Objectors to New York’s mining ban say governments can’t dictate ‚valid use of energy‘

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Ethereum‘s co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Coin Metrics‘ co-founder Nic Carter recently opposed the recent mining ban decision of New York, saying that it’s not okay for governments to decide on what the appropriate usage of electricity is.

Carter tweeted that N.Y.’s ban on crypto mining directly controls what constitutes proper use of power. He implied that this is an abuse of power and said:

Will red states respond and ban computation taking place in their borders used for pornography, Netflix, and Disney? Is a world where the state itself decrees what is an acceptable use of electricity or not one you really want to live in?

— nic carter (@nic__carter) June 3, 2022

U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Fenton also tweeted to object to N.Y.’s decision and said no government has the right to tell people which software to run.

No government has the right to tell you what software to run.

Code is speech. https://t.co/mm1Ndd75im

— Bruce Fenton for US Senate 🇺🇸 (@brucefenton) June 4, 2022

Is it really about the environment?

The New York Senate passed the bill due to environmental concerns, arguing that the greenhouse gas emissions released by crypto mining will irreparably harm compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in contravention of state law.

However, opposers don’t believe this ban serves its said environmental purpose.

Buterin quoted Fenton’s tweet to say he favors decreasing gas emissions for the environment’s sake. However, the crypto mining ban doesn’t really serve its purpose.

Ultimately I agree with this (that is, I oppose banning PoW). The government picking and choosing which specific applications are an okay use of electricity or not is a bad idea. Better to just implement carbon pricing, and use some of the revenues to compensate low-income users. https://t.co/NnBzmv5mYz

— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) June 4, 2022

Carter also argued that the environmental concerns are just a front, as the state has made some contradicting decisions. Carter tweeted:

The New York sha-256 ban miight seem a little more credible if they hadn’t closed down Indian Point nuclear plant (10% of state generation) and replaced it with new natural gas plants last year. Climate warriors they are not.

— nic carter (@nic__carter) June 4, 2022

Mining’s impact on the environment

Bitcoin mining consumes nearly 110 terawatt-hours of energy annually, which impacts the environment. Many prominent figures have protested the negative consequences.

Buterin, for example, decided to switch Ethereum from energy-consuming PoW to sustainable PoS. On the other hand, Elon Musk advocated for using sustainable energy sources like solar power for Bitcoin mining.

The Bitcoin mining industry’s sustainable energy usage increased approximately 59% last year and reached around 58.4% in the first quarter of 2022.

As of January 2022, the U.S. constitutes 37.84% of the average monthly hashrate in Bitcoin mining. New York produces 9.77% of that number every month. Moreover, New  York’s mining activity is mostly sustainable, according to Carter.

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