The report called for standards to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint or limit the industry. Industry advocates and critics were united by the Biden administration’s latest findings regarding bitcoin (BTC), mining’s environmental impacts. Both sides claimed that their views were supported at the highest levels of U.S government.
The White House’s Office for Science and Technology Policy published a 45-page report about bitcoin (BTC). The report outlined the pros and cons of mining’s effect on the environment and energy grids and called for further research to ensure that federal agencies have standards that minimize the harm.
The report stated that if these measures prove inefficient they should be considered by Congress and the administration to limit or eliminate energy-intensive technologies such as proof of work, which powers the Bitcoin blockchain and Ethereum.
Bitcoin mining has been criticised for its carbon emissions and energy consumption, but the industry insists that it can support the transition to renewable energy.
Advocates claim the report highlights bitcoin mining’s positive potential, while critics note that the OSTP attempted to discredit some miners’ arguments.
White House states crypto mining could be good for the environment
According to the White House report, bitcoin mining ” could be beneficial for the environment” as well as ” amazing progress,” Dennis Porter (co-founder and chairman, non-profit Satoshi Action Fund), advocated for bitcoin mining. To support his claims, he posted portions of reports that claimed crypto mining could be used for the capture of methane otherwise vented.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an NGO that advocates for the modification of Bitcoin’s network code to lower its energy consumption, also praises the report.
“Today’s Report confirms that digital assets use a significant, growing amount of electricity and contribute more climate pollution,” reads a statement posted on their website.
Alex de Vries, one of the industry’s most vocal critics, has claimed that bitcoin mining is a “dirty” industry that contributes global emissions and waste. This is in research that is highly contested by the industry. Tweeted that the report “dismantles almost all of the popular talking points by Bitcoin influencers.” The report also cited research from de Vries.
The section on methane-powered mining, for example, “immediately targets a bitcoiner favourite: ‘Mining operations to replace existing methane flares would not likely impact [carbon dioxide] emissions,” de Vries stated.
Others saw the White House’s report as more of an intermediate-of-the road approach, which is still being developed
Some mining industry experts and insiders praised the report for its research. They particularly appreciated the way it looked at the potential climate-positive effects from flared-gas mining, and how it can be used to support the development and deployment of renewable energy.
Elliot David is the head of sustainability engagement at Sustainable Bitcoin Protocol. He said that the majority of the report is “pretty optimistic.” This signals that regulators are eager to learn more and are ready to work directly with this industry, as they have done with other sectors. “That is all we are asking for,” said he.
Troy Cross is a professor at Reed College in Portland Oregon and a fellow at The Bitcoin Policy Institute. tweeted saying that, even though it might seem bad, the report shows that the Biden administration wants to collect all the information necessary to create sound policies.
It “represents an shift in a very positive, truth-responsive direction,” contrary the fear-mongering of previous politicians’ moves on this industry, such the letter sent by Rep. Jared Huffman, (D.Calif.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D.Mass.). in July, Cross said.
Cross stated that the report also addresses concerns about the administration’s ability to make miners’ jobs more easy. All the boxes have been checked.”
“As soon the issue is fully researched and the rhetoric begins to fade, it’ll become evident that proof-of work mining is a boon for resilient, abundant and renewable energy,” Rachel Silverstein (general counsel) at CleanSpark (CLSK), stated to CoinDesk.