Bitcoin Heavyweights Defend Mining in Letter to EPA
Mining is a contentious topic in the cryptocurrency world, with many arguing that it is a critical part of the ecosystem that helps to secure transactions and maintain the integrity of the blockchain. However, there are others who believe that mining is unnecessary and inefficient, using up large amounts of energy and resources for no good reason.
In response to the current outcry about mining a group of major bitcoin (BTC) investors – including Microstrategy’s (MSTR) Michael Saylor, Block’s (SQ) Jack Dorsey, miners like Core Scientific (CORE) and Riot Blockstream (RIOT), asset managers like Fidelity and Galaxy Digital (GLXY), and venture capital players like Benchmark Capital – are among the authors of a letter sent on Monday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defending bitcoin mining and discussing the many misconceptions about environmental impacts.
The letter makes the case that bitcoin mining is actually good for the environment and that any negative impact is more than offset by the positive effects of decentralization, security, and trustlessness.
“Bitcoin mining presents an opportunity to harness America’s clean energy resources and establish a lucrative industry in the United States,” the letter says. “Bitcoin mining should be encouraged and closely monitored while being conducted at the lowest environmental cost and with greatest energy efficiency to ensure that it provides real economic benefits.”
This letter comes in response to a previous letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 20 by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and 22 members of Congress, which raised “serious concerns” specifically about how mining is polluting American communities and its oversized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
The lawmakers wrote, “As you know, a large and growing body of evidence demonstrates that Bitcoin mining is increasingly concentrating Americans in communities of color and low-income rural areas, where pollution burdens are already unacceptably high.”
In their response letter to the EPA, the crypto industry leaders argue that Huffman and his colleagues have misunderstood the role of mining in Bitcoin’s network and its environmental impact.
The letter also takes aim at the congressional claim of bitcoin miners efforts to reopen previously closed gas and coal facilities to help power their operations. Saylor and the company note this activity represents less than 2% of the Bitcoin network hash rate. “In reality, the majority of digital asset miners are migrating away from fossil fuel-based electricity generation and increasingly targeting renewables,” the authors argue.
A survey from the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) showed that crypto mining has become 63% more efficient from the previous year, with the estimated sustainable electricity mix now up to 58.4%. “This [power mix data] is markedly more sustainable than the default U.S. energy mix at 21% sustainable,” the authors wrote. “Digital asset mining is a fully digital process location agnostic, meaning miners can operate from anywhere in the world and data centers are able to target stranded or abundant renewable sources of energy,” they added.