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House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Crypto Mining’s Environmental Impacts

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight and investigations subpanel on Thursday held a hearing to address the energy and environmental impacts of cryptocurrency mining, The Verge reported.

“As the industry moves forward, it’s crucial for cryptocurrency networks to identify ways to reduce the need for constant high volume energy use and minimize effects on the environment,” Rep. Diana Degette, D-Colo., said in her opening remarks during the hearing.

Bitcoin mining requires more electricity because it uses the “proof of work” process to keep the blockchain accurate and secure. With this process, miners use specialized computers to crack complex puzzles and get the crytocurrency as a reward.

However, some miners use coal and other fossil fuels to power computers used in Bitcoin mining operations.

“Given our current climate objectives, examples like this are deeply concerning. Our focus now needs to be reducing carbon emissions overall, and increasing the share of green energy on the grid,” said Degette.

E&E News reported that the Environmental Protection Agency rejected requests of power plants to continue operating coal ash ponds in New York and Missouri. These ponds have reportedly been used in crypto mining operations.

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On Jan. 27, Executive Mosaic’s Potomac Officers Club will bring together government and industry leaders to explore the future of cryptocurrency and potential national security implications. National Cyber Director Chris Inglis will deliver the keynote speech at POC’s Digital Currency and National Security Forum. Visit the POC Events page to sign up for this virtual event.