Elizabeth Warren, a vehemently anticrypto senator, was the loudest critic. She reiterated her concerns about Bitcoin’s energy consumption ( BTC) and mining.
This condemnation was made before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing entitled ‘Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency. The Energy Impacts on Blockchains’. It took place Jan. 20.
Warren released a statement in which he claimed that high energy consumption and carbon emissions from Bitcoin mining could “undo much” of his work to address the climate crisis. He also added, “not to mention the detrimental impacts crypto mining has upon local environments and electricity prices.”
The hearing covered a large part of cryptocurrency and blockchains and the reasons why they use so much energy.
Frank Pallone, the House Energy and Commerce Chair, described the situation in a memo before the hearing as a “vicious circle” with market volatility driving demand that drives up mining power consumption. As more miners compete to get the next block, it increases mining power consumption.
According to Cambridge University, Bitcoin mining uses an average of 138.8 TWh per year. This is roughly the same as that of Ukraine. EU leaders took aim at Bitcoin mining earlier this week with some calling to ban it.
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Brian Brooks, BitFury CEO and former Acting Comptroller for the Currency, stood up for crypto mining and provided information to politicians about the facts.
Brooks stated that it was only the renewable portion of the energy that matters more than the actual amount of energy that was used. These concerns wouldn’t have been possible if crypto mining were 100% renewable, he stated.
Brooks stated that Bitcoin’s total energy consumption last year was 188 TWh, out of 155,000 worldwide.
“The energy mix used in Bitcoin mining was approximately 58% sustainably sourced […], compared to 31% for U.S. Energy Grid as a whole.
Brooks stated that miners seek out the lowest-cost energy, which is usually from excess capacity. Brooks stated that this is a powerful incentive to tap more of the otherwise wasted energy.
The crypto mining industry is actually greener than it was before the exodus of coal-powered mining in China. Texas is a haven for mining operations, and most of it is powered with renewables like wind or solar.
Despite these facts, certain U.S. lawmakers are staunchly anti-crypto. They will do everything in their power to stop the fledgling decentralized financial industry.