In a new report released on Thursday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy urged the U.S. to conduct extensive research on the energy implications of cryptocurrency mining to develop rules for the sector.
The Report’s Constituents
One of the first reactions to U.S. policy is included in the study. In response to President Joe Biden’s executive order on cryptocurrency, the office provided specifics on how it will address the issue of the environmental effects of crypto extraction, such as the scope of the damage and how different cryptos vary in their power requirements.
The report urges government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to collaborate with states and local governments to adopt regulations for the industry’s ecological impact, such as the degree and source of power used, noise pollution, water usage, and how to generate carbon-free power to offset crypto mining’s usage.
According to the report, the Government should investigate executive options. Should these efforts fail to lessen consequences, Congress may introduce laws to limit or prohibit the use of high energy efficiency consensus processes for crypto-asset extraction.
According to the paper, cryptocurrency mining, especially bitcoin (BTC) mining, consumes a significant amount of electricity and jeopardises American sustainability objectives.
The report also stated, “Global energy production for the crypto assets with the greatest market capitalizations amounted in a combined 140 to± 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually (Mt CO2/y), or approximately 0.3% of global yearly GHG emissions.”
The Electric Grids May be in Jeopardy
Additionally, the Biden administration wants power regulators and grid governors to prohibit cryptocurrency mining from endangering the reliability of electricity grids and raising consumer energy bills.
On the other hand, Bitcoin miners contend that they can improve the dependability of electrical grids by acting as a base load audience that can shut down during periods of high demand, as was the case this summer during heatwaves that affected much of the United States, especially Texas. To that argument, the White House stated that while minimising this peak during a grid emergency is beneficial, the heightened surge is frequently the reason demand response is required, creating conflicting motivations between crypto-asset mine workers and grid operators. Crypto-asset miners and other demand response participants must be completely transparent in their demand response involvement and payouts.
The White House is also requesting more precise information on the industry’s usage of green energy, arguing that miners who do not use carbon-emitting electricity do not contribute to emissions. According to the research, better data is needed to remove any ‘uncertainty’ over the amount of clean energy the business consumes.
A Silver Lining
It’s fascinating to note that the White House study hesitantly expressed support for cryptocurrency miners who run their equipment on flared and vented methane. With mining companies setting up data centres at natural oil and gas production sites, this technique has become increasingly popular in recent years.”
“While the EPA and the Department of the Interior have postulated new regulations to cut methane emissions from oil and natural gas processes, crypto-asset mining activities that capture vented methane to generate power can benefit the environment by transitioning the potent methane to [carbon dioxide] during combustion,” the report said. ” The conversion of methane to CO2 in mining activities, however, may be more dependable and effective.”
Therefore, vapour extraction technology may be more beneficial in reducing methane leaks.