U.S was the largest Bitcoin mining nation, accounting for 35.4% of the global hashrate in August 2021, according to Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

At the turn of the year, Bitcoin (BTC) mining has once again faced the scorn of lawmakers. The increased level of interest followed Bitcoin’s surge to a November ATH $68,979. Rising prices draw in greater mining activity, thus having ‘a greater impact on the environment’.

Last summer, the Chinese government banned Bitcoin mining as the government looks to be carbon neutral by 2060.

Other governments have since temporarily or permanently banned crypto mining. These include Kosovo and Georgia, with Russia’s central bank also proposing to ban crypto mining.

Last month, a U.S Congress sub-committee hearing explored crypto mining, focusing on Bitcoin and Proof-of-Work mining. From the hearing, it was evident that lawmakers leaned against Proof-of-Work mining, which could prove to be another challenge for Bitcoin miners. According to Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, the U.S was the largest Bitcoin mining nation, accounting for 35.4% of the global hashrate in August 2021.

President Joe Biden announced a new target for the U.S to achieve a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030.

Upon taking office, President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, aiming to tackle the climate crisis both domestically and abroad. The U.S has a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

The EU has also voiced concerns, with European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) vice-chair Erik Thedeen calling for a ban on Proof-of-Work mining.

As was evident on Capitol Hill, Thedeen was also in favour of Proof-of-Stake protocols due to the ‘significantly lower energy profile’.

While U.S mining activity has been on the rise, the latest facts and figures reflect a very contrasting view to that of the University of Cambridge, Columbia Climate school, and numbers shared by the sub-committee hearing in January. The numbers suggest that lawmakers will need to carry out further study before imposing restrictions or outright bans on Proof-of-Work mining.


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