Will Senator Gillibrand Tell Governor Hochul to Veto Bitcoin Mining Bill This Week?

This is a big week for Governor Kathy Hochul and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York as their proof-of-political-relationship will likely be tested by a proof-of-work (PoW) Bitcoin mining ban for crypto companies using fossil fuels in New York State.

For Governor Hochul, the ongoing Bitcoin mining battle in New York has been brought to her desk for signature as the state senate delivered an early Friday morning rebuke to crypto miners in the Empire state with approval of a 2-year moratorium (see the bill).

Will she sign or won’t she?  There is no indication yet. NY’s State Assembly approved the bill on April 26.

Meanwhile, this Tuesday June 7, Senator Gillibrand (D, NY) is expected to join with her Republican co-sponsor, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R, WY), on the most eagerly anticipated bill to ever be introduced in Congress on digital assets and their regulation.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature or veto must occur within 10 days (as of Friday morning, 6/3) according to legislative rules so that makes “zero hour” Monday, 6/13, at the latest. It seems hard to imagine Governor Hochul stealing Gillibrand’s thunder by signing or vetoing anything until after June 7.

In fact, a discussion is likely happening right now between Senator Gillibrand and Governor Hochul on timing – here’s a sample of their previous coordination and alignment in the past two years:

So, what will that discussion be like between Hochul and Gillibrand? They might start with a high level overview.

Proponents of the bill point to the importance of meeting climate goals, increasing use of sustainable resources as well as respecting certain local communities given anecdotes of mining abuses.

The bill’s detractors worry about losing jobs in New York state let alone jobs moving outside the U.S. The implications of this initial rejection of blockchain technology could also lead to a cascading waterfall of anti-crypto regulation across state legislatures that eventually seeps into federal guidelines.

Political Reality

The reality is that in the 50 U.S. States, this sort of bill would appear to only have a chance in blue Democratic states rather than red Republican states. And the significant wild card is the bi-partisan cooperation in Congress which brings together such disparate voices as Senator Steve Daines (R, WY) and Senator Cory Booker (D, NJ). This bi-partisanship reflects a voting public which also exhibits a mutual blockchain interest across party lines which brings us back to Senator Gillibrand and Governor Hochul, both Dems.

It would seem in Senator Gillibrand’s best interest to advise Governor Hochul against signing such a bill given her goal of wrangling a crypto industry – and its jobs and wealth creation potential – for New York State. As Gillibrand told an audience at a Politico event in April, her constituency’s needs in crypto are huge given the fact the Wall Street establishment, and therefore the hub of global finance, is in New York City. This is Hochul’s constituency, of course. (Side note: some argue that Wall Street wants to see crypto knee-capped so as to not threaten the current TradFi monopoly.)

But, also in the mix is Hochul’s desire to get re-elected as Governor in the fall and she has Gillibrand’s endorsement already in the bag.

Gilibrand’s term isn’t up until in the Senate until the November elections in 2024.

So, two-part prediction…

Pay me now: Hochul signs the bill in a blue state with a blue state legislature while Gillibrand winces but supports her. The signature would most likely occur on Friday afternoon, June 10, which will subvert the strong blockchain lobby’s attempt to own the weekday airwaves with their condemnation of the new NY state law. It will also minimize any perceived Gillibrand-Hochul rift.

And then pay me later: Hochul supports Gillibrand in 2024.