US Lawmakers Schedule Hearing To Probe Energy Impact of Crypto

Legislators in the US are set to hold another crypto hearing with both in-person and virtual attendance.

The House’s Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee plans to hold a hearing next week titled “Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains.”

The topic of costly energy consumption has dogged Bitcoin (BTC) in the past year, with China cracking down on mining last July.

In September, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) cited the need for regulation to counter crypto mining’s environmental impact.

Explains the ESMA,

“Innovation can support sustainability by addressing environmental, social and corporate governance information gaps through green financial technology solutions, but the environmental cost of one particular innovation – cryptocurrencies – is soaring…

This issue is becoming increasingly relevant with the soaring environmental costs of Bitcoin mining, which could consume as much energy as Italy and Saudi Arabia combined by 2024 if not contained. Estimates vary but they agree that the carbon footprint of cryptocurrencies is far from negligible. “

Bitcoin supporters, however, have pushed back against the idea that BTC is environmentally unfriendly.

The New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) released a research report in the fall that concludes that the “overall prospects for the decarbonization of Bitcoin mining over the coming decades are quite promising.”

According to the report,

“Even in our most aggressive, high price, scenario, in which Bitcoin reaches $10 trillion by 2030, its emissions amount to only 0.9 percent of the world’s total, and its energy outlay is just 0.4 percent of the global total.

Many miners are increasingly focused on minimizing the carbon emissions associated with their activities by purchasing offsets, procuring renewable energy, favoring locations with renewable energy, and using otherwise wasted energy, such as curtailed hydropower and flared gas.

Over the longer term, the intensity of Bitcoin’s carbon emissions… will decline, as the development of renewables continues and countries strive to decarbonize their electricity grids.”

NYDIG is the Bitcoin arm of Stone Ridge, an alternative asset management firm valued at over $10 billion.

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