Crypto mining’s energy use will be in the crosshairs Thursday as the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee discusses its environmental impact. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will question five witnesses about proof-of-work consensus mechanisms, how crypto networks are powered and what tools or solutions exist to mitigate environmental impacts.
The hearing comes one day after E&E News, a Politico subsidiary, revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency blocked two coal-powered power plants primarily focused on bitcoin mining from continuing to operate coal ash, a “toxic slurry produced from coal power.”
“The profitability of mining and the increase of the value of [proof-of-work] cryptocurrencies over time supports massive investments in mining facilities, which require ever-increasing amounts of energy to power and cool machines,” a hearing memo said.
The witnesses – Cornell Tech Professor Ari Juels, Soluna Computing CEO John Belizaire, BitFury CEO Brian Brooks, former Chelan County Public Utility District General Manager Steven Wright and Jordan Ramis shareholder Gregory Zerzan – will share a range of thoughts in prepared testimony, including endorsements of proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms and questions about the mix of energy sources used to power cryptocurrencies.
11:30 a.m. ET (ND) Good morning folks, and welcome to CoinDesk’s live coverage of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on cryptocurrencies and their environmental impact. Titled “Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains,” the hearing seems likely to focus on Bitcoin in particular and proof-of-work more broadly, but I imagine we can expect questions about proof-of-stake and how energy is sourced to pop up.