US Bitcoin Mining Resists Biden Administration

The U.S. Bitcoin mining community has won a first round against the authorities. Following its legal action, a court has ordered the suspension of the Department of Energy’s investigation to collect data on their energy consumption.

Bitcoin miners block intrusive survey of their energy consumption

As more and more mining operations relocate to the USA, accounting for almost 38% of global Bitcoin mining, the issue of energy consumption is becoming a growing concern. To solve this mystery, Energy Information Administration (EIA) launched a study in January on the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining, an initiative that was not well received by the country’s mining companies.

The US government has temporarily suspended its controversial investigation into the energy consumption of Bitcoin miners following a lawsuit filed by Riot Blockchain Inc, one of the largest listed mining companies in the U.S.; and the Texas Blockchain Council. They stated that the survey conducted by EIA was illegal and politically motivated.

In an order revealed on February 23 by the vice president of research at Riot, the court rules in favor of Bitcoin miners. The court criticizes EIA as arbitrary and constituting an abuse of discretionary power. This decision led to a one-month suspension of the survey and quarantine of data already collected.

The judge’s decision has been applauded by many in the crypto ecosystem, who feel that the Bitcoin mining sector is subject to unfair treatment compared to other energy-intensive industries.

Bitcoin mining contributes to the energy transition

Despite its high-power consumption, Bitcoin mining can make a positive contribution to the energy transition by harnessing renewable or surplus energy sources that would otherwise be wasted.

In the United States, the rapid growth of mining relies heavily on the abundance of cheap natural gas, particularly in Texas. Rather than burning off this surplus gas and releasing it into the atmosphere, many miners use it to power their computer centers.

This energy symbiosis gives value to energy that would otherwise be lost, while supporting the local power grid.

Despite these advantages, bitcoin mining still raises concerns about its carbon footprint. Some green media and NGOs even accuse Bitcoin of being an ecological disaster and a brake on the fight against climate change.

However, most analysts consider these accusations to be greatly exaggerated. Even taking into account its soaring power consumption, Bitcoin mining would still only account for 0.38% of global energy consumption, according to a Cambridge University study published in 2023. Furthermore, a study by the Bitcoin ESG Forecast, reveals that 54.5% of the energy used in Bitcoin mining in January 2024 is sustainable.

Thanks to technological innovation in this sector, its carbon footprint could be reduced even further.