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Congress Is Trying To Figure Out What To Do About Crypto’s Colossal Carbon Footprint

BuzzFeedNews: “For years, cryptocurrency has rivaled entire nations in terms of energy use, and US lawmakers are just now starting to investigate how crypto mining operations could be undermining global efforts to combat climate change. This question was the subject of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Thursday that broadly examined the carbon footprint of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. The panel addressed a growing refrain that certain types of crypto transactions are catastrophically energy intensive and are extending the lifetime of fossil fuel resources. Committee members also questioned some of the promises made by crypto boosters, such as the claim that miners can actually help stabilize energy grids. “Our focus now needs to be reducing carbon emissions overall, and increasing the share of green energy on the grid,” subcommittee Chair Rep. Diana DeGette said during introductory remarks. While the unique demands of crypto “present potential benefits,” DeGette continued, “it’s important to understand the degree to which this is actually being done.” The hearing marks one of the few times that lawmakers have discussed crypto’s climate implications on a bipartisan stage. Last year, six crypto company executives testified before the House Financial Services Committee; one of those CEOs, Bitfury’s Brian Brooks, appeared again on Thursday as a panel witness alongside other crypto CEOs and former government officials. “Crypto’s energy consumption is a feature, not a bug,” said witness John Belizaire, CEO of data center developer Soluna Computing, claiming that “the narrative of [crypto’s] threat to the grid is wrong.”…

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