IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

New York seeks to ban bitcoin mining over power consumption

Proposed bill places a three-year moratorium on power-hungry crypto mining operations

Two Bitcoins in a person's hands

New York lawmakers have submitted a bill banning cryptocurrency mining operations for three years.

Introduced on Monday, bill S6486 seeks to put a moratorium on the operation of cryptocurrency mining centers unless they undergo a full environmental impact statement review. The review would have to prove that a mining center doesn't affect the state’s greenhouse gas emission targets.

"Cryptocurrency mining centers are an expanding industry in the State of New York, often, but not exclusively, located in retired or converted fossil fuel power stations, including dormant power plants," the bill said.

As part of its Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the state has called for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels by 2030. That rises to 85% and net-zero emissions in all sectors of its economy by 2050.

The cryptocurrency mining bill added, "The continued and expanded operation of cryptocurrency mining centers will greatly increase the amount of energy usage in the State of New York, and it is reasonable to believe the associated greenhouse gas emissions will irreparably harm compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in contravention of state law."

The bill applies to existing and proposed mining operations. In addition to a cumulative impact assessment on greenhouse gas emissions, it would also include a review of any impacts on water or air quality, or wildlife. Reviews would include a 120-day public comment period.

Bitcoin has had a considerable impact on energy consumption. Its consensus algorithm relies on a process called proof of work, in which miners compete for the chance to include transactions in a block on the chain. To do so, they compete to solve a complex mathematical problem. The bitcoin protocol seeks to regulate the production of blocks to one every 10 minutes. To do that, it must make the mathematical problem more difficult as more miners join the network, adding more computing power.

Proof of work forces the total computational power on the network upward as bitcoin becomes more popular. The cryptocurrency has seen its price soar recently, forcing the hash rate up

Related Resource

IT Pro 20/20: Understanding our complicated relationship with AI

The 16th issue of IT Pro 20/20 looks at the very human problems associated with artificial intelligence

IT Pro 20/20: Understanding our complicated relationship with AIDOWNLOAD NOW

According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, it takes 1138 kWh of energy to process a single bitcoin transaction at the time of writing, which equates to the energy required to run a single US household for 39 days. The bitcoin network uses roughly the same amount of energy as the Netherlands each year.

While the core bitcoin developers seem committed to proof of work, competing network Ethereum, which offers additional functionality, is preparing to transition to an alternative proof-of-stake mechanism. This approach replaces miners with validators chosen to mine each block, dramatically reducing energy use compared to proof of work.

Featured Resources

Accelerating AI modernisation with data infrastructure

Generate business value from your AI initiatives

Free Download

Recommendations for managing AI risks

Integrate your external AI tool findings into your broader security programs

Free Download

Modernise your legacy databases in the cloud

An introduction to cloud databases

Free Download

Powering through to innovation

IT agility drive digital transformation

Free Download

Recommended

What is cryptocurrency mining?
cryptocurrencies

What is cryptocurrency mining?

27 May 2022
IMF urges El Salvador to remove Bitcoin as legal tender
cryptocurrencies

IMF urges El Salvador to remove Bitcoin as legal tender

26 Jan 2022
El Salvador announces plans to build a 'Bitcoin city' at the foot of a volcano
cryptocurrencies

El Salvador announces plans to build a 'Bitcoin city' at the foot of a volcano

22 Nov 2021
Cryptocurrency: Should you invest?
cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency: Should you invest?

27 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Actively exploited server backdoor remains undetected in most organisations' networks
cyber attacks

Actively exploited server backdoor remains undetected in most organisations' networks

1 Jul 2022
Macmillan Publishers hit by apparent cyber attack as systems are forced offline
Security

Macmillan Publishers hit by apparent cyber attack as systems are forced offline

30 Jun 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022