As the value of various cryptocurrencies rise, so does the scrutiny surrounding the massive energy footprint associated with mining. New York has emerged as the first state looking to assess the impact that cryptomining has on the environment, and what implications or threats it may have for local and global energy policy.
A new bill aimed at cryptocurrency is making its way through the New York senate, and it’s one that will undoubtedly ruffle a lot of feathers. Bill S6486 is seeking to establish a three-year moratorium, or pause, on cryptocurrency mining within the state of New York.
In the current text, the bill calls for “an act to establish a moratorium on the operation of cryptocurrency mining centers; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof.” The three-year moratorium would presumably give New York ample time to investigate the consequences that cryptomining has on the environment.
The bill doesn’t define what constitutes a “cryptocurrency mining center.” While it’s safe to assume any commercial operations would be included, it’s less clear what impact such a bill would have on individuals casually mining on their own machines.
Assuming the bill passes, an environmental impact statement review period will begin for all cryptocurrency mining operations in the state, and will be subject to 120 days of public comment. Additionally, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will hold at least one public hearing in every region of New York.
Again, assuming the bill passes, any future cryptocurrency mining will be contingent on New York finding that it does not compromise the state’s greenhouse gas emission targets as defined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019.
The proposed bill is currently being considered under a committee, and assuming it isn’t tabled, the next step is the voting calendar.