Eight environmental groups have written to the US Office of Science & Technology Policy, expressing their growing concern about Bitcoin’s energy consumption.
Bitcoin energy debate goes into the next round
In March, the Office of Science & Technology Policy issued a public Request for Information on the energy usage of crypto assets. Jointly, the Environmental Working Group, Earthjustice, Greenpeace, the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, the Seneca Lake Guardian, and the Milwaukee Riverkeeper now handed in a response. Their letter to the OSTP states:
In particular, we urge you to subject permits related to cryptocurrency mining to stringent environmental reviews, to create a registry of mining operations, to set energy efficiency standards for digital currencies, to establish power density limits, and to limit financial transactions which increase climate pollution, interrupt critical supply chains, or limit the availability and affordability of electricity for essential industries.
PoW ban possible?
While these eight environmental groups do not call for a blanket ban on crypto mining, the severity of the regulations demanded by them would likely rule out any support of Proof of Work cryptocurrencies. Moreover, the letter states that they regard all crypto assets, including Bitcoin, as securities, which would make them subject to SEC and CFTC regulations. The authors call for the regulators to ban the listing of PoW crypto assets on registered exchanges:
Requiring registered exchanges only to list digital assets whose transactions consume electricity below a certain energy-efficient standard would drive innovation or a transition to other methods of validation.
Similar language was also found in the controversial MiCA bill voted on by EU lawmakers in March. Although the amendment that would have phased out PoW on European exchanges was ultimately struck down, internal documents show that the threat of a PoW is not off the table yet.