Democratic lawmakers from both houses of the US Congress have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Energy Administration (DOE) informing them of their findings regarding energy consumption in crypto-mining and asking the agencies to require miners to report on their emissions and energy use. Meanwhile, the Senate of Paraguay, the upper house of the legislature in that country, has passed a sweeping bill to regulate cryptocurrency and allow miners to use the excess electricity generated in the country.
The six US lawmakers, led by Elizabeth Warren, noted in their July 15 letter that cryptocurrency mining in the United States has been on the rise since China banned it last year. The seven mining companies that responded to lawmakers’ request for information revealed a collective capacity of 1,045 megawatts of electricity, which is equivalent to all housing in Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in the country.
The letter claimed that energy use by crypto miners is driving up prices for other consumers, citing government and academic studies and a press report. Responsive miners rejected energy efficiency claims, saying, “These and similar promises about using clean energy obscure a simple fact: Bitcoin miners use massive amounts of electricity that could be used for other priority end uses that contribute to our electrification and climate goals.”
Little information is available about emissions from cryptocurrency mining, the letter continued, but “our investigations indicate that the US crypto-mining industry is likely to be an energy and emissions issue.” The authors asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to clarify their authority to collect information about the crypto industry and their plans to do so, citing several useful uses for that information:
“This aggregated data will enable valuable policy activities, including better monitoring of energy use and trends, better evidence foundations for policy making, improved data for national mitigation analyses, better capabilities for assessing technology policies for the sector, better modeling of national and regional grid loads and transitions, Among other purposes.
The Environmental Protection Agency has often been the focus of legislators’ calls regarding crypto mining, whether it favors or opposes it. He also weighed down the environmentalists and the cryptocurrency industry.
On July 14, the Senate of Paraguay passed a bill on regulating cryptocurrency and mining. Although the cryptocurrency industry has faced opposition in Paraguay before, and the bill has faced “vigorous debate,” it has given the industry significant advantages.
The country’s National Securities and Exchange Commission will establish regulatory and supervisory mechanisms for the industry, which will be exempted from value-added tax (VAT). In addition, crypto miners will be given access to excess capacity “at a special electricity pricing rate that cannot exceed 15% above the industrial rate,” according to a tweet by Senate Senate sponsor Fernando Silva Fassetti.
Paraguay has abundant and low-cost hydropower thanks to the power plant at Itaipu Dam on the Paraná River, which Paraguay shares with Brazil.