US Bitcoin Miner Survey Crisis Averted as Parties Reach Agreement to End Lawsuit

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The controversy surrounding the emergency survey of cryptocurrency mining companies’ electricity usage has come to an end after the parties involved reached an agreement to halt the survey. 

The Department of Energy (DOE) was sued in a Texas court by the Texas Blockchain Council and bitcoin mining company Riot Platforms, who argued that the survey was a result of a “sloppy government process.”

As reported by Yahoo Finance, the federal government is discontinuing its emergency survey of power usage in the Bitcoin mining industry.

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Agreement Reached to End Emergency Survey

According to a court document filed on Friday, the parties have agreed to withdraw the survey, and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) will “destroy any information” it received already. On its part, the EIA will also post a new notice on the survey, allowing for public comments.

The Department of Energy (DOE) expressed optimism about collaborating with cryptocurrency mining firms in the future to ensure clarity regarding energy consumption.

Meanwhile, the Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms celebrated the conclusion of the emergency survey as a win for the cryptocurrency mining industry. They condemned the government’s utilization of emergency powers to single out the sector, viewing it as a menace to free-market principles.

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Mixed Reactions Trails Bitcoin Miner Survey Agreement 

The Chamber of Digital Commerce hailed the agreement as a “significant triumph” for crypto mining, while Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., expressed satisfaction with the withdrawal of the survey, cautioning against the misuse of emergency powers to enforce additional regulations on the industry.

Nevertheless, the conclusion of the survey was met with resistance from some quarters. The Sierra Club, an environmental group, submitted a supportive amicus brief backing the Department of Energy’s stance, contending that cryptocurrency mining’s substantial energy consumption worsens pollution.

Bitcoin Mining Impact

The Sierra Club drew parallels between crypto mining’s energy usage and illuminating every household in the U.S., asserting it surpasses the emissions of seven million cars. Additionally, they highlighted the strain on the grid, particularly evident during severe weather occurrences such as the winter storm that hit Texas in February 2021.

However, to their credit, in response to a request from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Riot Blockchain halted operations at its Texas facility in July. This was when the state faced an energy crisis.

Stakeholders remain divided on the regulation and environmental effects of cryptocurrency mining, with some supporting transparency and regulation to tackle energy issues, while others stress the significance of free market principles within the industry. Some analysts believe Riot Platforms, one of the parties involved, could do more given their huge profit margin from mining activities in 2023.

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