Thread by jyn urso: My thoughts on today's hearing, "Air, Climate, and Environmental Impacts of Crypto-Asset Mining"... Sigh. 🧵
- Mar 7, 2023
- #Ecology #Cryptocurrency
My thoughts on today's hearing, "Air, Climate, and Environmental Impacts of Crypto-Asset Mining"...
From the start, @SenMarkey opened the hearing from a biased position that bitcoin mining is the vampire of energy intensive computing. He claimed that bitcoin mining's impact on our health, communities, and environment "are set to explode."
Much of the arguments centered around a handful of examples of bitcoin mining being co-located with fossil fuel plants. In PA, the focus was on Stronghold's coal remediation plants, which are 60% subsidized by the state, and presumably the remaining monetized by bitcoin mining.
In NY, the focus was primarily on Greenidge. Where, a coal plant was converted to a gas plant in 2016. Bitcoin mining did not co-locate until 2020. The fight between Greenidge and the Sierra Club began before mining commenced.
Sadly, @annakelles misled on the timeline re Greenidge and claimed it was converted specifically to mine bitcoin. No public evidence backs this claim. She forgot to mention that the moratorium does not stop Greenidge, despite saying the issues around Seneca Lake are the catalyst.
.@RobAltenburg pushed Ethereum and continuously claimed that bitcoin "is wasteful by design". He incorrectly claimed that bitcoin's POW is crypto 1.0 and that bitcoin cannot support smart contracts. Kelles claimed that bitcoin is a dinosaur. Markey compared it to whale oil.
None of the witnesses nor committee members seem to fully understand that the price of bitcoin is not enough to determine bitcoin's future energy use. The difficulty adjustment, halving, and near-perfect market structure are essential components to understanding its energy use.
There was no discussion over the pros and cons of PoW vs PoS. I suspect this is because none of the "expert" witnesses have even the slightest understanding of what they could be. Instead, they pushed PoS as true innovation without any evidence to back this claim.
Both anti-bitcoin witnesses made fair points around whether bitcoin's noise pollution should be regulated, but as both the witness from Nebraska, Dentlinger and Sen. Ricketts pointed out, this is a municipal regulation issue, not a federal issue.
While this hearing was related to legislation that would require miners to reveal emission data and follow federal clean air standards and order an environmental study on bitcoin (all reasonable), the actual testimony pushed a narrative that bitcoin should not exist.
I am disappointed that @SenMarkey has left the hearing believing that he's has been so well informed on the topic. The reality is far worse. The committee now knows far less about bitcoin than they did before they entered the room because many of the talking points were wrong.
At times, it seemed like @annakelles and @RobAltenburg were advocating that we regulate who gets to use electricity. That has far reaching implications that are horrifying to fathom if they ever got their way.
I see many benefits in bitcoin, both social and environmental. However, I am the first to say that we need more data, we need more evidence. If the data prove my intuition wrong, then so be it.
We need to solve the climate crisis, but targeting an industry that uses 0.2% of global energy as the thing that is going to destroy us is missing the forest for the ant sized tree. /end
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Great thread summarizing my perspective on the hearing as well.