U.S. regulators withdraw crypto mining power survey amid legal dispute

  • This week, U.S. regulators discontinued a survey meant to monitor cryptocurrency mining electricity usage permanently, complicating efforts to understand its impact on energy costs and grids.
  • Riot Platforms and the Texas Blockchain Council are seeking to stop mandatory data requests through a lawsuit, following the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s energy consumption study.
  • U.S. officials have put the emergency survey on hold and are negotiating a settlement to resolve the lawsuit.

This week, U.S. regulators removed a survey that was intended to collect data on the amount of electricity used by the cryptocurrency mining business, making it more difficult to assess the industry’s effects on energy costs and grids.

Riot Platforms and Texas Blockchain Council sue to halt data requests

Riot Platforms, a major player in the U.S. Bitcoin mining sector, along with the Texas Blockchain Council, has filed a lawsuit aimed at halting mandatory data requests.

This action comes after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently conducted a study to assess the energy consumption of cryptocurrency mining.

Reuters reports that, as a result, U.S. officials have cancelled the emergency survey and are currently in talks with the plaintiffs in the bitcoin mining case to reach a settlement and resolve the legal dispute.

Also read: Texas Blockchain Council wins favorable ruling against energy regulators

Crypto mining surges

According to calculations by Reuters and estimates from companies that provide statistics on Bitcoin and power use, mining of digital currency peaked on February 7 and is predicted to use more than 60 terawatt hours in the United States this year.

Concerned that the growing footprint of cryptocurrency mining might increase power costs and overload the fragile U.S. electrical grid, the EIA, the Department of Energy’s statistics arm, submitted an emergency request last month to start tracking the industry’s power usage.

Rising electricity has impacted power systems in states like Texas and increased energy prices for certain consumers.

Also read: Bitcoin now 80 trillion times more difficult to mine, with halving set for April

Crypto mining industry challenges EIA survey

Beginning the week of February 5, the EIA surveyed 82 miners, seeking information on their activities and energy use. Congressmen had been requesting surveys for over a year, including Senator Elizabeth Warren.

According to Reuters, Senator Warren wrote: “The department is asking crypto-miners to report basic information about their energy usage — as other industries have done for decades — so the public and lawmakers better understand how crypto-mining’s electricity use and carbon emissions affect the power grid and environment.”

The lawsuit filed by the mining industry on February 22nd argues that the quick approval process of the survey was illegal, and could harm their businesses and assets if made public.

On Friday, the EIA agreed to pause the survey for more than a month until March 25 and sequester the data it has received thus far.

Sylvia-Shen

Sylvia Shen

Sylvia Shen, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from University of California, Davis. Send tips to s.shen@btw.media.

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