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NYC’s Stand on Bitcoin Mining

NYC’s Stand against Bitcoin mining passes the Senate

State legislators are now concerned about the environmental impact proof-of-work blockchains. New York fights for Bitcoin Mining.

Legislators from New York are bracing for a fight about Bitcoin mining.

The Senate Bill S6486B has passed the upper house by a 36-27 margin. Democratic Senator Kevin Parker, sponsors the bill, and is now heading to the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

Originally, the bill placed a three-year moratorium on all Bitcoin mining. So that the state can do an environmental impact assessment. It could have all but forced mining facilities in the state to walk away from it.

The amended bill changes the state’s Environmental Conservation Law to avert new operations from receiving permits to operate in an “electric generating facility that utilizes a carbon-based fuel.”

bitcoin mining

It basically caps the electrical consumption of the existing mining operations at their current levels. It also mandates the creation of a “generic environmental impact statement” on proof-of-work mining.

The law did not just apply to Bitcoin, but to any blockchain technology that is using proof-of-work consensus methods.

What is the Bill about?

The authors of the bill are concerned about the popular practice in New York. This is for the repurposing of old power plants for massive Bitcoin mining operations. These include Greenidge Generation, a former coal-fired power plant that is now using natural gas to mine Bitcoin.

“Many fossil fuel power plants have been shut down across the state in recent years due to reduced energy demand, improved transmission capacity and non-economic carbon-based fuel sources,” the bill states. “Consolidated operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions are bringing these plants back online, with behind- the-meter operations that greatly exceed the previous intermittent usage, and can cause significant negative impacts to air quality especially in environmental justice communities.”

“They’re supposed to be dead power plants. They were retired for a reason.”

Earth Justice Deputy Managing Attorney Mandy DeRoche

Bitcoin has been in the hot seat because of its electricity consumption. Bitcoin advocates have argued that the expenditure is worthwhile. Also if it can be made with clean energy that does not emit carbon into the atmosphere. A lot of detractors believe that bitcoin creates a demand for more energy that could only be met by renewable energy.

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