Congress Announces Hearing on Bitcoin’s Energy Use

The U.S. Congress will hold a hearing on the energy use and environmental impact of bitcoin mining on January 20, its Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee announced on Thursday.

The move was prompted by a letter sent to the House in October by a cohort of national and international climate organizations that argued against the energy usage of Bitcoin and its Proof of Work (PoW) system.

“We, the more than 70 climate, economic, racial justice, business and local organizations, write to you today to urge Congress to take steps to mitigate the considerable contribution portions of the cryptocurrency markets are making to climate change and the resulting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, environmental, and climate justice impacts it will have,” the letter read.

A rebuttal to the letter was published this week by the Bitcoin Policy Institute (BPI), an interdisciplinary cohort of economists, coders, lawyers, climate scientists, philosophers, and policy analysts providing research, fact-checking, and commentary on Bitcoin.

The group argues in its fact-checking paper that the letter sent to Congress contains plenty of inaccuracies about the bitcoin mining industry, a gap its policy work is trying to bridge. The BPI, which will send its paper to Congress, says that the House should indeed consider Bitcoin’s power consumption, but warrants a more careful and factual approach.

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