The U.S. Congress is about to conduct a comprehensive review of the energy consumption of crypto mining. This Thursday’s hearing will feature more supporters of blockchain technology than critics.
The House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee announced last week a hearing entitled “Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency – The Energy Impacts of Blockchains”. The event is scheduled for January 20. The hearing will focus on crypto mining’s environmental and energy effects, particularly in relation to networks that use the proof-of-work (or PoW) consensus mechanism.
The list of witnesses who were invited to testify was revealed in a memo by the Committee on Energy and Commerce staff on January 17. Only one of the five experts listed – Ari Juels, a Cornell Tech professor – can be categorised as an outspoken critic for Bitcoin (BTC), mining in its current form. Ironically, Juels was one of the two authors of a 1999 paper which introduced the concept of proof-of-work.
Brian Brooks, an ex-U.S. Comptroller for the Currency and Binance, is another witness. He was the US CEO and joined BitFury in November 2021 as the chief executive officer. John Belizaire is also present at Soluna Computing, which is a company that develops green data centers for batchable computation. In a blog post published Jan. 6, Belizaire described Bitcoin’s energy consumption in a positive light, arguing that it is a viable way to absorb excess renewable energy.
Steve Wright, a retired general manager at the Chelan County, Washington, public utility district, will represent utility providers. Wright made efforts to attract cryptocurrency miners during his tenure.
Jordan Ramis Shareholder Gregory Zerzan and former Acting Assistant Secretary to the U.S. Treasury noted that Bitcoin mining concerns could be addressed through “transitioning away fossil fuels.”
Although the memo provides a balanced overview of energy-related concerns related to PoW mining, it also repeats some statements that have been challenged by recent research. One of the claims made by the authors was that crypto mining could increase in energy consumption and environmental impacts over the next few years. This claim was refuted in the fact-checking brochure from Bitcoin Policy Institute.
Jake Chervinsky (head of policy at Clockchain Association) tweeted that the memo “not all bad but commits fundamental errors.”
A 9-page memo was published by the House E&C Committee for the hearing on crypto’s energy consumption. Although it’s not bad, it makes basic mistakes, such as repeating the fallacy that “per transaction” carbon emission is a fallacy. Read it here & watch Thursday at 10:30 am ET: https://t.co/AgMes2zOwf
Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky), January 18, 2022
The hearing will take place at 10:30 a.m. EDT on January 20, and will be streamed live here.