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New York closes the Bitcoin mine

Illustration by Kate Walker

New York closes the Bitcoin mine


Future. A new bill heading to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk would halt issuing new permits to Bitcoin mining facilities within the state, kneecapping a growing industry over valid concerns about its environmental impact. While some miners may simply take their business elsewhere, the bill could push companies to rethink how their facilities are powered to make good with the government and win favor from residents.

Boomtown blues
New York may put new Bitcoin mining on ice.

  • The state Senate passed a bill that would stop the state from giving new permits for fossil fuel power plants being turned into Bitcoin mining facilities.
  • The moratorium would last two years and apply to facilities using the “proof of work” protocol to verify transactions on the blockchain.

It would also require the state to study the environmental impact of mining within New York (point of reference: The Verge reports that if the entire Bitcoin network was a nation, it would rank 32nd in electricity use).

The Wild West
After China outlawed all crypto mining in the country, the U.S. quickly took the lead as the top Bitcoin miner in the world, with a third of all mining done here. Some states, like Texas, became crypto-friendly very quickly to attract business.

And while the conditions in New York are optimal for Bitcoin mining (e.g., an abundance of defunct fossil fuel factories, easy access to hydroelectric power, etc.), the state has a goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 85% by 2050. As you can imagine, Bitcoin mining and emission reductions don’t really go hand-in-hand.

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