New York’s Bitcoin mining ban bill one step closer to passing

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On Tuesday, New York State Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee voted to move forward with a new bill that would place a two-year state-wide Bitcoin mining ban, reports Bloomberg.

The legislation, first proposed to the Senate in May, aims to make an 85% reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

According to the bill, a two-year moratorium on Bitcoin mining would allow for an environmental impact study into its energy-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) method.

Upstate New York has become a choice location for large-scale Bitcoin mining operations. Miners are drawn in by attractive energy prices and a cooler climate agreeable to mining rigs.

However, the bill suggests the influx of cryptocurrency mining firms would prevent the state from keeping its net zero emissions promise, as detailed in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019. 

“We must determine whether the growth of the Proof-of-Work authentication cryptocurrency mining industry is incompatible with our greenhouse gas emission targets established in law, or has other significant detrimental impacts to our air, water, or public health.”

While the bill has garnered support in its initial stages, it would still need the backing of the full Assembly, State Senate, and New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.

Growing support for a mining ban

Indeed, concern over an increase in cryptocurrency is growing among environmentalists in New York.

Up-state, a power plant turned Bitcoin mine has been accused of boiling Seneca Lake. Greenidge’s chief exec Dale Irwin has pushed back against claims that the plant is damaging the local flora and fauna.

New York’s mayor has also turned his back on Bitcoin mining in response to the growing concerns.

Read more: [Does Bitcoin work without mining? New York City’s mayor hopes so]

In February, Eric Adams who entered office with a pro-crypto policy infamously said he supported cryptocurrency “but not cryptocurrency mining.”

The perplexing remark came when asked about the environmental implications of crypto while testifying to the state legislature on Governor Hochul’s 2023 budget. 

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