A US government agency responsible for managing energy-related data is going after crypto-mining companies over their power consumption.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday that it will collect electricity consumption data from identified US-based crypto mining companies next week onward. These identified commercial crypto miners are required to provide information regarding their energy usage.
Additionally, the EIA will seek public input on gathering data regarding energy consumption of crypto miners.
The announcement is a response to an emergency data collection request approved by the Office of Management and Budget on Jan. 26.
We’ll ask about their electricity consumption so we can better understand their energy demands.
— EIA (@EIAgov) January 31, 2024
“We intend to continue to analyze and write about the energy implications of cryptocurrency mining activities in the United States,” EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis said in a statement.
He added that the agency will closely monitor shifts in energy demand resulting from crypto mining. Further, they aim to quantify the sources of electricity used to meet the energy demands of cryptocurrency mining operations.
Crypto Mining’s Environmental Impact Sparks US Regulatory Action
Crypto mining involves validation of blockchain transactions using computer hardware. Miners use computational power to compete for block incentives in this process.
The US is taking action to regulate crypto miners due to concerns about their substantial energy usage. Many believe crypto mining can be energy-efficient in certain cases, but most environmentalists view it as a major threat to global carbon reduction and climate change efforts.
Lawmakers Advocate for Accountability
Several Democratic legislators have previously asked the largest crypto mining firms in the US to reveal their energy consumption.
Last year, a small group of them called on the US Environmental Protection Agency to enact policies to force crypto-mining operations to report their annual energy consumption.
“This data is crucial, and your agencies should not have to rely on the good nature of the crypto or electric utility industries to obtain it,” lawmakers including Elizabeth Warren wrote.
Elsewhere in Europe, an EU draft assessment recently raised concerns about Bitcoin mining and similar proof-of-work blockchain protocols. In the draft, the European Commission indicated a potential ban on Bitcoin and its mining operations in the region due to environmentally harmful high energy demands.
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