Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains” is the title of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.

Focused on the energy and environmental impact of cryptocurrency, a decentralized form of digital currency.

The production of the best-known form of cryptocurrency – Bitcoin – uses a process known as “proof-of-work” mining which can require significant amounts of computer power to succeed.

For this reason, according to research, the amount of energy used by global Bitcoin production exceeds that used by some industrialized nations.

Companies have started buying entire power plants to generate more Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. All of this has prompted energy companies to start wondering if they should turn their existing electric fleet into a cryptocurrency mining hub.

Environmental groups have lobbied lawmakers and regulators to curb rising emissions from cryptocurrency.

So far, lawmakers have largely ignored cryptocurrency’s climate impacts, but Energy and Commerce President Frank Pallone and Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette want to change that.

«In a few years, the cryptocurrency has seen a dramatic increase in popularity. It is time to understand and address the strong energy and environmental impacts it is having on our communities and our planet», said Pallone and DeGette in a statement.

«We look forward to examining the growing energy footprint of crypto mining and how blockchain proof of work, in particular, can migrate to cleaner alternatives and renewable energy solutions».

The hearing could signal a shift in Congressional stance on cryptocurrency production far from seeing it as a mere novelty. It also comes a week after the Biden administration cracked down on coal ash from the power sector, a move that hit a former coal-fired power plant currently used to mine Bitcoin.


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